apples

Homemade Caramel Apples

Caramel Apple

I did a program with kids earlier this week and we made these caramel apples. The kids loved them and I wanted to share the recipe. Making caramel apples is a wonderful childhood memory for me. Every Autumn, we would make a batch.

We used those little store bought caramels. I was often the one tasked with unwrapping them. I can remember unwrapping one after the other.

I wanted to make my own caramel, so that is what I did with the kids. It is so much better than the store bought version.

Caramel is not that hard to make. You do need to keep an eye on it. Stir constantly. Just a hint, be sure your candy thermometer is really secure. Mine was a little slippy on the pan I was using. At one point the thermometer slid into the caramel. Not what you want to have happen!!!

Once dipped in the caramel, you can dip the bottom of the apples in nuts, pumpkin seeds, sprinkles, cereal, or even popcorn.

Homemade Caramel Apples

1/2 c. butter, cut in cubes

2 c. packed brown sugar

1 c. corn syrup

pinch of salt

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 t. vanilla

8-12 apples

chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, cereal, sprinkles, popcorn for dipping the bottoms of the caramel apples, optional

 

In heavy saucepan combine the butter, sugar, syrup and salt. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. This will take about 10 minutes. Add milk and bring mixture up to 248 degrees. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Place a Popsicle stick, skewer or chopstick down the center of each apple. Dip apples in the caramel, allowing excess to drip off- or not. Dip bottoms of apples into nuts, seeds or whatever ingredient you picked. Place on wax paper and allow to set up. If you don’t want to dip the bottoms in anything, place the dipped apples on lightly buttered wax paper. Cool before serving. Makes 8-12 caramel apples.

Note: You could also use pears in the recipe.

The kids dipped their apples in cereal.

 

Apple Pie Blintzes

Apple Pie Blintzes

Apple Pie Blintzes

Since I posted the recipe for making your own apple pie filling yesterday, I thought I’d share a fun way to use it- other than in a pie. I made blintzes with the pie filling. I used flour tortillas for the crepes.

I soaked the tortillas in milk – actually I soaked them in almond milk because that is what I had- but you could use regular milk if you prefer. By soaking the tortillas in milk, they soften up and can be used like a crepe. Soak them for at least 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes. I placed the tortillas in a shallow baking pan and made sure to drizzle each one with almond milk as I added them to the pan.

For the filling, I used some of my homemade apple pie filling. If you have fresh apples, you can just peel and slice the apples, then cook them in a little water and sugar until softened. You can make them as sweet as you like. You made need less sugar if the apples are extra sweet.  Add some cinnamon and nutmeg, too. If they are too watery- combine a little cornstarch with cold water and drizzle the mixture in until the apples thicken up. Don’t add too quickly or you might them too thick and gummy.

To assemble the blintzes, place a softened tortilla on your work surface and spoon a little apple filling in the middle. You can do this with hot filling, or even make the filling ahead of time and use it cold. Don’t over fill them or you won’t be able to fold them up. I used 8-inch tortillas and used about 1/4 cup of filling for each one. Fold the sides in until they almost meet in the middle and them roll the tortilla up to cover the filling. Place seam side down until ready to fry them.

Heat  butter in a skillet,  and brown the blintzes over medium heat until lightly toasted on both sides. They will be crispy on the outside, but tender in the middle. Put on a serving plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve while warm. These are fine just as they are, but feel free to add ice cream or whipped cream, too.

My guests really liked them and said they did not realize they were made from tortillas. I have made these before and use different fruit fillings. I’ve even made a cheese filled version a few times. It seems I usually have a package of tortillas, so it is a go-to dessert for me in a pinch.

 

Cabbage with Apples and Pears

Cabbage with Apples and Pears

Cabbage with Apples and Pears

I really do like cabbage. I think it gets overshadowed by its botanical cousins like kale and broccoli. Cabbage is loaded with vitamins- including vitamin C – and is so versatile. I could eat cole slaw every day of the week. It also is great in salads, soups and casseroles. Since I was doing a class on cooking with apples and pears I decided to combine these three ingredients together in one dish. I went a little sweet and sour with this one, adding 2 different vinegars and a bit of sugar. You could certainly add bacon or perhaps some hot peppers for variation. I served it as is, but will often stir in some cooked noodles just before serving.

 

Sweet and Sour Cabbage- with Apples and Pears

2 T. oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
8 c. shredded cabbage
2 c. chopped apples and pears, peeled if desired
½ c. cider vinegar
2 T. balsamic vinegar
¼ sugar, or more to suit your taste
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion in oil until golden brown. Add cabbage and fruit and cook over medium high heat, stirring often until cabbage is wilted. Add remaining ingredients and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Adjust seasonings. Serves 4-6.
Note: You can serve this dish just as it is or you can add 8 oz. of cooked noodles when you add the vinegar for cabbage and noodles. Some people also like to make this dish with crumbled bacon or diced ham.

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