White Chocolate Caramel & Peanut Butter Cups

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 4:31:21 AM CDT

cropped-whitechocolatepbcups_edited-1.jpg

Oh hello!

This is my very first post. I'm Amanda and my husband Justin and I spend our days churning out goods from Annie B’s Caramels & Popcorn.  I'm not a classically trained chef or an expert by any means, but I am constantly learning, tasting and talking food. Probably to the point of boredom for those around me but I don't care! Food food food. I collect and devour cookbooks for fun, have taken some Food Enthusiast boot camps at the Culinary Institute of America, I try to make dinner at home 5x a week and part of my job is product development and recipe testing for Annie B's.  Food food food. More about Justin, our sweet son August and our mischievous pup Jiffy here.

At home I try to make healthy stuff for the sake of my toddler, but at work I get to develop and taste-test treats using a lot of butter, cream, sugar and other naughty goodies. These oft-forbidden confections are what I’ll mostly tell you about on this blog. The makes-life-worth-living, should have eaten it first, dessert stuff.

I’m pretty excited to launch Annie B’s blog, which I’m calling A Sweet A Salt. I was inspired by our popular Sea Salt Caramels & Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn, and also by the nerdy wordplay. Because I'm going to "A Salt" you with sweets. I have these little jokes and I apologize in advance for being a self-laugher. Boof.  Here you’ll find recipes, mostly ones that use caramel in sweet and sometimes savory ways. Also some fun quick tips, and updates on what’s happening in our world of caramel and popcorn. Give me feedback or just say hi once in awhile. I’ll try not to get too wordy and just stick to the goods.

Let me just get a little wordy this time though, because I'm introducing you to the blog. I'm sharing recipes and reverie. The reverie part will be notes on days when I'm daydreaming, sharing random experiences with you, seeking feedback and whatnot. I'll make that part meaningful or at least day-brightening, so it won't be a total bust. Just wacky fun.

Now then. To properly kick it off, a recipe for White Chocolate Caramel & Peanut Butter Cups, which includes our Annie B's baking caramel. Oh yes, these are decadent and um, king-sized (yep, we are using muffin tins) but you could cut them into quarters or halves. Or just celebrate and dive in using two hands sandwich-style, which is what you’ll probably want to do. In honor of Easter, they also kind of look like eggs!

Here's the thing, you can use whatever caramel you'd like. But honestly, at $5.50/lb our easy-to-melt (all-natural, gluten-free) baking caramel is really nice for a recipe like this.

So! Let's get to the fun. First you'll cut the caramel of your choice into small blocks, mix with cream and melt. Yes, the ingredients are gonna melt and so are you, when wafts of warm butter, sugar and cream fill your kitchen. Microwaving it is simple, but a stovetop (heavy-bottomed pan) over low heat works swimmingly too.

Some gratuitous prep photos to follow:

Here we have a 1-lb block of our baking caramel on the chopping block. You only need 1/2-lb for this recipe. Refrigerate the other half for up to 6 months. Note the caramel bugger on the left just basking in the glory of being chopped first. It's almost gloating. See? Food really will come to life here. IMG_5192Ooooooh. What a party.IMG_5194Swoon over this one! Warm caramel + cream, oh-ho-ho boy. Melted caramel can burn you, so resist the temptation to dip your fingers in. You should taste test it with a spoon a couple times though, because it's delicious. I mean, you're going to want to make sure it's delicious enough for sure. If you just eat it all at this stage and call it a day I will understand. Acceptable.IMG_5197If you reach this point with caramel/cream mix to spare, congratulations on your industrial-strength willpower! Melt chocolate as you like, using microwave over low heat and stirring often. Or you can use a double boiler, or melt in a non-reactive bowl over a pot of simmering water (not boiling, rather one tiny bubble every 2-5 seconds, take your time and stir frequently), or if you live in a dorm room, try this interesting technique from the geniuses at Food 52.  A tablespoon of coconut oil added to the chocolate before melting helps it to maintain a softer bite and velvety mouthfeel. IMG_5200-2Line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Fill with half of the chocolate. I haven't tried mini-muffin tins but if you choose to do so, let me hear how it goes please.IMG_5203Crunchy or creamy peanut butter, totally up to you.IMG_5204Combine peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and powdered sugar. Yes, this might make a satisfying side dish to the aforementioned caramel/cream combo but try to resist. End results are worth the wait.IMG_5205Let the chocolate chill a bit. Form the PB mixture into balls.IMG_5206And smooth out.IMG_5208Spoon caramel over top of PB mixture, then chill in refrigerator about 15 minutes to let the caramel set up a bit. Spoon chocolate on top and twirl into swirly caps, as such:IMG_5218How pretty! Refrigerate for an hour or so to set, but let sit out about 15 minutes before serving, to soften a bit. A rich dessert, perfect for a sweet end to a light spring dinner. Or to top off a heavy, calorie-laden one, you know, if you want to keep a big-eating day going or something. Hats off to you, whichever path you choose. Enjoy!whitechocolatepbcups_edited-1

White Chocolate Peanut Butter & Caramel Cups

Servings: 12 Peanut Butter & Caramel Cups
 Ingredients: 
8 ounces caramel – we recommend Annie B’s baking caramel (1/2 block)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon heavy whipping cream
16 ounces high quality white chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
 
Directions:
  1. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Cut caramel into chunks. Place heavy whipping cream and caramel in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on 80% power 30 seconds at a time, stirring well between each heating until smooth. Set aside. Be careful not to overcook. Stove option: heat caramel and whipping cream in heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until melted and smooth.
  3. Put white chocolate and 1 T. coconut oil in microwave safe dish. Heat on 80% power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring well between each heating until the chocolate is almost melted. Continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stove option: melt using double boiler.
  4. Evenly divide about half of the chocolate mixture among the 12 cupcake liners. If you wish the cups to be sealed, use the back of a spoon to pull some of the chocolate up the sides of the muffin liner, about halfway.
  5. Mix 1/2 cup peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar and brown sugar in a medium sized bowl using a hand mixer. Place heaping tablespoon balls of the peanut butter mixture on top of the chocolate. Slightly flatten the peanut butter balls. If they are too sticky, dampen your fingers.
  6. Spoon about a tablespoon of caramel over the peanut butter mixture. Chill for about 15 minutes or until caramel sets up.
  7. Spoon remaining chocolate over the top of the caramel layer and spread with the back of a spoon. If the chocolate has thickened too much, microwave for 15 seconds at a time until spreadable.
  8. Chill until set. Store in the refrigerator and set out at room temperature for bit, 15 minutes or so, before serving. 
(adapted from Crazy for Crust)
Photography by Jill May

Pecan Caramel Turtles

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 4:29:45 AM CDT

turtles6 My first job was working in the retail shop of a chocolate company in my hometown of Perham, MN. I started working there when I was 15, and I sold lots of delicious chocolate-covered caramels, chocolate-covered potato chips, chocolate-covered licorice, you name it.  The "oooh-aaah" item, however, was usually the TURTLE. People seemed to get more excited about turtles than anything, and I never really understood the hype. I still don't. Nah, just kidding, I totally get it now. Forgive me and please read on.

Part of my job was to taste everything, so I could describe the flavors to customers.  What a delightful responsibility for a 15-year old with the appetite of a large bear straight out of hibernation. I was particularly fond of milk chocolate buttercreams, dark chocolate raspberry buttercreams, and chocolate-covered potato chips. So I was naturally well-versed in my descriptions of said items. Turtles, not so much. Of course I never really tasted them and then I surely fibbed to all of those trusting turtle fans, telling them that ours were indeed delicious: salty, sweet and sticky.  I mean they probably were really good, I have no idea.

All of my tall tales seemed to work and my adorable customers would leave with little herds of turtles, excited to give them as gifts to other turtle lovers, always buying a few for themselves. Cut to today, a million years later and I have finally grown up and tried turtles for myself. Delicious! All that time I was being completely honest about the wonder of turtles. I just didn't realize it.

Part of the beauty of this recipe is the attention to making the pecans delectable, even before you blanket them in caramel and chocolate. drypecansBecause you drench them in melted butter and sea salt. Okay? Okay. pecansKinda cute.turtles1 Easy does it when melting your caramel. Gentle heat is best. turtlecaramelAbout a teaspoon of melted caramel per turtle.turtles3 Let them hang out for a bit so the caramel sets.turtles4 Chocolate shells. turtles5 These would make a cool addition to a spring party, actually, turtles are actually coming out of brumation (reptilian "hibernation" - I googled it) about now.  And so are we, friend, so are we. Happy Spring!finalturtles

Pecan Caramel Turtles

Servings: 20

Ingredients: 

8 ounces pecan halves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Sea salt
1 pound Annie B’s baking caramel, cut into cubes
6 ounces good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 ounces white chocolate (optional) Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Instructions:

  1. Toss pecan halves with melted butter. Spread in single layer on cooking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through baking time until lightly toasted. Cool.
  2. Arrange 4 pecan halves in a + formation on a sheet of parchment paper or silicone mat. Repeat with the remaining pecan halves.
  3. Melt caramel in one of two ways: Put caramel cubes in microwave safe bowl. Microwave at half power in 30 second increments until caramel begins to melt. Stir until smooth and completely melted. Or in heavy saucepan, melt caramel cubes over low heat while stirring constantly. When most of the caramel is melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until completely melted.
  4. Drop a teaspoon of melted caramel over the center of each pecan cluster. Cool and allow the caramel to set up.
  5. Melt 3/4 of the chocolate over a double boiler or set a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water. Stir frequently until melted. Remove from the heat, add remaining chocolate and stir until completely melted. Taking a spoon, drop a dollop of chocolate over the caramel portion of the turtle. Let cool until set.
  6. If desired, melt white chocolate using the same method as for the dark chocolate and drizzle lightly over turtles.
  7. Store for 2 weeks in airtight container between layers of waxed paper.

Variations:

WALNUTS: Use whole walnut pieces instead of pecans.

CASHEWS: Use salted cashews instead of pecans; skip step #1. Mound several cashews in small circle on parchment paper.

Photography by Jill May

Caramel Chocolate Tart

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 4:28:39 AM CDT

IMG_5692 Oh, the way the light catches that tart.

If you really want to spoil Mom next Sunday, set aside a couple of hours and make her this beeee-autiful dessert.  Chocolate crust has a little espresso powder (instant coffee powder works too) which brings welcome hint of bitter to an otherwise rich dessert.  A layer of caramel adds a buttery note. And chocolate ganache topping, well, it's a satin cloud of chocolate dreams.

Three distinct textures also make this dessert a party for your mouth. Dense chocolatey crust adds a nice bite, caramel adds a pleasant chewiness and the ganache is silky, melting chocolate nirvana.

What a great reason to spend Saturday night in!  Here's the plan: Gather your ingredients (and a tart pan) by May 9th. Don your comfiest threads and your apron. Ready your kitchen via Pandora (my favorite stations lately are First Aid Kit and Michael Kiwanuka) and beverage of choice (mine is something springy: Lillet, club soda, twist of orange).

Make your tart, get to bed at a decent time and bring it to Mom in the morning with coffee and flowers. Have a great Mother's Day talking and laughing and eating the whole thing. Cheers! IMG_5593 IMG_5621 IMG_5633 IMG_5643 IMG_5654 IMG_5662 IMG_5664 IMG_5681 IMG_5685 

Caramel Chocolate Tart with Chocolate Crust

Servings: 10

Makes 9” round tart or 14”x4” rectangular tart.

Ingredients: 

For the chocolate crust:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the caramel layer:
1 # Annie B’s baking caramel (1 block)
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

For the ganache layer:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

Make the chocolate crust:

  1. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and the salt.
  3. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture and mix until the dough comes together.
  4. Turn the dough onto a work surface and gently knead until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. The dough will keep for up to 1 week wrapped, in the fridge.
  5. Spray a 14”X4” rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom or one 9” round tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick baking spray.  Press the dough in an even layer in the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan with your fingers. Chill or freeze for 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Line the pan with parchment paper and fill to the rim with dried beans or pie weights.  (This step will prevent puffing of the dough when baking). Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the weights and parchment and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the crust looks dry and baked through.  Set aside to cool completely.

Make the caramel layer:

  1. Cut the caramel into cubes and melt. For a softer caramel layer, add the cream when melting. If using the microwave, put cubes into a microwave safe bowl and stir every 20-30 seconds until melted. Or on stovetop, using heavy saucepan, melt over low heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Carefully remove the sides of the tart pan from around the tart dough. Transfer to a serving platter.
  3. Pour the melted caramel into the prepared tart shell. Refrigerate to set, about 20 minutes.

Make the ganache layer:

  1. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the cream, butter, vanilla and salt. Bring just to a simmer making sure the butter is completely melted.
  3. Pour the cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and let sit undisturbed for 2 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Whisk the chocolate until the ganache is shiny and smooth.  Carefully pour the ganache over the set caramel and gently tip the tart from side to side to allow the ganache to cover the top of the tart completely.  Allow the ganache to set, about 30 minutes, before cutting sand serving.

IMG_5690 Adapted from: Chocolate Caramel Tart by Gesine Bullock-Prado

Photography by Jill May

Rhubarb Cake with Vanilla Caramel Sauce

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 4:27:40 AM CDT

finalrhubarbcake Sooo, this recipe is a no-brainer. If you live in the North you probably already have some lovely rhubarb growing in your yard (or your sharing neighbor does) and maybe you have a Rhubarb Crisp planned. That's a solid standby, but why not give this Rhubarb Cake a whirl?

It's a light, tart zingamapop of a dessert that no one will expect and you will be a hero, especially when you tell your diners that they are eating a dessert composed of a vegetable. Yes, rhubarb is a vegetable. Surprised? I was too. But, it looks a little like celery and it is definitely something you want to temper the flavor of via cooking, so yep, it's a vegetable. (Read more about rhubarb here).

It's rich in fiber and vitamin C so you may crown yourself the true King/Queen of desserts with benefits.

Don't worry about it being too healthy-tasting though, this cake is seriously delicious. The vanilla caramel sauce adds a satisfying layer of sweet and rich to the zesty flavor of the cake. No one will be disappointed and if your fellow diners are like me, they will cry for you to make it again. I beg my mom every year. She obliges about 75% of the time and I'll take it! It's just better when Mom makes it, amiright? Freeze some rhubarb in a freezer-proof bag and you can make it all year long. If you have extras, invite me over.

A familiar and welcome scene in the spring, below. I'll just let you enjoy these glorious images, then don your apron and get to baking. Cheers! rhubarbleaves  rhubarb   rhubarbingredientsmixingrhubarbcakebatterrhubarbcakebatterrhubarbandbattermeltedcaramel finishedrhubarbcakehorizontalrhubarbcake

Rhubarb Cake with Vanilla Caramel Sauce

Servings: 6-8
 
Makes 9 inch square cake with approx. 1 cup of sauce.

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb

For the streusel topping:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

For the caramel vanilla sauce:
4 ounces Annie B’s baking caramel (1/4 block)
1/2 cup evaporated milk or half & half
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating just until moistened.
  4. Fold in the rhubarb.  Pour into a greased 9-inch square baking dish.
  5. Combine the streusel ingredients. Sprinkle evenly over batter.
  6. Bake 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  7. For sauce, melt caramel and milk in a saucepan over low heat until melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Drizzle over cake squares, serve warm.

Tips: If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Let set for a 5 minutes and use in place of the buttermilk.

If you only have an 8 inch square dish, increase the baking time and check every 5-10 minutes until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Photography by Jill May tworhubarbcakes

Rhubarb & Cardamom Bread Pudding with Rum Caramel Sauce

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 4:24:16 AM CDT

Yes, I am posting two rhubarb recipes in a row, this one even more decadent than last week's. You read the title right, there's RUM added to the caramel. Go ahead and substitute BOURBON if you want to, either way it's a sinful reward for all of the green veggies and lean proteins you have been so diligently nibbling on.  Rhubarb is in season right now and this is a great treat for a a rainy day's luxurious dinner or brunch dessert. You could freeze your rhubarb and bookmark this recipe for the end of September too, if you wanted to, when blustery fall days beckon for boozy caramel atop buttered bread & tart spring rhubarb. Basically, this dessert is best summed up by the words of the brilliant Cole Porter: "It's delightful, it's delicious, it's delectable, it's delirious, it's dilemma, it's delimit, it's deluxe, it's de-lovely." IMG_6082 Rhubarb is glistening right now, don't let it grow too tall. Helpful rhubarb pointers here. IMG_6043 Oh, did I mention freshly ground cardamom? Finally an excuse to use your mortar & pestle! IMG_6051     IMG_6053   IMG_6056 It's dilemma, it's delimit, it's deluxe, it's de-lovely. IMG_6070

Rhubarb & Cardamom Bread Pudding with Rum Caramel Sauce

Servings: 8-10

Makes 9”x13” pan or large casserole

Ingredients: 

For the topping:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground cardamom

For the bread pudding:
4 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons dark rum or bourbon
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste or 1 fresh vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped rhubarb
12 ounces good quality rich bread, such as Brioche, challah, sourdough, etc., cut into 1” cubes (about 8 cups) plus 2 slices
3 tablespoons butter, melted

For the caramel sauce:
8 ounces Annie B’s baking caramel (1/2 block)
1/3 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum or bourbon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Directions:

For topping and bread pudding:

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch cardamom in small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter large casserole dish or 9”x13” pan.
  3. Spread bread cubes in single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake, tossing occasionally, until just dry, about 10-15 minutes.  Cool bread cubes.
  4. Whisk together eggs, yolk, and sugars in a large bowl until well blended.  Whisk in milk, cream, rum, vanilla, cardamom, and salt. Fold in rhubarb. Fold in toasted bread cubes.  Mix well to moisten.
  5. Let mixture stand until well absorbed, about 15 minutes. Pour into prepared pan.
  6. Cut remaining two slices of bread into cubes. Scatter over the top of the mixture, pressing slightly to partially submerge.
  7. Melt butter and drizzle or brush over the bread cubes.  Sprinkle with topping mixture.
  8. Bake until the pudding turns deep golden brown, is beginning to rise up the sides of the baking dish, and jiggles very slightly at the center when shaken, 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until set but still warm.
  9. Serve warm with caramel rum sauce.

 For the caramel rum sauce:

  1. In heavy saucepan over low heat, melt caramel and cream. Remove from heat and stir in rum and vanilla.
  2. Serve warm over warm bread pudding.

Tips:

  • Store leftover bread pudding and/or caramel sauce in the refrigerator.
  • Many cooks remove baked products before they have had a chance to brown sufficiently. Items seem to look a bit more browned in the oven than they do when cooling, so don’t be afraid to cook until sufficiently cooked. If it looks too browned and is not set, cover with foil while it finishes baking. With bread pudding, it is a custard, so will continue to cook and set once removed from the oven.
  • If you prefer the flavor of bourbon, substitute equal amounts of bourbon for the rum, or use flavored extracts and reduce the amount to taste.
  • Many use bread pudding as a way to use up stale bread. While this is an excellent reason to make bread pudding, using fresh bread will result in a higher quality product.
  • Substitute half and half for the milk and cream. Might result in a bit runnier pudding. For a richer, less eggy flavored pudding, substitute 9 egg yolks for the whole eggs.
  • Cardamom loses its flavor quickly, so it is important to freshly grind cardamom pods with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder instead of using purchased ground cardamom. Adding 1/2 teaspoon gives a wonderful subtle undernote, but if you wish a more pronounced flavor, add 1 teaspoon.
  • As for the rum, 2 tablespoons of dark rum adds a pretty rich rum flavor in the sauce. If you wish the caramel to be the star, back off and use 1 tablespoon.

Recipe & Photography by Jill MayIMG_6071

Marshmallow Popcorn Pops

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 4:22:35 AM CDT

Pops are pretty and fun to eat, and this one is a simple treat that is sure to please. Marshmallows get a hug from a blanket of caramel and a generous peppering of popcorn. If you are strapped for time and don't care to explore the world of homemade marshmallow-ry, go the easy route and buy the mallows. If you have some extra time and haven't made marshmallows yet, give it a go! Homemade marshmallows have a wonderful texture and are a neutral canvas for experimenting with flavors that pair well with caramel. Like chocolate, cinnamon, cheesecake, whatever inspires you!  06popsintub So, first the easy version. Generic marshmallows seem to have a more dense texture and can stand up to dipping in warm caramel better than their puffy pals. Pierce with skewers. Pop in a bag and freeze for 1 hour or more.06mallowsticks After the mallows have been in the freezer for 1+ hour, melt the caramel with milk and set aside to cool. Find your popcorn and gently crush. Tap, tap, tap. 06popcorncrush Dip.06mallowincaramel And roll. 06dipinpopcorn Refrigerate until caramel is set. They are adorable as-is, however if you want a more festive presentation you can wrap each pop in individual cake pop bags and tie with ribbon. Or you could find a piece of styrofoam, pierce and stand them up pops-up-top.06mallowpops Pretty simple, right? If you wish to take the road less traveled and make your own marshmallows, you'll find the recipe below. Or, just feast your eyes on some ethereal images of our fluffy clouds of sugary goodness. 06mallowdollop 06homemademallow 06mallow2 06mallows 

Marshmallow Popcorn Pops

Servings: 9-10

Makes 9-10 pops.
 

Ingredients:

8-10 large marshmallows (or use recipe for home-made marshmallows, below)
4 ounces Annie B’s Baking Caramel (1/4 block), cubed
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cups Annie B’s Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn (or Annie B’s Caramel Popcorn)
Lollipop sticks or bamboo skewers

Instructions:

  1. Pierce each marshmallow with a skewer. Put in a zipper bag and freeze for at least 1 hour.
  2. In a narrow microwave-safe cup or glass, melt the caramel and milk in microwave at 10 second increments, stirring frequently until melted and smooth.  Alternatively, you could melt on the stovetop, stirring over low heat. Cool for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Put popcorn into a zipper bag and gently crush with rolling pin. Put the popcorn into a small bowl.
  4. Remove the marshmallows from the freezer and dip each into the caramel mixture, then roll into popcorn, rolling to cover completely.
  5. Refrigerate the pops until the caramel is set and cool.

Homemade Marshmallows

Difficulty: Easy

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon flavoring such as pure vanilla extract, cheesecake emulsion, chocolate, cinnamon, etc.
1/4 powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Nonstick spray
Candy Thermometer

  1. Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer with ½ cup of the water.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water and corn syrup. Pour sugar and salt into the center, taking care not to let sugar touch the sides. Place over medium high heat, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F.  Remove from heat immediately.
  3. Using whisk attachment on mixer, turn the mixer on low speed. While running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all the mixture is added, slowly increase speed to high.
  4. Continue to whip until the mixture quadruples in volume and is lukewarm, approximately 12-15 minutes. Add the flavoring during the last minute of whipping.
  5. While the mixture is whipping, prepare the pan. Line a 9”x13” pan either with parchment paper or foil, liberally spray with nonstick spray.
  6. Mix powdered sugar and cornstarch together.  Shake some around the surface of the pan. Save the remainder of the mixture.
  7. When the mixture is ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Don’t try to get everything out of the bowl, as it is almost impossible to do.
  8. Dust the top of the mixture with the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  9. To cut, turn out onto a cutting board and cut with a pizza wheel oiled and dusted with powdered sugar. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
  10. If using homemade marshmallows to make the popcorn balls, skip the step in the recipe below calling for dusting marshmallows with powdered sugar. The caramel will stick better. Since you won’t use all the marshmallows in this recipe, dust the leftover marshmallows with the powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture.

Recipe & Photography courtesy of Jill May 06singlepop

Coconut Caramel Contest!

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 4:21:23 AM CDT

Hi! We have launched a new Coconut Caramel and are holding a contest to win some sunny prize packs on our Facebook page. We will announce 3 (well, maybe more) winners on 7/10/15 at noon CST. Please click here to visit our page and enter, good luck and have fun! coconutfb Talk to you soon, be good.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 4:20:20 AM CDT

Baby it's hot outside and I'm really excited about this new trend, making your own ice cream at home. This is a trend, right? If it isn't, we should make it one. Dust off that ice cream maker attachment that you got with your KitchenAid mixer and give it a churn! 08icecreamnutssalt Gather your ingredients, which are pretty likely to already be on hand. Click here to buy your one-pound package of Annie B's caramel. 08ingredients Combine 1/2 pound of caramel with 1/4 cup heavy cream and gently melt. 08meltedcaramel Whisk egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.08whisk Heat milk, then add 1/2 cup to egg mixture. Add egg mixture back to milk and heat to 170 degrees. 08thermometer Remove from heat and strain. 08icecreamstrainer Stir in caramel, cream, salt and vanilla, chill in refrigerator for 6-8 hours or longer. 08caramelpouring Following instructions for your ice cream attachment, add custard and mix until thick.  If you are using a KitchenAid ice cream attachment, click here for a nifty (2 minute) instructional video. 08icecreammaker Add dark chocolate pieces, chopped nuts and our personal favorite, a sprinkle of sea salt atop your masterpiece. 08saltedicecream 

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Servings: 8-10

Makes about 1 1/4 quarts.

Ingredients:

8 ounces Annie B’s baking caramel (1/2 block)
2 cups heavy cream, divided
5 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
2 to 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (optional)
Cashews or pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
Ice cream maker/machine

Instructions:

  1. In small heavy saucepan over low heat, melt caramel and 1/4 cup heavy cream until smooth. Stir in sea salt. Set aside.
  2. Using whisk attachment of stand mixer, mix egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. While egg yolks and sugar are mixing, heat milk in medium saucepan over low heat just until small bubbles begin to form on the edges.
  4. With mixer on low, SLOWLY pour 1/2 cup of the milk into the egg and sugar mixture. This will temper the eggs without cooking them too quickly resulting in a lumpy eggy mixture. Slowly add the milk and egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk while whisking.
  5. Cook over low heat until thermometer reads 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and strain into a large bowl.
  6. Stir in warm caramel mixture, 1 3/4 cups heavy cream, salt and vanilla until well mixed.  Cover well and chill in refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours (the colder the better).
  7. Following directions of the ice cream maker, add the custard and mix until thick. Add dark chocolate (optional) towards the end of the ice cream cycle. Transfer to freezer container and freeze 2-4 hours until hard. Serve. If desired, sprinkle additional flakes of sea salt before serving. Serve with chopped nuts, if desired.

Notes: The ice cream attachment of KitchenAid mixer was used to test this recipe. Click here for a quick instructional video

This is a very rich, custard based ice cream. It tends to be on the softer side, so store in the coldest part of your freezer.

Variation: Caramel Ice Cream – We are a little crazy for salt, but we get it, not everyone likes their caramel ice cream salted. In that case, for caramel ice cream, just follow the recipe and reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon.

Recipe and photography courtesy of Jill May.

Caramel Apple Pie

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 4:13:13 AM CDT

It's the time of year for some indulging, and what better to go overboard with than a beautiful, golden pie.

Apple pie, luscious in its own right, is downright naughty with the addition of caramel. Ohhhh baby. 11pie2 This recipe is a snap if you use ready-made pie crust, but if you choose to make your own crust using our No Fail Pastry recipe (below) your pie will achieve unicorn status. Attribute this to the lard in the recipe. Yes, I typed the word "lard." We are going overboard, remember? Let's live a little.

So you'll cut that lard into flour until you get a texture like this. 11doughtexture Roll. 11rollingpin Trim & chill. 11crust Now to the filling. About 8 large and tart apples will do. 11applepeeler Peel & slice thin. 11applefilling2 Butter, brown & white sugars, flour and cinnamon transform our caramel into a sauce which just bearhugs those apples. 11ingredients This is some plum snuggling, to be sure. 11caramelapplefilling Roll, fold, crimp, brush, sprinkle, pierce into a serene pie face like this one. 11unbakedpie Cool. 11piecooling Whip up some cream (leave it just a whisper runny) to drop atop and then find a cozy nook to sip some coffee, listen to some Neil Young and savor every morsel of that pie yourself. Or share with your absolute favorite people. Enjoy! 11slice 

Caramel Apple Pie

Servings: 8

Makes one 9-inch pie.

Ingredients: 

No Fail pastry (recipe follows) or 2 ready-made refrigerated pie crusts
8 cups peeled, cored, thinly sliced tart apples (like Granny Smith)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
1/4 cup flour
1/4 lb Annie B’s baking caramel (1/4 block), cut into chunks
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Milk or heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. Prepare pastry (recipe follows). Divide into three portions, cover and chill for 30 minutes. This recipe makes 3 portions, 2 portions will be used with this recipe; third portion can be used for another recipe or wrapped and frozen.
  2. Roll one portion of pastry to fit 9” pie pan. Trim edges, leaving 1/2” overhang. Chill 20-30 minutes.
  3. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup flour and caramels, stirring occasionally until sugars are dissolved and sauce is slightly thick – about 5-7 minutes. Stir in cinnamon.
  4. Heat oven to 400°F. Arrange apples over dough in pan. Pour sauce evenly over apples.
  5. Roll remaining disk of dough so that it overhangs about 1”. Place over apples. Fold top crust over bottom crust; crimp edges. Brush with milk and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Cut slits into top crust.
  6. Bake crust for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 40 to 45 minutes. Since the caramel mixture will bubble before apples may be done, gently poke through one of the slits with a knife to determine if the apples have cooked through and don’t resist. If crust is turning too brown before filling is done, lay aluminum foil strips over the edges.
  7. Let cool completely before serving.

No Fail Pastry:

8 ounces lard
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg

Directions:

  1. Mix salt, 4 tablespoons ice water, vinegar and egg in a small bowl with fork.
  2. Cut the lard into the flour until it lard is in pea sized pieces using a pastry cutter or two butter knives cutting across each other.
  3. Add liquid mixture until dough forms. If too dry, sprinkle additional tablespoon of ice water over the dough.
  4. Divide dough in thirds, wrap, and refrigerate.

Recipe & Photography by Jill May.

Pie filling recipe adapted from Saveur’s Caramel Apple Pie. 11apples

Caramel Pecan Baked Brie with Kahlua

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 3:04:43 AM CDT

12finale2 Yes, Thanksgiving is coming up but you are probably already totally prepared for that, so instead let's plan for the cocktail party you're hosting between now and Christmas. You can and should build a party around this triumphant cracker topper.

Requiring just a few ingredients and a super-easy assembly, this is a festive showstopper to set alongside your crudités and party bites.

If your wheel of brie is on the larger side, you may have to roll out your pastry crust. 12rollingdough A 13-17 ounce wheel of brie works great. Leave the rind intact. 12brie Just a gratuitous melted caramel shot. 12meltedcaramel Combine melted caramel with pecans and Kahlua, and mount atop your brie. 12toppedbrie Carefully wrap pastry around the wheel, pleating as you go. Brush all sides and top with egg wash. 12eggwash Bake for 20-30 minutes until pastry is golden and lovely. Let it rest for about 10 minutes, lest you are attacked by a rushing river of molten brie. 12finale1 Serve with crackers. Carr's Water Crackers have a nice neutral flavor, or if you feel like getting all domestic, here's a nice recipe for homemade butter crackers. 12finale3

Caramel Pecan Baked Brie with Kahlua

Servings: 8-10

Makes 1 baked (and spiked) brie.

Ingredients:

1 refrigerated 9” pastry crust
1 – 13 to 17 ounce brie wheel
4 ounces Annie B’s baking caramel (1/4 block)
3 to 4 tablespoons Kahlua liqueur
1 cup pecans
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Crackers

 Directions:

  1. Leave pastry crust at room temperature until it unrolls easily.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  3. Depending on size of Brie wheel, you may need to roll pastry crust to a larger size. Roll from the center out so that crust is large enough to meet in the center when folded around cheese wheel.
  4. Place pastry on prepared pan. Place unwrapped Brie wheel in center of pastry.
  5. Melt caramel in the microwave in 15 second increments until melted and smooth. Stir in Kahlua until well combined. Fold in pecans.  Spread on top of cheese wheel.
  6. Bring up pastry over the top of the cheese wheel, pleating crust as you go.
  7. Beat egg and water in small bowl. Brush surface and sides with egg wash.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes until pastry is golden brown.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  9. Transfer to serving dish or platter and serve warm with mild flavored crackers.

Recipe and Photography by Jill May.

Recipe inspired by Noble Pig.  

One more thing, if you are looking for an even easier centerpiece for Thanksgiving or you upcoming holiday gatherings, check out our selected gifts. Annie B's merged with B.T. McElrath Chocolatier in October, so we are now also proudly offering delicious chocolate truffles, bites and bars. Click here to shop caramels & popcorn, click here to shop chocolates. HOMEPAGE-8 IMG_3526 GIFTTOTE01-3 XO  

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