In this week’s At Home with Martin and Sylvia story “Rainy Day Help”, the family gets a phone call one chilly afternoon from Mr. Brown, wondering if they could help him pick the last apples in his orchard before a hard frost arrives. While the kids don’t want to leave their cozy couch, they join their Momma and Daddy anyway, and are filled with the special warmth and strength that comes when helping a friend in need. And a special treat at the end of the day too!
Whenever I hear about the Brown’s, I envision Frieda and Bill, the neighbors my grandmother had growing up. They were older, like my grandmother, but I don’t think a week went by when one neighbor or the other wasn’t crossing their little blacktop road to deliver a treat or a greeting or some small bit of neighborly assistance. That was just what you did when you grew up in that generation, I suppose, but it always seemed so cozy.
But, I confess, I mostly remember those neighbors because Frieda made the best Halloween treats. Homemade popcorn balls, caramel and candy apples—she went all out, and every year we children flocked to her house to show off our costumes and hold open our sacks.
While I think I probably consumed some of those big, juicy caramel apples in two or three bites back then, as a grown-up I find that it’s hard to eat a whole caramel apple in one sitting. These days I prefer to make little caramel apple bites, like the recipe that follows, instead. While the caramel doesn’t stick to the sliced apples as well as it does to apple peel, the resulting fruit and caramel is delicious all the same.
Caramel Apple Mini-Bites
11-ounce bag of caramels
3 tablespoons heavy cream
a pinch of salt
sprinkles or nuts (optional)
Unwrap the caramels and melt them in a double boiler, stirring every few minutes. Once the caramels start to get sticky, add the cream and salt. Then, stir constantly until the caramel is melted.
Turn the heat on the double boiler down to low, and cut the first apple into chunks. (Resist the urge to chop all of the apples at once, or they’ll begin to brown before you can dip them all.) Skewering the apple chunks with tooth picks, gently twirl them into the caramel, then place them in individual mini muffin papers.
Continue cutting and dipping the apples until you run out of either caramel or apples. You can add sprinkles or chopped nuts to the tops if you like, but I prefer mine plain.
While these will keep in the fridge for a few hours, the caramel will start to stick to the muffin papers as it chills so it’s best to enjoy them right away.
Invite your neighbors over and make up a tray!
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.