Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Homemade Caramel for dipping apples

I LOVE caramel and apples!!  The only thing that would have made this better is if I had a bowl of chopped pecans nearby to dip my apples in...after they were dipped in the caramel!

This caramel is delicious!!  It is easy, but does take a lot of time and patience.  It is SO worth it!!  I put some in half-pint bottles and sent them to school with the kids for their teachers with one red and one green apple to go with it. 

This would also be delicious on ice cream!  I slightly adapted the recipe from this one.

Homemade Caramel for dipping apples

  • 2 cup evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed) (you will be needing one regular can and one small can)
  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:  Place all ingredients(except vanilla) together in a 2-quart or larger pan, preferably a heavy-bottomed one, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and cooking over medium-low and later low heat until the mixture reaches soft-ball stage (that is, until it forms a soft ball when dripped into cold water). Do not give up on stirring or the caramel will curdle.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Pour into bowls, cool and serve with apple wedges for dipping. The caramel will thicken as it cools.  Store unused caramel in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 quart.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

 So...basically this is just the recipe for simple 3-ingredient fudge made with a layer of milk chocolate fudge and then a layer of peanut butter fudge with miniature Reece's Peanut Butter cups pressed into the fudge.

Simple, rich, and delicious.
Reece's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

1 12 oz bag milk chocolate chips
1 10 oz bag peanut butter chips
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
6 Tablespoons butter(divided)
Reece's Peanut Butter Cups(I think I used 20-30...can't remember now)

1st layer:  Combine milk chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 4 T butter in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, stir until melted and smooth. Line a greased 8 x 11.5 inch baking dish with plastic wrap.  Pour fudge into baking dish.  Cool until room temp, place in the refrigerator while you make make the peanut butter fudge. 

2nd layer:  Combine peanut butter chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 2 T butter in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, stir until melted and smooth.  Pour onto the milk chocolate fudge layer and press Reece's Peanut Butter Cups into the fudge.  I left a small space between them for a 'cutting line'.  Let cool until room temperature.  Refrigerate overnight or until set.  Remove from refrigerator and cut into squares(1 peanut butter cup per square) and serve.  Keep refrigerated or they will get too soft.  The milk chocolate doesn't set up as solid as semi-sweet chocolate.

**to remove from baking dish, lift the plastic wrap from the sides and it should come right out.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cinnaburst Bread

 Have you ever had Great Harvest's Cinnaburst Bread?

It is seriously one of my FAVORITE things!!  When I saw this recipe for a copycat version, I knew I had to try it!!  This recipe is simple and seriously SO good!!  I don't have a Great Harvest Bread Co. close by, so I will be satisfying my craving with this recipe from now on :)  I was able to get cinnamon chips from my local grocery store, but I haven't seen them there before...might be a seasonal thing.  I know that my sister has bought them from Target before, not during the Christmas season.

Great Harvest Cinnaburst Copycat Bread

1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk 
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast (1 packet)
1/3 cup oil (I used canola oil)
1/2 T salt
1 egg
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cinnamon chips
Directions:  In mixer combine yeast, sugar, and warm water and milk; let bubble for about 5 minutes.  Add in oil and egg.  Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt.  Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from the side of the bowl.  Add the cinnamon chips when it gets close to the right consistency.  The dough will be very sticky, but the softer the dough the lighter the bread.  So use the least amount of flour you can handle.  Let rise in mixing bowl for about 30 minutes.  Divide dough in half and form into loaves.  Put loaves into greased bread pans.  Let rise an additional 30 minutes.  I spray one side plastic wrap with cooking spray and set that over the dough while it rises.  Because it is sprayed it won't stick when you pull it off to bake it.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Makes 2 loaves.

If you can find cinnamon chips at your local grocery store, you can go here to buy Gourmet Cinnamon Chips - 11oz 
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Simple 3-ingredient fudge

Mmmm...I LOVE fudge!! 

My sister told me about this simple fudge last year.  I can't believe I never posted about it.  It is SO simple and only 3 ingredients.

Simple 3-ingredient Fudge

1 package chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, but any would work)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 Tablespoons butter

Directions:  Combine all ingredients in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, stir until melted and smooth.  Depending on how thick you want your fudge will depend on the size of pan you use....I used a 9x9 inch baking dish and put some in a small dish I got from a craft store a few years ago for a dollar.  Spray cooking spray in your baking dish(will help keep the plastic wrap from slipping when you pour the fudge in), line baking dish bottom and sides with plastic wrap.  Pour the chocolate mixture into the baking dish.  Let sit for 2-3 hours to cool.  I let mine cool to room temperature and then put it in the refrigerator for an hour to set up.  When cool and set, lift from dish with the plastic wrap and cut.  
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Friday, December 7, 2012

Green Smoothie

We LOVE to have smoothies with breakfast and I really should make them more often!  It was SO nice this fall to have a nice healthy crop of spinach in the garden to use for green smoothies!  In fact, it has been so mild here, I still have spinach growing. 

My husband bought me a Vitamix a couple of years ago and I LOVE it!  It makes whipping up smoothies quick and easy!  When I make these, I just quarter the apples and throw in the cores, seeds and all....of course you can cut out the core if you would rather.
Green Smoothie

1 banana
1 apple, quartered
1/2 can sliced pineapples, with 1/2 of the juice....5 or 6 rings
1-2 large handfuls of spinach
 extra juice (orange, apple or pineapple)

Directions:  Add ingredients to blender.  I add in order listed above.  Start blending...you can add more ice to your desired texture, or add extra juice if you need to...to get it to blend more easily.

If I have extra smoothie, I like to freeze it ice cube trays and save them for another day.  Pop them out into a glass and within 15-30 minutes they should be nice an slushy.
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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Krispie Caramel Marshmallows

I remember my Mom making these when I was younger and decided to try them.  They are SO yummy!!  I found the recipe here.  It took awhile to get the caramels to melt, but it is worth the wait.  I used an old fork the I have bent the middle prong up to make it easier to dip and release things :)  There are yummy and really quite simple.

Krispie Caramel Marshmallows

1 package (10 ounces) Rice Krispie Cereal
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 package (14 ounces) caramels
1 package (16 ounces) large marshmallows

Directions:  Place cereal in a large bowl; set aside.  In a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, combine the milk, butter and caramels, stirring until smooth.  Remove from the heat.  With a fork, quickly dip marshmallows into hot mixture; allow excess to drip off.  Roll in cereal.  Place on a foil-lined pan; chill for 30 minutes.  Remove from the pan and refrigerate in an airtight container.  Yield:  5-6 dozen.
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