Caramelized Apples with Dried Figs & Walnuts

I have loved cooked apples, in all of their various forms, for as long as I can remember. In fact, it’s one of the first thing I remember cooking for myself without a recipe.

I honestly have no idea how old I was, but I was old enough to be home alone, so I’d have to guess 11 or so. I really wanted some cinnamon apples, but I had no idea how to make them. Google did not exist (let alone the internet in homes…but, let’s not go there…), so I just had to wing it.

I diced up an apple, put all the small pieces into a pot, poured in some water, and sprinkled a bunch of cinnamon into the water. I let it simmer on the stove for a while, then scooped up the apple pieces with a slotted spoon. I fell in love with the apples, and with the entire process of dreaming up a “recipe” on my own.

caramelized apples with figs and walnuts

This recipe is a bit more involved than that early one, and infinitely more tasty, if I do say so myself.

Caramelized Apples with Dried Figs & Walnuts
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: side dish
Serves: 4 - 6
  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • ¼ t. cinnamon
  • ⅛ t. nutmeg
  • 1 c. dried figs, quartered
  • ⅓ c. chopped walnuts
  • 5 - 6 apples, diced
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Stir in brown sugar and cook for about 5 minutes, until it just begins to bubble. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Add dried figs and and walnuts and continue cooking for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in diced apples and cook for 8-10 minutes, until apples are tender.

I’d love to hear about some of your early kitchen experiments, and how they’ve evolved over the years. Do you still make yourself any of those recipes you used to make as a kid?