Cooking with North Carolina apples

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Apples are one of America’s favorite fruits and right now they are ripe and ready in North Carolina.

You can eat them fresh, of course, but you can enjoy apples in your entire meal from appetizer to entrée to dessert.

Shannon Smith visited Lowes Foods in Winston-Salem to make a few.

Mini Caramel Apple Bits


• 3 Large Apples
• 1 - 16 oz bag caramel bites
• 2 tablespoons of milk
• 1 - 16oz bag of chocolate chips
• 32 Popsicle Sticks
• Chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Use a melon baller to scoop out sections of apple
    (keep care to have an area of skin on each section).
    These will not be round, but that is okay.
  2. Place a popsicle stick in each piece.
  3. Very important: since the flesh of the apples has moisture, you must use a
    paper towel to dry the surface.
  4. Place the apple pieces on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Put apples
    in the freezer while you prepare the coating.
  5. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. The chocolate
    coating will help the caramel stick to the apple.
  6. Dip the apple sections in the chocolate and place in the refrigerator to set.
  7. Add the milk to the caramel bites and melt using a double boiler.
  8. Dip the apple bites covered in chocolate in the melted caramel.
  9. As an option, dip the apple slices in the chopped nuts.
  10. Immediately place on the wax paper and place in the refrigerator for 30
  11. If too much caramel pools at the bottom, cut it off.

Pretzel baked brie:  approx. 4 servings

  • 1 ea. 13.7 oz. immaculate honestly delicious pretzel dough
  • 1 ea. 8oz president brie cheese mini wheel
  • 1 ea. egg
  • 2 tsp water
  • 2 -3 apples
  • Cinnamon and sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together egg and water to make egg wash
  2. Lay dough flat on board. Size brie wheel up to dough and lightly flatten the strips needed to cover bottom together. Set other strips aside
  3. Lightly brush dough with egg wash. Place brie on dough and cut around making a round top and bottom. Set washed side on cheese surface (be sure to save dough trimmings to bake into pretzel bites)
  4. Using the strips set aside, lightly stretch so they are long enough to wrap around brie. (this should be three strands)
  5. Brush side edge of cheese with wash and wrap dough around it. Pinch together all seems to form one dough wrap around cheese.
  6. Brush outside of dough with egg wash and sprinkle with salt
  7. Place on a not stick pan or parchment paper and bake until dough is golden brown and cooked through. (approx., 30 min) The unused dough can be baked off into bite sized pieces or sticks. Be sure to turn rotate pan to ensure even cooking
  8. Set aside to cool for a few minutes then cut top off for service. Toss apple slices in cinnamon and sugar for dipping

Apple Balsamic Salad with Corn Bread Croutons:  approx.. 4-6 servings

  • 1 ea. chicken kitchen corn muffins
  • 1 ea. 5oz container of fresh herb and greens organic blend
  • 2 ea. honey crisp apples
  • ½ cup diced cucumbers
  • ½ cup red grape tomatoes
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup roasted corn
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Pepper cracker
  • Tondo balsamic glaze for drizzling


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Cut corn muffin into medium sized chunks to cook as croutons. Place on a baking sheet and cook until crispy and slightly browned on the outside but still have a moist center. (approx. 15 min). set aside to cool
  2. cut apples into slices with skin on and place in bowl to toss with the rest of the vegetables and greens
  3. add oil and a couple of cracks of pepper and toss lightly to coat the greens
  4. serve family style or individually and drizzle with Tondo balsamic glaze
  5. Don’t forget to add your croutons to the top of the salad


  • This salad is also great served with traditional balsamic dressing. This can also be topped with grilled chicken and used as an entrée salad.
  • Try topping with shredded cheddar cheese. Karst Cave aged is a nice addition to this salad

Maple Beer Marinated Pork Loin:  approx. 4-6 servings

 Marinade: to be made and chilled prior to adding pork

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ½ onion rough chop
  • 1 ea. peeled and diced apple
  • 1 ea. clove garlic rough chop
  • ½  tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ cup brown mustard
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2ea beers (we recommend a lager or brown ale. As anything dark could be too bitter)
  • 1 ea. pork tenderloin Smithfield
  • 2tsp rubbed sage
  • 1tsp black pepper


  1. For the marinade. In a large sauce pot over medium-high heat, add the butter, onions, apples, garlic, paprika and allspice let cook for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently so it will not burn
  2. Remove from heat and add mustard, maple and beer. Place back on heat and bring to simmer for 1-2 min (be careful it does not boil over)
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to refrigerator temp
  4. Add pork and let marinate for 6-12 hours
  5. Remove pork from marinade and pat dry rub with sage and black pepper
  6. Place in 350F oven and cook to at least an internal temperature of 145F is reached (approx. 25min)
  7. Add pork marinade to a blender and blend to liquefy onions, bring mixture to a boil and serve as a sauce.


  • Let the pork rest a few minutes prior to cutting