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Caramel apple dip used to be a favorite snack at our house. But once the kids were grown and my dairy allergy was diagnosed, I quit making it.

I missed it. Oh my how I missed it.

I was resigned to life without this treat until my daughter-in-law made a chance comment when we were together for Christmas. My daughter and I mentioned that Baker’s Pantry–a Mennonite grocery store we frequent because they sell 40-50 pound bags of all manner of bread baking staples–carries Watkins extracts.

That’s when my daughter-in-law said, “We used to mix their caramel extract with a little brown sugar and cream cheese to make apple dip.”

That’s when the lightbulb lit up in my brain. From the expression on my daughter’s face, I think she had a lightbulb moment too. We immediately added Watkins caramel extract to our Baker’s Pantry grocery list for the shopping trip we had scheduled for New Year’s Eve morning.

On the way home from Baker’s Pantry, we stopped at Hy-Vee, an Iowa-based grocery chain. They carry just about everything, including Daiya cream cheese substitute made from coconut. Most cream cheese substitutes are soy-based, and our granddaughter can’t have soy. (As I’ve said before, with her soy issues and dairy issues for 5 of the 6 people in this house, we are that family.)

A couple nights ago, I made the caramel apple dip and served it for dessert. It was a big hit. With everybody. Absolutely delicious. There are not enough superlatives to do the dip justice. And it was so easy. Incredibly easy.

You’ll find the recipe below. Use regular cream cheese if dairy isn’t an issue for you. Use one of the soy-based substitutes if that works at your house. However, you have to use Watkins caramel extract or the flavor superlatives won’t apply.

Dairy-Free Caramel Apple Dip

8 ounces Daiya cream cheese substitute at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon Watkins caramel extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Put the cream cheese substitute into a bowl and mash it with a fork to loosen. Add caramel extract and brown sugar. Continue mashing with a fork and mixing until smooth. Refrigerate until serving it with apple slices.