Caramel Apple Trail Mix

After-School-Snack-Mix

I’m so excited to share my caramel apple trail mix recipe on Make and Takes today!  I am always checking out Marie’s website for fun new ideas and recipes, so being able to do a guest post is such an honor.

Click here to view my post: http://www.makeandtakes.com/caramel-apple-trail-mix

And here’s the recipe that Jake couldn’t get enough of :)

Caramel Apple Trail Mix

Equal parts:

Apple Chips
Banana Chips
Caramel Bits (if your store doesn’t have them, you can chop up soft caramel candies)
Cashews
Chocolate Chips
Small Pretzels
Peanut Butter Chips

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

 

Caramel Appledoodles

I’m taking a break from vegetables for a hot minute to share these ridiculously delicious cookies.  It’s been a cookie kind of week.  Jake got in a car accident Friday morning and we had to spend the day in the hospital doing tests.  Jake: 1  Airbag: 0.  (For once, I’m thankful for his hard head.)  Then came the logistics of a rental car and the news today that his car is totaled and we have until Saturday to buy a new one.  Stress.  Someone pass the cookies and the snugglebug.

Luckily, every cloud has its silver lining, and ours was when Jake’s sisters, mom, and nephew came to visit for a quick and crazy weekend.  The house was packed, but I knew that fun was in store the first morning when his oldest sister said that she wanted to go to Costco.  Yes!  There was no way to NOT have a blast after a solid deal-finding session, amIright?  We ate Mexican food, watched the kids play with the fire truck, and forgot all about the accident for a few days.

These cookies are chewy, soft, and have a well-rounded flavor that is reminiscent of carnival caramel apples.  I loved them so much that I made a batch for a charity bake-off at work and received lots of compliments and recipe requests.  You need to make them as soon as possible.

Caramel Appledoodles

1 stick (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
1 cup caramel bits (I used chopped up Werther’s, but it was a pain, so I would recommend the bits)

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cinnamon

Cream the butter and the sugars together using a stand or hand mixer.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, sat and nutmeg.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar combo and mix until combined.  Fold in the apples and caramel bits.  Chill for at least one hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the 1/2 cup sugar and 3 Tbsp. cinnamon in a small bowl.  Form the cookie dough into balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 14-16 minutes.

Source: The Jey of Cooking, and Prevention RD has a version that she made a little healthier.

Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

Christmas is over!  How was it?  Too much food?  Too much family time?  Too many presents to unwrap? (Is that possible?) [Read more…]

Dulce de Leche (Slow Cooker Style)


Sometimes, I can be lazy.  There are clothes piled on top of my dresser and dust bunnies hiding in, oh, EVERY corner of the house.  I just let them live and grow in peace.  Actually, I’m a little behind on things because of the little baby (and her best pal) who demand attention, a research paper, a class, a full-time job, volunteer work, and the rest of everything going on in my over-scheduled life.  Which is why this dulce de leche recipe is amazing.  There is – wait for it – one ingredient!

[Read more…]

Sea Salt Caramels

 

I could eat caramel every day.  I love it more than chocolate (shocking, I know) and when you throw salt on top of the caramel is is pretty much heaven.  Ina Garten makes these Fleur de Sel caramels that look amazing but I a) don’t regularly keep expensive salt in my house, and b) I don’t have the patience that it takes to make a big sheet of caramel and roll it up into cute little treats like Ina does.  I tried it once and it ended up being one big, sticky, lopsided caramel pinwheel disaster.

                   

Most of the time, the best ideas that come with online recipes are the comments that people leave about them.  They have new and interesting ways to make something, and are always good about calling someone out if there is something off about the recipe.  Even someone as world-renowned as THE Barefoot Contessa.  Missing the comments is what I did wrong the first time I tried to make these caramels because the amount of sugar and cream are all out of whack.  Pretty much every comment talks about the ingredient changes that need to be made to avoid a gooey mess, and there is also the brilliant idea to avoid the whole rolling aspect of the candies and just put the caramel into a smaller pan and cut them up into delicious little nuggets.  Why didn’t I think of that?!

Sea Salt Caramels 

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan (or loaf pan) with parchment paper, allowing the paper to drape over the sides.

Bring the cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon sea salt to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Remove it from the heat, set aside and keep warm.

In a deep saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the caramel is a warm golden brown color. Don’t stir – just swirl the pan to mix. Watch carefully, as it will burn quickly at the end!

When the caramelized sugar is the a golden color, slowly add in the cream mixture – be ready for it to boil up!  It is somewhat scary in the moment, but it goes down quickly. Stir in the vanilla and cook over medium heat for 10 or so minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Keep a close eye on the thermometer because there is a very fine line between an undercooked caramel that never forms into the bite-sized pieces that you are looking for, and having caramel hard candies.  Walk that line with caution!  Very carefully (it’s hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.

When the caramels are cool, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board, and cut the caramels up into small pieces.  Or big pieces.  Whatever makes you happy.  Then sprinkle a dash of sea salt on top.  I found that the bottoms of the caramels were moister (I dunno, maybe something with the fridge), so I made the bottom into the top so that the salt would stick better.

If you are going to be giving these as a gift, put parchment papers in 6 by 4 1/2-inch squares and wrap each caramel in a paper, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Source: adapted from Ina Garten

N