An apple a day is better when it's caramel

For over 200 years, caramel apples have been a September staple at country fairs and in Mom's kitchen during the apple harvest season.

Until recently, caramel apples have been a simple, if not tooth-extracting, affair. But today's candy chefs have decided it's time for a caramel apple makeover—one that uses premium fruit (no hiding bruised castoffs with caramel here) along with a softer, gooier coating, and generous helpings of decadent ingredients, such as peanut butter, Belgian chocolate and Oreos.

Here are the best gourmet caramel apples that you can get shipped straight to your doorstep today....

Not your Mom's caramel apples

Imagine the pairing of your favorite treats—Oreos, M&Ms, peanut butter, rich Belgian chocolate—with a caramel apple. That's what Amy’s Candy Kitchen in Cedarburg, Wisconsin serves up every day. They make each of their scrumptious teats from scratch in a 19th century stone kitchen and whip up small batches of caramel using copper kettles and a family recipe that boasts no trans fat or preservatives.

Just a few of the 25 flavors they offer include: Cinnamon Pecan (right), Milk Dunked Peanut Butter Chip, Oreo with Belgian Chocolate (above), M&Ms, Cashews and the Ultimate Dunked w/Belgian Chocolate.

Treat yourself: $7.99-$15.99, AmysCandyKitchen.com, (800) 513-8889

Walk on the wild side of the orchard

If you want a treat that's sure to impress even your most jaded friends, sample the caramel apples from DeBrito Chocolate Factory in Hollister, California. They pair their caramel apples with some of the most unlikely ingredients, such as lemon chili peanuts and chopped apricots. With 31 flavor combos to choose from, you can spend a whole month deciding which you like best. Their varieties include:

Great Balls of Fire!: Adorned with chili mango and lemon chili peanuts and partnered with smooth caramel and drizzled with milk chocolate.

Gold Rush: Dipped in smooth caramel with chopped apricots and almonds drizzled in chocolate.

The Jolt!: Made with coffee toffee, cappuccino chocolate and dark chocolate.

Pumpkin Pie: Covered in creamy caramel with white chocolate, crumbled graham cracker and coarse sugar sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice. (Available September through December only.)

Treat yourself: $9-$11, DeBrito Chocolate Factory, (800) 588-3886

Childhood faves

Want to faithfully recreate the childhood experience of the cherry red glazed candy apples and unadorned yet elegant caramel apples? Head to The Fudge House of San Francisco, where, among their 15 snazzier varieties of gourmet caramel apples, you'll find these two tasty traditionals.

Treat yourself: Cherry Candy Apples, $3.25, Caramel Apples, $4.25, Fudge-House.com, (800) 993-8343

Go mini

If you like your servings smaller, these tinier versions of chocolate-covered caramel apples from Williams-Sonoma will hit the spot. At just 5.7 ounces each, they're a few bites smaller than the half-pound jumbo apples usually used for these autumnal snacks.

Treat yourself: $29.50 for a set of 4, Williams-Sonoma.com, (877) 812-6235

Did you know?

Apples float in water because they're 25% air!


Throw your apple peeler away

Two–thirds of the fiber and most of the disease-fighting antioxidants in apples are in the peel.


Drink your caramel apple

Prefer your caramel apples with a kick? Try this Caramel Apple Martini recipe:

2 ounces Players Extreme Caramel Infused Vodka

1 ounce Sour Apple Schnapps

1/2 ounce Sweet and Sour mix

Combine the ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of Granny Smith or Macintosh apple.




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