My S.O. has been after me to create some variations on the Peanut Butter Caramel Chewy recipe that I use to make Christmas wreaths, Easter Egg Nests and other treats. After all, the recipe lends itself nicely to a host of fun and interesting additions.
So since we’re in the midst of fall and caramel apple season, I thought it would be a great idea to combine the two!
But the experimentation process proved to be a bit more involved than I had anticipated. I knew that using fresh apples would leave the mixture too gooey, so I settled on dried apples instead. But merely adding the apples caused the mixture to get hard and dry, because the dried apples were soaking up every extra ounce of moisture.
That lead to Batch No. 2–rehydrating the apple. Guess what? Way too soft!
Batch No. 3–cooking the mixture longer. I ended up with a chewy that was more of the texture of a Butterfinger candy bar (although not a bad prospect!).
Back to the drawing board. For all the previous batches, I had been cooking the apples in the syrup, so I decided to pat the apples dry after rehydrating them and add them at the end with the cereal. I had also noticed that adding the dried apples made the mixture too sweet, so I replaced lemon juice as part of the rehydrating liquid. Perfect!
In the meantime, friends, family and neighbors got all the rejects, after I made them promise not to send me any dental bills, ha.
—Sherry K-Jazzy Gourmet
Toss apples with lemon juice and water and set aside to rehydrate for 5 minutes. Then pat off excess liquid with a paper towel.
Heat sugar, corn syrup and cinnamon in a large pan on medium high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Turn off heat and stir in peanut butter. Add apples and cereal and mix until well coated. Drop by large blobs onto wax paper and shape into balls. After the the balls have set for a few minutes, place a stick down through the middle. Wait another 20-30 minutes before serving.
Decorate with ribbons and/or wrap in cellophane, if giving as gifts. But save at least one for yourself!