Sweet Memories

October 28, 2008 at 6:45 pm 10 comments

Dulce de leche over apples

I woke up this morning to find the ghost and ghouls had moved onto the scene a few days ahead of schedule: whipping cold winds blowing everything off the porch and leaves taking on an eerie life-like stance as they dance above the ground.  By golly, I do believe it’s almost Halloween! 

Apples on server

I have fond, albeit somewhat unusual, memories of Halloween.  My mother, the quintessential crafty homemaker, was an amazing costume designer/maker.  Every year, without fail, she spun me and my brother costumes that won the top prize at the elementary school Halloween “parade”.  Then we’d take the show on the road on Halloween night, driving around our rural farmland and knocking on doors.  The name of the game?  Not to get lots of candy, per say, but rather to stump our neighbors as to our true identities.  With Mom’s outstanding shark, penguin, and Little Bo’ Peep costumes – to name just a few – we usually left folks scratching their heads. 

homemade dulce de leche

Then on the weekend, our little country church would do the strangest thing: hold the biggest party of the year for what amounts to a rather pagan holiday.  But it was a blast with homemade haunted rooms, bobbing for apples out of big old fashioned metal tubs, elaborate costume contests/ categories, off-the-wall games, sound effect tapes on the speaker system, and massive amounts of fake spider webs.  And of course there was food – if the costumes were competitive, the food surely was too even if there weren’t any prizes for it.  Everyone brought a dish, and everyone went home on a sugar high to end all sugar highs. 

Caramel Apple Bars on stand

Now where’s that leave us today?  At a great recipe for Dulce de Leche & Oat Apple Bars.  These decadent bars, made with lucious homemade dulce de leche, are not from memories past.  Rather, they are exactly what I would bring to just such a party today.  A grown-up rendition of caramel apples in a more kid-friendly (i.e., no sticky faces and fingers) form, you can surely find a use for these tasty little bars as the hallow eve approaches.   I’d love to give them out to trick o’ treaters that come knocking on my door, but alas think homemade treats from strangers are a thing of the past.  If it’s not vacuum sealed, it’s not “safe”.   It’s a shame, don’t you think?

Dulce de leche and oat apple bars

Oh, and before I forget to mention it, these apples were picked from a great local orchard by D and me one lovely fall day a few weeks back.  I’d really encourage you to seek out local orchards to buy apples since the varieties are much more numerous and the fruit lasts much longer than what you’ll get in the grocery store.  I like to pick extras to store in the basement and usually have them keep until late December (and they might keep longer if I didn’t use them all up by then).   My favorite varieties are Fuji, Jonagold, Jonamac, and Honeycrisp

Apple mosaic

So, now, tell me what your favorite childhood memory of Halloween is and/or what your favorite treat was?  Any elaborate (but easy) costumes?  Do tell!  I need ideas for a party I’m going to this Friday…

Apple bars on stand 

Dulce de Leche & Oat Apple Bars
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

1 C. packed brown sugar
3/4 C. butter, softened
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C. quick cooking oats
1 C. dulce de leche or caramel ice cream topping
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
4 1/2 C. apple – peeled, cored and chopped
1 T. lemon juice
3 T. all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a large bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter until smooth. Combine 1 3/4 cups flour, oats, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until well blended. Set aside 2 cups of this mixture. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, then toss them with the 3 tablespoons of flour. Spread the apple mixture evenly over the prepared crust. Warm caramel for 30 seconds in the microwave or in a hot bowl of water.  Drizzle evenly over apples. Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture over the top of the apple layer. Press down lightly.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is golden brown and the apples are tender. Cut while slightly warm and refrigerate any leftover bars.

(makes 36 squares)

Caramel Apple Bars


Entry filed under: Recipes, Sweet Treats. Tags: , , , , .

Frosty Figs Happy Halloween!

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. lyra  |  October 28, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Oh wow these look delicious and decadent. Yum!

  • 2. smorgasbroad  |  October 29, 2008 at 5:20 am

    Looks delish. I have something similar in the oven right now, actually. By similar I mean it involves mixing sliced local apples with some caramel I had made a few days ago. After that we part ways, because mine is a cornmeal cake topped with the apples! Those bars look seriously scrumptious though…bookmarked!

  • 3. Heather  |  October 29, 2008 at 6:48 am

    I will definitely have to make these for my little girls.

    Great tip about the apple orchards, I may have to make a stop at one this weekend.

    Sadly my Mom didn’t get too crafty until my brother and sister came along, so I usually wore the store bought costumes but. I remember one year my little sister was a slice of pizza, and my brother was a can of coke…

  • 4. Y.S.  |  October 29, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Yet another recipe I must try. Thanks! =)

  • 5. Wendy  |  October 29, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Wow… I just found you through tastespotting.com and this is a recipe I will definitely be making tonight! Great blog!

  • 6. Jennie  |  October 30, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Heather – Slice of pizza and a can of coke???? That’s hysterical! 🙂 I think I might try the slice of pizza idea for tomorrow’s party. All I need is a big piece of cardboard and a fat markers. Thanks for the idea!

  • 7. Last Minute Treat « Straight from the Farm  |  October 31, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    […] for you, should you be scrambling for a last minute Halloween treat.  While writing the post for Dulce de Leche & Oat Apple Bars, I got to thinking about how long it had been since I’d had a caramel apple.  Then I […]

  • 8. Paul Coleman  |  November 9, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    My eyes are hungry! These photos are beautiful. I really appreciate good photography for my food-related site. Great work.



  • 9. Danielle Hallihan  |  June 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Hi, I found this blog about a week ago, and I’ve just been incredibly inspired. I’ve already tried a few of your recipes, and I wanted to share some of your images and links to your page on pinterest.. do you have restrictions on your images? Is that why I can’t pin anything? Thanks.

  • 10. Apple Oat Bars with Dulce de Leche | The Crepes of Wrath  |  August 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    […] Straight from the Farm 2.2.6 […]


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