Bourbon Caramel Apples with Lavender Sugar

For the last few years, caramel and candied apples have been en vogue to give as favors and gifts.  I always said, if I had a fall wedding, I would've had them as my favors. (I had a February wedding, so sometimes we don't always get what we want, haha.  Everything happens for a reason.)

I just love the way that they look.  Stores now sell these apples for $5 to $10 dollars an apple, which is absolute craziness.  I mean, they're delicious and look beautiful, but that's a lot of money for a fancy apple.

Speaking of trendiness, lavender has really come a long way.  When I was a little kid, I thought lavender was a smell that only belonged in lotions and bath products.  Now, they make lavender cupcakes, cookies, lemonade - you name it!  This recipe is simple and takes advantage of the lavender craze.  Plus, two of my friends are lavender fanatics; I'm looking at you, Laura and Maddie.

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To make your own lavender sugar: take 1 tablespoon of culinary grade lavender and grind it with a mortar and pestle.  You want to release the lavender oils and flavors.  Combine this with some coarse, organic sugar, about 1/3 to 1/2 cup (depending on how strong you want the lavender flavor).  Boom.  Now you're fancy with your lavender sugar.

Ingredients:
3-5 medium-sized apples, preferably organic (washed and wax removed)
bamboo skewers or popsicle sticks
a batch of bourbon caramel sauce, recipe below
a batch of lavender sugar, recipe above
plastic treat bags, for gifting

For the caramel sauce:
Adapted from Against All Grain

1⁄2 c. maple syrup
1 T. organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, like Spectrum
1⁄2 c. almond milk, or other type of non-dairy milk
1⁄2 tsp. sea salt
3 T. bourbon

Bring the syrup to a low boil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer on medium heat for 5
to 7 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure even browning.

 Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the shortening, milk, and salt. Return to heat and continue cooking for 15 minutes. As you remove it from the heat, add your bourbon while continuing to whisk the caramel. It should be thick enough to coat a spoon. Cool to room temperature. 

If the caramel hardens too much, put it back on the stove under low heat. It will soften up.

Assembly: insert a stick or skewer into your apples, right where the stem meets the apple.  Using your stick, swirl the apples around in the caramel to ensure even coating.  When you're done, place them on a piece of parchment paper to harden.  Sprinkle the lavender sugar on the apples immediately, before they harden.

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Enjoy these apples and let me know what you think.  People will think you're so fancy!  They make great gifts.

Cheers,
-Aileen

This post is part of A Vegan Holiday, a collaboration among vegan and veg-friendly bloggers. Follow along on social media with #AVeganHoliday. Want to learn more or become a contributor? Find out more here or here