Bourbon-Spiked Caramel Apples with Smoked Sea Salt

Desserts, The Holidays

Bourbon-Spiked Caramel Apples with Smoked Sea Salt //

Cookies that look like bloody fingers and cupcakes garnished with “eyeballs” is not really my idea of a good time. Why in the world would I wanna eat a cookie that resembles a bloody finger? Why would I want to eat a bulging eyeball? That sounds disgusting. And it also sorta scares me. Halloween legit frightens me. Right now Pinterest is a very scary place. But these Bourbon-Spiked Caramel Apples with Smoked Sea Salt are a fun treat that are NOT scary. They’re delicious and cute.

What’s weird is that as a kid I was OBSESSED with Goosebumps and the Fear Street series. They were the absolute best. I loved them so much, and would read them so quickly, that my parents would plea with me to make the books last. My reading skills were legit. And I thought everything was a race.

While I’d definitely take another holiday over Halloween, over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing Halloween-esque recipes because I’m working on being a more positive person. Also, a major incentive is that I get to dress Amelia in Halloween costumes. So far I’ve tried to get her to wear this pumpkin hat thingy and she’s not having it. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have much of choice.

Bourbon-Spiked Caramel Apples with Smoked Sea Salt

I made these caramel apples only half-psyched. I was like, “oh this’ll be cute…” and then I tried them! Omygoodness. The combination of bourbon and caramel and smoked sea salt might be the best combo in the world. It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. All of those things are delicious.

Bourbon-Spiked Caramel Apples with Smoked Sea Salt

How to Make Caramel Apples

I know caramel-making can kind of be stressful but this technique is super easy. All of the stuff goes in a pot and then cooked until it reaches 240 degrees F. It’s actually pretty easy. A candy thermometer is definitely a must. (I’m a die-hard digital thermometer user.)

The regular sea salt if you don’t want to throw down on a new fancy salt, but if you have it in your pantry, it’s definitely the move.

I used cute lil’ twigs I found outside. Here’s the thing: don’t use twigs from outside unless you know it’s from a tree that isn’t poisonous. This step is important!

Here’s How to Make Them:

– Add all of the ingredients (minus the apples and salt) to a heavy-bottomed pot
– Stick the digital thermometer in there OR clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot
– Heat up all the mixture and when it begins to bubble and turn into caramel, dip the apples into the caramel, swirling them around
– Then sprinkle the sides with salt and place them on the sheet of parchment
– Chilling them in the fridge makes the caramel set

That’s it! Super easy.

If you end up making these Bourbon-Spiked Caramel Apples with Smoked Sea Salt, let me know on Instagram!
Bourbon-Spiked Caramel Apples with Smoked Sea Salt

Bourbon-Spiked Caramel Apples with Smoked Sea Salt

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serving Size: 6 caramel apples
Calories: 128kcal
Bourbon-Spiked Caramel Apples with Smoked Sea Salt are a fun treat for Halloween or fall. The bourbon makes the caramel ALL that much better and the smoked sea salt is a delicious savory element.


  • Olive oil or cooking spray
  • 6 wooden twigs, from a safe tree or wooden craft sticks
  • 6 small eating apples, Sweetangos, Galas, Pink Ladys would all be awesome
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light or dark corn syrup
  • 5 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Smoked sea salt


  • Line a baking sheet with wax paper and grease it by brushing it with olive oil or spraying it with cooking spray. Place it right near the pot you'll be using.
  • Remove the stems from the apples and insert the twigs or craft sticks into the tops of the apples.

Note: This caramel bubbles up a lot so be sure to use a large pot.

  • To a large pot, add the heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup, bourbon and butter. Turn the heat to moderately medium-high heat. Place the digital thermometer into the pot or clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Cook the caramel until the mixture reaches 250 degrees, about 15-18 minutes.
  • Dip the bottom of each apple in the caramel. Using a tablespoon, coat the apple three-quarters of the way up the sides. Immediately sprinkle the apple with smoked sea salt, rotating it so you can it on all sides. Transfer the apple to the wax paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat until you've coated all of the apples with caramel and sea salt. Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator so the apples can set, about 15 minutes.


*The bourbon cooks out of this caramel, leaving zero trace of alcohol. But if you want to make this booze-free simply leave it out! 
CourseCandy, Snack
CuisineAmerican, Halloween
Keywordcaramel apple recipe, caramel apples, how to make caramel apples
Nutrition Facts
Bourbon-Spiked Caramel Apples with Smoked Sea Salt
Amount Per Serving
Calories 128
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen
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Leave a Reply

  • Reply alice October 7, 2013 at 3:33 am

    These look amazing!

  • Reply Belinda @themoonblushbaker October 7, 2013 at 3:39 am

    YUM!!! Caramel apples are my newest discovery too! They are not very popular down under (compaired to he toffee apple in green and red). I can not wait to try with the end of season apples. I used to be so afraid of reading Goosebumps books as a kid, I use to even purposely avoid my sisters book collection because I was so scared>_<

  • Reply Abby @ The Frosted Vegan October 7, 2013 at 4:04 am

    I’,m digging alllll of this!! Caramel! Sea salt! BOURBON. Gimme.

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar October 7, 2013 at 4:30 am

    These pictures are sooo pretty! LOVE the little sticks in the apples – awesome!

  • Reply Marie @ Little Kitchie October 7, 2013 at 8:07 am

    SOOO in love with these! The smoked sea salt is genius.

  • Reply Tiffany D. October 7, 2013 at 8:38 am

    That’s funny that Josh got all mad about the twigs you were going to use! It’s funny what kind of stuff people know about and can get all passionate about. Hehe!

    These apples look lovely by the way!! 🙂

  • Reply Quyen October 7, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Yum! Will have to do this for our Halloween party!

  • Reply Meghan October 7, 2013 at 8:56 am

    1. I agree. I do not want to eat anything spooky, why would anyone do that?
    2. My husband just admitted that he wants some of those cheesey halloween decorations for our yard and house – like fake ghosts. So, I’m trying to come up with something that won’t scare me, the two dogs, or our toddler. Can it just be November please?
    3. These look amazing. I love the texture the chunky smoked salt adds to the pictures, but I bet its amazing to eat too. I can’t wait to make them!

  • Reply Beth @ bethcakes October 7, 2013 at 9:29 am

    These are so cute! I love caramel apples and all, but bourbon makes everything better. I bet these caramel apples are incredible! 🙂

  • Reply Sophie October 7, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I totes don’t give love Halloween, either. It’s one of my least-fave holidays, and most years I just try to avoid getting invited to anything that would require dressing up (which requires more creativity and $$$ than I’ve usually got). THESE, though, these I can get behind! And so pretty, unlike the cookies you linked to on Pinterest (AHH!). Thanks for the advice about twigs, too 🙂 I love caramel and why not add an apple to make it a healthier snack? Haha right?

  • Reply Jen @ Fresh from the... October 7, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I don’t understand the love people have of getting scared either! Like, why do I want to go have zombie people jumping out at me anyway? I wouldn’t, that’s the answer.

  • Reply Rebecca October 7, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I have to agree that Pinterest is kinda scary at the moment… luckily I am living in Europe and Halloween is almost only happening online, so I can get around it 😛 Regarding the sticks, I LOVE them, they look so cute, but as you already read I am a frightened person so I guess I would use those Popsicle sticks 😛
    Regarding your recipe it looks really divine, I so want one of those apples right now 😛
    take care, rebecca

  • Reply Christine October 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    These look and sound delicious! May just “have” to make a batch. I often wonder how I made it through my childhood compared with children now. Shoot, in Girl Scouts no one ever worried about their marshmallow roasting stick…lol!

  • Reply Cass @foodmyfriend October 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    These are stunning! I did a post a while ago on how I can’t get into the idea of caramel apples – not that common in AUS. But these look awesome. AND bourbon? GENIUS.

  • Reply Mimi October 7, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Wow. I never knew about poisonous trees. Good to know. Love love this post!

  • Reply Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) October 7, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Aghhh, poisonous tree sticks 🙁 That is terrifying (along with all those pictures of bloody finger cookies).

    These are SO so so pretty. I just love them. Also, I’m totally impressed that these are sticks from your backyard, they are perfect looking. And, as a side note, I was totally obsessed with Goosebumps as a kid. Especially those ones where you “chose your own ending”….ahh, good times.

  • Reply Sarah | The Sugar Hit October 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Gorgeous! Great photos but more importantly you put salty bourbon caramel on an apple, and that’s awesome.

  • Reply Laura (Tutti Dolci) October 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    These apples look killer, love the flavors (and flecks of sea salt!).

  • Reply dishing up the dirt October 7, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Smoked sea salt is genius! Lovely recipe.

  • Reply Lindsay October 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

    5 stars
    Hi there- I am considering making these as gifts, but I am wondering how long they would last? Are they “eat immediately after making” or do you think they would save for a few days? I’ve never made caramel apples, and would definitely prefer them this way!
    thanks- Lindsay

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme October 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

      Hi! These would be great as gifts. I’d say they’d last a good 5 days, but I’d definitely keep them in the refrigerator to ensure freshness. 🙂

  • Reply Natasha October 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    I used to love Goosebumps too!! I also love bourbon spiked anything, and I bet the smoked sea salt is killer on these!

  • Reply cindy October 10, 2013 at 5:46 am

    5 stars
    first, I am obsessed with that cake stand!

    second, I burned through SO many Goosebumps and Fear Street books as a kid too, but I’m a total wuss for scary movies and horror…makes no sense…and I definitely cannot get into eating foods that resemble human body parts. NOPE.

    third, these apples! smoked salt is one of my favorite salts to pair with caramel…and bourbon is always a win, duh.

    fourth, I’m sure Josh lectured you cause he cares so much…but, it’s still crazy making! When Sean does that I half-jokingly shout “I do what I want!” at him….half-jokingly. PS, dem twigs are pretty!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme October 10, 2013 at 7:16 am

      I always tell Josh he’s super bossy but then usually end up listening to him because sometimes he’s right, like, this case. If I hadn’t listened I maybe could’ve died!! :/

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  • Reply Sarasota Mermaid November 7, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Re: twigs
    Your husnand/boyfriend is right to check and double check the orgin of twigs. People die here quite frequently from using the branches of bushes we have planted in the thousands, Oleander. The city, county have signs, only in English. We get alot of non-English tourist who want to cook out while fishing. Not a happy ending.

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