Toffee Apples, or Caramel Apples in this case, are a tasty Halloween tradition. There are some little traditions that just feel right to pass on to the next generation and for me this is one. However, in true Foodoppi style I have given them a make over!

Perhaps its the pregnancy or the momma vibes and the slight chill in the air but it just makes me want to be all cosy in my kitchen, drinking 20 million cups of tea and creating delicious treats –  so these are the perfect seasonal excuse.

I rarely make toffee apples because they can be a little bit fussy and potentially dangerous for kids at home. This is why I am SO excited about this recipe. The easiest way to make caramel apples ever! No sugar thermometer, no working with hot liquid sugar (seriously the worst for burns, it might as well be lava). This is a safe, easy, and HEALTHY way to make caramel apples.

Now lets explain healthy in this context  –  no processed ingredients, no additives, no refined sugar.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the same as traditional caramel, but it does taste A LOT like it. Dates are my secret here. They are nature’s gift to us for sweetness and they make these caramel apples delicious. Unlike traditional caramel sauce, this date caramel is made in one food processor, with no hob and literally all you need is dates, milk/water/cream (of your choice) and a drop of vanilla and a pinch of sea salt.

Just because I’m calling these healthy, doesn’t mean I’m skipping on the toppings. This is probably where healthy stops and indulgence arrives –  just be careful, think Halloween –  trick or treat  –  do not trick yourself into thinking these are super healthy  i.e. low fat !!!

They are super healthy when compared to the traditional ones but remember it definitely still has sugar, but it also has fibre and lots of other vitamins and minerals. If you can get the real medjool dates they are a great source of potassium, copper, magnesium, vitamin B6, niacin, calcium, iron and vitamin K. Actually, did you know medjool dates have more potassium than bananas per 100g!

I also like to use the small pink lady apples or cut bigger apples into circles or wedges. There are two reasons  – portion control of treats is so important. Have the delicious, fun experience, enjoy every moment  but remember these are a treat so smaller portions will give you the same happiness and joy. They do contain sugar  – natural sugar but sugar so remember to give the teeth a wash after and if there is one thing I cannot tolerate it is food waste so just have a little and enjoy !!!

Now for the toppings  –  go wild I reckon !!!

We can get really creative here  –  I love to do a combination of nuts, seeds, chocolate, marshmallows, dried fruit etc .

Here are some suggestions 
Edible Glue  –  use the caramel or some milk, dark or white chocolate . Even some Nutella works great.
Toppings  –  cereal –  some Rice Krispies or coco pops, crushed up corn flakes
Nuts –  finely chopped monkey nuts, peanut, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds
Fruit –  dried blueberries, freeze dried raspberries ( order online), coconut ( flakes or desiccated )
Randomness –  blitz some tuc crackers with a crunchy for that sweet & salty combo
Randomness –  popcorn, mini marshmallows, mini smarties, mini chocolate chips.
Now remember , this is not about perfection –  this is about fun and creativity and making memories together.

So enjoy and let the kids have a ball !!
With fun & deliciousness,
Aisling

Apple slices with caramel and chocolate
Apple slices with caramel and chocolate

Ingredients 
6 apples
30 dates
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 real vanilla pod
1 teaspoon sea salt
60mls coconut milk

Possible Toppings 
Edible Glue  –  use the caramel or some milk, dark or white chocolate . Even some Nutella works great.
Toppings  –  cereal –  some Rice Krispies or coco pops, crushed up corn flakes
Nuts –  finely chopped monkey nuts, peanut, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds
Fruit –  dried blueberries, freeze dried raspberries ( order online), coconut ( flakes or desiccated )
Randomness –  blitz some tuc crackers with a crunchy for that sweet & salty combo
Randomness –  popcorn, mini marshmallows, mini smarties, mini chocolate chips.
Now remember , this is not about perfection –  this is about fun and creativity and making memories together.

Equipment
food processor
cake pop sticks  / lollipop sticks
greaseproof paper
spatula
spoon
bowls for toppings

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How to Do It

  1.  Line a tray or plate with greaseproof paper.
  2.  Soak the dates in a little boiling water (before using). Pop the dates in the food processor and blitz. Add little drop of hot water here to move things along. Using the spatula scrape down the sides and then add in the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Blitz until smooth and creamy. If the caramel is to dry and thick add a little more coconut milk/water. If it is too liquid-y add in a few more dates and blitz again. Scoop out some onto a plate. Keep the other fresh in a preserve jar or old jam jar.
  4.  Prepare all the toppings. Pop them on little side plate. set up stations. Chop the apples into long circles or wedges ( see images ) and then dip in the caramel. Use a spoon, spatula or your fingers to press the caramel on to the apple if needed.
  5.  Roll in the toppings. Pop on the greaseproof paper and chill in the fridge for an hour. 
  6.  Share and enjoy 


Top Tips 

  •  If you can’t get medjool dates don’t worry get the other normal ones and just soak them in a little boiling water for an hour or when you go to blitz them add a few drops of boiling water from the kettle.
  •  Blitz the dates on their own first to break them down, then add the rest of the ingredients.
  •  There are two version of this natural caramel  – one just use the dates and boiling water and a pinch of salt and vanilla – this is more like a paste. The other is a more sauce like, calorific one which is amazing poured over ice-cream and for a dessert dip –  this is the one here with the dates and the coconut milk ( tinned ).
  • You can use almond milk or even regular dairy cream too- each give a slightly different consistency. This is not meant to be a perfect recipe –  the lovely thing is you get to play around and figure out which you like best!
  •  The food processor does work best here, better than the blender. If you have a nutri-bullet or vitamix they will work too just blitz well.