Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dairy Free Caramel Apples

This was my first attempt for this week's Unplugged Project: Smooth. It ended up being anything but a project for us to do together as I ended up rushing the kids out of the kitchen. However, I still wanted to post this because the recipe is so good and apparently extremely fool-proof for all that I did wrong... just goes to show that I Must Follow Recipes...

I got the recipe from Dog Hill Kitchen. I followed the ingredients exactly, but the instructions... not so much. It really wasn't intentional. I just didn't read really carefully and my thoughts were scattered that day.

Please, feel free to laugh as I make my way through this recipe.

I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll start with the fact that I thought I had a candy thermometer. I know I did... before we moved over two years ago. All I could find was the meat thermometer and that didn't read up to 248F.

I had already dumped everything into the skillet, though, when I realized I didn't have the correct thermometer, so I figured I'd just "guess" at the temp. {grin}

Then, after I've got it all mixed and boiling, I realize that her instructions call for at least a 4 quart capacity saucepan MINIMUM. This is where I get into real trouble. It starts boiling over. I turn down the heat to contain the caramel and then actually have enough of a thought process to realize it's not going to get hot enough if I don't have it on med-high heat as instructed. So, I turn it back up again and it overflows again. (This is where the rushing of the kids out of the kitchen comes in.)

Luckily, I had a neighbor girl with me and ask her to get out the big stock pot... it's all I had. I turn off the stove and attempt to pour this boiling hot caramel into the stock pot. Yes, I made a bigger stickier mess. The girl even tells me that I might ruin the caramel because I let it cool. True, but I'm already half way through. I'm not stopping now!! We'll just have to see...

So, now I've got it on Med-High heat and it's boiling and turning a nice shade of brown. But how hot is it? I have NO CLUE. I used the meat thermometer and it showed beyond it's highest reading. Ok, at least I had a little clue.

I let it cook for a few more minutes and decided I was done... even if it wasn't. If it didn't turn out - oh well. I'll know better next time. I poured it out onto wax paper and let it cool just a bit. See, this is where Smooth would have come in...

After it began to cool, I realized that I hadn't added the vanilla yet; so I threw it in and mixed it around in the pan.

This is when the recipe says to start coating the apples, but the neighbor girl says that she's made caramel apples before. They put the caramel in the freezer for a bit, then cut it with the wax paper and then placed it on top of the apple. She said it was easy to peel the wax paper off. Sounded good to me. I mean, how much worse could it get, right?

Well, we let it cool in the freezer and cut the caramel and placed it on the apple. The wax paper did not want to come off. The caramel was too sticky... wrong consistency. Apparently, I didn't let it get hot enough when I cooked it. {Ugh.} HOWEVER, it tasted great! So we did the best we could with what we had. Somehow we got the wax paper off, but we had globs of caramel in places and none in others.

But like I said... TASTED GREAT!!! Here are the boys with their smooth caramel apples. The only part they played in this project was the tasting.

(Yes, Witt is wet and dirty again. This happens a lot.)

We also didn't follow the instructions of eating as soon as it cools. Nathan was outside taking his time and it began to run. Not the caramel's fault, though... I still don't think I got it hot enough.

We had some left over caramel and I poured it on some popcorn. It wasn't the right consistency to make popcorn balls, but it sure did taste good just as a topping!

I will definitely try this again with the right tools. Great tasting recipe and like I said before, almost fool-proof! :) Perfect for me!

I'll have our final submission for Smooth linked up tomorrow at Unplug Your Kids.

Be sure to check out the real instructions for the caramel here: Dog Hill Kitchen: Vegan Caramel Apples

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blessedwith5 said...

You crack me up!!! Your cooking escapade sounds like those I have!!!

Hugs and thanks for the chuckle this morning!

Maggie said...

Your boys are adorable!! I'm so glad they liked it. My husband was the one that created my mission to make good dairy-free caramel for our allergic son.

I had a disaster the the first time I made the caramel too. The recipe I had didn't say anything about stirring so I just stuck a candy thermometer in it and waited for it to get to the correct temperature. The whole bottom was one big scorched mess but the caramel on top tasted great.

You can make it without a candy thermometer and test the consistency in a glass of ice water. Just drop a glob of caramel in the ice water to check to see if it's cooked enough. When it's ready it should feel a little firmer than play dough.

My name is Dianna said...

I am invisioning Lucy and Ethel making chocolates....

Nowheymama said...

Thanks for being the guinea pig (I mean that in the nicest possible way) with this recipe.

Anonymous said...

Your cooking experience sounds like mine sometimes. There are days where nothing goes right in the kitchen!

It looks like the boys appreciated the effort nonetheless. Looks yummy!

(This could have been a good one for "sticky" too!)

Jamie Kaufmann said...

oh my gosh, you made me pee my pants....almost. i can't wait to try these!!! i think i'll try it more as a dip. a 1 and 3 year old eating apples off sticks scares me.

stefanie said...

Very excited to see this recipe. My DD has milk/egg/peanut allergies. I am nursing a 3 month old that I suspect has milk allergy. I have cut out my dairy, so I am excited to find this blog so I can have a little fun for Halloween! I think I'll crush up some oreos (they are dairy-free) and roll those apples around in them. Doesn't get any sweeter than that!


CC said...

These look SO good!! Did you save any to send to me? ;)