Honey Caramel Apples (some with white chocolate or nuts)

Honey Caramel Apples (some with white chocolate or nuts)

     

Honey Caramel Apples

I know, enough with the honey caramel, but I just couldn’t resist one more time.  Caramel apples are one of my favorites and Daughter asked me to send some caramel for her and friends after seeing the earlier recipes, so I made another batch.  This time it is not a sauce but a full caramel that you can use to dip the apples or form into squares to eat or give as candies for gifts.  

When making caramel, the temperature you cook it to determines whether it is a thin (220) or thick sauce (240) or a soft (260)or hard (300) candy.  A candy thermometer is a must, but you can get one pretty much anywhere that has kitchen equipment, including most grocery stores for just a few dollars.   

The Ingredients are very simple:  

1 cup honey  

1 cup whipping cream  

1/8 teaspoon salt  

6 apples (place them in the refrigerator the night before so they will be well chilled – it will help the caramel harden quickly so it will stick better)  

Chopped Nuts (any kind you like – I used toasted macadamia)  

Chocolate (I always use Ghirardelli Candy Making and Dipping Chocolate – this time I used the white)  

6 craft sticks  

If you don’t want to make your own caramel, you can always use ones from the store (of course it’s not nearly as good as these).  

More

Wash the apples well to get off any wax or dirt.  Put the sticks in each apple.    

Apples with Sticks

Make the Caramel    

Use a pan much larger than you would think, the caramel bubbles up so use a big pan.  Add the cream to the pan and over medium heat bring almost to a boil.  Add the honey and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the temperature reaches 255-260 (if you plan on using them as candies I would go to 260-265 so they will be a little firmer).   Fill the sink with ice water and as soon as it reaches the proper temperature, immediately put the pan in the cold water being sure not to get any water in the pan.  Stir the caramel for a minute or two until it thickens but not so long that it is firm (if you try an apple and the caramel drips off, let it cool a little longer).  Take the pan out of the water and dip the apples, placing them on buttered wax paper.  If you have room in the fridge or outside if it is cooler (that isn’t really an option yet here – still way to hot) to set the caramel.    

Honey Caramel ready for dipping

Dipped

Once the caramel has hardened enough to lift them off the paper, dip in the chopped nuts, chocolate, coconut, chocolate chips, etc. pressing them gently into the caramel.  If you prefer you can dip them in the add-ons immediately, but I think they look better if you let them firm up a little first, then you can press them in so it sticks better. 

Honey Caramel Apples

Dinner & Dessert: Chicken and Broccoli Crepes with Marsala Sauce and Hot Fudge Crepes

Dinner & Dessert: Chicken and Broccoli Crepes with Marsala Sauce and Hot Fudge Crepes

Chicken and Broccoli Crepes

 

The other day was National Pancake Day and since crepes are pretty much thin pancakes and it was already well past breakfast, dinner crepes it was.   I have tried making crepes once or twice before but wasn’t really that great at it so I was going to just buy the pre-made ones at the market.  Of course, they didn’t have any so I decided to suck it up and just try again.  The batter is simple and they tasted great.  I can’t say that they were perfectly formed, but once you wrap them up you can’t really tell anyway so give them a try (or not if you can find them in the market and you’re in a hurry).   I used boneless, skinless thigh meat this time because Husband prefers dark meat but in the future I would cut the pieces smaller and use breast meat.  Chicken Marsala often includes mushrooms, but I left them out in my version (adapted from a recipe at World of Crepes).  

Ingredients for Chicken and Broccoli Crepes with Marsala Sauce

 

Ingredients:  

  • 2 pounds of boneless chicken breast cut into about 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (or 2 tablespoons herbs de provence)
  • 1½ cups Marsala wine
  • 1½ cups chicken broth (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of black pepper
  • 8 basic crepes

Making the crepes:  

Crepe Batter

 

Follow the recipe for basic crepes  

Making it in the blender mixes it well and makes it easy to pour the batter into the pan.  Placing the cooked crepes between layers of wax paper keeps them from sticking, and makes it easier to roll them up after you fill them.  

Crepes ready to fill

 

Making the Filling:  

Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté chicken until golden brown (about 5 minutes on each side). Remove chicken from pan and set aside. In the same pan, sauté mushrooms (if used) and shallots until the mushrooms are caramelized and shallots are translucent. Add garlic and herbs and cook for an additional minute. Add salt and black pepper.  

Deglaze the pan with the wine and one cup of chicken broth. Combine the remaining ½ cup of broth with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens, about two minutes. Add chicken back to pan and mix, then layer broccoli on top of the mixture so it will steam and cover. Cook for 15 minutes longer. Just before serving, if you made your crepes ahead of time reheat for 15 seconds in the microwave or until warmed. 

Ready to Roll

 

Assemble crepes: Separate the first crêpe, leaving it on the wax paper on the counter. Put a layer of the chicken and broccoli inside the crêpe along the lower part of the crêpe – I filled them quite full and made only 4 large crepes but, you could use less. (I used the rest of the crepes for dessert).  Roll up by folding the bottom of the crêpe up, then using the wax paper, roll it the rest of the way, placing two on the serving plate with the seam sides down.   Add additional mixture over the top of both crepes and serve immediately. 

 Yield: 8 servings (1 crêpe roll each) or 4 servings (2 crêpe rolls each).  

I decided to put more filling in the crepes and use the remaining ones for dessert or you could double the crêpe recipe.  Dessert is even quicker.  Warm the crepes and some hot fudge sauce (or Nutella), fold each crêpe in fourths, put it on a plate, drizzle with hot fudge and add whipped cream and cherries! 

  

Hot Fudge (or Nutella) Crepe