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Festive treats let you savor fall's flavors

Caramel apples, s'mores warm the heart as the weather cools

POSTED: October 12, 2011 12:30 a.m.
MICHELLE BOAEN JAMESON/The Times

The fall season usually brings with it a flurry of festivals and a hankering for down-home treats. Many favorites, like these Gourmet Caramel Apples, can be made at home and served as dessert or party favors.

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The leaves are starting to light up the sky with a rainbow of yellows and reds, so that means fall festival season is upon us.

Most folks wouldn’t dream of leaving a carnival without getting a taste of a seasonally appropriate caramel apple. Since they’re such a hit at those venues, why not incorporate them into your fall dinner parties?

You can serve them up as a nostalgic dessert or wrap them up and send them home with your guests as party favors.

Just because they may have been one of your favorite fair treats as a child, that doesn’t mean your present-day rendition has to be juvenile. Layer on the flavor with items like melted chocolate, toasted coconut, chopped nuts or your favorite candies.

You can also add a little sparkle by sprinkling on edible glitter. Try taking a cue from the fall leaves and play with the hue of your candy-coating. Remix tradition by adding a few drops of pink food color to your melted caramel candies to achieve an autumnal shade of red.

If the fear of not being able to separate your dipped apples from the pan they were placed on to cool has prevented you from making caramel apples in the past, get ready to conquer that phobia. 

After you’ve dipped your apples in the caramel, gently shake off the excess candy and place each apple on its own, flattened, cupcake baking liner. The liner will not only help make transporting your finished treats easier, they can serve as an additional decoration if you choose a festive print or color.

To help the caramel stick to your apples, you’ll need to be sure to remove the wax-coating found on most apples in the grocery store. This can easily be accomplished by dipping each of the apples in boiling water for about six seconds. After you’ve dunked them, wipe the apples off with a damp towel to remove any remaining wax.

If you don’t have time to whip up caramel apple party favors, why not give your guests something that’s sure to stir up fond memories of fall camping trips and roasting marshmallows around a fire to create s’mores.

Although building a roaring, backyard campfire isn’t a feasible option for everyone, these oven-baked bars are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

The process is made even easier when their thoughtful host packs all of the necessary ingredients into a jar, complete with instructions for making them.

S’mores bars are made with graham cracker cookies, miniature marshmallows and chocolate chips, so they include all of the traditional flavors in a neat, little package.

To add flair to your mason jar gift, attach the baking instructions to the container with a bit of twine or fall-colored ribbon.



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