Sunday, October 9, 2011

Apple of My Eye

First of all, here's your fun fact for the day: did you know that the term "apple of his eye" originally came from the Bible? You can find it in Deuteronomy 32:10 and Zechariah 2:8.

I am often surprised by how many phrases that we use so often are either from the Bible or Shakespeare. Anyway, it's fun to know!

As for apples, this is the time of year to enjoy your favorite apple recipes. Especially festive at this time of year are caramel apples. Don't caramel apples just scream "Halloween?"

My husband and I lived in a little house shortly after we were married. This house had a fantastic apple tree with the yummiest apples you could imagine. I had so much fun with those apples the year we lived there. I made dried apples, apple sauce, apple crisp, apple strudel, pork and apples, etc. Plus, fresh picked apples keep forever in the fridge. You can pick apples off the tree and they will stay fresh in the fridge for 3 months or more. No kidding.

Besides caramel apples, I'm going to share some of the fun apple recipes I discovered. Enjoy the harvest!

White Chocolate Toffee Cinnamon Caramel Apples


5 apples (Granny Smith work great, but any kind of apple will work--choose your favorite)
Popsicle sticks, craft sticks, or wooden sticks (caramel apples are particularly pretty with twigs--just make sure they come from a non-toxic tree.)
14 oz. unwrapped soft caramels (about 50 caramels, or one bag)
2 tablespoons water
1 bag white chocolate chips or 1 pkg. vanilla candy coating
sugar-cinnamon mixture (mix granulated sugar and cinnamon to taste)
1 bag toffee bits


Rinse and dry apples. Insert popsicle sticks.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper and spray with non-cook sticking spray (or you can coat it with butter).

Melt the caramels with the water. This can be done in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl (at 1 minute intervals) or in a pan over the stove-top. Stir frequently until melted and smooth.

Dip the apples 3/4 of the way into the caramel. Swirl to coat evenly. If you like, you can use a knife to scrape off excess caramel from the bottom of the apple.

Place apples on the baking sheet and refrigerate until the caramel is firm.

Melt the white chocolate. Again, this can be done in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl (at 30 second intervals) or in a pan or double boiler over the stove-top. Stir frequently until melted and smooth.

Dip the apples 1/2 of the way into the white chocolate/vanilla coating. Swirl to coat evenly.

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the white chocolate/vanilla coating.

Dip apples into a bowl filled with the toffee bits and place on the baking sheet.

Refrigerate until set and ready to serve.

Makes 5 apples.

Source: This is basically a combination of a number of caramel apple recipes. Each bag of Kraft caramels includes instructions for making caramel apples--basically 1 bag and 2 tablespoons of water melted and used to coat apples. This is the method I used. The combination of caramel, white chocolate, cinnamon, and toffee bits came from a gift I was given. My mother and father-in-law gave me a small gift of some freeze dried apples dipped in caramel and white chocolate that were coated in cinnamon sugar. They were to die for. I added the toffee bits as a nice base for the apple and to add some crunch.

Notes: I did two versions. Neat and dainty and overloaded and drizzled. They are both pictured. The neat and dainty version is what is described in this recipe. To make the overloaded and drizzled caramel apples, you basically follow the recipe and once you have placed the apples back on the baking sheet, you drizzle a layer of white chocolate, then a layer of caramel (and more of both layers, if you like), and finally you sprinkle the apple with toffee bits.

Also, I couldn't find popsicle sticks at the grocery store and frankly, I didn't have time to run around town looking for sticks to put into my caramel apples. I thought about using sticks gathered from my yard, but I didn't want to take a chance on using sticks that might not have been safe/edible/non-toxic. And as mentioned before, I didn't have time to go to a craft store to get anything else.

I ended up using kebab skewers. I broke them in half and used three pieces per apples. It was plenty sturdy and I think it looked cute. It worked just fine.

Caramel Apple Ideas:
  1. Drizzled apples: layer of caramel drizzled with white chocolate and milk chocolate. Or you can even skip the caramel and just drizzle it with the chocolate.
  2. Classic caramel apples: layer of caramel, layer of milk chocolate, dipped in chopped peanuts.
  3. Ghosts: layer of caramel, layer of white chocolate or vanilla candy coating, and decorated with ghost faces using black cake decorator gel. You can also make faces using black licorice.
  4. Pumpkins: layer of caramel then dipped completely in orange tinted (use orange paste food coloring) white chocolate or vanilla candy coating. Use black cake decorator gel or black tinted frosting to make pumpkin faces.
  5. Chocolate caramel apples: I found a very yummy looking and intriguing looking recipe which you can read in full here. Basically, you make the apples using: 2 apples, 18 Riesens chewy chocolate covered caramels, 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream, and chopped peanuts.
  6. Peanut butter caramel apples: layer of caramel, layer of chocolate, chopped peanut butter cups, and chopped peanuts.
  7. Oreo caramel apples: layer of caramel, layer of milk chocolate swirled with white chocolate to create a marbled look, and dipped in crushed Oreo cookies.
  8. Island caramel apples: layer of caramel, layer of white chocolate, toasted coconut, and chopped macadamia nuts.
  9. Bug infested apples: layer of caramel with gummy worms or gummy bugs strategically stuck onto the apples.
  10. Customize your own with these dipping options: sprinkles, colored sugar, toasted coconut, mini chocolate chips, nuts, candies (such as Reese's Pieces, chopped candy bars such as Snickers, red hots, gummy bears, candy corn, etc.), etc.
***Oh, and while I haven't tried this yet, it appears that the same principle holds true for pears. So, if you want to try your hand at caramel pears, give it a try. Here is an especially adorable recipe (with picture) of some white chocolate covered caramel ghost pears.

Southern Apple Crumble



3 large apples, peeled and cut into wedges or coarsely chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine, cut into small pieces


1 pouch (1 lb. 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker Oatmeal cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, optional


Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 8-inch square (2 quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, toss filling ingredients. Spread mixture in baking dish.

In same large bowl, stir cookie mix and melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with pecans. Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Serves 9

Source: Betty Crocker website.

Notes: As usual, I was making this for a larger crowd, so I doubled it. I actually tripled the apples, but doubled the other recipe ingredients. It's so good and so easy.

Apple Strudel


5 cups finely chopped and peeled McIntosh apples (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins, optional
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract (vanilla extract can also be used)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Cooking spray
Vanilla ice cream, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine apples, sugar, raisins, cinnamon, almond extract, and flour in a bowl. Toss well. Set aside.

Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), lightly coat with cooking spray. Working with 1 phyllo sheet at a time, coat remaining 7 phyllo sheets with cooking spray, placing one on top of the other. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over phyllo, pressing gently to seal sheets together, discard plastic wrap.

Spoon apple mixture along 1 long edge of phyllo, leaving a 2 inch border. Fold over the short edges of phyllo to cover 2 inches of apple ixture on each end.

Starting at long edge with 2 inch border, roll up jelly-roll fashion. (Do not roll tightly, or strudel may split.) Place strudel, seam side down, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Score diagonal slits into top of strudel using a sharp knife. Lightly spray strudel with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.

Source: This is a hybrid recipe that combines two Cooking Light recipes (both entitled "Apple Strudel"). One recipe is dated October 1996 and the other is dated May 2003.

Notes: I made this for our 2008 Oktoberfest. I doubled the recipe and left out the raisins (since I was making it for picky eaters). I wasn't able to serve it piping hot because I had to make it beforehand, but it was still fantastic!

French Apple Pie


Pastry for 9 in. pie
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. flour
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt
6 c. thinly sliced pared tart apples (about 6 medium)
2 T. margarine or butter


Heat over 425. Prepare pastry. Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in apples. Turn on to pastry lined pie plate; dot with margarine. Top with crumb topping.

Mix 1 c. all purpose flour, ½ c. firm margarine or butter, and ½ c. brown sugar until crumbly. Bake 50 minutes. Cover topping with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes of baking. Best served warm.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know! This is one of our Thanksgiving classics.

Easy Baked Applesauce


5 tablespoons water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and halved


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a large Dutch oven; toss to coat. Cover and bakea t 375 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring once after 45 minutes.

Yield: 8 servings (1/2 cup per serving)

Nutrition information: 137 calories, 0.3 g fat, 0.6 g protein, 0.0 mg cholesterol, 21 mg calcium, 3 mg sodium, 3.1 g fiber, 0.4 mg iron, 36.2 g carbohydrate.

Source: Cooking Light recipe found on

Notes: I made this just as directed. It seems crazy that 4 pounds of apples only turns out to be 8 servings, but when the apples break down, that's all there is left...and it is delicious! Plus, it keeps well in the refrigerator. You won't have to eat it within a week before it spoils. So, no rush!


  1. perfect! i have over 20 lbs of apples that i can make some tasty treats with now!

  2. The apples were wonderful. I can tell you that! As far as Popsicle sticks, they have them in the craft stores. But the skewers worked great!

    And as always, when Sarah presents something, it was a work of art.