It's September, and that means something very exciting: apples!!! I love apples. And apple orchards. And salted caramel. So...when I dreamed up this Caramel Apple Shortcake I got to work on it *immediately!*
This Caramel Apple Shortcake has cornmeal buttermilk biscuits topped with baked caramel apples, cinnamon-cardamom whipped cream, and homemade salted caramel sauce! Every component of this recipe is a DREAM, and when you put them together....*squeals with joy*
Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
I la-love homemade salted caramel sauce! Something about Fall makes me want to put it on eeeeverything. This recipe is completely delicious, and makes enough caramel that you’ll have leftovers to drizzle over your shortcakes (a must)! All that said, you can opt for a store-bought salted caramel sauce and it will still be completely delicious!
If you are going to make your own, this recipe uses the dry method, which is my favorite way to make caramel. You just pour sugar into a saucepan and keep on whisking as the sugar melts. It will clump and you'll think you're doing it all wrong. You're not. 🙂
PLEASE take extra care when making caramel! The additions of both the butter and the cream will cause the mixture to bubble and splatter, and hot caramel can burn you badly! The sauce will be thin when you're done, but it will thicken as it cools.
For the Best Apple Shortcake
Using fine cornmeal will keep your biscuits from being gritty. I usually have to buy mine online because my local grocery store tends to carry medium and coarsely ground cornmeal. If you’re interested in getting yourself some, this is the kind I use here.
I do suggest that you use the buttermilk listed in the recipe for the most tender biscuits! That said, you can make a quick substitution with milk and vinegar or lemon juice if you don’t have it on-hand (more info in the recipe notes!).
I used a mix of gala and granny smith apples, but you can use whatever kind of apples you prefer! I peeled mine, but you can skip that step if you prefer.
I use a few pieces of hardware to make the process quicker and easier:
- While a pastry blender isn’t necessary to cut in the butter, it does make the job faster and easier. If you’re looking to buy one for yourself, you can find one here.
- I used a 2.75″ biscuit cutter for my biscuits, like from this set here.
- I use pre-cut nonstick parchment to line my pans because they're convenient and because this dough is a bit sticky. If you’d like to get some for yourself, you can find them here.
Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits
These biscuits have a slight sweetness to them, but they're definitely not dessert on their own (in fact, I'm dreaming of breakfast sandwiches made with them right now...). If you'd prefer to make the biscuits a little sweeter, you can increase the amount of sugar listed in the recipe.
Be sure to just press down with the cutter and not twist, as the twisting motion may seal the edges and keep your biscuits from rising! Since the dough is sticky, I found it helpful to dip the cutter in flour before each cut.
Caramel Apple Shortcake!
Once you've made the salted caramel sauce and the biscuits, roasting the apples and whipping cream is a breeze! Then you get to put them together...and eat! 🙂
A few helpful hints:
- Definitely wait to assemble the shortcakes until you plan to serve them. No one wants soggy biscuits!
- We preferred ours with the biscuits and apples warmed for a nice contract with the cold whipped cream. Not to mention how coooozy warm apples and caramel are! This would also be fabulous with a scoop of vanilla (or cinnamon! or caramel!) ice cream instead of the whipped cream.
- You can make some of the recipe components in advance! Both the salted caramel sauce and the baked apples can be made ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator, and reheated when you need them. The biscuits can also be made in advance, but I suggest freezing them unless you're planning to use them the next day.
Do you ever make something that's sooo good, you immediately know it's going to be a regular occurrence at your house? I think this recipe already has Fall family tradition status at my house! I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! Let me know if you make it (and drop a review below and/or tag me in a pic on Instagram)! Happy FALL baking! 😀
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Caramel Apple Shortcake
Salted Caramel Sauce (see note):
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
- ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 1½ teaspoon fleur de sel (or other sea salt)
Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits:
Baked Caramel Apples:
For Salted Caramel Sauce:
- Pour sugar into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk, and keep whisking, as sugar melts. It will clump and you'll think you're doing it all wrong. You're not. 🙂
- Once sugar is melted, stop whisking and let sugar cook until it is deep amber in color. *Carefully* add butter (mixture will bubble!) and whisk to incorporate.
- Remove mixture from the heat. Add cream (carefully!) and whisk until smooth. Add salt and stir to incorporate. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment (see note) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal [see note], sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Stir to combine.
- Add cold, diced butter and, using a pastry blender (see note) or fork, cut the butter in until no large pieces remain.
- Add buttermilk (see note) and honey. Gently stir to combine, making sure not to overwork the dough. The dough will be sticky and soft.
- Generously flour your work surface and turn the dough out onto the flour. Sprinkle additional flour on top, and use your hands to pat the dough into a circle that's about 1" thick.
- Cut biscuits using a round cutter (I used a 2¾" biscuit cutter, see note). You can gather the scraps and gently press them together to cut additional biscuits. Be sure to just press down with the cutter and not twist, as the twisting motion may seal the edges and keep your biscuits from rising! Since the dough is sticky, I found it helpful to dip the cutter in flour before each cut.
- Place the biscuits on the prepared pan and bake until golden, about 14 minutes.
For Baked Apples:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel apples (if you prefer) and slice into ¼" thick slices. Place in a 9"x13" baking dish (glass or ceramic).
- Drizzle the lemon juice over the apples and toss to coat. Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt, and stir until apples are coated.
- Pour ½ cup of the salted caramel sauce over the apples and stir to coat. Bake apples until tender, about 40 minutes.
For Whipped Cream:
- Combine all whipped cream ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start the mixer on low speed, and gradually increase the speed to high. Whip until the cream thickens and forms peaks.
- Wait until you're planning to serve the shortcakes to assemble them. Split the biscuits and top each with the baked apples. This can be served room temperature or warmed (and it's sooo good warmed)!
- Top the apples with the whipped cream, then the top halves of the biscuits. Drizzle (drench?) in salted caramel sauce. Enjoy!