Red Hots Candy Apples

Candy apples made with a coating made from melted Red-Hots will warm your heart and make your mouth happy. 

In my opinion, Fall can be summed up in three words: apples, candy, and pumpkin. This recipe for Red Hots candy apples contains no pumpkin, but it's got enough apple and candy superpower that I'm willing to shrug and say "two out of three ain't bad". 

Actually, far from "not bad", these are really quite great. Personally, upon bite #1 I found myself wondering why everyone isn't making candy apples with Red Hots all the time. The sweet-spicy cinnamon candy makes a perfect complement to tart-sweet apples--it is a million times more interesting and tasty than a plain old sugar coating, which is what most candy apples have. 

As candy-making goes, this recipe is pretty straightforward. The only difficult part is waiting for the candy mixture to get to the right temperature; this is important in ensuring that it will set up firm and stick to the apples. If you don't, this will happen:

They will still be delicious, but they're better when fully coated. :-) 


Red Hots Candy Apples

Makes 4

  • 4 apples (Granny smith work great; try to get unwaxed ones)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • pinch salt
  • 1 box (6 ounces) Red Hots cinnamon flavored candy
  • Supplies: skewers, popsicle sticks, or "candy apple" sticks

Thoroughly wash the apples. Dry, and remove the stems. Skewer the tops, inserting the skewer deep enough so that you can hold the apple upside down and it feels secure. 


In a medium saucepan, heat the water, butter, and salt until the butter has melted and the mixture comes to a low boil.

Add the Red Hots candy and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the candy mixture until it reaches 290 degrees F. This will ensure that the candy is thick enough to coat your apples. 

Remove from heat, and dip the apples in the candy coating.

 Place them on your parchment-lined baking sheet. If you'd like, press additional candies on the apples before the candy coating hardens. 


Solidly Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who out there can resist a chocolate chip cookie? Raise your hands. I'm waiting. Waiting...

Seriously. Chocolate chip cookies are basically the best, and arguments are few and far between. 

These days, there are so many chocolate chip cookie recipes out there that it makes your brain feel tired (or at least it does to mine). Sometimes, you just want a good, solid, dependable recipe.

This recipe, featured in the new book The Yellow Table, is just that. There's nothing crazy funky about it, but the combination of salted and unsalted butter yields what, to me, is a perfect cookie flavor. I think you'll enjoy this one. Below is the recipe and headnote from the book.


Makes about 3 dozen cookies

This recipe is the result of my obsessive quest to create the perfect chocolate chip cookie: slightly crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside, and with plenty of chocolate chips and a touch of sea salt. My husband loves these cookies so much that I made hundreds of them—with help from a team of friends and family—as favors for our wedding.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all­purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (12 ­ounce) package semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Soften both the salted and unsalted butter in the microwave (or on the stovetop) until nearly melted, about 1 minute. Let cool slightly then transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add both sugars, and beat on high until smooth and lightened in color, 2–3 minutes. Add the egg and the egg yolk and beat until fully combined. Add the vanilla and beat until fully combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the stand mixer and mix on low just until no flour streaks remain. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts, if using. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Drop tablespoonfuls of dough, about 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake until the cookies are slightly brown and puffy, about 11 minutes for soft cookies and 13 for crisp ones. Set the baking sheets directly on the racks to cool for 10 minutes then place the cookies directly on the rack to cool completely. Eat one (or two or three!) warm with a glass of ice cold milk. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Store cookies, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days. 

Reprinted with permission from The Yellow Table published in 2015 by Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. © Anna Watson Carl. Photography by Signe Birck

Healthy Vision: Because We Eat With Our Eyes First!

While I primarily focus on sweets on this website, my recent writing about body acceptance, health, and well-being has been personally rewarding in that I feel that my words are really able to help people live fuller, more delicious lives. So when I was offered the opportunity to share information on eye health in this sponsored post, I felt it was appropriate, important, and worthwhile information to share. After all, we eat with our eyes first, and the world out there is big and wide and open and beautiful. We should all approach it with an open heart and clear, bright eyes! Cuppie with braces, glasses and pocket protector

In a nutshell, my story is this: when I was 11 years old, I got my first pair of glasses. I have worn them ever since. I love my glasses--they are part of my personality and I have different pairs to match my mood, or at least my shoes. That having been said, I know it is of the utmost importance to care for my eyes. While my vision isn't naturally the best, I know that by keeping myself healthy, I can help prevent vision decline as I get older. As cute as glasses can be, I don't want to succumb to macular degeneration or age-related eye diseases. 

Basically, I want to do everything I can to keep my eyes healthy.

Eye health is often overlooked, although vision is responsible for many health issues: 258 million people worldwide are visually impaired; 39 million are blind. A significant percentage of eye disease in the US is age-related macular degeneration. Overall, the medical costs associated with vision disease exceed $20 billion dollars per year in the US.

The thing is this: much of that cost and suffering is preventable. If we were to take proactive steps toward eye health, the costs and medical complications could be reduced dramatically. 

So how do we take proactive steps? The first step, which is accessible to anyone, is proper nutrition. 

Taking care of your eyes: nutrition everyone needs 

There are certain essential nutrients which can help maintain eye health. Let's explore them:

Lutein and zeaxanthin

These are two nutrients which support eye health. Both lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids, occurring naturally in leafy greens such as kale and spinach, as well as other fruits and vegetables. They have two key functions: they absorb potentially harmful blue-violet wavelengths of light energy that come into the eye, and they also function as antioxidants.

Studies show that lutein and zeaxanthin can boost macular pigment optical density (MPOD) in people in early stages of age-related macular degeneration, enhancing overall retinal function.

Most Americans only get about 1mg of the suggested 10mg per day of lutein, and 0.2 mg of the suggested 2mg per day of zeaxanthin. 

DHA and EPA Omega-3s

These polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are found primarily in fatty fish like salmon, are important for overall health, but are particularly important for healthy eyes. 

Some studies have shown a link between low levels of DHA and EPA and eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, AMD and retinopathy of prematurity. By increasing intake of DHA and EPA Omega-3s today, we can help maintain our eye health.

Vitamin E

This is no mere vitamin: it's a fat soluble superstar which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is naturally found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and greens.       

However, neither adults nor children are getting the recommended amount of vitamin E from diet alone.

So how do we up our intake of these vital nutrients?

Even with the best of intentions, fitting all of these nutrients into our diet can be difficult. This is where vitamins and other essential nutrient supplements can play a vital role in closing the nutrient gaps in our diets.

If you’re looking for a vitamin that helps fill nutritional gaps, consider products like Centrum Adult Multivitamins.*
For more information on essential nutrients for brain health, go to
 *This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This post includes my own personal opinions, and should not be taken as medical advice.

Now & Later Pop-Tarts

Oh yes, I did. 

Before today, Now & Later Pop-Tarts were not a thing, but now they are. All thanks to ME. 

Well, me and Now & Later. Because it's thanks to a box of these sweet candies that arrived at my door that these sweet treats now exist.

OMG. Did you love Now & Later candies as much as I did growing up? They were actually my cool older sister's favored candy, and as a result, they seemed to be the most impossibly cool and grown-up foodstuff I could possibly think of. They've always tasted like aspiration and joy to me. And sweet and sour goodness, of course.

To say that I'm proud of this recipe would be a vast understatement. Yes, they're funny and clever and feature pop culture candy and pastry icons in one mashup. But beyond that, these things actually taste good. Melted down with butter, the taffy-like candy becomes soft and creamy, and the flavor is the perfect sweet-tart complement to a rich, flaky homemade pastry dough. The creamy icing is pretty as a picture when studded with sprinkles and a little extra candy for good measure. 


For the pastry

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, cut into small pieces, very cold
  • 1 stick butter, cut into large cubes, very cold
  • 1/2 cup ice water

For the filling

  • 6 packages (6 candies each) strawberry Now & Later candies 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

To top

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk or cream 
  • sprinkles
  • 6 Strawberry Now & Later candies, cut into small pieces


Make the pastry. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and the small pieces of butter. Combine using a pastry mixer until the butter and flour mixture resembles a meal, and no pieces are larger than the size of a pea.

Add in the rest of the butter (the bigger pieces). Coat with flour, and then squeeze each piece so that it is flat. Weird, I know, but trust me, it makes a great crust.

Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough comes together. It won't be totally wet; just add water until you can easily clump the dough. 

Divide the dough in two equal parts, and form each portion into a rectangle. Wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for several hours. 

Once you're ready to get going, it's time to make the filling. In a double boiler, melt the candy and the butter over low heat. The low heat helps the mixture melt and remain cohesive as the candy melts. Once melted, set to the side. Stir every few minutes to make sure it doesn't separate while you work on the next steps.

Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll the dough into a rectangle shape. Cut off the corners with a sharp knife or pizza cutter so that you have an approximately 12 by 10 inch rectangle. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone. 

Cut the dough into 8 equal portions. Repeat with the second round of dough. Now, you'll have 16 rectangles. Place half of the rectangles on the prepared baking sheet; keep the other ones close by as they will be the tops of the tarts. 

Spoon the filling in the center of half of the rectangles. Don't spread it all the way to the edges.

Brush the uncovered edges with your egg wash mixture. This will help the top portion stick.

Place the second rectangle of dough bookmarked to match up with each piece, and press firmly (to create a seal). Really be sure that you've made a seal, as the candy can leak if you don't. Enforce that seal by pressing the edges with the tines of a fork; poke the tops of the pastries with the tines of a fork a few times to create a release valve for any steam while the tarts bake. 

Place the tarts in the fridge for about 30 minutes; this will help the filling set a little so it doesn't "bleed" too much during baking. 

Near the end of the chilling period, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 

Bake in your preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, or until just lightly browned.

If you find that a few of the pastries have leaked candy, don't panic. Some "bleeding" is fine; even if it looks like a lot, the pastries are probably nicely filled--mine leaked filling, and it looked like a lot, but it actually wasn't much at all. But I was really glad I lined the tray with a silicone mat, because it made cleanup so much easier. Once the pastry is browned to your liking, remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes or so on a wire rack.

Make the icing. In a bowl, sift the sugar; stir in the cream or milk until it reaches a glaze-like consistency. Drizzle on top of each of the tarts. Immediately sprinkle each one with sprinkles and the cut-up candy.

Let the icing set, then enjoy. 

What Happens When You Melt an Entire Bag Worth of Candy Corn in the Oven?

Here's the answer to a question you might never even have known you had: what happens when you melt the contents of an entire bag of candy corn in the oven? 

I can tell you what happens, because I did it the other day. 

The short answer is this.

But if you'd like a little more information...allow me to expand. 

First, I got a baking tray and set a silicone mat on top (so the corn wouldn't stick. I know from melting candy in the microwave that it does not like to come off of a surface once melted).

Then I scattered the contents of a bag of candy corn on the sheet.

Then I preheated the oven to 300 degrees F. I just kicked back and looked at Facebook til it was fully warmed, with the tray of candy corn right next to me.

Then I popped the tray in the oven, and set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, here's what I found.

It flattened a bit as it cooled. Perfect.

I let it cool for a while longer, then noticed that it began to firm so that I could actually pick up an edge.

Actually, the whole thing. It looked like beautiful stained glass.

I tried to roll it, and it rolled. But then I had an even better idea!

I unrolled and re-rolled into a cornet shape.

I put some foil in, and used a mug to keep the opening in shape as it set.

Once it did, I filled it with candy corn, for a...


Oh my god, I am so brilliant.

*Pats self on back.*

Oh, and P.S., once the cornucopia set, it was crisp. That means that you can crack off shards of it and have a little snack once you've finished the candy corn kernels you stuffed inside.

So...what happens when you melt an entire bag's worth of candy corn in the oven?

You may find that you need more candy corn, is what. Because it's a lot of fun to get crafty with your sheet of candy corn melt!

Check out all of my #whathappenswednesday experiments - on this site, and I also document them on Twitter, Facebook, and instagram, via the hashtag. 

Neapolitan Trifles: So Sweet

Is there a happier dessert confabulation than the Neapolitan triplet combination of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry?

Me, I'm a sucker for Neapolitan. Oddly, the ice cream doesn't quite do it for me, but everything else labeled Neapolitan really, truly does. Like blondies. Or cupcakes. or cake.

So when I received a review copy of Something Sweet by Miriam Pascal, I was super excited to see Neapolitan trifles. They are not only adorable, but sound like a perfect, travel-friendly, palate pleasing dessert. So let's get to it! 

Neapolitan Trifles

Dairy or Pareve Yield 12‐14 (6‐oz) trifles

This recipe was created out of necessity. I needed a dessert recipe that looked pretty, traveled well. and could be made ahead and frozen when fully completed. This one fits all of those criteria. It freezes well, can be stored frozen and transported in a sealed jar, looks gorgeous, and tastes great. It was a hit, and surely will be a hit at your parties too!

1 cup flour
1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2⁄3 cup brown sugar
1⁄3 cup oil

1 cup heavy whipping cream or nondairy whip topping 1 cup strawberry pie filling, puréed
8 oz cream cheese or soy cream cheese
1⁄3 cup sour cream or soy sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream or nondairy whip topping

1⁄3 cup powdered sugar

Prepare the chocolate crumbs: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Combine all crumb ingredients in a bowl. Mix until combined and the texture of coarse crumbs. (I found it easiest to mix this with my fingers.)

Spread the crumbs in a single layer on prepared baking sheet; bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely before assembling the trifles.

Prepare the strawberry mousse: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on high speed, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Remove whipped cream to another bowl. There’s no need to wash the bowl before continuing. Add pie filling, cream cheese, sour cream, and vanilla to mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until combined and smooth. Add powdered sugar; beat until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture until combined. Set aside.

Prepare the vanilla cream: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on high speed, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until combined.

Assembly: Place crumbs into a 6‐ounce jar or cup, filling it about one‐quarter full. Spoon or pipe strawberry mousse over crumbs, filling container a little more than three‐ quarters full. Pipe on vanilla cream, filling container almost to the top. Repeat with remaining jars.

Note Use canned pie filling, or use the filling for Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies (p. 118), using additional strawberries to replace the rhubarb.
Variation Substitute a container of strawberry ice cream for the mousse to create an ice cream trifle.

Plan Ahead These trifles freeze beautifully (see introduction)! Move them into the fridge for a couple of hours before serving to allow them to soften a bit. 

Recipes from Something Sweet by Miriam Pascal. Reproduced with permission from the copyright holders, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications;