Caramel Apples

cooking the cream and honey
cooking the cream and honey
ready to dip
ready to dip
dip, dip, dip 
After visiting a local orchard and reading the ingredient list for their caramel apples, I knew there had to be a better, healthier caramel that would not contain hydrogenated oils (including soy) and preservatives.  I found a wonderful recipe and it si super easy!
for a single batch (I doubled it and had enough caramel for 7 large apples)
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. honey (can sub agave nectar or maple syrup)
pinch of sea salt (I make it a big pinch — I think that hint of salt is essential
Bring cream to an almost simmer over medium heat.  Add honey and salt.  Keep on medium heat and let it cook until temp reaches 255-260.  This will take awhile–20 minutes or so.  Stir occasionally and keep an eye on the temp.  You don’t want to go past 260.
Remove from the stove and carefully set the pot into a bowl with cold water so that the caramel starts to thicken and cool.  Dip away.  Put the apples onto wax paper sprayed or brushed with oil.  These babies really stick.  I practically needed a shovel to get these off the plate.  We also sprinkled some with nuts and some with sprinkles.

Roasted Pears


finished product
finished product

Fall is here and so are the pears.  Our pear tree is several years away from producing, but the Farmer’s Market is loaded with pears.    I made one of our favorite desserts last night.  The original recipe came from the “Splendid Table” American Public Radio show and website, but I have altered it to remove most of the sugar and use a natural sweetener.

Here goes:

Heat oven to 400.  Put 2 TB. of butter into a roasting pan and melt it in the oven. use pears of your choice.  use as many as you want.  for our family of three I used 6 pears. a little firm is better.  Cut, core, and peel them into quarters of halves. 

Place them into the heated roasting pan with the butter.  Add either the seeds from a whole vanilla bean, or a very healthy splash of vanilla extract.  I also add a sprinkle of pie spice when I want.  Add 3 TB of honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar and a splash of lime (or lemon) juice.  Toss to coat the pears in this glaze.

Roast the pears as long as you want.  I did about 15 minutes.  You can see in the pictures that they have browned (carmelized) a bit.  Just don’t roast so long they become mush. I have also made it with a splash of Frangelico or Amaretto.  Also very good!  Well what wouldn’t be good without Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur).

Granola Recipe

Granola--Ready for the oven
Granola--Ready for the oven

This recipe gives me away as a sloppy cook.  I am not much for measuring.  I had to go make granola and measure so I could pass this along.  This is foolproof.  The exact measurements are unimportant.

Put enough raw, thick cut rolled oats to fill a 9×13 cake pan. It’s about 3 pounds of oats.

Now pour 1 1/2 cups honey or agave nectar with 1 cup canola oil.  Heat in microwave for 2 minutes–just to warm enough so they can be mixed together.

Pour this over the oats and stir until they are all covered. 

Add nuts of choice.  Stir again. Personal favorite-almonds, they are a true Superfood!

Bake, without cover, in the oven at 280 degrees for about an hour.  You are slowly toasting the grain and nuts.  You also want to roast long enough to dry it out to the point where it no longer sticks to itself.   Stir a couple of times while in the oven.  You can now turn off the oven and let the granola cool inside there overnight or pull it out and cool on the stove-top. 

When cool stir in your choice of dried fruit.  Stores well. 

When we eat it, we shake on a combo of ground flax seeds and chia seeds out of a shaker I keep in the fridge.  Great with milk or yogurt.  Grind your own flax seeds in small batches, MUCH more nutritious.