Nothing says fall like apples, and nothing is better than a fresh apple slice dipped in caramel sauce. You can certainly buy caramel sauce at the store, but why when it's so easy to make at home? Here's our favorite recipe for homemade maple-caramel sauce.
Pour a cup of maple syrup into a stainless steel pan with high sides and bring to a boil. Warm 1/2 c heavy cream, either in a pan or in the microwave -- no need to bring it to a boil, just take the refrigerator chill off of it (if you are planning ahead you could also just take it out of the fridge a couple of hours early). Cut up 1 T of butter and keep it nearby, along with a dash of salt and a whisk.
As the maple syrup boils, the bubbles will become smaller. The water has boiled off and now the sugar is boiling. Do not stir the boiling liquid! The sugars will darken and begin to smell caramelly, you want it to be dark amber in color at least. You can stop here for a lighter caramel sauce or keep going until the sugars begin to smell and look burnt (on a candy thermometer this is around 300 F). Remove from the heat and immediately add the butter and salt and start whisking. The sugars will hiss slightly. Next, being very careful, pour the cream in quickly. When you start to whisk, the sugars will hiss a lot and emit a lot of steam. Don't get burned! As soon as you can, get your whisk back into the pan and begin stirring. Whisk until the mixture becomes smooth and thickens and is cool enough to taste. This will make just over 8oz of sauce. Store in a glass jar, or just eat it all with a couple of apples. After all, apple season only comes once a year!