Easy Caramel Apples

Posted in Recipes By Amanda Henke

October 9, 2015 4:08:39 PM CDT

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Simple "Roasted" Grapefruit

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 2:57:42 AM CDT

We just received a few surprise inches of snow here in St. Paul, and immediately wanted to taste something bright, light & warm. Enter this 5-ingredient citrus wonder, perfect for brunch or as a sunny complement to your rich Easter dishes. It's quick, super simple and one of the ingredients is water, so really...it's a 4-ingredient sunbeam. gf2 You only need 1/8th of a baking caramel block for 2 servings. Grapefruit, balsamic vinegar and fresh mint round out the party. gf20 I love cutting into a grapefruit. The color is so bright and cheerful, and the fragrance is  just uplifting. In fact, the scent of grapefruit has been shown to be beneficial in more ways than one, you can read more about that here. gf11 Active cooking time is about a minute or so, then you'll let the fruits rest in the cooking liquid until they are warmed through. gf13 Plate your grapefruits, spoon some remaining sauce over them and shower with a generous helping of chopped mint. Bright, sunny & delicious. Cheers! gf8

Simple 'Roasted' Grapefruit

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 grapefruit
2 oz. Annie B’s baking caramel (about 1” slice off the block)
1 tablespoon water
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons finely chopped mint

Instructions:

  1. Rinse outside of grapefruit. Cut in half and loosen all sections with a sharp knife. Remove center pith with sharp knife.
  2. Put the caramel and water in a heavy 10” skillet and place over medium heat. Stir until completely melted and pan is hot.  Immediately add the grapefruit halves, cut sides down and heat for 30-60 seconds. Turn off heat. Let sit for 4-5 minutes until grapefruit is heated through.
  3. Occasionally move the grapefruit in the pan to coat the cut surface. Using tongs or two spoons, transfer to serving dishes, cut side up. Spoon remaining sauce over the grapefruit halves. Sprinkle with mint and serve immediately.

Note: For a sweeter variation, omit the balsamic vinegar. For a deeper flavor, omit the balsamic vinegar and replace with 1/4 teaspoon molasses.

Recipe adapted from NYT Cooking.

Recipe adaptation & photography by Jill May.

Cardamom Pistachio Caramels

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 2:59:19 AM CDT

I was feeling very Swedish the other day and wanting to express my Scandinavian roots with a little treat. I thought cardamom was a cozy way to do that, because it's a spice used in Swedish cookies and breads I ate growing up. Crushed pistachios add some texture and a pleasant pop of color. Plus, pistachios have several health benefits, so pat yourself on the back as you indulge. 14finalcaramelsNot that I feel we need to improve on our caramel but sometimes it's fun to accessorize it a bit. So you can feel fancy presenting them to your work buddies, your book club or even your Valentine!   14caramelAnd these are genuinely simple to make. The smell of melted caramel alone is worth the effort. If you think the cardamom will be overpowering for your taste, start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste.   14caramelcardamom       14caramelpistachiosPretty, right?   14caramelpistachios2You don't have to be of Swedish descent to enjoy these.   14caramelpistachios3But it doesn't hurt! Have fun.   14caramelpistachioscut

Cardamom Pistachio Caramels

Servings: 21-24

Ingredients:

       1 pound Annie B’s baking caramel (1 block), cut into large chunks
       1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
       1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a 4”X 8” loaf pan by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Melt caramel using either a heavy saucepan over low heat or in a microwave safe dish in the microwave – about 2 minutes at half power, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in cardamom. Pour and spread evenly in prepared pan.
  4. Sprinkle pistachios over the top and gently press into the caramel. Cool. Cut into squares. Wrap individual caramels in waxed paper squares or store in airtight container in the refrigerator. Let set at room temp for a few minutes before serving.

Note: Ground cardamom can lose its flavor rather quickly, so grind whole cardamom using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and use freshly ground cardamom in this recipe.

Recipe & Photography by Jill May

Homemade Snickers Bars of Glory

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 3:02:31 AM CDT

13bars I think we can all agree Snickers bars are one of the finest candy bars out there. Everyone loves them, so serving them at your parties is a no-brainer. But, it being the holidays and all, perhaps you want to dress them up a bit by making them at home, with top notch ingredients.

These are easy, and they really do make everyone smile. You can sub cashews or almonds for the peanuts, use an alt-butter in place of peanut butter, you can make them with dark or white chocolate, whatever gives them that little extra sparkle for you.

Yes you are going to make your own nougat, the fragrance of this alone is worth the effort. Just dreamy. 13nougat You'll spread your nougat evenly over your bottom layer of chilled and hardened chocolate. 13nougat2 When I was little I used to make these with my mom and I have always liked eating them cold. Here are some peanuts swimming in caramel. 13peanutscaramel2 Spread evenly over the bottom two layers of chocolate and your nougat. 13peanutscaramel You'll want a nice, even presentation so you should trim those edges and then eat said edges yourself. 13trimmingedges Just look at them. Gift-worthy, dessert-able and decidedly fun to make. Happy Holidays everyone! 13bars2

Homemade Snickers Bars of Glory

Servings: 30

Makes 9”x 13” pan.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups milk (or dark) chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or almond butter, cashew butter, etc)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow crème (1 – 7 oz. container)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts (or almonds or cashews or…), roughly chopped
1 pound Annie B’s baking caramel (1 block)
1/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. Prepare 9” x 13” pan by lining with parchment paper.
  2. In heavy saucepan, melt together 1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter.  Pour into prepared pan, spread into an even layer. Chill until set while preparing next layer.
  3. In separate saucepan, bring 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup evaporated milk to a boil over medium low heat.  Watch carefully for scorching. If mixture begins to scorch, lower heat immediately. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir marshmallow cream, 1/4 cup peanut butter, and vanilla into the butter/sugar mixture.  Pour and spread evenly over the first layer. Chill.
  5. Melt caramel and whipping cream until smooth either in heavy saucepan over low heat or in microwave at half power in 30 second increments, stirring frequently.  Stir in peanuts. Pour and spread evenly over second layer. Chill.
  6. Melt together 1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons peanut butter until smooth. Pour and spread over top of the third layer in the pan. Chill.
  7. Remove from pan by lifting edges of parchment paper. Cut into squares. Serve. Store in refrigerator.

Optional step: For individual candy bars, skip steps 2 and 6 above. Cut nougat and caramel layers into bars and dip into 2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips and 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter that have been melted together.

Recipe & Photography by Jill May    

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  

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

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.

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.

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

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