Celebrate The Bountiful Harvest with Luscious Apple 'N Caramel Treats
According to the U.S. Apple Association, the quality of the annual apple harvest, which hits its stride during October—National Apple Month—promises to be one of the best on record, with great tasting apples available throughout November and December.
That means there's no better time to head to the u-pick or farm stand for a bountiful bushel of apples. Whether you prefer Braeburns, Jonathans or the omnipresent McIntosh, you'll find the best way to savor your apples is by pairing them with the sweet creamy taste of caramels. As much a part of autumn as the red and gold leaves, the beloved marriage of caramels and apples creates deliciously rewarding recipes that capture the essence of the season.
Who doesn't go wild over a crisp, just-picked apple, covered from end to end in richly smooth caramels. If you've mastered the art of traditional caramel apples, why not take the plunge again and create twice-as-tasty Double-Dipped Gourmet Caramel Apples. Two thick creamy layers of melted caramels serve as the "canvas" for these artistic masterpieces. Decorate the caramel with such goodies as melted chocolate, marshmallows, walnuts and candies for a doubly great treat that can't be beat!
Apple pie is another quintessential autumn tradition, so don't let the season pass you by without baking one for your family. This year surprise apple lovers by spreading sweet and creamy melted caramels over the juicy apple filling to create a delicious Caramel Crunch Apple Pie. Crown the pie with a mixture of cinnamon and walnuts, mixed with sugar and flour, to lend a crumbly crunchy topping to the dessert that's destined to become a new fall tradition in your home.
So go ahead and celebrate the glorious bounty of apples with these luscious desserts. By including caramels in your recipes, your harvest celebration is bound to be sweeter than ever!
(Also see Chocolate-Covered Caramel Apples recipe.)
Prep time: 10 minutes plus refrigerating
Microwave cooking time: 7 minutes
First Caramel Layer
Wash and dry apples; insert stick into stem end of each apple.
Microwave 1 package of the caramels and 2 tablespoons of the water in small deep microwave-safe bowl on HIGH 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring every minute. (If caramel sauce is too thin, let stand about 2 minutes before dipping apples.)
Dip apples into hot caramel sauce; turn until coated. Scrape excess sauce from bottom of apples. Place on greased wax paper. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
Second Caramel layer
After refrigerating, repeat microwaving and dipping directions with remaining 14 ounce package caramels and 2 tablespoons water for second caramel layer. See decorating ideas below for warm caramel apples. Otherwise, refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. See decorating ideas below for chilled caramel apples.
Store decorated apples in refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving to allow caramel to soften. Makes 4 to 5.
Variation: Substitute 2 large apples (about 3/4 to 1 pound each) for medium apples.
Decorating ideas for warm caramel apples:
Prep time: 35 minutes Conventional cooking time: 45 minutes
Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll pastry to 12-inch circle on lightly floured surface. Place in 9-inch pie plate.
Turn under edge; flute.
Melt caramels with water in heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth.
Spoon apples into crust; top with caramel sauce.
Mix flour, sugar and cinnamon; cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle over apples.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender.
Makes 8 servings.
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
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This page modified February 2007
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