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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
(20 Minute!) Healthy Low Carb Caramel Apples
For the keto caramel
For the caramel apples
- 5 small apples
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).
- 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.