Caramel Sauce and Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Dip

Homemade caramel sauce can be served on anything from fresh fruit to ice cream, and it lasts for several weeks covered in the refrigerator. Mix up a batch to use as the secret ingredient in this sweet and seasonal Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Dip.

caramelapplecreamcheesedip

Recipe and photograph by Kimme Hargrove

Caramel Sauce
1 ½ cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 ¼ cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla (preferably paste, but extract will do)
Using a 3-4 quart saucepan with a candy thermometer attached, level sugar at the bottom, and pour water over top. Swirl the pan to mix. Cook over low heat for 7-10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium, and boil until candy thermometer reads 350°F (about 5 to 7 minutes), swirling the pan rather than stirring. Turn the heat off, and slowly add the cream and vanilla. The mixture will steam and bubble vigorously. The caramel will almost completely turn solid, but continue to simmer over low heat, stirring with a whisk, until caramel dissolves and becomes a smooth sauce.

Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Dip
8 ounces cream cheese
¾ cup caramel sauce (see recipe above)
Toffee bits
Sliced apples, graham crackers and pretzels
Place cream cheese on a serving dish. Pour caramel sauce over the top, and sprinkle with toffee bits. Serve with sliced apples, graham crackers and pretzels.

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