Caramel apple-inspired recipes put new spin on old favorite
BY NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writer
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
10/24/12 at 2:22 AM
Fall wouldn't be the same without caramel apples.
They're chewy and crunchy, sweet and slightly tart. And making caramel apples is a rite of passage for children come Halloween.
But the combination is too good to reserve it only for the treat on a stick.
The caramel apple craze is popping up in all of our favorite sweets, including cupcakes, pies and cheesecakes, and breakfast foods such as pancakes and coffee cake.
We tried a couple of caramel apple recipes, and they didn't disappoint.
Tasters gave thumbs-up to our caramel apple cheesecake bars.
They were easy for a cheesecake. Made in a casserole dish, the cheesecake did not need to be baked in water like some other finicky recipes.
Some tasters described the dessert as perfectly balanced. The not-too-sweet shortbread crust is topped with a layer of cheesecake, then a layer of tart diced apples and finished with a crunchy streusel topping.
It is a perfect make-ahead recipe for a crowd. Cut it in squares and serve with a drizzle of warm caramel on top.
And here are some other recipes featuring the delicious combination of caramel and apples.
CARAMEL APPLE DIP
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Fresh apple slices
1. Stir together first 3 ingredients just until blended. Spoon mixture into a 10-ounce ramekin; level and smooth surface with a spatula. Cover and chill 2 to 8 hours.
2. Preheat broiler with oven rack 5 inches from heat. Sprinkle granulated sugar over mixture in ramekin. Fill an 8-inch cake pan with ice; place ramekin in pan.
3. Broil 3 to 5 minutes or until sugar is melted and caramelized. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve with apple slices.
- adapted from Southern Living, September 2012
CARAMEL APPLE PIE
6 baking apples (such as Fuji or Gala), peeled, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
14-ounce package caramel candies, unwrapped
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
9-inch prepared graham cracker crust
1/2 cup crumbled shortbread cookies
1/4 cup chopped toasted peanuts
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1. In a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, toss the apple slices with the vinegar. Cook until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the apples and any juices in the pan to a large bowl. Set aside.
2. Return the skillet to the heat. Add the caramel candies, half-and-half, apple pie spice and salt. Heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Pour the caramel mixture over the apples and stir until well-coated. Spoon the apple-caramel mixture into the graham cracker crust. Sprinkle the top with the cookies, peanuts and chocolate chips. Serve immediately.
- from the Associated Press
CARAMEL APPLE CUPCAKES
1 package spice or carrot cake mix (regular size)
2 cups chopped peeled tart apples
20 caramels, such as Werther's chewy caramel
3 tablespoons 2-percent milk
1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
12 Popsicle sticks
1. Prepare cake batter according to package directions; fold in apples.
2. Fill 12 greased or paper-lined jumbo muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
3. In a small saucepan, cook the caramels and milk over low heat until smooth. Spread over cupcakes. Sprinkle with pecans. Insert a wooden stick into the center of each cupcake.
- adapted from Taste of Home magazine
HOMEMADE CARAMEL APPLE POPS
Green Jolly Ranchers
One bag of caramels
1 teaspoon water
1. Place the Jolly Ranchers on a Silpat, with two Jolly Ranchers parallel side by side and one lengthwise at the top to form a small rectangle. Place only 4 clusters on a sheet so there is enough space to place the stick when they come out. Cook them for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes at 350 degrees. Watch them carefully because between 4 and 5 minutes they will be completely melted and flatten out.
2. The Jolly Ranchers will start to bubble up on the edges when they flatten out. As soon as they bubble, pull out the baking sheet and place the candy stick at the bottom of the melted jolly ranchers. Twist the stick to coat it and make it more secure. You have to do this immediately. Leave the baking sheet on the counter. The suckers should harden in about 5 minutes, then remove and place on another Silpat-lined tray.
3. Combine one bag of the individual caramels with one teaspoon of water and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until caramel is completely melted. Let cool for 60 seconds then quickly dip your suckers into the caramel. You need to do this fast and put the caramel-dipped suckers back onto the Silpat immediately or else the warmth of the caramel will melt the sucker and make it bend in half.
4. Let everything cool in the fridge for one hour and keep cool before serving.
- adapted from lilyshop.com
CARAMEL APPLE CHEESECAKE BARS
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3 large eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup quick cooking oats
½ cup (1 stick)
½ cup caramel topping
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a
medium bowl, combine flour and brown
sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender
until mixture is combined and crumbly. Press
evenly into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan lined
with aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until
2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with ¾
cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium
speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a
time, and vanilla. Pour over crust once it
3. In a small bowl, stir together chopped
apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar,
cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over
cream cheese mixture.
4. In a small bowl, combine all streusel ingredients.
Use a fork or your fingers to thoroughly
combine the butter into the mixture. Sprinkle
streusel topping over apples.
5. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set.
Drizzle with caramel topping and chill in
- adapted from the girlwhocancook.com, originally from Paula Deen
Original Print Headline: Crazy for caramel
Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459
Caramel apples are the taste of fall. CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World
Caramel apple cheesecake bars CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World
A caramel apple pie is topped with crumbled shortbread, peanuts and chocolate chips. MATTHEW MEAD / Associated Press
Caramel apple pops CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World