Cherchies

Cooking Tip: How To Make Homemade Caramel Sauce

cooking tipsSheri SpalloneComment
 Cooking Tip: How To Make Homemade Caramel Dip…And How To Use it!

Cooking Tip: How To Make Homemade Caramel Dip…And How To Use it!

Cook Time: At most 10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Yield: About 1 cup

With Fall in full swing, and the holidays fast approaching, nothing melts our hearts more than dreamy, homemade caramel sauce! Rich, creamy, buttery, caramel…add a pinch of salt and your taste buds will go into overload. It is the perfect compliment to your favorite dessert and beverage; and an absolute necessity for your holiday entertaining.

Follow along below as we share the steps of this easy recipe, along with clever ways to use it.

What is your favorite use for caramel? We would love to hear from you!

Here Are The Gooey Details

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of brown sugar

  • 6 Tablespoons (Tbsp.) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half, room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) sea salt (if want salted caramel, add up to 1 tsp. salt- Kosher salt is fine too)

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (you could substitute your favorite liquor for an extra special adult treat…we won’t tell, but make sure to keep away from the kiddos).

Preparation

There seems to be some debate out there in cyber world about making homemade caramel sauce, and whether or not to melt the sugar first with butter or add the butter at the end along with the rest of the ingredients. I have tried both ways with the end result being the same. Quoting my mother, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” (okay, she did not say ain’t, but you get the idea), so this is my version for a creamy, delectable caramel sauce/dip. It really is very easy, and only takes a few minutes.

The caramelization process happens quickly, so make sure all your ingredients are measured and in place before you begin. Start with a medium-sized stainless steel sauce pan (ceramic would work just fine too). Add the butter chunks to the pan, turn the heat on low, and gently stir the butter with a wooden spoon (you can use a whisk too) until it melts. Once the butter has melted, add the sugar and continue to stir until the sugar has melted. (Sugar will be HOT! Trust me, and learn from my mistakes, do not be tempted to taste the caramel at any time, until it has cooled! Many sites I researched suggest having a bowl of cold water on hand in case of flying molten sugar. Yikes! Do not be afraid, but be safe.) As you are stirring, scrape the sugar that forms on the side with the spoon or a rubber spatula and incorporate into the mix.

Continue stirring constantly on low until all the sugar has dissolved and you have achieved this rich caramel color and a nutty aroma. Some of the butter may remain on the top. This is okay. It will incorporate once the half and half or cream is added. As the caramel comes to a rolling boil on low, continue rapidly stirring. Add salt and vanilla (or liquor) at this time. If you want salted caramel, then add an additional 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of salt.

The last part is the cream or half and half. Add the cream slowly and stir stir stir! Again, be careful, this is where the caramel will get angry with you, as it will sputter and possibly throw molten sugar your way. You must prevail. I’m teasing… it really is very easy! Simply continue stirring rapidly until all the ingredients are incorporated. Remove the caramel from the heat and allow to cool. Turn off the stove. The caramel will thicken as it cools.

Look at that! Creamy, dreamy, homemade caramel sauce! You may never buy store-bought caramel again. Stay tuned below for our favorite uses for caramel.

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What To Do With Caramel Sauce/Dip

So now that you have made a deliciously decadent caramel sauce, what the heck do you do with it, right? Here are some of our favorite tips:

  • Top your favorite cake, pie, or tart with a generous drizzle of caramel.

  • Pour over popcorn and enjoy a sweet treat.

  • Dip apples for a deconstructed caramel apple.

  • Sweeten your coffee with caramel instead of cream and sugar.

  • Add to milkshakes.

  • Rim a mug of hot cocoa for that extra decadent touch.

  • For an adult beverage, rim a martini glass with caramel and serve with your favorite Appletini.

  • Make hot caramel apple cider.

  • Place in a pretty jar, tied with a pretty ribbon and give as a gift to your favorite hostess, teacher, family or friend.

  • Bake with Brie and nuts and serve with apples for a festive appetizer or dessert.

  • Make it savory! Mix with fish sauce and a few other ingredients for flavorful Vietnamese dishes. Food and Wine.

Thank you for stopping by!





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Recipe Roundup- 30 Fabulous Fall Recipes

recipe round upSheri SpalloneComment
 Recipe Roundup- 30 Fabulous Fall Recipes

Recipe Roundup- 30 Fabulous Fall Recipes

Happy Fall Everyone!

From Game Day to Halloween, we have hand selected our 30 favorite, quick and comforting Fall recipes guaranteed to make your Autumn entertaining a “breeze!"

As sad as it is to see summer end, Fall’s return is usually a refreshing break from the heat and humidity here in the Mid-Atlantic (and that means better hair days for most:). Fall brings a welcomed crispness, a familiar warmth, amber-colored leaves, apples, pumpkins, bonfires, sweaters... and of course football!

Embrace the nuances of Fall…cozy up, light a fire, invite your friends and family over for a casual get-together, and enjoy these 30 tasty Fall treats!

Comment below and let us know the recipes you have tried and as always, thank you for stopping by to visit! Come back again:)

Appetizers

Main Meal/ Dinner

Game Day

Halloween

Desserts

Enjoy and Happy Fall!

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Cinnamon Streusel Muffin Recipe

breakfast, snacksSheri SpalloneComment
 Cinnamon Streusel Muffin Recipe

Cinnamon Streusel Muffin Recipe

Cook Time:  30-40 minutes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

A spread of Apple Butter a day keeps the doctor away...that's how the saying goes right? Happy Fall friends! These delicious Cinnamon Streusel Muffins, laced with sweet cinnamony apple butter, will chase away any rainy day gloominess and put a smile on your family's face.

As much as our family loves summer, Fall is usually a nice welcome here in the North East, as it means crisper days, lower humidity, fiery-colored leaves, and A LOT less rain (or at least that is the norm). In case you have been not been following the news, Pennsylvania has been drenched with this crazy rainy pattern for most of the Summer and into Fall... weather seemingly atypical for our area.

What is the perfect cure for those rainy day blues you ask? "Bake the world a better place!" (Sorry, I couldn't help myself). And better yet, bake with your children! We love baking together as a family and these muffins, tinged with Cherchies® Apple Butter Spread and cinnamon, and drizzled with a lemony glaze are “just what the doctor ordered”. ;)

So fire up the fireplace, turn on your oven (maybe light a Fall-scented candle), grab the family, and get ready to create an amazing, Fall-scented dish everyone will love!

Comment below and let us know how you liked this recipe:) Thank you for visiting our blog and we hope to see you again!

* Note- I usually, make this as a coffee cake in a 9X13 pan, but this time decided to make muffins.  I used jumbo muffin tins from Wilton but this recipe will easily work in regular muffin tins as well (you may need to lower the cooking time to 30 minutes).

Muffin Ingredients 

  • 1 box yellow cake mix with pudding (We used Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix)-

  • 2/3 cup Cherchies® Apple Butter Spread

  • 1 cup buttermilk (*Substitute 1 cup milk plus 1 Tablespoon white vinegar, stir and let sit for a minute)

  • 4 eggs, room temperature


    STREUSEL MIX INGREDIENTS

  • 1-2 Tablespoons (Tbsp)

  •  2/3 cup brown sugar


    ICING INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

 Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the muffin tins with cooking spray. (We used jumbo muffin tins from Wilton to make them extra special. See *Note). In a small bowl, mix the streusel ingredients with a fork. (You will be using half of the streusel mix for the layering effect mentioned shortly, and the other half on top before baking).

Mix the muffin ingredients together in a medium bowl with a hand mixer and beat for two minutes.

So here is the fun part. The goal is to layer the batter, followed by a little streusel mix, then add more batter on top, not exceeding filling the muffin tin to 2/3 full.

After you have carefully layered the batter, take a butter knife and gently run the knife through the batter to make swirls. You will only need a couple of swirls. (This picture I accidentally filled the muffin tin more than 2/3 full…oops, sorry!) Finish by sprinkling the remaining streusel mix over the muffins. Place the muffin tins in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Depending on your oven and the size of the muffin pan (see *Note above), begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes.

While muffins are baking, mix the icing ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. When muffins are done, remove from oven and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes. The muffins can be slightly warm, but not hot, or it will melt the icing. Drizzle icing over muffins and enjoy!

Happy Baking!

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Cooking Tip: How To Make Cake Flour

cooking tipsSheri SpalloneComment
 Cooking Tip: How to Make Cake Flour*

Cooking Tip: How to Make Cake Flour*

Over the years, I have learned the value of "mise en place" (A French culinary phrase which means "putting in place" or "everything in its place"), but to be honest, cake flour is an ingredient I do not often have on hand...or do I? 

I am always amazed at the resources available online these days for everything, including how to make cake flour!  (Am I the only one who remembers encyclopedias and going to the library to research something?  I guess I am dating myself;)  Ok, I digress;)

Making cake flour (a necessary ingredient, in my opinion, for making light, tender cakes and other baked goods) is super simple and uses only two ingredients: all-purpose flour, and cornstarch. 

So, here is how it is done:  For every cup of flour required for a recipe, remove 2 Tablespoons (Tbsp.) of flour and add back in the same amount of cornstarch.  Here's a post by http://www.thegraciouswife.com/cake-flour-substitute/, which gives a nice breakdown of the conversions.

  • 1 cup of cake flour, remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
  • 1 1/2 cups of cake flour, remove 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch.
  • 2 cups of cake flour, remove 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of all-purpose flour and add 4 tablespoons of cornstarch.
  • 2 1/2 cups of cake flour, remove 5 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and add 5 tablespoons of cornstarch.
  • 3 cups of cake flour, remove 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and add 6 tablespoons of cornstarch.

There you go friends - a clever substitution with ingredients you probably already have on hand, and you will forever have your "mise en place"!

Comment below if you have any questions or tips of your own to share.

Thank you for stopping by!  Come back and revisit us :)

Happy Baking!

*A huge shout out and thank you to my dear friend Elliot from Bakin' Whoopie in Maryland for sharing this fabulous picture (I am pretty sure she knows how to make cake flour;), and to her Photographer, Mary Gardella (www.marygardella.com), also in Maryland, for capturing this playful side of Elliot.  Thank you ladies!

 

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