Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The most wonderful time...

I love the fall.  My birthday is in the fall.  I got married in the fall.  We often vacation in the fall.  I love the warm days and cool nights, those days when you can sport shorts and a sweatshirt.  Ahhhh... the fall.

When I saw this next recipe I thought it screamed the fall.  I had all of the ingredients on hand, so I gave it a try.  The directions were real easy to follow.

The hardest part for me was pouring it from the dutch oven into the prepared pan.  I was using a wooden spoon to scrap the pot and some dripped off the spoon onto my hand and I saw stars.  I was able to immediately get the hand under cold running water but the damage was done, blistered immediately.  So if anyone is going to attempt these caramels for themselves be careful.

Slicing them up was a little challenging as well.  I followed the recipes suggestion to cut long "logs" and let whomever I share them with cut them themselves.

They are a tasty treat, and the hint of cider was just the right amount for me.

Apple Cider Caramels
from Blondies Cakes & Things
2 cup high-quality apple cider 
1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream, divided
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup real butter, cubed

- Pour cider into a medium saucepan and boil on high for about 20 minutes or until the cider is reduced to 1/3 c. Keep an eye on it...it might try to run away. Set aside to cool.
- Line an 8" square pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave about 1" hanging over the edges for easy removal. Coat with a bit of vegetable oil and set aside. 
- In a small bowl, combine 2/3 c. cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and reduced apple cider. Set aside.
- In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/3 c. whipping cream + enough water to reach the 1/2 c. line on the measuring cup, and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer until the syrup reaches 234 degrees.
- Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and stir until the cream and butter are fully incorporated. Return the pan to heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees.
- Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I covered the top with saran wrap and left it out overnight. You could cut the caramels into 1/2" squares and wrap each caramel in wax paper, but I'm lazy so I cut the caramel into 1/2" logs, which meant that I had exponentially fewer pieces to individually wrap. Store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Warning:  This can cause a serious burn if it comes in contact with skin, and can be damaging to your waistline.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Just Sinful

Once again I have a bunch of mushy bananas laying on my counter.  Bananas in this house sometimes get eaten within hours of coming home, sometimes they just sit and get mushy calling my name to bake with them.

I wanted to do something a little different this time around.  I have added chocolate chips.  I have added nuts.  I have added coconut.  I have never added NUTELLA.  Imagine finding a recipe out there that contains something as sinful as Nutella, just dangerous.

This recipe produced a delicious, moist banana bread.  I made one full sized loaf and a bunch of mini loaves to share, as I am trying not to over indulge myself.  Plus who doesn't love a fresh baked gift?

Nutella Banana Bread
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons nutella
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two full sized loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon and combine.
3. Mix in salt, baking soda, and flour just until combined. Mix in nutella.
4.Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 35-45minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nuts for Nuts!

I recently saw a photo of some homemade glazed nuts on Pinterest, my new favorite website, have I mentioned that already?  These aren't just any nuts but crockpot nuts, another favorite of mine, the crockpot.  Are we seeing a pattern here?

With all the ingredients on hand, a rainy night and the feel for some cozy goodness told me this was the night to make these.


16 ounces pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Put crockpot on high and heat for atleast 15 minutes.  After the 15 minutes add the melted butter, spices and nuts.  Stir well.  Cover and heat for 10 minutes.  Add powdered sugar and stir well.  Cover and cook another 10 minutes.  Then remove the lid and turn crockpot to low.  Cook for the next 2 to 3 hours stirring often with the lid OFF.  Spoon nuts out onto a sheet of parchment to cool.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Disney Countdown

First off I want to say I know it has been a while.  I have been crafting but not blogging about my projects. With the kids starting school this week I should find more time to work on that.

I have been receiving personal requests for different projects.  Most recently I was asked by a fellow member of my mom's group to create some sort of countdown to Disney calendar.  I had never made one before, but I knew it was something I could do.  So without hesitation I took on the challenge and went full steam ahead.  With a little internet search and a browse on my new favorite website, Pinterest, I came up with some rough ideas.

It was only a matter of finding some quiet time to put ideas into reality.  With some fun paper, bright cardstock, ribbon and my cricut expression I was able to put together a cool countdown calendar that any child would look forward to ripping off the next number as there vacation got closer.