Monday, November 1, 2010

Peanut Butter-Caramel Apples

Happy Day 1 of Vegan MoFo! I can’t think of a better way to usher in the season than with these decadent but not truculently sweet peanut butter and caramel coated apples. They are autumnal, a cinch to make and the creation of Isa Chandra Moskowitz, whose Post Punk Kitchen gave rise to Vegan MoFo. She has a column, “Nickel and Dined,” in BUST and this is featured in the October/November 2010 issue. To get the full scoop, pick up a copy. But even with the general guidelines I’ll provide here, you should be fine to make them.

All you need is a half-cup each of brown rice syrup and creamy peanut butter (go for the natural, unsalted, unsweetened variety—you’ll get plenty of salt and sugar from the other ingredients), a cup of roasted and salted peanuts, 4 to 6 apples (I used Granny Smith but I recommend my favorite apple, the perfectly rather than overly tart and crisp Pink Lady), and some chopsticks.

Brown rice syrup can be a little pricey but it’s cheaper than maple syrup and, as Isa wrote in her BUST column, it will give you a spot-on caramel consistency without the fuss of making caramel from scratch. I also use brown rice syrup to sweeten oatmeal and tea and it seems to hang around in pantry for longer than many other liquid sweeteners because most jars of brown syrup are more generous in comparison.

Securely stick a chopstick into the bottom of each apple and set them aside. Have a large platter or cutting board covered in parchment paper ready. Whiz the peanuts in a food processor until well-chopped. Be careful not to overprocess—you don’t want to end up with more peanut butter. Just small pieces of peanuts. You can also roughly chop them with a knife but it will take forever and you won’t get the pieces as small as you can with the processor.

In a small saucepan, warm the syrup and peanut butter over low heat until combined and smooth. This shouldn’t take longer than 2 or 3 minutes. Dip an apple in the sauce and smooth out with a mixing spatula or back of a spoon.

Roll the sauce covered apple in the chopped peanuts and press them with your hand to make sure the nuts stick. Place on the parchment covered platter. Repeat for each apple. Refrigerate the apples on the parchment platter for at least 3 hours and then, voila, deliciously decadent caramel apples! Now wasn’t that easy for something so pretty and tasty?

Pictures by Joselle and Brian