8 medium-sized Granny Smith apples
8 wooden sticks, ideally apple tree trimmings
2 cups fine, white sugar
½ cup rice syrup
1 cube (2 sticks) Green Valley Organics Lactose-Free Butter
1 cup (12 oz.) Green Valley Organics Lactose-Free Sour Cream
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Roasted pistachios or pecans - chopped
- Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Prepare the apples by gently pushing the wooden sticks into the core from the top of the apples until it feels that the sticks have a solid grip. Line a small, square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with oil to be used for leftover caramel.
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan, then add the sour cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously with a whisk for several minutes. It may look for a few moments as if the sour cream is curdled, but it is just a matter of stirring until the mixture is completely melted and emulsified. Continue stirring until hot, but do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm while preparing the sugar syrup.
- In a large, heavy duty saucepan, heat the sugar and rice syrup and stir gently to make sure the sugar melts evenly. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot to monitor the mixture. Once the ingredients are liquid and evenly melted, only stir as much as necessary to avoid any burning spots.
- Cook until the syrup reaches 310ºF or until the syrup has turned a deep golden brown and has a fragrant caramel smell. You may have to tilt the saucepan and fully submerge the thermometer to get an accurate reading.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter-sour cream mixture. Be very careful with this step, as the sugar syrup is extremely hot and the cream mixture will spatter at first when added.
- Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture to 248ºF (softball stage). Do not heat any further: Lactose-free dairy burns more easily than its regular counterpart, because the lactose has been split into glucose and galactose which has a lower burning point.
- Holding the pan at an angle with one hand, dip and turn the apples in the caramel so that a green ring of peel remains near the wooden stick. Let excess caramel drip off the bottom of the apples, then immediately sprinkle or roll apples with your decoration of choice. Let apples cool and dry for at least 2 hours.
- Pour the remainder of the caramel into the prepared, small baking pan and let cool completely. Once the caramel has solidified, lift the bar gently out of the pan and cut with a sharp knife into small squares. Wrap them with parchment paper into caramel candies.
- Caramel apples can be wrapped individually in cellophane bags and will keep for approximately one week – the candy may last up to one month, if stored in a cool, dry place.