Every year, for our Open House, I put out the call for some help with baking—and every year, my friends answer this call! Thanks to Märtha, Patty and Jennifer for making our event so wonderful. You are very special to me!
This is the recipe for the apples I gave as a “free gift with purchase” during my open house (first 20 customers)—I originally got the recipe from a client (thanks Rocklan!)
- 1 pound dark brown sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons dark molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 apples, room temperature
Special equipment: 12 wooden sticks
Combine all the ingredients together, except for the apples, in a large saucepan, and stir with a wooden spoon over a medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved and is not gritty. Use a wet pastry brush to wipe around the sides of the pan to dissolve any sugar crystals that may form.
Clip a candy thermometer on to the side of the pan and bring the sugar mixture to a rolling boil over medium heat, and cook until the thermometer reads 236 degrees F. Pour into a stainless steel bowl and allow it to cool to 200 degrees F.
While the syrup is cooling, push a wooden stick into each apple from the top through the core. The stick should be deep enough so it won't fall off when you dip the apple into the caramel.
Line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or waxed paper.
Dip each apple into the 200 degrees F caramel, watching carefully, so as not to dip your fingers into the caramel. Remove the excess caramel by turning the apples over the caramel bowl and then transfer to the cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining apples.
Chill for 15 minutes, then remove them from the silicon mat or waxed paper. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.
We dipped them in chocolate melted with butter, too. Nuts and other flavors can be added as well.
The following recipe is the cake Märtha made—these are her instructions:
This is what you use:
6 egg whites
5 dl sugar (2 1/2 cup)
1 pk ritz crackers (4 sleeves)
250 g peanuts
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
6 egg yolks
1 dl heavy wiping cream (1/2 cup)
100 g butter (or one stick)
100 g sugar (3.5 ozs)
100 g dark chocolate (3.5 ozs)
This is how you do it:
Whip the egg whites to a meringue. Add the sugar little by little when it has started firming up. Crunch the crackers to "chunky powder" and add it to the meringue, add the vanilla, the baking powder and the peanuts. Stir well. Pour the batter (it is really thick and almost forms like a ball) into a pan. Bake on 380F / 25 min. Let it cool.
Use a pan: add the egg yolks, the cream and the sugar. Bring to boil (light bubbles) and let it boil until it thickens up - stir ALL the time!!! When the cream is thick - take it off the burner and let it cool for just a little before you add the butter and the chocolate. (If the cream is too hot when you add the chocolate the cream might separate so make sure it has cooled a little – but not too much because then it'll be hard to melt it) Stir until all is melted and you have an even cream. Let it cool to almost cold before you pour it over the cold cake.
You will get the best result if you let it settle over night in the fridge :)
Here are the special request (I requested them) cookies that Patty made for the event—LOVE these things!
Graham Cracker Cookie Bars
· 20 graham crackers (individual squares), regular or chocolate
· 1 1/2 sticks butter (6 ounces)
· 3/4 cup brown sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla
· 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Line a jelly roll pan (10x15-inch) with foil; arrange graham crackers in the pan in a single layer. Combine butter and sugar in a heavy medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil for 2 minutes; stir in vanilla and chopped pecans. Pour the hot mixture over crackers and spread evenly. Bake 10 minutes at 350°. Remove at once from pan to flat surface to cool. When cool, break into smaller pieces.
This is the recipe for the chocolate covered fruit-nut balls Jennifer contributed (lots of requests for this one!):
taken from "A Homemade Life" by Molly Wizenberg
They do better if made a couple of days ahead, and they will keep in the refrigerator for two to three weeks.
1 cup walnuts
1/2 pound pitted dried cherries
1/2 pound dried figs
1/2 pound pitted dried apricots
1/2 pound pitted prunes
1 to 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, brandy, or apple cider
1/2 cup powdered sugar
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Put the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and pulse to chop finely. Transfer to a large bowl.
Return the food processor bowl to its base and add half of the dried fruits. Pulse to chop finely. You don't want to turn the fruit into a gummy paste, but you want it to be chopped finely enough that there are no pieces larger than a pea. Add to the bowl with the walnuts.
Repeat with the remaining dried fruit. When all the fruit is finely chopped, stir the fruit-nut mixture well. Add 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier and stir to incorporate. Pinch off a small wad of the mixture and squeeze it in your palm: does it hold together in a tight ball? If not, add another tablespoon of Grand Marnier.
Put the powdered sugar in a small, wide bowl or pie plate. Pinch off bits of the fruit-nut mixture and, squeezing and rolling them gently in your hands, shape them into 1 to 1/2 inch balls. Roll each ball in powdered sugar to coat, shaking off any excess, and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside at room temperature, uncovered, for 24 hours.
To finish, line a second baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone liner. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth and loose. Remove from heat.
Working with one ball at a time, use a small spoon to dollop a bit of chocolate on top. Shake the ball lightly to coax the chocolate down its sides (only the top half or so, as if the ball were wearing a chocolate hat.) Place the ball, chocolate side up, on the lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining balls.
Slide baking sheet, uncovered, into the refrigerator and chill until the chocolate has hardened, about 2 hours. Tuck each ball into a small paper candy cup. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Yield: 45 to 50 balls.
Don’t forget you only have until midnight tonight to enter to win some great prizes from Hodgepodge—visit this post for more info.
Thanks for your indulgence!