Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Caramel

I'm a sucker for caramel.  I can take or leave chocolate (well, not exactly true) but I love caramel. If you want to indulge me, buy me some Garretts caramel corn from Chicago. It's the best of the best.

It's fall and I'm in the mood for caramel.  That sweet, smooth caramelized sugar flavor that languishes on your tongue, yum!

Yesterday I did a caramel bake-off, yup, right here in my own kitchen.  My neighbors loved me.

Here is the scoop. 


Caramel Apples
The easiest. You HAVE to have some of these, come on, it's fall!
 Buy some Kraft caramels, unwrap them, put them in a glass measuring cup, add a few drops of water and microwave, stirring about every 15 seconds until they melt.  Push a Popsicle stick through your washed and dried apple and coat with your melted caramel. Refrigerate until caramel is set.




Caramel Topping
This is good for ice cream, or any dessert for that matter.
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter in saucepan. Add sugars and cream, bring to boil, stirring constantly.  Add vanilla and pour into covered container.  Store in refrigerator until needed, then reheat in microwave.  Easy and to-die-for!!




Spice Cake with Penuche Icing
Penuche is a creamy, soft version of caramel. Grandma used to call this icing, "Brown Sugar Icing". Same thing.

Use your favorite spice cake recipe.  Mine has applesauce in it rather than the oil.  You can even use a box cake, if you wish.  The secret here is the penuche icing!

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Melt the butter, add brown sugar and bring to boil for one minute.  Mix in the heavy cream and vanilla and stir until smooth. Allow to cool a few minutes.  Whisk in the powdered sugar by the cup full.  The mixture will start to thicken.  When it is the consistency you like (plus or minus 3 cups) immediately frost your cooled cake.

Homemade Caramel Corn
6 cups popped corn
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon butter flavoring

Put popped corn into a large bowl. Boil brown sugar, butter, syrup and salt. Drizzle the caramel mixture over the popped corn. Spread onto a large cookie sheet. Place in 200 degree oven.  Stir every 15 minutes for one hour. Remove from oven and place on several sheets of paper towels to dry and cool.  Store in covered container.

This recipe was given to my by my dear friend Darlene, whose husband, Bill was the chef of all chefs. Seriously, he was member of The Golden Toques, an elite society of tops US chefs.   If he gave it his okay, you know it's good!

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