King Features Syndicate
Apples can be dipped in caramel, baked or turned into a candle holder.

"A" is for "Apple" this time of year, so let's get started with three fun ways to enjoy fall's luscious and natural seasonal sweet with your family.

Bake 'em

Apples are delicious baked in an oven, outside on a campfire or over the coals on your barbecue grill.

Here's how: Core the apple and scoop out a cavity. Stuff with dried fruits and nuts or granola. Sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar on top. Dot with butter. Wrap with heavy aluminum foil, twisting the ends of the foil over the top of the apple. Bake the bundle in a 425 degree oven on a baking sheet for 20-30 minutes. Or, set it on coals outside for about 20 minutes or until the apple feels soft with a gloved hand.

Dip 'em

Place 14 ounces of caramel candies with 2 tablespoons milk in a shallow, microwave-safe bowl. Melt on high for about 2 minutes, stirring once. Meanwhile, remove the stems from five to six apples and poke a stick firmly in each apple. Dip an apple in the candy mixture, then hold it upright so the melted caramel drips down the sides. Set on wax paper and refrigerate to harden. For a party, attach nametags to the sticks. Add a cutout paper leaf to resemble a branch.

Display 'em

When you return from an apple orchard or market, don't store all of your apples out of sight. Instead, let your preschoolers arrange them in a big bowl and place it in the middle of your kitchen to enhance your decor. At mealtime, create a warm glow with a beautiful apple candle centerpiece. Show your child how to polish a red apple with a soft cloth, and then an adult should core it. Place a white taper candle firmly in the cored space and set in the middle of the table at mealtime.

(Note: An adult should be present when the candle is burning.)

Talk about 'em

Share your childhood memories with your kids. Do you remember the aroma of the apple crisp grandmother baked when you'd stop by her home on an October weekend? Or, how about the time you got caught in a seed-popping contest in the school cafeteria?


Donna Erickson's new award-winning television series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. Visit www.donnasday.com to find out when it airs on your local PBS station and to sign up for Donna's e-newsletter. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families." © Donna Erickson. Dist. by King Features Syndicate