Home » Low Carb » Healthy (& Heavenly!) Low Carb Caramel Apples 🍎

Healthy (& Heavenly!) Low Carb Caramel Apples 🍎

Crisp juicy apples are coated with my (15 minute!) keto caramel for a healthier and refined sugar free version of this special fall treat. And yet, these low carb caramel apples vary little (if at all) from the traditional ones!

Healthy low carb caramel apples on a gold baking tray
Healthy Low Carb Caramel Apples

Low Carb Caramel Apples

Healthy (& Heavenly!)

Sugar free baking (and apparently ‘candy’ making too) never ceases to amaze me guys! Other than being slightly less chewy, you’d be hard pressed to find a difference between my keto caramel and the traditional stuff, while cutting the carb count substantially for this quintessential fall dessert.

Plus, if you’re into curving your glucose spikes via smart food combos (the best way to ‘do keto’ imho as you’re much less restricted), you’ll already know that dressing your carbs (i.e. the apple here) with a good amount of fat (you guessed it, the caramel!) will flatten your GI spike substantially. How much *exactly* will vary from peep to peep, but when I say substantial I mean even by half.

Oh! And my top tip is to also ensure to never eat higher sugar foods on an empty stomach, and going for a walk right after will also ensure your muscles soak up all that extra glucose (yup, flattening that dreaded GI spike).

So if I want to pass on any knowledge after ‘doing keto’ in many shapes and forms over the years, it’s that once you’re fat adapted, you can eat way more carbs than you think… if you’re smart about it ;).

i.e. you can definitely accommodate for some apple picking this fall!

A spoonful of sugar free and keto caramel sauce
Sugar Free, Low Carb & Keto Caramel Sauce

The Deets

I mean, its fairly unbelievable that you can make a keto version if you consider that caramel is essentially a burnt sugar sauce (!!). And guess what? It’s also infinitely easier to whip up than the traditional stuff as you don’t need to watch out for crystallization, temperature, etc when using allulose.

But because neither sugar alcohols nor allulose burn the same way as sugar, I took the dulce the leche route to bring you this sugar free caramel. This simply means simmering the ingredients together (and cheating a bit here and there).

Now, while dulce de leche requires roughly a 2 hours simmer to reduce and brown the sugar, neither sugar alcohols nor allulose are reducing sugars so that wouldn’t quite do it either. Rather, I opted for a browned-butter base and adding a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses for that burnt sugar kick (and needless to say, a tonne of umami).

Keep in mind that blackstrap molasses is considered a low glycemic sugar. One teaspoon (7g) adds 5g net carbs, so just 0.4g net carbs a serving (i.e. half the sugar of a strawberry!). But carbs aside, it’s also known to be a nutritional powerhouse rich in vital vitamins and minerals; such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium.

Fun fact: Molasses contain high amounts of chromium, which has been studied to increase glucose tolerance levels.

Skewered red apples on a gold baking tray with parchment paper
Healthy Low Carb Caramel Apples
Dipping an apple into keto caramel
Healthy Low Carb Caramel Apples

The Sweetener

You’ve got a couple options here, and know that the recipe was thoroughly tested with allulose (my favorite sweetener by a mile really), xylitol (try and use non-corn to avoid tummy problems), and erythritol. And these are the findings!

1. Allulose and xylitol work equally well. The resulting keto caramel is luscious and sticky, with no thickener required. Plus, both sweeteners keep your caramel ultra smooth, and I didn’t experience any crystallization whatsoever with either.

Note: I’ve been testing different brands of xylitol and have noticed Health Garden and XyloSweet are two solid ones (particularly if you tend to get occasional tummy pangs with the NOW brand).

If using xylitol, make sure to be careful if you have a pup (or kitty!) around the house, as it’s highly toxic to the little guys! 🐕

2. Now, erythritol is a bit tricker guys as it tends to crystalize once cool (you can always reheat it?). I did notice that doing about 1/2 erythritol and 1/2 of allulose or xylitol seemed to keep it smooth all the way through.

So if you’re not into the blackstrap molasses, try using of the brown erythritol sweeteners (say Lakanto Golden or Swerve Brown). Just keep in mind that you may need to add a touch of xanthan gum to obtain the thick ‘n sticky results (say 1/8-1/4 tsp, depending on desired thickness).

How much sweetener? Now this is the question. Traditional caramel uses about 1 cup of sugar, but in my opinion 1/3 cup of sweetener for keto palates is more than enough. As allulose is 30% less sweet than sugar (and xylitol), I did 1/2 cup (but you can probably do with just 1/3 cup for a lightly sweetened caramel). With xylitol I tried with 1/4 and 1/3 cup and they both worked great (just depends how sweet you like it, and what you’re using it for). Keto sweet buds are all over the place guys, but the neat thing here is that you can adjust to taste!

Healthy low carb caramel apples on a gold baking tray
Healthy Low Carb Caramel Apples
Healthy low carb caramel apples on a gold baking tray

(20 Minute!) Healthy Low Carb Caramel Apples

Crisp juicy apples are coated with my (15 minute!) keto caramel for a healthier and refined sugar free version of this special fall treat. And yet, these low carb caramel apples vary little (if at all) from the traditional ones!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, European
Servings 5 caramel apples
Calories 218 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the keto caramel

  • 56 g grass-fed butter salted or unsalted*
  • 1/4-1/2 cup allulose or xylitol**
  • 118 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4-3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to taste (I omit if using salted butter)
  • 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses optional**

For the caramel apples

  • 5 small apples

Instructions
 

For the caramel apples

  • Pick apples that are small and, needless to say, ultra crisp and flavorful. Granny Smith are a popular choice here as their tartness contrasts beautifully to the caramel. But Fuji or Honeycrisp will great work too (and tbh, anything that is crisp and tasty- don't overthink it too much!). Skewer them and set aside while you prepare the caramel.

For the keto caramel

  • Add butter to a small saucepan over medium/low heat and simmer, stirring every so often, until fully browned (about 5 minutes). (My top tip: I like to use salted butter for a salted caramel version!) Add in the sweetener, heavy cream and salt (leave out if using salted butter), stirring until fully combined. Add in the molasses (optional), and stir briefly until just combined. 
  • Simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes (don't stir at all!), taste for seasoning. Your caramel should be sticky and thick, but still totally pourable. The caramel will thicken up in the fridge (as does regular dulce de leche), so either bring it back to room temperature or heat it up with a little more heavy cream (or say almond milk!) to thin it out a bit. 
  • Note: if your caramel splits (too high temperature is usually the culprit!), you might still be able to save it. Remove it from the heat, allow the mixture to cool down for about 5 minutes, bring it back on the stovetop over low heat, and gently whisk in a tablespoon of water until it comes back together (should happen almost instantly).

To assemble

  • Remove caramel from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before dipping your apples. Allow the excess to drip off and place them on a lined baking sheet. Enjoy right away or allow the caramel to set in the fridge for a few minutes.

Notes

*I looove salted caramel, and using salted butter adds an incredible depth that you simply don't get by just adding salt. Just be sure to taste for seasoning, as you may not need to add more salt (varies from brand to brand!). 
**Please see section on sweeteners for full deets! How much sweetener? Now this is the question. Traditional caramel uses about 1 cup of sugar, but in my opinion 1/3 cup of sweetener for keto palates is more than enough. As allulose is 30% less sweet than sugar (and xylitol), I did 1/2 cup (but you can probably do with just 1/3 cup for a lightly sweetened caramel). With xylitol I tried with 1/4 and 1/3 cup and they both worked great (just depends how sweet you like it, and what you're using it for). Keto sweet buds are all over the place guys, but the neat thing here is that you can adjust to taste!
Please note that a batch yields roughly 3/4 cup, and nutrition facts were estimated per tablespoon. The blackstrap molasses adds 0.4g net carbs a serving (i.e. half the amount of sugar of a strawberry!).

Nutrition

Serving: 1caramel apple | Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 149mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 681IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword healthy caramel apples, low carb caramel apples, sugar free caramel apples
Whip up this recipe?Comment below or drop me a line @gnomgnom._ and tag #gnomgnomyum!

13 comments

  1. elh says:

    Just for clarification, is the carb count with or without the small apple? My mother and I have been harvesting apples from her golden delicious tree. They are still small and green for the most part. Very crisp.

    Thank you so much

  2. Holly says:

    Paola, don’t hate me 😬 but… can this be made with a non-dairy sub for heavy cream?? I use nutpods in place of heavy cream for everything else and they work tremendously well however nutpods have some thickening agents in them. I believe some gums maybe so I’m not sure how that will work here. I almost always substitute grass fed ghee for butter with great success so I’m hoping I can do that here as well.

    These look so good. I’m always so excited to have something from you in my inbox!

    • Dear Holly I could never hate on you (and I’m really happy to be hitting your inboxes more often now with fun new goodies!).

      Now don’t hate on me, but I can’t remember the exact outcome when making it with coconut milk (the canned variety) as it was a few years back. I remember it worked well enough that I recommended it as a sub in the caramel sauce recipe (linked at the top), and I know many of you have reported back that it works… but I can’t remember if the consistency will work to coat the apples (or if it’ll be too thin?). Now would butter be ok? I’m not sure how to sub that one here really.

      And if the consistency is too thin to coat, you can always do a caramel dip with sliced apples (tbh what I do on a regular Tuesday when I’m not being all extra for you guys ;)!) xo!

      • Roberta says:

        YUM! Looking forward to reading your magic once again, Paula 🙂 !
        Unfortunately I really can’t afford apples in my limits of therapetical nutrition (not for “puritanism”, it’s me as a mess with a pletora of “cannot”…but blessed to find alternatives both by myself and from resources like your precious sharing of experienze and smiles with enthusiasm, always SO helpful in making me feeling better 🙂 So I will wait for this incoming yummines from you, thank you!

      • Lynn Ferrin says:

        Oh my gosh!!! I can’t wait for the chewy caramel candy recipe! I make the sugar version every year for Christmas, and it kills me that I can’t eat them. I’m so excited!

        • *gets back to recipe testing immediately!*

          But in all seriousness, I get you Lynn!! Funny enough right now I’m having the problem that its too chewy, but it legit sticks to your teeth like traditional caramel candies 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.