Summer seems to have finally left us here in Orem. I say that after only two days of rain and clouds. Perhaps my judgments are a bit premature, but I really and truly hope that autumn is here. Why? Why would anyone hope the sun away? Well, I love changing seasons. I can’t help feeling tired of summer and ready for fall. Plus, my fall decorations look stupid when it’s still 100 degrees outside. AND… with the advent of fall, I can finally cook fall food. Here’s a great fall recipe:
Caramelized Apple Cake
Makes 10 servings – 2 hours
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup plus 5 tbsp butter, softened and divided
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a med. bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream ½ cup of butter and granulated sugar.
3. Add the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Blend in the sour cream.
4. In an oven-proof 10 inch skillet, melt the remaining 5 tbsp of butter. Add the brown sugar. Stir for 2 minutes. Add the apple slices. Reduce the heat to med-low. Cook 10 minutes or until the apples are tender. Let it cool 5 min.
5. Spoon the batter over the apples and spread it to the edges of the pan. Bake for 30 min. Cool on a rack for 20 min. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and carefully invert the cake onto a plate.
Frozen Caramel Custard
Have you ever tried to make ice cream in your freezer without an ice cream maker and ended up with a clump of ice crystals? Well, this recipe is not for that!
When I was five, I asked Santa Claus for an ice cream maker. He couldn’t find one, so I got a Teddy Bear instead. The next year, he succeeded and I got my ice cream maker. Needless to say, the Teddy Bear got lots more love and use that the ice cream maker. Now, I’ve learned that I don’t need one. Neither do you.
Frozen Caramel Custard (adapted from “Simple Secrets to Better Everyday Cooking”)
- 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 5 beaten egg yolks
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder (available in bulk food sections)
- dash salt
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- caramel shards for a garnish
In a small heavy saucepan, cook the granulated sugar over med-high heat until the sugar begins to melt, shaking the pot occasionally. DO NOT STIR. Reduce the heat to low and cook until sugar is melted and golden brown. At this point you can and should stir it with a wooden spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Carefully stir in the 1/2 cup whipping cream. If a large lump of sugar forms (it did for me) heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently until the lump dissolves. This can take 15 min.
In a medium saucepan, combine egg yolks, milk, dry milk powder, and salt. Cook over low-med heat, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a metal spoon, or until the it is just beginning to look like a custard. Remove from the heat. Stir in the 2 cups of whipping cream. Add the caramel and brown sugar and vanilla. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool custard in the refrigerator until completely cool.
Place it in an ice cream machine, or in a large metal bowl. Cover securely. Place in the freezer. Every 40 min, take the bowl out of the freezer, using a spatula or spoon, scrape the frozen edges, and beat with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Repeat this every 40 min for 5 to 6 hours or until the ice cream is firm. Garnish with caramel shards.
Cook 3/4 cup of sugar in the same way you did for the caramel above. When it is melted, remove from heat and add in 1 tsp of water. Immediately pour the sugar on a lined and greased baking sheet. Spread it as thin as possible. Let it set up for 30 min. With the back of a metal spoon, break it into shards.
While I joke about eating popcorn for dinner, eating popcorn for a snack is no joking matter. And when you are craving a sweet snack, nothing beats caramel popcorn. Though it seems simple enough, caramel popcorn (or even honey popcorn) has eluded me for months. It’s usually gooey. It never hardens. It tends to kill the popcorn. But, my husband and I end up choking it down with big smiles and brave faces, pretending that it isn’t melting the delicate popcorn puffs and making a gross mess all over the place.
Starting today, however, all that is finished. Diana, in her blog A Stove With A House Around It (stoveria.blogspot.com) posted a recipe for Pecan Caramel Corn that is, at least in my estimation, delicious and fool proof. I didn’t have any pecans hanging around so I added some granola and it worked wonderfully.
Granola Caramel Popcorn
- 8 cups of popcorn (I didn’t bother measuring, but just used the standard 1/2 cup of un-popped popcorn that my machine takes)
- 3/4 light brown sugar
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 granola
Pop popcorn and place on two cookie sheets lined with aluminum foil. Toss granola on top. Preheat over to 325F. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, butter, syrup and salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for 5 minutes without stirring. Add the vanilla and the baking soda. Stir to combine. Pour over the popcorn. Use a spatula to mix caramel into the popcorn. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, pull the trays out and stir the popcorn, trying to coat as many pieces as possible in the caramel. Return to the over and bake another 10 minutes. Stir it once more and let it cool. Enjoy!