Thursday, October 25, 2012

Making Gourmet Caramel Apples using a Crock Pot

A few weeks ago, my sister and I helped throw a baby shower for our sister-in-law.  Since it was in October, we knew we wanted to include caramel apples.  We decided to make them as party favors.  Although I expected it to be a hard process, it was pretty easy and a lot of fun.  It might even turn into an annual tradition.

We decided to use granny smith apples because of the contrast between the tartness of the apple and the sweetness of the toppings.  Although you can use any apples, I read that Paula Deen always uses granny smith, which weighed my decision. 

First, we removed the wax coating from the apples-this helps the caramel stick better.  To do this, I heated water on the stove and added a teaspoon of vinegar.  It was NOT boiling, but very hot.  You are supposed to just "dip" the apple- however, you can sort of see when the shine comes off, so I turned them into the water until I saw the wax come off.  I THINK I made the water too hot though, because the next morning the apples were slightly brown and lost their bright green color.  This did NOT affect the taste or freshness of the apple though, but just a warning.

After removing the wax coating, put the apples in the fridge for at least an hour.  The caramel sticks better if the apples are cold.
Meanwhile, throw your caramels in your crock pot.  We followed the exact recipe from the Brach's bag, and it worked out great-
1 bag of caramels and 2 tbsp. water for every 7 apples
Stir the caramel every few minutes until it is smooth, being sure to scrap the sides.  It probably took about 20 minutes on high and then we kept it on warm throughout the dipping.

We used Wilton's lollipop sticks for the apple stems.  They worked great!  We pushed them as far as we could so that they wouldn't fall out while eating the apple. 


We used the following for our toppings:
crushed Oreos (FREEZE them, put them in a plastic bag, and smash with a hammer)
chopped unsalted peanuts
crushed Health Bars
autumn colored sprinkles
mini chocolate chips
melted chocolate and melted white chocolate

Dip the apple in caramel- this is slightly addicting. 
 I kind of wanted to swim in it like that candy bar commercial.

Use a spoon to scrape off all of the caramel at the bottom of the apple.  The caramel will settle and sink eventually, so this just saves caramel and makes it less messy.

Dip or ROLL the apples in the toppings.  I found it much easier to dip in the toppings than to try to pat them on the apple.
After dipping and topping, place the apples on parchment paper.  I tried wax paper, but it did not come off easily after the apples cooled.  The apples on the parchment paper came off much easier.

And now comes the even MORE fun part...
Melt chocolate or white chocolate bark in the microwave.  You can use a spoon and drizzle it on the apples, but I found a condiment squeeze tube MUCH easier and they have them at Walmart. 
Plus, it kind of makes you feel like a confectionery artist.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. 

After cooling in the fridge for an hour, we placed each apple on a cupcake liner, placed it in a plastic bag from Dollar Tree, and added a tag with a twist tie.  The cupcake liners stuck to the caramel and were hard to remove when eating, so you might want to skip that step, BUT they added some cute color!

The favors were a huge hit and tasted incredible!! 
They lasted a couple of weeks, although the caramel eventually slid off to the bottom- still tasted delicious though! 

Oh one more do NOT need to buy a 4 lbs. bag of chopped peanuts because you will only use about 1 cup. 

I have a lot of leftover toppings...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another day at the office.

When my sister and I decided to work from home, we knew there would be some tough days.  When we spend all day working on jewelry, I will admit that the girls sometimes watch more than one episode of Wow Wow Wubbzy.  

My house is small enough that we can always hear and almost always see the girls, so if there is silence for more than 60 seconds, we know there is something we need to check on.  Last week, we had a rough day.  It seemed to be one major event after another, and it happened like this...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Catching up with my Instagram

We were wanting a "fall" necklace to wear with all of our browns, tans, and gold tones.  I love the way this necklace turned out.  It is solid bronze and we stamped "thankful" on the back.  It is available in our shop here.

Our church had a ladies event a few weeks ago.  We went to Charming Charlie's and had pizza.  If you have never been to Charming Charlie's, it is pretty amazing. I ended up with a pair of cute rain boots for $12 and earrings for $3.99.  I love love love my "church" girls, including my momma. 

My grandma has been wanting to babysit the girls lately, which seems like a good fit, because my grandma has more energy than I do.  I'm sure my grandpa will be thrilled to get on his mower and find that every gear/button/lever has been changed.

Dear fall,
I love you.  I love you for festivals.  I love you for your changing leaves and apple festivals.  I love you for the pumpkin patch and getting to wear my TwoSeasidesBabes hat again. 

I love you for kettle corn bags the size of my child.  

New tradition.  Making caramel apples.  So much fun.  My sister and I made them for a baby shower last week.  I think I've gained ten pounds from eating the leftovers.  

We drove through Iowa to get to Minnesota last month.  This was the view for miles and miles- it was really peaceful and beautiful.  I love the country, but I also need a Target within a twenty minute drive, so Iowa is not for me.

And finally, here was the view while waiting in line for Whale of a Sale a few weeks ago.  This is the best consignment sale in the Indianapolis area.  I usually buy Delaney's entire winter and summer wardrobe at these sales.  We will be vendors at the Whale of a Sale Christmas sale at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, so come and visit us!

Linking up today with Life Rearranged!  When you don't have time to scrapbook, Instagram will have to do!

life rearranged

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Red Aqua and Elephants Baby Shower

My sister and I helped throw a shower for our sister-in-law last weekend.  Our nephew, Atley, is scheduled to arrive in December and we need a baby boy in this family.  We focused on the desserts during this shower because that is where our hearts lie.  

Atley's mom and grandma made these adorable fruit skewers.  How cute are the caterpillars?!

We didn't go crazy with the games- we played Baby Bingo where each person filled out their own bingo card.  We also put out a jar of peanuts and the person who guessed the amount won a prize.

Baby Atley received a LOT of great gifts, including Batman pajamas (his dad has always been a huge Batman fan) and a "vintage" rocking horse that belonged to his dad when he was a kid.

My sister and I made carmel apples for party favors.  They were SO much fun to make and I'll be posting a tutorial soon (in case you don't know how to dip an apple in carmel;)

We bought a cake from De-Lish cakes in Brownsburg, and it was wonderful.  Our good friend made the cupcakes and my mom used her scrapbooking skills to make toppers for them.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My homemade playdough pin-test

The weather has been rainy here, so I thought I'd give a fun toddler activity a try.  I have been wanting to make playdough with Del, so I found a recipe on pinterest and bought some Cream of Tartar ('cause who actually keeps that in their cabinet?). 

I used THIS recipe that included this gorgeous picture:

I combined all the ingredients, and let Delaney do the stirring.

After stirring, we had to cook it.  I did NOT know I would have to cook the playdough.  weird.

I was pretty sure we messed it up.  First, it said to add four drops of food coloring.  I wanted to make purple, so I added 2 drops of red and 2 drops of blue.  Instead of purple, it became a weird zombie flesh color.  Then, I stirred and stirred and stirred while it was on the stove and it just looked like chunky dog vomit.   Then, I took it out and it was super hot, so I put it on wax paper to let it cool.  When I tried to pick it up to knead it together, the wax paper came with it. 
It was a serious mess and then Delaney kept reaching for it and it was too hot.  So she was crying and I was scraping super sticky zombie color dog vomit playdough off my counter.  BUT THEN, after "kneading" it for a few minutes, it became normal playdough.  Not as easy as I thought, but the final product was super soft and great playdough.  
If you look closely, you can see the tear under the eye as a result of waiting for the super hot playdough.

I suppose I would make it again, but I would add more food coloring and maybe let it cool a little before putting it on the wax paper.  I think we still had fun making something together though, which was the point all along.


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