Saturday, November 5, 2011

Super Easy and Delicious Homemade Applesauce

I love fall, and all the yummy warm food that comes with it! One of my favorite fall treats is homemade applesauce. My mom always made this for us and it was SOOO good!! I have been trying to copy her for the last few years but my applesauce never turned out just right....until now :) I FINALLY got it right and it was so good! AND, I was smart enough to take notes so that I can achieve it again! The recipe is below, but first I want to tell you that you will want to get one of these cool little guys:
This is our favorite kitchen gadget and I am telling you about it because not many people seem to know about it! :) This "apple peeler" peels, slices, and cores your apple in one quick and easy motion, its amazing. And Chad and I just discovered you can use it to peel other items such as potatoes..AMAZING!! The only problem you will find with it is keeping the kids away---they will love it as well!! And they will want to eat apples all day long :) Chad and I got ours at Harbor Freight and I know they have them at BedBath and Beyond as well--you can get it for about $15-20. Alright, there is my spiel :) Now on to the recipe!!

Homemade Applesauce:

4-5 large apples-peeled, sliced, and cored (Granny smith or Fuji apple are best)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
dash of salt

Throw all ingredients into a pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes, apples should be super soft. Remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 min.
Okay--here is where you might have some variety, you will want to look at your sauce and you might need to drain some of the liquid if it is really runny--it will thicken a little as it cools so dont drain all. You will also want to taste it and if your apples where really tart you may add a tinch more white sugar (do this while its still hot so the sugar dissolves).
Mash with a potato masher. I like mine chunky so I only mash it a little.
Serve on pancakes, icecream, or my favorite--homemade bread!!

 Lucy LOVED it, went crazy actually :)
Mom wasnt feeding her fast enough :)
And no, we dont usually (or ever) eat in the living room, however our kitchen is currently under construction!

Bread Machine Recipes:
I love my bread machine! it is so easy! Here is the white-bread recipe I used, just in case you need one! :)

White Bread: 
1.5 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp shortening
4 2/3 cup flour
2 Tbsp dry milk
1.5 tsp Active dry yeast OR 1 tsp. Bread machine yeast.

Throw everything in breadmachine--in order of recipe! Set your bread machine settings to 'white bread' and  '2 lb loaf'. Sit back, relax and let it do all the work! Enjoy :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

WARNING: These cupcakes are addicting! :) 

These cupcakes are so delicious and inspired by some AMAZING salted-caramel cupcakes I had when visiting NY. I found this recipe at Sprinkle Bakes, but I made some of my own tweaks to it! But check out her complete recipe and directions--she puts in a caramel filling that I didn't do! These are great to bring to parties and potlucks---everyone will love them and be amazed at the fun design. 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 stick of salted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar 
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Makes about 15 cupcakes. Preheat oven to 325. Line muffin tins with papers.

    Cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed until  fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated.  Add vanilla.  Combine flour and baking powder, mix into batter gradually alternating with additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. 
    Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each a little over halfway. Bake for about 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack

Salted Caramel Frosting:

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cubes salted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a saucepan, mix together sugar and water.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color.  Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth.  Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable.
    Beat butter until lightened and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar.  Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the caramel mixture.  Beat on medium high speed until fluffy and completely mixed (about 2 minutes).  Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration.  If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny.  If this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. 

Swirly Hard-Caramel Toppers:
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water

    Lay out a large piece of parchment on your counter and spray with cooking oil. Prepare an ice bath by filling your sink or a baking pan with ice and water.
     Combine sugar, salt and cold water in a saucepan; stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat and bring syrup to a boil.  Lower heat slightly and swirl the pan once or twice as the syrup caramelizes so it will color evenly; do not stir.  When the caramel is deep amber (nice caramel color), remove from heat and plunge the base of the pan into ice bath for about 2 seconds (then remove) to stop further cooking.
    WORK QUICKLY: get a spoonful of the caramel and drizzle it onto the parchment paper, move the spoon in a quick circular motion as the caramel falls off the spoon, keep it thin. Repeat 15 times--one for each cupcake (I usually do more so that I can choose what ones I want to use!) When caramel has cooled for a minute sprinkle sugar on top for some extra sparkle :) Let cool, remove from paper and adorn cupcakes.
       *when I say work quickly I mean it!!! :) The caramel will start to harden as it cools and will get difficult to work with, I usually recruit my lovely Hubby to help me so we can get it down FAST!!