I grew up in a small town in Southern Illinois where town festivals are still a tradition, with many happening this time of year. The town where I went to high school always had, and still does hold “Fall Festival” complete with a parade, carnival rides and lots of small town hospitality.
When I went to college, I added another “festival” to my annual fall schedule, a local town’s “Apple Festival”. I enjoyed taking my new “big town” friends to this festival the first year I was at the University and I remember on a few occasions driving the 13 miles by myself to just have a few hours of mental respite from college life and stress.
Apple festival was just that. Apples baked, cooked and presented every which way, but my favorite was always getting either a caramel apple or the apple slices with caramel topping. For me it is a flavor of the season, a reminder of my college days, and of Southern Illinois fall.
This is the recipe my kids and I make each year. It is easy breezy. I gave up dairy so I don’t eat this recipe anymore, but this one is still my family’s favorite, so I still make it every year. Make a batch up today.
8 small apples (I like to use small apples as opposed to big as it makes it a more treat-friendly size for my kids
1 bag caramels. (Ok, before I overhauled my diet, I would always buy 2 bags–one I make these apples with and the other I hid in the pantry, and then I would sneak a few each time I went in there for something.)
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
Place wax paper on a plate, platter or serving tree.
Place sticks in your apples
Unwrap all caramels (this is a great fine motor task for your kids to do for you) and place whole bag of caramels, cream and vanilla extract in saucepan over low, slow heat.
The trick is heat this slowly and stir often.
Once fully melted and stirred, remove from heat. dip your apples in the caramel, using a spoon to help you fully cover the apple. shake gently or twist to stop dripping and place on wax paper to cool.
Repeat until all apples are done.
Caution: Melted caramel is hot. An adult should be doing the covering of the apples. Watch that little fingers don’t try to steal a taste before apples are cool.
1. Use twigs instead of craft sticks. Twigs, cleaned from your yard make a lovely earthy, woodsy presentation).
2. once caramel covered apples are cooled, drizzle with thin lines of white or dark chocolate.
3. dip a still warm caramel covered apple in finely crushed nuts, choc. chips, crushed oreo cookies or candy corns, serve on a bed of crushed toffee (pictured) or for a special treat, dip them in coconut and make my Snowed in Covered Apples.
Enjoy making these traditional treats of the season and see how fast they disappear! Please see this page to see where I’m linking up this week!