Apple Bourbon Caramel Sundaes with Hot Honey Cinnamon Crunch

When apple season begins but it still feels like summer, a creamy sundae with sweet apples, caramel sauce, and my special cinnamon crunch brings it all together. This sweet concoction is out of the park with homemade caramel sauce and whipped cream BUT offers shortcuts so you can enjoy it in a snap. In a year when Rosh Hashanah aligns with the last holiday weekend of summer, this approach highlighting the holiday flavors of apples and honey offers an ode to both.

In the recipe note below, you’ll find links to my caramel sauce and whipped cream recipes, but feel free to use your own, or get these items at the store. I created the hot honey cinnamon crunch to pull in the honey tradition for Rosh Hashanah and offer crispy but light flavor. The touch of ground red pepper nicely heightens the cinnamon flavor and adds a hint of heat without making the topping too spicy. I highly recommend this and it can be made ahead and stored covered at room temperature for a few days.

Apple Bourbon Caramel Sundaes with Hot Honey Cinnamon Crunch

A sweet and creamy celebration of the transition between summer and fall. The hot honey cinnamon crunch adds warm flavor and the honey tradition of Rosh Hashanah.
Servings 4 Sundaes


For the Apples

  • 3 cups (2 to 3 large apples) peeled and thinly sliced apples (such as Honeycrisp)
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar (or more if the apples are tart)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the Hot Honey Cinnamon Crunch

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • A pinch of ground cayenne pepper (no more than 1/16 of a teaspoon)
  • ½ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

For the Sundaes

  • 1 pint vanilla gelato
  • Cooked apples
  • Bourbon caramel sauce, store bought or your favorite recipe, slightly warmed (see the note for a link to my recipe)
  • Whipped cream, store bought or your favorite recipe (see the note for a link to my recipe)
  • Hot Honey Cinnamon Crunch (or substitute crushed cinnamon graham crackers)


  • To make the apples: In a medium saucepan, toss together the apples and lemon juice. Stir in the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat and cook stirring occasionally until the apples are tender. Taste for seasoning. Transfer to a bowl and cool to lukewarm, or cool completely and cover and refrigerate until ready to use (warm slightly before using).
  • To make the hot honey cinnamon crunch: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. In a small bowl, add the butter, honey, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine well. Add the panko and stir until well coated.
    Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until crisped and just starting to brown. Remove and cool completely. Cover and store at room temperature until ready to use. 
  • When ready to serve, set out 4 to 5 serving dishes. Assemble in this order: A scoop of vanilla gelato, ¼ cup of apple mixture, a drizzle of caramel sauce, a spoonful of whipped cream, another generous drizzle of caramel sauce, and a sprinkling of cinnamon crunch.


Here is my Bourbon Caramel Sauce recipe (from within the Salted Bourbon Caramel Hamantashen recipe); for the apple sundaes, I recommend using 1 tablespoon of bourbon, or you can omit it.
Here is my Whipped Cream recipe; omit the whiskey for this purpose and use 2 teaspoons of vanilla.


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