Easy Caramel Sauce for Apple Dipping

About this time of year, I always start craving caramel apples. And despite the rumors I’ve heard (and chosen to ignore) about people gaining 10ish pounds on average between Halloween and New Years, I can’t seem to make myself feel bad about holiday-related baking (and eating). I have too many happy memories of helping my mom bake Christmas cookies, coming home from school on a chilly fall day and eating caramel apples with my siblings, and sipping hot chocolate while watching the snow fall to deprive myself of reliving those, and making new ones with my own little cutie.

So yesterday afternoon, while the wind was blowing and we were snuggled up inside, I figured it was time to carry on the caramel apple tradition. A simple way.

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Making a stand-alone caramel sauce to dip apples in just seems so much easier to me than dipping whole apples—easier to make, easier to eat, easier to pile on ridiculous amounts of caramel to each bite of apple. (My preferred and recommended caramel : apple ratio is roughly 3 : 1.) And although I’ve generally been intimidated (not to mention wildly unsuccessful) with homemade caramel sauces in the past, this one was quick and simple and so, so delicious. I really appreciated that there weren’t any unusual ingredients, either—I already had everything I needed in my pantry. I found the recipe here, and will definitely be saving it to remake next fall, too!

 

Homemade Caramel Apple Dip

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter

1 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. honey

1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly (will take 5-10 minutes).
  3. Lower heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat, let cool a bit and then pour into a serving bowl and serve warm.
  5. Refrigerate any leftovers. Microwave a few seconds to soften before using again.

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Never do I wonder about a potential hospital baby-switch-mixup more than when it comes to food with this little guy. That excitement on his face? It’s over the apples. JUST the apples. And when I dipped one in caramel and offered it to him, he cried and threw it across the room. I’m really doubting our genetic connection if he is more excited about a plain, naked green apple slice than he is about an apple slice with caramel on it! (But I can’t complain—at least he likes apples.)

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I guess little man can eat them however he likes—I like my apples with lots of caramel goodness piled on top. I won’t lie to you, folks—this stuff is so tasty that when we finished our apple slices, I scraped out that little bowl of sauce with a spoon. Can’t let a single delicious calorie go to waste.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe . . . we sure did!

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Favorite Pumpkin Bread Recipe

There’s a recipe that I’ve had in my baking arsenal for longer than I want to admit to.  I look forward to making it every year when the leaves start turning and the temperatures drop.  Actually, I don’t look forward to making it as much as I look forward to eating it. It’s a dressed up pumpkin bread, officially named Harvest Loaf Cake.  (Maybe that’s why I like it so much – it’s as much “cake” as it is “bread”!).  It is sweet, pumpkin-y, and loaded with yummy chocolate chips and walnuts.  (If you’re crazy, you can leave the walnuts out.)

Today I’m going to share with you this perennial Field family favorite.  Here’s what you’ll need:

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Combine the flour with the baking soda, salt, and spices.  Cream the butter, gradually adding the sugar. Beat until it’s nice and fluffy.  Then add the eggs.

While beating at low speed, add dry ingredients alternately with the pumpkin, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

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Stir in the chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts.

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Turn into greased loaf pan.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped walnuts.  Bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes.  Cool.  Drizzle with glaze (optional, but one of the best parts of the recipe!).

Now here’s the very hardest part of this recipe:  Let bread stand 6 hours before cutting.  If you can do that, you’re a better woman than I am!

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Harvest Loaf Cake

1-3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup butter (or margarine)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Grease the bottom of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  Combine the flour with the baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, cream the butter.  Gradually add the sugar while beating. Blend 2 eggs into butter/sugar mixture and beat well. At low speed, add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter/sugar/egg mixture, alternately with the pumpkin.  Stir in the chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the walnuts. Turn into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 65-76 minutes, or until center of loaf is done. Cool. Drizzle with glaze. Let stand 6 hours before cutting.  Makes one 9 x 5 loaf.

Glaze

Combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar,1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.  Blend in 1-2 tablespoons cream and stir to make a thin glaze.