Recipe: Gourmet Caramel Apples

This is, exactly, my favorite kind of caramel apple: covered in chocolate and white chocolate; pecans and cocnut. Oh, and caramel, too. We used to get ours at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Ketchum, Idaho. Now we buy them anywhere we see them. But after today, we will be making them.

The amazing Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory gourmet carmel apple. My apples never look this good.

 

These are one of my favorite desserts of all time. Sure, they are a great Fair Food for a lot of people; but for me, they are a fun and easy (but also messy) bake sale item.

It took me several tries and different recipes over the years to finally decide four things:

1) melting store-bought caramel was never going to be good enough and

2) I prefer my gourmet apples ugly, not pretty, thank you very much. That is because I like so many toppings: I prefer milk chocolate AND white chocolate, plus pecans and coconut…and unless you are a pro (see links to articles below), those apples will not be very pretty. But that doesn’t really matter when you eat it, now does it?

3)People care about their caramel apples. A lot. See links to articles below.

4) it is always easier to buy them premade. But it is still worth making yourself.

The apples can be personalized in so many ways, a lot like cupcakes and cookies.

This fabulous recipe is from epicurious.com, though I grabbed it from simplerecipes.com . I suggest that site for the fantastic step-by-step photos the writer obviously put a lot of time and energy in to.

Here is the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

1 1-pound box dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon robust-flavored (dark) molasses
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 sturdy lollipop sticks or chopsticks
12 medium apples

Assorted decorations (such as chopped nuts, chopped raisins, mini M&M’s and candy sprinkles)

Equipment needed – one accurate candy thermometer.

 

DIRECTIONS:

1 Combine sugar, butter, condensed milk, corn syrup, maple syrup, vanilla, molasses and salt in a thick-bottomed 2 1/2 or 3 quart saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon on medium-low heat until all the sugar dissolves. There should be no grittiness (sugar crystals) when you test by rubbing a little of the caramel between your fingers. Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve any sugar crystals that might form on the pan sides.

 

2 Attach a clip-on candy thermometer to the pan and cook caramel at a rolling boil until the thermometer reaches 236°F, stirring constantly and slowly with a wooden spatula. Continue to occasionally brush the sides down with a pastry brush. Carefully pour caramel into a metal bowl. Cool until the temperature lowers to 200°F, at which point you are ready to dip the apples.

3 While the caramel is cooking/cooling, prepare a large baking sheet, covering it with buttered aluminum foil. Insert a chopstick or sturdy lollipop stick into each apple, about 2-inches, top down, into the apple core.

4 When the caramel has cooled enough for dipping, dip the apples in, one by one, by holding on to the stick, and vertically lowering the apple into the caramel, submerging all but the very top of the apple. Pull the apple up from the caramel and let the excess caramel drip off from the bottom back into the pan. Then place on the prepared foil. The caramel will pool a little at the bottom of each apple. Place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.

5 Once the caramel has chilled a bit, remove from the refrigerator and use your fingers to press the caramel that has dripped to the bottom of the apples, back on to the apples. Then take whatever coatings you want and press them into the apples for decoration. Return to the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.

Recipe:Puyallup Fair Scones

For More Fair Food Recipes, CLICK HERE

It wouldn’t be Fair Food Week here at Sugar Mama Baking Company if we didn’t include–and worship–my original Fair Food Favorite, The Scone. It is especially important to me to share this treat with my son, Logan, so he can have a taste of my childhood, and his grandmother’s childhood, too.

These scones are special to me; when I was 8 I was in Dog 4-H. You know I lived in a non-agri area because 4-H for canines had its own barn on the fair grounds. When I got to Idaho I was shocked–pick-my-jaw-up-off-the-floor-shocked–to learn that 1) there wasn’t a “dog barn” at the Twin Falls County Fair and 2)no body had even heard of “Dog 4-H”

But I have. ..Because I’ve lived it. Me and my dachshund, Doc ( a clear example of why a 5-year-old shouldn’t name a dog) went to the fairgrounds early in the morning and stayed until after dark, every day, for seven days, hoping to make it to Puyallup. (…and by the way, Puyallup–PEW-All-Up–is the Washington State Fair. It is huge. I had these scones there–and at the Kitsap County Fair–every year until I left for college.) My mom would send $1.50 with me in my pocket every day so I could buy myself two scones between my assigned chores in the barn, my competitions, and general hanging-out with other 4-Hers. I was allowed to get the scones because the cart for Fisher Scones was just across from the Dog Barn, so there was little risk of kidnapping or getting lost.

My mom said she gave me the money for the scones because those scones were a fond memory of her own. Her Dad, my Grandpa, used to buy her scones at the fair, too.

Now, though, I haven’t seen a Fischer (Fisher?) scone since I was a kid. They didn’t have those in Idaho, either. Back here in Alexnadria, Va, I have yet to be to a county–or even state–fair to know if they have them. So that makes this recipe all the more important to me to share with my son, Logan: So he can have a taste of my childhood, and his grandmother’s childhood, too.

So this recipe–this food–isn’t just about youth and happy summer memories and good food; it is about tradition.

You can imagine how delighted–PRAISE THE LORD! kind of Delighted–I was to find this recipe at recipezaar.com . Go to the link; there are some fabulous comments about Washington State–my home neck of the woods before Idaho–and the Puyallup Fair. 🙂

Ingredients

These scones come in a bagged-mix now in grocery stores...but why not just make it from scratch?

These scones come in a bagged-mix now in grocery stores…but why not just make it from scratch?

Directions

  1. Sift and measure the flour.
  2. Re-sift with other dry ingredients.
  3. Work shortening into dry ingredients with the fingers.
  4. Add rasinins to flour-fat mixture and mix thoroughly (you may omit raisins).
  5. Add milk to mixture. (If you are omitting the raisins, add another 2 Tablespoons of milk).
  6. Turn out on to a floured board and divide into two equal pieces.
  7. Roll or pat each into a round and to the thickness of biscuits (3/4 inch to a full inch).
  8. Cut into wedge shaped pieces like a pie and bake about 15 minutes at 450 degrees on an ungreased baking sheet.
  9. To serve like they do at the fair; split open but do not cut clear through. Fill with jam and close.
  10. Eat and enjoy!

Recipe: Chicken Cacciatore

My mom’s chicken cacciatore…Neighbor Delford Approved 8-26-10

Chicken Cacciatore was one of those recipes we had a lot growing up. Now that I’m a Mom, I can totally see why: it is easy, uses ingredients you probably already have on-hand, and is a great way to use up leftover chicken.

Cacciatore is Italian for “Hunter’s Style”–or so Wikipedia tells me–and that simply means it includes a lot of those aromatic veggies like onion, celery and carrots. It also includes tomatoes; lots of tomatoes…if my husband was a hunter and all he brought home were carrots, celery onions and tomatoes, I think I’d be kinda mad…and I wouldn’t refer to the meal I made out of it as “Hunter’s Style”…more like “Lame Man who spends his time gathering veggies instead of shooting meat” style… but I digress…

Some recipes call for entire chunks of chicken–and I guess that would work. But I’ve only ever had it with the “spare parts” left over from a roast chicken–mostly unidentifiable chunks of meat. Maybe part of a breast, part of a thigh, part of a…well, who knows. The point is, this is a good recipe to have the day after having roast chicken.

Below is my mom’s recipe, the one I had growing up, and the one I will rely on for making for my family. For another take on this, click the upper image and read about including Kalamata olives in the dish…yum!

INGREDIENTS:

1 28 oz can tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 full size carrots sliced
3 stalks celery sliced
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp sage
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/4 tsp sugar
2 chicken breasts… or a bunch of left over chicken
3/4 pound shell shaped or spiral pasta

DIRECTIONS

combine all EXCEPT Pasta,
Bring to boil, reduce heat for 25 to 30 min, simmer another 30 min if using raw chicken. Prepare pasta separately.

Serve over pasta