Monday, November 15, 2010

Gorgeous Caramel Apples

Homemade Caramel:
1 C. Butter
1 C. Corn syrup
2 1/2 C. Brown sugar
1 Can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
2 t. Vanilla
1/4 t. Salt
White chocolate
Sugar/cinnamon mixture
Milk chocolate
Heath candy bits
Tips for rockin' caramel apples:
*Wash and scrub the waxy film off the apples before you begin. If you don't, the hot caramel will melt the nasty, waxy layer off and your caramel layer will drip off into a goopy mess. Baking soda works great. Scrub scrub scrub!
*You want cold apples! This will help the caramel to not slip off. Dry the apples really well and leave them in the fridge until your caramel is ready.
*This makes enough caramel to coat 6-8 large apples. I removed the stem from each apple and inserted lollipop sticks. You can even use a heavy bowl to hammer them if you've been completely slacking on your Pilates like I have.
Let's get dipping!
In a large saucepan, melt butter over med-high. Add syrup and sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil and then slowly add condensed milk while stirring.
Continue to stir while it thickens and darkens for 30 minutes. If you want to use a candy thermometer then you'll cook the caramel until it reaches the "firm ball" stage, which is 245-250 degrees F. I used a thermometer twice and ended up burning it twice. So, my appetite decided to not let me use the thermometer anymore. Essentially, the firm ball stage is reached when you can drop a piece of caramel into cold water, a firm ball forms.

Remove caramel from heat and stir in the vanilla. You'll want to have your apples and greased wax paper ready to go.
The fun part! Dip the apples at an angle and rotate in the hot caramel. Then, pull it up and use a knife and slide it under the apple to cut off the extra caramel. Believe me. There will still be a little pool of caramel on the bottom. Which is the best part of the apple once all is said and done!
Place the dipped apples onto greased wax paper. If you want to roll the mix-ins directly onto the caramel then this is the time to roll while it's still soft and warm! Or let the caramel set for an hour or so if you want to dip them into chocolate. 
This is such a fun activity to do with the family!
And the result? Wow. The caramel is heavenly. Double dipping is completely accepted here and heavily done, let me tell you. Paired with the sweet and tart apples?
You make my taste buds dance
Yours truly, Little Bakin' Blonde

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

President Hinckley's Stacked "BE" Blocks

I saw an idea similar to these blocks floating around online and in a scrapbook magazine thanks to the subscription from my sweet mother-in-law. I fell in love with this craft. Money was tight and I was really hoping to make a cute Christmas gift for Momma Moon and Momma Kimbo. 
I found a gal online that could make these letters using her Cricut using President Hinckley's "Be" attitudes. I swung by Home Depot and had them cut wood beams into 4x4 blocks. TONS and tons of sanding. Paint. Distress. I loved the look of jumbling the letters together with a super cute font. Sealer.
These darling blocks made a fabulous gift. Or, if you're like me, you'll save 5 sheets of letters. Just in case.
Yours truly, Me

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Love the Holidays

Dear Autumn,
I love you...
I get to turn these gorgeous pumpkins into glowing spooky scenes
I get to wear my plethora of scarves. Almost daily.
You make the best apples. Oh, and do I love to dip and dress them up.
You also give me a reason to drink apple cider all the time.
I now have a beautiful and precious niece.
Annabelle Kay Tolman
I love the holidays.
Yours truly,  Me