A few years ago we started a fall tradition with Tim's side of the family - Carmel apple night! So far it has always happened at our house and I make a big batch of my favorite chili for dinner or lunch. We ask that everyone coming brings one or two toppings that they think might be fun to try out and we get together the apples, sticks, and caramel. It has quickly become one of my favorite traditions during my favorite time of year.
Thanks to a friends idea, this year I wanted to get a little experimental - So, the other night I surprised Tim and the kids with carmel apple fixings but told them we were going to try something different. Poking an apple with a big stick and carefully attaching toppings only to watch them melt down to the bottom in a heap is great and all but i'd rather spend that time enjoying the tasty treat part. I had tim cut the green apples I had picked up into bite sized chunks. I melted one bag of Kraft caramels with a little bit of vanilla coconut milk in the microwave. Then we dug through the baking cupboard for fun and tasty toppings - we went with chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, and a handful of different festive sprinkles separated nicely in a muffin tin.
While we were pulling together the toppings I started to think of some other good ones that I wish I had, so here are some more ideas:
Mini hard marshmallows (I have seen them at target in a shaker.)
Dried cranberries or other fruit
Coarse sea salt
Other nut varieties
Crushed candy bars - Butterfingers, Heath, etc etc
When we were all ready, we sat down and started taking turns dipping and then experimenting with topping combinations. My favorite was nuts and the crunchier sprinkles for a fun texture. The girls just went for as many as they could fit on one piece, leaving quite the mess behind in the muffin tin. Tim and my dad seemed to prefer just plain ol' caramel.
I ate way too much for my own good but I can't wait to share this new twist with the family!
Do you have a carmel apple tradition? What fun things do you do with them?