Friday Recipe Exchange: Caramel Apple Crisp and a Splash of Bourbon

bowl of apples

Fall is in full swing and local apples have arrived at both the grocery stores and farm stands. Everything was a bit late this year because of the very wet spring. I love apple season, so for tonight’s recipe exchange I focused on apple recipes.  From the blog:

Another week when I rarely saw my kitchen. This is actually how I began my recipe quest years ago. I love food, love to cook, but between work, travel, pets and crazy hobbies, complicated, time-consuming recipes had little appeal for me. I had a few tricks up my sleeve to make cooking fit my schedule and while I was married I had fun expanding my repertoire. After my divorce, I noticed a lot of my friends were too busy or too intimidated to cook, so I started creating quick and simple dinner menus for them…which turned into a little business that then morphed into this blog.

My only rules  – a short list of fresh ingredients that were quick to cook. I searched out recipes I could adapt to fit those requirements without losing flavor. So that’s how we got here to the recipe exchanges. Tonight it’s about apples. I have a drawer full of them right now. Mostly I’m content to slice one up and eat it (after sharing half with Bixby, who still favors apples over almost any other treat). Eventually I’ll start to bake with them and when I do, tonight’s featured recipe will be my first dessert.

Other ideas include:

Final Baked Bourbon Apple

Bourbon Baked Apple Crisp (pictured above), click here for the recipe.

JeffreyW’s Cinnamon Apple Syrup, recipe and photos here, or his Praline Apple Bread, here

Butternut Apple Soup, recipe here.

And the dinner menu this week, which includes Herbed Fettucini and a Sliced Apple Salad (photo below and click here for menu and recipes).

Apple Salad1

If you want a chuckle, here are two recipes where I did not follow my own advice and will never do again: Apple Butter and Dried Apples – quick and easy they were not. What’s cooking for you this weekend? Doing any fun fall activities like apple picking or a corn maze? Don’t forget share your favorite fall recipes, apple or otherwise.

Caramel Apple Crisp

For tonight’s featured recipe, I wondered what would happen if I added caramels to my favorite apple crisp. It was amazing. Great flavor without being too sweet. I reduced the sugar to adjust for the caramels. Since I began making fruit crisps in my cast iron skillets, it’s the only way I prepare them, but if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the cooked apple mixture to a glass baking dish, add topping and bake that way.

Cast Iron Caramel Apple Crisp

  • 2 lbs apples – mix of sweet and tart (about 3 apples)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • dash of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to taste
  • 10 caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 tbsps of cream


  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup flour

10 inch cast iron skillet and small mixing bowl

Caramel apples

Core and cut apples into small pieces (about 1/2 inch). Peeling is optional, but with this method the peels cook nice and soft, so it isn’t necessary and I think they add great flavor.

Melt butter in skillet, add apples and sugar, stir until apples are well coated. Cover and cook on medium heat until apple mixture is soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally. About 20-30 minutes.

While the apples are cooking, melt the caramels and cream over medium heat, stirring until smooth. If you spray the pan with cooking oil before melting caramels, cleanup is easier. Pour over apples just before adding crumble mixture.

In mixing bowl, stir together butter, sugar, flour and oats, mix until crumbly. Crumble over the apple mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven, just until top is crispy golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes and serve warm.

What makes this so good is that because the apples are cooked on the stovetop, you can use a much higher heat in the oven and get a good, crisp top without drying the whole mixture out or under cooking the apples. Really, this is one of the best apple crisps I’ve made.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend – TaMara

P.S. If you missed it Betty Cracker came up with her own apple recipe.

50 replies
  1. 1
    Schlemazel says:

    Went to a very nice Italian place tonight & knew that they have Tiramisu on their menu so had my heart set on it. After dinner when I asked about it the waiter said, “The chef has made a special one to celebrate the season” I said, “Gawd NOT pumpkin spice tiramisu!” He turned a bit green and said “yeah” We didn’t have dessert.

    Mom used to make an apple tart on an almond crust – she was gluten free before it was cool :) – with a warm bourbon sauce. It was great, If we were home I’d find the recipe but we are on the road. I liked it but have never made it myself.

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Never mind the apple tart recipe. Just tell us how to make warm bourbon sauce. Sounds as though it would go with pretty much everything.

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I don’t know how to embed links to pictures, but I adore the photo meme that’s making its way around Facebook recently: a grubby-looking sign that reads WE NOW HAVE PUMPKIN SPICE MOTOR OIL.

  4. 4
    rikyrah says:

    I love nearly any dessert with Apple’s. Looks yummy.

  5. 5
    ThresherK (GPad) says:

    Bourbon sauce gets another vote.

  6. 6
    Mike in NC says:

    Local farmers market has a ‘pick your own’ tomatoes deal going on, where last year we stocked up for months.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Schlemazel says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: @ThresherK (GPad):
    We are traveling this weekend so this is from memory, hopefully if I am far off people will correct me. If you don’t want to take the chance remind me next Friday and I’ll dig out the recipe.
    1/2 stick of butter
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 tsp of vanilla
    3 Tbl milk
    3 Tbl bourbon
    Melt the butter in a sauce pan, then stir in the sugar, when dissolved (it’ll be grainy so don’t sweat it) add the rest of the ingredients and warm until it thickens.

    The other one involves beating egg yokes (2 I think) until they are pale yellow and using a whole stick of butter and a cup of sugar. Melt the butter add the sugar as above, add 1/2 cup of bourbon (I think, certainly not more maybe less?) when it is warm slowly pour it over the yokes while continually beating. You don’t want the liquid too hot or pour too fast or you will cook the yokes. Once it is combined you can return it all to the pan & warm before serving

  9. 9
    Schlemazel says:

    Every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows THE PUMPKIN SPICE MUST FLOW!

    The emperor has been informed by the navigator guild that if the pumpkin spice fails he will live out his life in a pain amplifier.

  10. 10
    Schlemazel says:

    BTW – you probably want a pinch of salt in either of those.

    TaMara – do these make sense to you? they are pretty simple but I am going from memory & don’t make them that often.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    Ha! Yup, that’s the one! Did I steal it off your FB, or did you steal it off mine?


  12. 12
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    The Dune abides.

  13. 13
    SiubhanDuinne says:



  14. 14

    @Schlemazel: One looks like a nice syrup, the other more of a custard consistency. Both look yummy.

    When I went looking to see if you remembered correctly, I found exact recipes for it, so good job. For the egg recipe, Martha Stewart says:

    Put butter, egg yolks, brown sugar, vanilla, and bourbon (1/4 c) in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes.

  15. 15

    @SiubhanDuinne: I just googled it. I knew I’d seen it somewhere.

  16. 16
    Schlemazel says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    I never thought of a double boiler but I bet that would be a better way to do it, less chance of scrambled bourbon eggs if you don’t turn the heat up too much.

  17. 17
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    less chance of scrambled bourbon eggs

    You say that like it’s a terrible thing.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Schlemazel says:

    I dune it my way!

    Which was the working title for the 14th book of the trilogy

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    Even if I had googled it, I wouldn’t have been able to share the picture here. That takes FP chops.

  21. 21
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Prepare to meet thy dune.

  22. 22
    Betty Cracker says:

    @efgoldman: My sister falls for the pumpkin craze every fall. When we were on vacation earlier this month, she brought about eleventy hundred pumpkin themed beers. I don´t mind pumpkin, but that was a bit much.

  23. 23
    Schlemazel says:

    @TaMara (BHF):
    Heavy cream would be better than plain ol milk!

    I love to cook, particularly for other people & sharing recipes is something I want to do because thats as close as I am going to get for most people online.

    Moms business was catering and she specialized in international stuff. She did a lot of weddings where people want “food from the old country” and also a monthly dinner for the International Institute. It seems to me that after every one of those some old grandmas would show up in the kitchen and thank mom but tell her she got some small thing wrong. They always wanted to share their secrets because their kids never wanted to cook the old stuff so if they didn’t share it would die with them. Sharing this stuff just seems like a way to spread a little happiness. You guys do a great job on your site, thanks for the inspiration and the recipes.

  24. 24
    Keith P. says:

    All those pics are bringing back bad flashbacks on a Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives marathon I just finished. If I hear another damn Fieri’ism tonight, I’m gonna vomit. Good food, STALE act.

  25. 25
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Heh. When we were having our family reunion in Oak Park a couple of weeks ago, my sister would insist on going to Starbucks every morning for a pumpkin spice something something.

    What is it about sisters?

  26. 26
    benw says:

    @Schlemazel: the increasingly inaccurately named trilogy.

  27. 27

    @SiubhanDuinne: :-D I wasn’t sure it would work.

  28. 28
    Schlemazel says:

    Dune-bee, dune-bee, dune
    Freemen Sinatra

  29. 29
    Schlemazel says:

    @Keith P.:
    I keep hoping he eats at the Sam-N-Ella Cafe

    I’d love to open a place with that name but would be afraid people wouldn’t get that it is a joke.

  30. 30
    ruemara says:

    No real recipes for me, I just have to bake & cook stuff for the shoot coming up. The menu I’ve settled on is
    Puff pastry filled with peanut butter & fruit
    puff pastry filled with kabocha squash & cream cheese
    Greek yogurt cups with granola

    2 pizzas with my garlic tomato sauce, roasted onions & peppers
    2 puff pastries (trader joes had them) with spinach & cheese
    a big green salad
    smoked pork loin

    array of chips

    beer bread & peanut butter for snacking.

    Thank god I have donated fridge space from friends. I’m going to be cooking for a couple of days.

  31. 31
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Schlemazel: That’s one you have to say out loud to get it.

  32. 32
    cckids says:

    Speaking of too much pumpkin spice gone too far, there’s always this.

  33. 33
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Dune be or not dune be — Hamlet

  34. 34
    Schlemazel says:

    @cckids: Thats hilarious – thanks!

  35. 35
    Steeplejack says:

    @Schlemazel, @SiubhanDuinne:

    Get a room!

  36. 36
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    That is hilarious. Stolen, copied, filched, swiped, nabbed, snagged, and shared.

  37. 37
    Betty Cracker says:

    For TaMara, Great Dane puppy cam livestream.

  38. 38
    Schlemazel says:

    and the worm turns!

  39. 39
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    and the sandworm turns!

  40. 40
    Schlemazel says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Thats the joke I was going for but yours is better.
    I’m dune for the night, going to bed, ya’ll have fun

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    Pumpkin haters should probably avoid Trader Joe’s until after Christmas. They have pumpkin EVERYTHING right now. The latest Fearless Flyer had a minimum of 3 pumpkin products on every page.

    At this point, G is convinced that it’s a dare: Can we make a Trader Joe’s pumpkin product that people won’t buy?

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:


    They have pumpkin salsa. It’s actually pretty good — it’s tomato salsa with pumpkin in it, not “pumpkin spice.”

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:


    I found a link to this week’s Fearless Flyer. Pumpkin tortilla chips, anyone? How about pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese and a side of pumpkin Greek yogurt?

  44. 44
    Steeplejack says:


    Pumpkin vomit.

  45. 45
    Marc says:

    There was a breakfast bake I saw on Facebook a while back, and with a change or two, I’m going to try it on Sunday.

    Dozen medium eggs
    1 Tube Buttermilk Biscuits
    5oz Canadian Bacon, diced
    1/2 Onion, diced
    1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
    1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella
    Salt & Pepper to taste

    Preheat oven 350º
    Spray non-stick in baking pan.
    In a bowl whisk eggs, add onion and bacon, stir.
    Mix in 2/3 of both cheeses.
    Lay out biscuits one layer deep in pan.
    Pour bowl contents on top of biscuits.
    Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
    Bake for 30-35 minutes.

    I’m gong to skip the Salt & Pepper, add Green Bell Pepper and substitute Ham for the Canadian Bacon. After baking, I’ll top it with thin slices of ripe Avocado.

  46. 46
    bemused says:

    I’m in the market for a basic rice cooker. I’ve had a cheap Rival 6 cup for a long time but we are eating rice more often lately and I want one larger than 6 cup that has a tighter fitting cover that does a decent job of making rice plus easy to clean. Is there one $40 or less that anyone could recommend?

  47. 47
    Satby says:

    Well, I love pumpkin, all you haters. But I make all my stuff from scratch and don’t want it to always taste like a pie gone wrong. My pumpkin curry soup and vegetable pumpkin curry are popular with guests (judging by no leftovers), and I bought a pumpkin spiced chai tea yesterday I’m looking forward to.

    Tamara, the crabapple butter recipe sounds good, I have only made apple butter from regular apples. I love crabapples like the ones you used to make low-sugar crabapple jelly, it’s amazing and it’s a beautiful clear red color.

  48. 48
    debbie says:


    I too like pumpkin. Aside from the pie and soup, I like pumpkin bread pudding and pumpkin ice cream.

  49. 49
    WaterGirl says:

    @Satby: Me, too! I like pumpkin, and I buy pumpkins and make pie from scratch. I get the blue pumpkins – much easier to scoop and the flavor is great, too.

    But pumpkin flavor? Ugh. Just like strawberries – love strawberries but can’t stand the fake strawberry flavoring.

    I’m off to the farmer’s market and then going to go with a friend to buy a tree. – It’s only 33 so I am getting out my down coat. It’s cold out there!!

  50. 50
    HelloRochester says:

    Crumble gigngersnaps into Apple pie mixtures with tapioca instead of gumming it up with flour. Add it into oatmeal topping for Apple crisp. And into halved winter squash for baking ( with some maple syrup and butter). I also always add reduced cider to all my Apple dishes.

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