This is something my mom (a.k.a. Nana) has made ever since I can remember. I wouldn't touch it as a kiddo because it had celery in it. (I still don't like celery....so I didn't put any in my version of this salad!) I do wish I would have though--I was really missing out all of those years! The dressing that coats the apples is made from Cool Whip and mayonnaise. It might sounds strange but it is a perfect combo that has the tang of the mayonnaise but a very slight sweetness from the Cool Whip.
I think this would be delicious any time of the year but it really seems like the perfect time of year for this right now. The apples and the spices remind me of fall but the dressing still has a light flavor that is perfect for these in between summer/fall days.
10 apples (I used 5 Macintosh and 5 Golden Delicious)
1-8 oz. container Cool Whip
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup candied almonds (recipe below)
1/2 cup whole almonds
2 Tbsp. cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Chop apples and toss with a little bit of lemon juice, pineapple juice, or 7-Up.
Combine Cool Whip, mayonnaise, and spices in a bowl. Add the dressing mixture to the apples along with raisins and top with nuts.
For Candied Almonds:
Place almonds, sugar, and cinnamon in a skillet and heat over medium heat. Sugar will start to look sticky then will begin to melt. Once it begins to melt, stir continuously until the sugar has turned a caramel color and all nuts are coated. You will be tempted to add water, but don't! The sugar takes a while to melt, but trust me...it will!
When all of the almonds are coated, spread them out as best you can on parchment or wax paper. Once cooled, you can pick them up and break them apart.
(Note: My mom always used walnuts or pecans in her salad. I use almonds because I am allergic to almost every other type of nut. If you candy whichever nut you use, I would suggest putting a good amount on the top of the salad. When the candied nuts get mixed in the candy coating dissolves. Still good--but not the same!)