Cook's Corner: Autumn means apples

Published 4:12 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2006

By By Lisa Tindell
It seems that the time of year to consider using apples in recipes has arrived. When I think of fall, I always think of caramel apples and apple dumplings. I know a lot of people who feel the same way that I do.
This week, you'll find some recipes that use apples as the main ingredient that may be a pleasant addition to your family table.
The first recipe this week is for caramel apples. I remember one of the best caramel apples I ever had was one that I bought while on a fall get-away weekend with my mother to Nashville about 15 years ago. It was the first caramel apple that I'd ever had that used the Granny Smith apple instead of a red one. From that day until this one, I always look for caramel apples that use the glorious green apple opposed to the red ones.
One other caramel apple I had was really almost too good and too pretty to eat. A special friend gave me one of those fancy gourmet apples that was dipped in caramel and rolled in almonds. To make it even better it was then dipped in chocolate and rolled in walnuts. A final drizzle of white chocolate and caramel made the apple so big that it had to be sliced in order to eat it. Man, it sure was good.
At any rate, I hope you'll enjoy your caramel apples this season. This first recipe will get you on the right track.
Caramel Apples
6 apples
1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons milk
Remove the stem from each apple and press a craft stick into the top. Butter a baking sheet. Place caramels and milk in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave 2 minutes, stirring once. Allow to cool briefly. Roll each apple quickly in caramel sauce until well coated. Place on prepared sheet to set.
If you want the old candy apple with the hard-crackling red coating, that one is a little harder to make and takes a candy thermometer to get right. I'm not sure I can do this one right every time, but my mother used to do them and they were great at the football games. Everybody always wanted those bright red creations. If you've got plenty of time and a lot of patience you may want to give this recipe a try. It calls for cinnamon oil as a flavoring, but you can omit it or decrease it to suit your taste.
Red Candy Apples
One-half cup confectioners' sugar
6 apples
2 cups water
2 cups white sugar
2 cups light corn syrup
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon cinnamon oil
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and sprinkle it with confectioners' sugar. Remove stems from apples and rinse them thoroughly. Spear each apple through the bottom with a rounded wooden craft stick. Dry thoroughly and set aside. In a large saucepan bring water, sugar and corn syrup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high. Continue to boil, stirring so as not to burn, until mixture reaches 300 degrees. Remove from heat, and while stirring, add food coloring and cinnamon oil. Working quickly, dip each apple into the candy mixture, coating well. Place apples on prepared cookie sheet to cool. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Two final recipes this week, gives you the taste of a warm apple dish without a whole lot of fuss.
Baked Caramel Apples
3 large apples, cored and sliced with peel
1/2 cup caramel topping
1 pinch ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place sliced apples in shallow baking dish and cover with caramel sauce. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, until just tender.
Sweet Baked Apples
6 apples – peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
One-half tsp. ground cinnamon
One-half tsp. ground nutmeg
One-quarter tsp. ground cloves
One-half cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
One-half cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish, or coat with non-stick cooking spray. Place apples in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir spice mixture into apples until evenly distributed. Fold in raisins and walnuts. Spoon into prepared dish. Pour milk evenly over apple mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until soft and bubbly. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
I hope you enjoy the apple recipes this week.
Just be sure and bring me a sample if you make any caramel or candy apples. I'll be glad to give you my opinion on your version.
Next week I plan to start giving you recipes that will come in handy for Thanksgiving. If you have any ideas or need a recipe for an old favorite dish, please let me know at
Until next week, Happy Cooking!