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Tomorrow is the premier of the second season of Once Upon A Time on ABC. And I am very excited!
To celebrate, my husband and I made this apple hand pie. Why, you ask? Well… if you haven’t seen the last season I am not gonna spoil it, but I will say poison apples are optional in this recipe…and these will definitely tempt anyone into taking a bite.
Even if you are not celebrating the return of magic, these are still delicious. The dough is very tender and the slight tang from the sour cream really works well with the sweet carmel salty filling. The recipe only makes 8 and they go fast!
Caramel Apple Hand Pies
From Just A Taste
For the pie dough
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup cold sour cream
For the filling
1 cup diced apples (I used a mixture of granny smith and red delicious apples)
1 tsp ;lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 c sugar
1 tsp flour
carmel candy chopped small
Kosher or large flake sea salt
Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Add in the butter and, using your hands, work it into the flour to make a paste.
(Then wash your hands for what seems like an hour to get the butter paste off them.)
Stir in the sour cream to form a very wet dough. Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour over the dough and carefully move it to a well-floured surface. Knead, adding a little more flour at a time to form a soft dough.
Roll the dough into a rectangle and fold into thirds like you would an envelope.
Repeat this two more times. After the last folding, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Cut the apples and be sure to cut them small, lIke the size of corn kernels, because you want them to soften while in the oven.
Mix the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and flour in a small bowl. Set aside.
Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a circular cookie cutter (or a cup) cut out as many circles as possible.
Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting circles of dough (you should have approximately 16 circles).
Place a row of dough circles on a well greased cookie sheet. In the center of the circle place about a tablespoon of the apple pie filling.
Then add as much caramel as you can. I found these cool little circles of caramel for easy melting in the baking section which work really well… as long as they don’t roll away. Finally, sprinkle with some kosher salt.
Carefully stretch another circle of dough a little and place it on top of the apple caramel
Use a fork to seal the edges.
Cut three shallow vents into the top crust and sprinkle with a little sugar if you like.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes (I say about because at minute 7 I caved and ate one and it was perfect and delicious).
These are best fresh and warm from the oven but good the next day too.
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Have you ever bought a magazine because of the picture on the cover? Because the picture of the cover you saw on tumblr?
Well I did… and thus we have this week’s blog. These apples called to me. With the caramel and the apple and the carbs and the fall goodness. And I am so enjoying fall this year. I have been in Louisiana for the past three falls, so this year everything is cool. The leaves are so vibrant orange, yellow, red… and the sky is that blue you only get in fall, and the light has that quality to it that just screams piles of leaves and boots and is it-cold-enough-for-a-scarf?…nah feeling.
Plus these are muffins. Not cupcakes. So that makes them healthy right? Right?
Caramel Apple Muffins
Slightly adapted from this month’s (September 2012) Southern Living Magazine
(Recipe says makes 12 but I got 16 muffins and I, hmm… have a tendency to fill my tins way beyond the recommend 3/4th …full so expect more muffins if you follow the directions.)
1/3 c light brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp butter
- 8oz sour cream
First, make your cinnamon topping. Stir together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork… or, if you are me, start with a fork but get frustrated because you totally forgot to take the butter our to thaw first and so use your fingers, until the mixture resembles corse crumbs. Set aside
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Beat the sour cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla on low until well mixed. Cry that your KitchenAid is still packed away and dusty.
Stir together the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) and add to the sour cream/egg mixture. Beat on low just until blended (be careful not to over-mix here).
Fold in all of the apple slices.
Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tin and cover the top with the cinnamon topping.
Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (mine were always done at the 18 min mark). Remove from the pan as soon as you can (when it’s not burning your hands off) and allow to cool all the way.
While they are cooling you can open all the caramels… or get someone else to do the job. I usually go for the someone else option.
Microwave the caramels and heavy cream on high for 1 - 2 minutes, stirring at every 30 second intervals.
When the carmel is all melted and smooth carefully drizzle over the top of the muffins and sprinkle with the pecans.
Allow the caramel to set and flow over the sides so prettily, and then serve. These are best the first day, but will keep for 3 or 4.
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I love caramel. No, I really love caramel. Especially homemade caramel. I love homemade caramel so much I am willing to forget just how much I dislike making the caramel and make more caramel.
Not that making caramel is super difficult. There is something fun about the bubbly Macbeth-witches nature of it all. I am just impatient, and getting things to heat to the correct temperature can take time, and my stirring arm can get tired.
But really, these are so good. And I am so ready for fall. Fall colors, fall flavors… maybe not so much the cold. I am gonna whine a lot about the cold this winter. Mom says my blood got thin in New Orleans. I just think she is jealous.
Anyway, these caramels are little bits of intense sweet fall flavor…like amazing caramel apples without the bits of apple stuck in your teeth… or any of the health benefits from eating fruit at all. But really, you don’t make or eat homemade caramel for the health benefits. You do it because it is both freakin’ delicious and kinda like magic when it comes out all perfect and chewy and you know that you, yes you, somehow made this.
Apple Cider Caramels
From Blondie’s Cakes
2 cups good apple cider
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp ground cinnamon (honestly I think I would cut this down next time, maybe more 3/4 or even 1/2 tsp)
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter (real butter please), cubed
Pour the cider into a saucepan and boil on high for about 20 minutes. The cider will bubble and smell amazing but keep going: don’t drink! Or, drink it, but then get more! You need to reduce it down to 1/3 cup.
Set this aside to cool.
Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper if you’ve got it. I don’t, so it’s aluminum foil for me. Coat the paper (foil) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a separate bowl combine 2/3c of the heavy cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and the reduced apple cider.
Set that aside.
In a large heavy saucepan (I like using dutch ovens for this) mix the sugar, corn syrup, and remaining 1/3 cup heavy cream with enough water added to it to reach the 1/2 cup mark.
Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
Bump up the heat to medium (I might sneak it to medium high) and let it boil away until a candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and stir until all of the butter is melted and smooth.
Return to the heat.
Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature is 248 Fahrenheit on the candy thermometer.
Pour the caramel carefully into the lined pan.
Now the really hard part: let the mixture cool completely, either at room temperature overnight, or for a few hours in the refrigerator. Usually I prefer at room temperature as it lends to easier cutting. This time however we wanted speed over ease of cutting and put it in the fridge. In the long run there is no difference in the caramel.
Then cut and eat.
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Making candy scares me a little. I blame the really, really bad burn I got the first time I ever tried, or maybe just the fact that it took me years to figure out a candy thermometer works (now I have a cool digital one that even I can’t read wrong).
But you should not be afraid of making candy. It is really more like delicious mad science. And you, as things bubble and foam, can laugh maniacally and make plans for when you take over the world!
… or maybe that is just me.
Seriously though. Homemade caramel is delicious. And so so worth learning how to make yourself. You’ll never eat the Kraft pre-wrapped stuff again! (Ok that is a lie - I eat it all the time but I at least know this is better stuff!)
Recipe from Epicurious
1 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp butter
1 tsp kosher salt (I always add a tiny bit more because I love the sweet salty thing)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil the paper (or use aluminum foil and Pam the thing if that is what you have on hand).
Bring the cream, butter, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and set aside
Boil the sugars and water in a 3-4 quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue to boil without stirring, but gently swirl the pan until it turns a light golden caramel color.
Carefully stir in the cream mixture (it will bubble up so feel free to laugh manically here as well!). Simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248 F on a candy thermometer for a softer caramel, 250 F for a slightly harder caramel. About 10 - 15 minutes.
Pour into the prepared baking dish and cool 2 hours. After about an hour I went ahead and scored the top of the caramel to make cutting easier. Cut into roughly 1-inch pieces
Now you have some options. I like dipping mine in chocolate, or rolling the caramel in peanuts, or even just wrapping the pieces in wax paper and eating as is. Whatever is your favorite way to enjoy caramel, go for it!
I am home on break before the fall semester starts (Yea!). My little sister and I both love to bake as well as watch other people baking. One day last week we turned on Food Network to catch the very end of Paula Deen and this is the cake they were making. We had to do it.
So with out further adieu I present Paula Deen’s Caramel Cake (and yes it really does use 5 sticks of butter… that is not a typo!!)
Paula Deen’s Caramel Cake
For the Cake
1 cup (thats the first two sticks) butter, at room temperature
2. cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1tsp vanilla extract
For the filling
1 cup (another two sticks) of butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the frosting
1/2 cup (the final stick) butter
1 cup packed Dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream (more if needed)
16 oz (1 box) of confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla
optional chopped nuts
Preheat the over to 350 degrees F and grease 3 (we only did two and had a lot of batter/ filling left over) 9” cake pans.
Using an electric mixers cream butter and then add in the sugar. Beat for 6 - 8 minutes (till you think your hand is gonna fall off and you and having longing thoughts for the Kitchen Aid sitting unused and lonely in New Orleans). Add eggs beating well after each. Alternate in the flour and baking powder with the milk beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and beat until just mixed. Pour batter into pans and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
While the cake is baking; combine butter, light brown sugar, and milk in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Remove first layer of cake and invert on to cake plate. Pierce cake layer with a toothpick over entire surface (we kinda twisted the toothpick to make a larger hole). Spread 1/3 of filling mixture on the cake. Top with second layer and repeat, then the last again repeating the entire process.
Finally, melt the last stick of butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in dark brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat with the electric mixer unitl it reaches a spreading constancy (again thinking about the beloved kitchen aid forlorn in New Orleans).
Allow the cake to set up and enjoy. We found you had to cut very small pieces and drink a lot of milk or tea as it is a divinely rich cake.