The end of the apple challenge is so a-peel-ing!

Day 29: Caramel Apple Cupcakes

I learned something new last week. If you frost cupcakes with melted caramel, it will look cool at first, but the caramel will sink into the cupcake overnight if you leave the cupcakes in a container on the counter and not in the refrigerator.

I made these for a bake sale at work. They were among the items available for 50-cents off because they tasted good, but they weren’t pretty.

My poor, sad cupcakes.


  • 1 package spice or carrot cake mix (regular size)
  • 2 cups chopped peeled tart apples
  • 20 Caramels
  • 3 tablespoons 2 percent milk
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

Prepare cake batter according to package directions; fold in apples.

Fill 12 greased or paper-lined jumbo muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small saucepan, cook the caramels and milk over low heat until smooth. Spread over cupcakes. Sprinkle with pecans. Insert a wooden stick into the center of each cupcake.

Recipe courtesy of

Recipe 30: Apple Crisp

Setting: My kitchen last week.

Me: I’ve got apple crisp!

Scott: You saved the best for last?

Apple crisp is my husband’s favorite dessert (after pumpkin pie), so it seemed fitting to make it for him towards the end of the challenge as a thank you for putting up with all apple dishes and running out to buy me a gala apple when all I had on hand was golden delicious.

He’s a keeper.


  • 4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.

Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.

Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with cream.

Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook by Betty Crocker (Betty Crocker; Nov. 15, 1998)

Day 31: Flat Apple Pie

I knew I wanted to end this challenge with an apple pie recipe, but not just any apple pie recipe. I used my newspaper column to ask readers to send me their favorite apple pie recipes. This is the one I chose.



  • 4 cups all-purpose enriched flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Crisco, either butter flavor or plain (you can also do 3/4 cup Crisco and 3/4 cup lard)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

This is a moist crust and rolls well. Divide the dough in half, then lightly flour the rolling surface which needs to be at least as big as the pan. (Hint: Lightly flour, then place the pan over the surface and make some impressions of where the dough needs to ‘roll to’ before you place the dough on the surface.)

Once you have rolled the dough fairly thin, fold in thirds to move it to the jelly roll pan. Nestle into the pan. Fix any ‘breaks’ in the crust by wetting your finger, gluing edges together with the wet finger, and then tap with a floured finger. Cut this crust off at the top of the edge of the pan; there will be no hang-over edge on this portion.

Pie innards

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 cups sliced raw apples–a variety of at least 3 kinds works the best, core and peel them before slicing (I used Honeycrisp, Jonagold and Granny Smith)
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon red hots
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Mix the first three ingredients together. Sprinkle about ¼ of the mixture on the pie crust in the pan.

Mix the apples with the remaining mixture, then spread on the crust.  Sprinkle the red hots and the butter over the apples.

Roll out the last half of the crust, and folding into thirds, place onto the pie, unfold, and cut the crust to hang about 1 inch over the edge of the pan all the way around. Tuck this behind the other crust so that the first crust is ‘interior’ to the other, and crimp the edge, sealing it. Make several slashes on the top crust to let air escape while cooking. Sprinkle the crust with more sugar to help it brown, and bake 1 hour at 375 degrees.

When the pie is finished baking, you can drizzle some powdered sugar glaze on it, enjoy it with some ice cream or eat it plain.

Recipe courtesy of a reader


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