Give Salted Caramel Apples The Umami Treatment With Some Miso

Caramel apples on plate
Caramel apples on plate - Aimee Lee Studios/Shutterstock

Although they're associated with spooky season and Halloween, there's never a wrong time to enjoy a caramel apple, and a hint of salt makes this treat even better. With a chewy, candied exterior and crisp, juicy interior that's complemented by coarse sea salt, this nostalgic treat takes on a slightly grown-up flavor. You can't go wrong with a simple and delicious homemade caramel for the outer coating, but if you're chasing even more of that sweet-and-salty flavor, consider jazzing up your next batch by adding miso paste, a versatile Japanese fermented soybean paste.

Although it sounds unconventional, adding miso to caramel before dipping your apples is an easy way to give them an intriguing depth of flavor. Sweet and savory is a match made in culinary heaven, and that flavor combo makes any dessert seem less one-note. The rich sweetness of caramel can sometimes be overwhelming, and miso, with its savory and salty flavor, prevents your candied apples from taking on a cloying flavor. The strong umami presence in miso doesn't overshadow the sweet and tart elements of the apples, but subtly complements them.

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Types Of Miso To Choose From

Miso paste on plates
Miso paste on plates - aomas/Shutterstock

Before you run to the market, you'll want to decide which type of miso you want to add to your caramel apple recipe. There are countless varieties of miso paste, but to keep things simple, we'll focus on three popular categories: white, yellow, and red.

Red miso paste has a strong saltiness and pronounced umami flavor due to its lengthy fermentation process. This miso is generally used in hearty recipes like stew, soups, and meat marinades. Unless you want a heavy-handed savoriness in your caramel apples, save red miso paste for non-dessert dishes. Meanwhile, thanks to a quicker fermentation period, white miso boasts a mild umami essence and a noticeably sweeter flavor than its red counterpart. It's often reserved for lighter dishes like salad dressings and dipping sauces, and due to its mellowness, it's also a great first choice for trying out with salted caramel apples.

Yellow miso, on the other hand, is the best of both worlds, as it strikes a balance between the boldness of red miso and the delicate essence of white miso. Its flavor is more pronounced than white, but still milder than red, making it a solid option if you think you'll enjoy a stronger savory taste to go with the sweet caramel. No matter which miso you choose, mix it into the liquid caramel in small increments until you're satisfied with the taste.

Additional Ingredients To Upgrade Caramel Apples

Caramel apples coated with nuts
Caramel apples coated with nuts - Funwithfood/Getty Images

Adding miso to your salted caramel apples is already a bold move, but if you're anything like us, you'll push the boundaries even more. Consider incorporating additional ingredients to round out your one-of-a-kind candied apples, such as spices, nuts, and other flavorings.

Enhance your miso-infused caramel with a touch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg to invite a comforting, aromatic warmth that complements the umami richness of the paste. After dipping your apples in their caramel coatings, roll in crushed toasted nuts like pecans, pistachios, or peanuts for a textural crunch that contrasts with the smooth caramel, plus a hint of woodsy flavor.

For an even more complex taste, a hint of finely-grated orange zest provides a citrusy brightness that plays well with the deep flavors of the miso, while bolstering the pleasantly tangy apples. A bourbon-laced caramel coating can provide the savory-sweet apples with a sophisticated touch of candied bitterness. Bear in mind that the high sodium in the miso can double as the salt you might put on your caramel coating, so be mindful of how much miso and salt you use in your caramel apples, and reduce quantities accordingly.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.