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Love caramel apples? You need to try this version made with coconut and raw honey

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This fantastic article was written by Victoria Vito, MS, a professional nutritionist, columnist, and health blogger. We encourage you to check out her website here

Nothing says fall like delicious candy apples – covered in caramel or chocolate, right? These treats are really popular at autumn festivals in the Northern Hemisphere and Western cultures, such as Guy Fawkes Night and Halloween.

Candy (or caramel) apples, also called “toffee apples,” are made by covering an apple with a layer of caramelized sugar. The most popular sugar coating is prepared from white (or brown) sugar, water, corn syrup, red food coloring, and cinnamon. Judging by the ingredients you may think that candy apples are healthy – but that’s not entirely right! 

And you might be thinking that you’re doing no harm to your diet because, well, you’re consuming fruit, do not forget that those candy coatings are loaded with sugar and food coloring.

Moreover, in 2014, 35 persons in 12 states – including newborns and pregnant women – were sickened with the bacterial infection after consuming prepackaged caramel apples.

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In the outcome of the occurrence, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted a research on what it takes for the Listeria moncytogenes bacteria to develop on caramel apples. 

The researchers found that apples that had been stored at room temperature and stabbed with a stick were more likely to develop Listeria monocytes on some apples after just 3 days. Candy apples that hadn’t been stabbed by a stick and were store in the fridge showed bacteria growth even after 4 weeks, according to the scientists report in the American Society for Microbiology journal mBio.

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So, always put your candy (caramel) apples in the fridge to keep them safe, fresher, and have them for longer.

And what about healthier?

Following, we present you a healthy candy apple recipe that you can make at home. This is a wonderful treat to include in your healthy, well-balanced diet. Plus, this is a great snack for those who are super sensitive to dairy, and pregnant women.

A Healthier Take On The Candy Apple

Caramel is usually made with cream (or condensed milk), butter, corn syrup, and sugar.

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It’s known, though, that too much added sugar of all types – not only high-fructose corn syrup – can be the reason for extra calories adding, which are associated with health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, weight gain, high triglyceride levels, and metabolic syndrome. All of these increase your risk of heart disease.

The American Heart Association advises that most men get no more than 150 calories per day of added sugar and that most women get merely 100 calories per day of added sugar from any source. That is around 9 tsp. of added sugar for men and 6 teaspoons for women.

If you’re taking care of your health, then you should remove sugar from your diet, regardless of the variety. Here you can find some tips how to substitute sugar and enjoy even more.

So, for a healthier version – we are replacing the corn syrup and sugar with maple syrup or honey.

There are some tricks to making candy apples:

  1. Combine all your ingredients while still room temperature thoroughly. 
  2. Use a heavy bottomed pot/pan for heating.
  3. Heat really slowly (it will take you 20 to 30 minutes to come to temperature, and if you heat it too fast the oil and sugar will separate). 
  4. Use a candy thermometer. 
  5. Do not leave the kitchen.

It’s really easy to make – just follow the steps.

Healthy Caramel Apples Recipe

caramel green applesYield: 9 to 10 medium apples (use any variety you like to eat – as a nutritionist, I recommend green apples– and here is why!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup coconut cream 
  • Dash salt
  • You’ll also need cake pop sticks or popsicle sticks or something similar

Directions:

  1. Combine room temperature coconut cream, salt, and honey in a medium pan. Mix them well. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.  
  2. Turn on the heat to medium-low, heat till it reaches 245ºF. No need to stir.  It will start to bubble around 220F. If it seems like it is going to bubble over (it possibly won’t, but it could be nerve-racking), stir it a little to pop the bubbles.  It will take 20 to 30 minutes and is quite hands off, therefore, be patient (and don’t leave your kitchen!).
  3. Remove from the heat once it reaches 245ºF. Let the caramel cool down to 180-190ºF before dipping apples.
  4. Skewer the apples with your popsicle sticks while you’re waiting for the caramel to cool.   Moreover, line a baking sheet with silicone liner, parchment paper, or wax paper, and grease the liner or paper (palm shortening, coconut oil, lard, ghee)
  5. Dip the apples when the caramel is cool, then put them on the prepared baking sheet and place the whole thing in the refrigerator for the caramel to harden.
  6. Give them at least an hour, ideally 2-3 hours, before you peel them off the sheet. 
  7. The caramel is nice and sticky, and you can roll your candy apples into chopped nuts. Nuts on candy apples are so delicious and they have numerous health benefits. Find why are nuts good for you.

Tip: You can substitute half or all of the honey with maple syrup.

For more tasty recipes visit YourFoodTube (especially if you are a fan of Italian cuisine).

If you enjoyed those delicious Caramel Apples, you HAVE to try these Apple Donuts!

Sources:

  1. http://www.thepaleomom.com/caramel-apples-dairy-free-aip-friendly/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candy_apple
  3. http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm427573.htm
  4. http://mbio.asm.org/content/6/5/e01232-15.full
  5. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/high-fructose-corn-syrup/faq-20058201

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Victoria Vito

Victoria Vito

Health Blogger at Your Health Tube
Victoria Vito, MS, is a professional nutritionist, a columnist, and a health blogger at http://yourhealthtube.com. She has several years of professional experience as a nutritional counselor. Victoria has been a keynote speaker at schools, conferences, lectures, and corporations across Italy (her homeland) and some other countries in Europe. Together with her husband, she left “the big apple” behind for a new life in the country – where they grow organic food.
Victoria’s nutrition philosophy is one that looks at the complete person, and her motto is:
“You are what you eat – so, don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake!”
Victoria Vito
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