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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples
What says Fall better than caramel apples??  It’s so easy; there is really NO reason to buy them! 

1, 14 oz. bag of caramels
6 granny smith apples or any tart crisp apple
1 tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
6 popsicle sticks
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Insert popsicle sticks through the middle of the apple, stem up.  Refrigerate apples for several hours before making caramel apples.  This helps the caramel firm up more quickly after dipping, and prevents apples from starting the cooking process due to the hot caramel. 

Unwrap caramels (or buy new Kraft caramels in pea sized balls for faster and easier caramel melting), and place in a teflon coated sauce pan, add 1 tablespoon of water.  Melt over medium-low heat, stirring until completely melted.  Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and stir until complete incorporated.

Lay piece of parchment or wax paper on a flat surface.  Dip each apple, one at a time in the caramel, being sure to roll the apple through the caramel until coated.  Be sure to continue spinning the apple to remove excess caramel.  Roll apple in nuts as they come out of the caramel, if you choose.  Could also dip in chocolate.  Place apple on parchment or wax paper until cooled completely.  Store in air-tight container if any survive the 1st hour.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pistachio Muffins

Pistachio Muffins
Pistachios have recently become a favorite snack, and while looking for something new to make this morning for breakfast, I found a recipe for pistachio muffins that sounded delish. A few adjustments and here's what I came up with. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy these moist, flavorful muffins as much as I did!

3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 box instant pistachio pudding
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
2-3 drops green food coloring--optional

1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and dry pudding mix.  Combine eggs, milk, food coloring and oil; add to dry mixture and mix until just moistened. Fold in chopped pistachios.  Fill baking cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops of muffin with finely chopped pistachios.

Bake 15-18 minutes in preheated 365-degree oven, or until muffins test done.  Let muffins rest for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  Brush muffin tops with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar.  Serve immediately, or store in air-tight container.  Serving: 21 regular sized muffins.