Chocolate + Caramel Apples = the best Thanksgiving dessert ever!

Rain Terrell

When thinking of fall, Caramel glazed treats, popularly known as caramel apples, come to mind immediately. Why not bring this fall festival favorite to the thanksgiving table this year? This recipe includes a basic chocolate cupcake, an easy caramel sauce, caramel French-American buttercream, and a caramel apple to top it all off.


Ingredients: (servings: 30 cupcakes)

Caramel Apples

  • 8 Granny Smith apples
  • 8 caramel apple sticks 
  • 1 ¼ cups Heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups light or dark brown sugar 
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Cupcake

  • 2 cups All-Purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ¾ cups cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup boiling water

Salted Caramel

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter (room temperature and cut into 6 pieces)
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Caramel French-American Buttercream

  • 16 oz unsalted butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar 
  • 2 pasteurized eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ cups salted caramel


Caramel Apples


  1. Clean apples by rinsing with water, then dry completely (the caramel will stick to the apple better if the waxy layer is removed). De-stem the apple and put a caramel apple stick 3/4 of the way down.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat (recommended) or butter the pan. Avoid using parchment or wax paper because the caramel will stick to it in most cases. 
  3. To make the caramel, combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. With a wooden spoon, constantly stir until the butter is melted. 
  4. Let the caramel boil for 7-10 minutes, no stirring needed. 
  5. Dip the apples in the warm caramel while holding the stick, tipping the pot as needed to coat both sides of the apple. Place the coated apple on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the apples.
  6. Allow 45-60 minutes for the caramel to harden before serving. Wait until the caramel has completely hardened before wrapping the caramel apples in cellophane treat bags for travel/gifting.
  7. Roll the caramel-dipped apples in finely chopped nuts, toffee pieces, mini M&Ms, or sprinkles just after they’ve been coated in caramel and before it sets if you want toppings.


*These can be made the day before for convenience and are optional since it is used only as a topping but it is recommended because it tends to add a final touch to the presentation.


Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Preheat your oven to 350º Fahrenheit. 
  2. In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Next add eggs, milk, vanilla, oil, and water.
  4. Mix everything with a whisk.
  5. Line as many cupcake pans as needed with cupcake liners and fill ¾ full. Allow them to bake in the  oven for 25 minutes.


* You can use an ice cream scooper to get equal amounts of batter in each tin.


Salted Caramel

  1. In a medium heavy-duty saucepan (do not use non-stick), melt granulated sugar over medium heat, stirring regularly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. As you mix, the sugar will clump together and eventually melt into a thick amber-colored liquid. Be sure not to burn it!
  2. When the sugar is entirely melted, whisk in the butter until it is melted and mixed. When the butter is added to the caramel, it will quickly bubble up, so be careful. Remove from heat if the butter separates or the sugar clumps up, and whisk quickly to mix it again. Even if it takes 3-4 minutes, keep whisking until it comes back together. When it’s all blended, put it back on the heat.
  3. Cook for 1 minute without stirring once the butter has melted and is mixed with the caramelized sugar.
  4. Add the heavy cream, whisking gently. Stop stirring after all of the heavy cream has been added and allow it to boil for 1 minute. 
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the salt. Allow to cool and thicken before using. 

Caramel Buttercream

  1. Allow the butter to get to room temperature or put it in the microwave for 15 seconds to warm it up. Then, using a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, cream the butter. This will take about 1 minute on high.
  2. Add in pasteurized eggs, vanilla, and caramel. 
  3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar 
  4. Allow the stand mixer to run for about 4 minutes in high until smooth


  • After letting the cupcakes cool, pipe them with the caramel buttercream and drizzle the leftover caramel on them. Make sure everything is cooled so nothing melts.
  • Lastly cut up the caramel apples into thin slices and place them into the buttercream to top.