AIMEE FORTNEY'S CARAMEL - CHOCOLATE DIPPED APPLES
These are beautiful, easy, delicious apples to give as gifts! Just remember to cut them with a knife, not your teeth!
1½ bags of melting caramels (or make your own caramel mixture)
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 bag of chocolate chips
1 bar white baking chocolate (to drizzle over chocolate mixture, if desired)
crushed toppings (i.e., I used crushed Oreos, nuts, sprinkles, red-hot candies, mini-M&Ms)
large wooden dowels
Wash apples and remove stems. Dry the apples with a paper towel or dish towel. Make sure you are using room temperature, not cold apples, or the caramel will slide off of the apple. Melt caramels and milk in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. (Double boiler). (OR, you may melt in the microwave, continuing to stir). In a separate glass bowl, melt your chocolate, also in a double boiler method (or if you would prefer, melt in the microwave, stirring to keep chocolate smooth. If chocolate starts to set up and harden, just microwave again to melt). If using white chocolate, melt and set aside. Remove caramel and chocolate bowls from heat and set aside. Insert dowel into apple and dip into melted caramel; turn the apple right side up; holding the dowel part down, apple on top; to allow caramel to set. Wait a minute or so, then dip into chocolate or drizzle chocolate over apples; then dip in crushed topping and set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to set. If using white chocolate, drizzle white chocolate on top of chocolate mixture. (Refrigerate). Place individual apples in a clear, cellophane bag and decorate with pretty ribbon to give as a gift! **To make fine crumbs for topping, place Oreos or nuts in blender or food processor. Or just crush in a zip-top bag, then place on a saucer to dip the apples through the mixture.
AIMEE FORTNEY'S CHEESE MANICOTTI
8 ounce package of manicotti, uncooked
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 Tablespoons torn basil (fresh basil)
dash of salt
dash of ground black pepper
dash of garlic salt
a couple of dashes of Italian seasonings
3 cups marinara sauce (or a jar of spaghetti sauce)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Lay on a foil lined cookie sheet to cool. Heat oven to 350. In a large bowl, stir together cheeses, egg, basil and seasonings. (Again, a disclaimer for my measurements, because I do not measure for things like this, use as much or as little as you would like). Spoon or squeeze into cooled pasta tubes. Spread a thin later of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch dish. Arrange filled pasta in a single layer over the sauce. Pour remaining sauce over pasta; cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until it is hot and bubbly. ** I have added spinach, shrimp, chicken ... anything that you would like, you can add to this dish.