Looking Forward to Fall and some RecipesPosted: August 18, 2011
Today I’m at home recovering from my annual August sickness, also known as “whatever the tourists gave me when my immune system was taking a break”. Please enjoy this post, which might be riddled with Sudafed-induced ramblings. Kthanksbai!
Just under three weeks until I’m home again. I can’t believe how quickly this summer has gone by. Now is the time when Colin and I start planning schedules and homecoming dinners. But most importantly, we start thinking about soccer season.
Colin has already been thinking about soccer season. He, after all, has a lot more to think about. Like keeping in shape, going running, getting new cleats, etc. I, on the other hand, have a far more intense training to look forward to as the season approaches.
It’s baking season, bitches!
Every weekend (give or take, depending on my work schedule) I bake for Colin’s soccer team. Many people think this makes me some kind of Happy Homemaker/Stepford Wife, but I do it for entirely selfish reasons.
1. I get to test out ridiculous recipes (bacon wrapped cheese stuffed jalapenos) on boys who will eat anything, including the disasters.
2. I get to bake ridiculous amounts of fattening foods, eat a couple bites, and then hand it off to boys who will eat it all, preventing me from becoming 300 pounds.
3. I get to go to all of Colin’s soccer game, releasing a lot of latent aggression built up from dealing with tourists (in the summer) and brides (in the winter).
I have a few staples that I bring out to the soccer game when I don’t feel like being creative. My mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies, Ina Garten’s brownies and jalapeno cheddar cornbread. Easy to make and I have the recipes practically memorized.
But I do like to try out new things, and pawning food off on hungry boys is an excellent way to test new recipes. I highly recommend it. Go on, find yourself a group of 20-30 something boys and start shoving food at them. Works beautifully.
Here are a few of the things I’m hoping to shove on the soccer team at some point this season.
Cake Batter Crispy Treats from How Sweet Eats. Cake batter flavored rice crispy treats. With sprinkles. Get in my mouth right now.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies from Joy the Baker. I like pretzels, I like peanut butter, I like chocolate. GIve those boys these and a beer? Happy, happy boys.
Popcorn Macarons with Salted Caramel by raspberri cupcakes. Macarons are girly, true. But that is the perk of being the one doing the baking. Everybody else has to shut up and eat it!
And finally, something I’ve already decide will be making repeated appearances at the soccer fields this winter:
Caramel Apples! I made them last year for the soccer team and they seemed to go over pretty well. But again, who cares what the boys think? I make them because I love them, and they are super easy. Do not fear the caramel apples!
Ok, you should have a healthy fear if you plan to make your own caramel. Because hot sugar is very scary. But I don’t make my own caramel and don’t plan to until I have fully mastered a soft caramel without burning myself. And that just hasn’t happened yet. My scars tell the tale.
So here’s my recipe for caramel apples, in hopes that you too begin looking forward to fall.
- 2 pounds soft caramels (you can buy these in the bulk section in those little cellophane wrappers)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 12 medium sized apples of any variety (I like Granny Smith)
- 12 popsicle sticks
- toppings of your choice! Melted chocolate, chopped peanut butter cups, salted peanuts, cinnamon sugar, granola (although I can’t for the life of my see why you would want that), crushed oreos, rice crispies, etc. Whatever you like!
Unwrap the caramels. It is handy to have a friend to help with this, because otherwise it takes forever and you end up eating half. At the very least you can blame the friend if half your caramels go missing, right?
Prepare a baking sheet by fitting it with a sheet of parchment paper. This will allow the caramel apples to cool without sticking to anything.
Place a medium saucepan over low heat. Add in the caramels and heavy cream. Stir frequently, raising the temperature slightly if you find it very slow going. Watch the caramels very carefully, because they can burn easily.
Wash and thoroughly dry your apples. Remember to remove the stickers, if necessary. That would be gross, hey? Remove any top stems and forcefully insert the popsicle sticks into the tops. Try to keep them straight, cause then they’re extra pretty!
When the caramel is completely melted and the cream incorporated, carefully dip the apples into the caramel, completely coating the apple. As long as you didn’t crank the heat on the caramel, you shouldn’t have to worry about burning yourself, but do be careful. If you choose to use the toppings, dip the caramel coated apples in them and then place the apples on the prepared baking sheet.
Allow the apples to cool and the caramel to firm up. You can refrigerate them if you’re making them ahead of time, but make sure to let them come up to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before eating. Otherwise you might lose a tooth.
These, plus apple cider, plus me bundled up at a soccer game equals heaven. Just sayin.