Caramel apples have always played a hugely important role in our lives at this time of year. Those fresh, sweet, crunchy apples are at their best right now, and when coated in sweet caramel, scattered with our favorite toppings (which change dramatically depending on how sophisticated we’re feeling), and eaten off a stick, they have to be one of the best pleasures fall has to offer. Caramel apples conjure up nostalgic memories of childhood, satisfy our sweet tooth, and are the perfect accompaniment to a bonfire, colorful falling leaves, and cool, crisp autumnal weather.
But as grown-ups, we often feel slightly embarrassed about how willing we are to cover our faces in caramel, get incredibly sticky fingers, and make ourselves feel slightly sick from consuming so much sugar by eating too many caramel apples at parties. So we needed to find a way to transform them into a more sophisticated treat, while still maintaining the childish fun of eating a sugar-coated apple off a stick. Coating them in chopped nuts didn’t seem interesting enough, dipping them in chocolate was still too popular with the kids, and although adding sprinkles was tempting, this was only going to make them even more kid-friendly. It didn’t take us long to try adding a generous splash of bourbon to the caramel, and, thankfully, that worked wonderfully.
To make your caramel apples an adults-only, alcohol-spiked dessert, make the caramel for apples as normal, then stir in one tablespoon of bourbon per apple. Make sure you add the alcohol when the caramel has been taken off the heat; you don’t want to add the bourbon while the caramel is still on the stove as that will burn the alcohol off. We recommend you follow this totally foolproof recipe, add the bourbon as described above, and do your best to let them set before you take your first bite of this satisfyingly boozy, fall-perfect, supremely sweet treat.