I know that Mother always baked a cake for my birthday and that the cake, along with the icing, was made from scratch, but I truly cannot remember any of my birthday cakes. I do not remember blowing out the candles on any of them although she always put candles on our cakes. I don't even remember eating any of my birthday cakes or whether ice cream was involved in said cake. What I DO remember was that since I had a fall birthday that was near Halloween, Mother always made Caramel Apples.
|Kraft Ad 1978|
I still get a little excited in the fall when I see the Kraft caramels bags have popsicle sticks included in their packages! It takes a lot of love and time to unwrap all those Kraft caramels (no other brand will do) and melt them properly so they do not burn and stick forever in the pot. I can remember coming home from school on the day before my birthday and smelling that buttery aroma. It was the foretelling of another wonderful fall birthday...and that my mother loved me.
|dipping the apples|
|melting the caramels|
Mother brought the caramel apples to me on my birthdays in college and then after I married and moved to another state. She would either bring them to me or have them waiting if I should be fortunate enough to be home for my birthday. I know there were birthday cakes too, but I don't remember them.
One year after I moved from northern Virginia to North Carolina, Mother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She came to see me one time after that, but the drive was becoming too much for her. She was only in her early 60's but the cancer was taking its toll on her strength.
[ Website for the Lymphoma & Leukemia Society: www.lls.org]
Gosh, I miss her!
Below is the Kraft Caramel Apple recipe that my southern mother always used. Enjoy them BUT be prepared to have a sticky kitchen, chin and shirt-front.
INSERT one wooden pop stick (from bag of caramels) into stem end of each apple. Cover large plate with waxed paper; spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
PLACE caramel bits in medium saucepan. Add water; cook on medium-low heat 3 min. or until caramel bits are completely melted, stirring constantly.
DIP apples into melted caramel until evenly coated, spooning caramel over apples if necessary. Allow excess caramel to drip off. Scrape bottoms of apples; place on prepared plate. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator 15 min. before serving. Store any leftover apples in refrigerator.