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Last Thursday was my son’s 10th birthday.  Every year for his birthday he asks me to make the same dessert – Snickers Caramel Apple Salad.  In my son’s words… “chocolate salad.”  This year was the first year he didn’t ask for it and truthfully, I was a bit disappointed.  It’s delicious!!  He insisted on wanting to do Laser Tag with his brother and a friend, homemade biscuits and gravy for dinner at home with the family, and lemon cake instead of a big birthday party.  He’s older now after all.

I honestly can’t even remember what I was looking for so many years ago when I first came across this.  But, I made it and my son loved it.  Every year thereafter, he wanted it as part of his birthday party spread.  As he got involved in other activities and our friend circle grew, new friends joined us for his birthday party celebrations and this became a quick favorite among the crowd!

It is a unique combination of sweet and tart and a wonderful combination of textures.  The crushed Snickers bars gives some sweet and salty from the chocolate, nougat, and nuts; the cool whip and vanilla pudding make it creamy; the caramel adds some sweet, but also brings in the ever slightest note of bitterness to offset it all; and the diced Granny Smith applies give the salad a unique bite and tartness.  The combination in your mouth is incredible!  Who would have ever thought a combination like this would work – but it does!

When making this recipe, it is important to use at least 2% milk.  Whole milk would work best, but you’ll need at least 2% milk so that the instant pudding sets correctly.  Using 1% or skim milk doesn’t contain enough milk fat to ensure the pudding will set.  Also, I freeze my Snickers bars, then put them in a Ziploc bag and bang them into small pieces with a mallet.  I just find it’s easier and less involved than having to dice up the candy bar and having the pieces stick to the knife and just overall fight through it.  Trust me – it’s just easier.  Freeze ’em and smash ’em.  As for the caramel sauce, I have just resorted to store-bought, pre-made caramel sauce.

While it has been an annual staple at my son’s birthday each year, it is also a nice cold refreshing dessert for any summer gathering!  My best advice on making it is to make it the day you need it and add the apples last.  I’ve made it in advance and when the apples sit overnight in the mixture, they get mushy.  You want that nice crisp bite and texture in the dessert.  When the apples get mushy – it just doesn’t taste the same.  So make it a couple of hours in advance of your event and let it sit in the fridge.  Add the apples at the last minute and mix well.  Top with the caramel and you have yourself a delicious, refreshing summer dessert!  Enjoy!

Snickers Caramel Apple Salad

1 1/2 cups cold milk (use at least 2%.  Whole milk is best.)
1 3.4 oz. package vanilla instant pudding mix
1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip topping
4 lg. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
6 Snickers bars, chopped (or smashed!)
Caramel Sauce

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and dry pudding mix.  Allow to set about 3 minutes.
  2. Fold in the cool whip.
  3. Add the Snickers pieces and apples.  Mix gently until well coated.
  4. Cover and refrigerate about 1-2 hours.
  5. Before serving, drizzle with caramel sauce.

Recipe adapted from http://www.mybakingaddiction.com