The boys rolled their eyes this year when I pulled out our hanging scarecrows and pumpkins. They are, after all, teenagers.

“Are you too old for this?” I asked.

“Kind of,” the soon-to-be 17-year-old answered.

That tune started to change, though, when I brought home a “scary gingerbread house” kit from Trader Joe’s. The boys spent the better part of an afternoon putting it together and decorating it:

spooky house

The house tasted awful, but it got my sons into the holiday spirit. Yesterday, the 13-year-old eyed a bowl of Granny Smiths and asked if we could dip them in caramel.

“It’ll be a Halloween treat,” he said.

apples1Never one to waste a teaching moment, I figured this was as good a time as any to teach the kids how to make caramel sauce. So we pulled out the five ingredients we’d need and set to work. They stirred the butter and sugar, watching for that magic moment when the mixture turns golden but not truly brown. They poured in the heavy cream and marveled at the way it roiled in the pan. They stuck bamboo skewers into our apples and happily dunked them in the caramel — not caring that our sauce was a little too thin to really stick to the Granny Smiths.

“We should dunk these,” the younger one said as we watched caramel drip down the apples’ sides.

So we poured our sauce in a bowl, cut up our apples and scooped warm, buttery caramel all afternoon.

“You aren’t too old for this?” I asked.

The boys just stared.

“Of course not, Mama. It’s Halloween.”

Not-So-Scary Caramel Dipping Sauce

Drizzle this luscious sauce on ice cream, use it as a dip for fruit (oooh … bananas!), or pour it into a pre-baked pie shell. You could even keep some in the refrigerator to spoon out anytime your sweet tooth calls.

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the sugar, butter and honey in a saucepan or saute pan. Melt the ingredients over medium heat, stirring all the while.

Once the ingredients are melted, increase your heat to high and let the mixture come to a boil. Cook until it turns a light golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Remove your pan from the heat and add the cream and vanilla. (Don’t be alarmed when the mixture boils up.) Place the pan on low heat and stir until the cream is incorporated into the sugar and butter mixture and everything is silky smooth.

Cool slightly, then use as you desire.