With Labor Day weekend behind us, the unofficial start to fall begins.
I find it so easy to eat unhealthy this time of year with the likes of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte (I had like three of them this weekend!), delicious cider donuts, and hearty stews taunting you, but the one thing that I have no qualms about splurging on is caramel apples.
They're unhealthy, but they're so friggin' good, I don't even care ... just dip my apple and call me a fatty.
What I love about these fall treats is that they can go way beyond the caramel- or candied-coating topped with nuts that you buy at the local street fair. Here are 15 topping outfits to deck your caramel apples in:
First things first, you have to make the coating. I tend to go the lazy easy route and just melt caramel over the stove top, but if you want to be all Paula Deen about it, you'll need a candy thermometer and several ingredients -- Chow.com has a really tasty recipe for basic homemade caramel.
Once you have your apples coated, now comes the fun part ... the toppings!
1. Turtle Power: Roll the caramel apple over crushed pecans, then drizzle with chocolate sauce.
2. Apple Pie: Apple/cinnamon/caramel is the flavor trio of the fall. Sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar onto your caramel apple for seasonal perfection.
3. Pretzels: Pretzels seem to be the new bacon and are becoming the "trendy" add-on, so crush a handful of salted pretzels and get to rolling.
4. Popcorn: You like caramel-flavored popcorn right?
5. Candy: Coat your apple in your favorite candy -- M&Ms, Butterfingers, and Snickers are especially tasty.
6. S'mores: Cousin to the summer sweet, cover with marshmallows and then drizzle with chocolate.
7. Dried Fruits: Get with the fruit-on-fruit action (it's sooo hot right now) and stick dried fruits such as raisins, apricots, and cranberries into the caramel.
8. Candy Corn: Just try to get more Halloween-ish than this.
9. Toffee: Toffee and caramel go together like peanut butter and jelly.
10. Rice Krispies: Add the Krisipes for a nice *crunch*. For extra flavor, use Chocolate Rice Krispies.
11. Burst of Color: Sprinkles may not do a lot for taste, but it definitely turns the original caramel apple into eye candy.
12. Caribbean: Even when the crisp fall air sets in, you can have a taste of the Caribbean -- crushed graham crackers, coconut, marshmallow, and chocolate drizzle.
13. Health-Conscious: If you must go a healthy route (at this point, does it even matter?), use granola as a topping.
14. Double Dunk: After the caramel dries, dunk the apple in melted chocolate ... it's the best of both worlds. And that just opens up a whole new world of topping opportunities ...
15. Cookies & Cream: After dunking into melted white chocolate, cover the apple in crushed Oreos.
What's your favorite topping for caramel apples? Have you ever tried any of these?
Image via bigbirdz/Flickr