Saturday, October 20, 2012


My southern mother always made her children's birthdays special.  That meant your cake of choice and a much wanted gift.

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:]

It's been almost 20 years since Mother passed away and I miss her more now that I am getting older.  It's been longer than 20 years since I ate a caramel apple.  I miss them too, but what I miss most is the love those caramel apples represented to me, especially as a mother with daughters of my own.  Her making them for me for so long told me that she enjoyed making something for me that she knew I loved, but more importantly that I would always be her Susie Jane.

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.

what you need


medium   apples, washed, well dried


bag  (11 oz.) KRAFT Caramel Bits


Tbsp.  water

make it

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.

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