Showing posts with label apple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label apple. Show all posts

Friday, September 9, 2016

Apple Cider Caramels

Life has been busy and I haven't gotten to do as much baking as I've wanted these past few months! I've made a few older tried-but-true recipes (like Strawberry Cream Cake and Celebration Oreos) but I haven't had time to tinker with anything new. Slowly, I'm working baking and blogging back into my routine. Here's a recipe that I was going to post last October, but didn't get the chance to... but it's relevant again since fall is here :).

Last fall, I went apple picking for the first time, and it was awesome! I've always wanted to go apple picking, but this is the first time in my life I've lived less than an hour's drive away from an apple orchard. At the orchard, along with my fresh-off-the-tree apples, a dozen homemade apple cider donuts, and some garlic cheese curds, I picked up a bottle of apple cider specifically so I could try out this recipe. I'm very glad I did.

These caramels are amazing! They have a strong apple flavor with touch of cinnamon, like apple pie. I was very impressed by the apple flavor. There's the yummy butteriness and the occasional bite of sea salt that mellows out the sweetness. Straight out of the refrigerator, the texture is firm and chewy, but at room temperature, the texture is soft and sticky, adaptable to different people's preferences (I like them straight out of the fridge). And now I'm thinking about what other fruit flavored caramels I will make next :)… I definitely recommend you give this recipe a try!

Apple Cider Caramels
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

4 cups apple cider
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, cut up into 8 pieces
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Boil the apple cider over high heat until it reduces to 1/3-1/2 cup of liquid. (This took me 2 hours, but in the original recipe it took about 40 minutes, so I guess it definitely depends on the size of your pot. I used a normal saucepan.) 

While the apple cider is reducing, mix the sea salt and cinnamon together in a bowl; set aside for later. Spray a 8x8" square cake pan with nonstick spray and line it with two crisscrossing rectangles of parchment paper.

Once the cider is reduced, remove from heat. Add in the cream, butter, sugar, and brown sugar and stir. Return to heat and let boil until it reaches 252°F, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon/salt mixture. Pour the caramel into the prepared cake pan. Let sit until firm, about 2 hours. 

Remove the caramels from the pan by pulling on the edges of the parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board. Oil your knife well (I sprayed mine with nonstick spray every few cuts). Cut into as many pieces as desired. Wrap the pieces in squares of wax or parchment paper. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Makes a lot (will update with a more exact number once I remake them this year!)

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Apple Pie Pops

Happy Pi Day!!! It's an even more precise Pi Day today since it's 3/14/16 (if you round up pi, you get 3.1416 :D). So of course, I have a pie recipe for you today: Apple Pi(e) Pops.

These apple pie pops are great on the go and for sharing, like on a picnic. They're the perfect little bites of sweetness for when you're craving pie, but don't want a whole slice. I actually really like to have a greater pie crust to filling ratio, so if that's your preference, this is the dessert for you. Plus they're just really cute and festive.

And just FYI, the leftover filling is perfect for mixing into plain oatmeal, like the instant packets of apple cinnamon oatmeal, but better because it's made from fresh apples! I've definitely made just the filling before to make apple cinnamon oatmeal :).

Apple Pie Pops
adapted from Sweet Little Details and Cooking with Chopin

Pie Crust
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 stick (8 tbsp) cold butter
1 egg, beaten
cold water
sugar for dusting

Apple Pie Filling
2 apples, diced very fine
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water

For the pie crust: Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea sized lumps. Form a well in the center of the mixture. Add the beaten egg. Gently knead the pie dough, but don't overwork it! It should clump up when you squeeze it, but still be crumbly.

Gather the dough in a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and let it rest. Once chilled, let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Roll it out between 2 sheets of plastic wrap until about 1/16-1/8" thick.

For the filling: Place the diced apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until boiling, and let cook for 2 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the water and cornstarch. Add the mixture to the saucepan and cook the filling until thickened, 5-10 minutes. Set aside for now.

For the assembly: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut small rounds from the pie dough with a round cookie cutter and place on baking sheet. Place lollipop stick in the center of each round.

Spoon some pie filling on top. Wet around the edge of the round with water. Place another pie crust round on top. Press down on the edges to seal, then crimp with a fork. Use a knife to cut out pi on top, or just lines for venting. Repeat with rest of dough. Sprinkle the tops of each with sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

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