Doesn’t it look like we got these in a fancy candy store? Well, um, we didn’t. They’re backyard-foraged apples dipped in a super easy-to-make caramel sauce. Here’s how we made them …
awesome-sauce caramel apples
- A dozen or so apples. If you don’t have any in your backyard, ask a neighbor if they have any to spare. Or ask us where to find a friendly neighbor who’s willing to share …
- Kebab sticks for as many apples
- 2 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 stick butter, cut into cubes for even melting
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 14-oz. can condensed milk
- 1 cup light corn syrup
OK, so I don’t even know if this is the best way to make caramel for this kinda thing, but this is what I did …
(Before you start, though, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, shiny side up, and stab those apples with a kebab stick to you can dip them right away when the caramel’s done cooking).
Melt the butter cubes over low heat in a medium or large sauce pan. Once it’s liquefied, slowly and evenly add in the brown sugar. Add it to the middle of the butter-melt so no crystals touch the pan edges.
Keep stirring until the sugar and butter melt into each other … it should become a lovely thick milk-chocolate-brown syrup.
Add the corn syrup. Stir the stuff in. Then add condensed milk.
Once it’s all melted into a nice syrup again, turn up the heat to medium and leave it there a minute, stirring the entire time.
From here on out, keep stirring, btw. You don’t want the mixture to settle and separate into a greasy blob. Believe me!
OK, now over the next few minutes, slowly turn up the heat to medium-high a notch at a time until it starts boiling. Should take a few more minutes. (Stir, stir, stir!).
Then, crank the temp back down to medium. It should still be bubbling, but you’ll still be stirring.
Take it off the heat, rest it on a kitchen towel or heat pad, then start dipping those skewered apples. Spin the apples around in the sauce until they’re evenly coated. Place them on the parchment paper to cool for a good couple hours or more.
Now, I had a bunch of leftover caramel since I only dipped a dozen small-ish apples. I put the rest of the sauce in a parchment paper-lined baking pan to cool for caramels that I’ll cut into bite-sized pieces later tonight.
Tricia, a dinner guest of ours Sunday night, asked for the recipe to an onion marmalade we served. Some people ate it with the wild herb bread, others with the roast goat. My grandma actually made the marmalade, a sweet carmelized spread that’s great on meat, toast, fresh bread or in a sandwich.
So here ‘tis, everyone!
Balsamic Onion Marmalade
Makes 2-3 cups
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- 4 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, some salt and pepper to taste, and cook until the onions are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
2. Add the sugar and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions appear dry, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the balsamic vinegar and lower heat. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour, until onions are soft and dry.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Marmalade will keep several weeks in the refrigerator, or preserve in jars.
Source: Tom Colicchio, “Witchcraft: Craft a Sandwich into a Meal”
We live in the Antioch area, a town edged by the Delta to the west and thousands of acres of regional park hills to the east. It’s in them thar hills you’ll find the stars of this Provincial flat bread: Wild sage and rosemary.
At our first wild/foraged dinner banquet, we served this bread to show off the lovely sage we foraged in a local regional park.
It’s a stupid-simple recipe, this bread, but it’s a good staple if you want to find an easy way to use some wild herbs you find on your walks, hikes or runs.
Herb flat bread “leaf”
- 1 packet yeast
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 sprigs wild rosemary
- 2 sprigs wild sage
- 1 cup water warm enough to proof yeast
- 1 tbs local honey
- 2 tbs olive oil
- several cups of flour, depending …
OK, so start by mixing the honey and yeast in a little bowl with the warm water. Set it aside to foam up a bit
Add dry ingredients in a large bowl, mix it up good enough for the next step. Add oil. Sprinkle in some of those herbs.
Add yeast water … if it’s foamed up, that is (should take 10 to 15 minutes).
Mix, mix until it’s all mixedy mix mixed. Then add flour until it feels knead-able.
Place the dough ball on a well-floured cutting board and knead until it’s nice and springy. Pack it into a ball, then place it into an olive-oiled mixing bowl and cover it with a towel to rise.
… wait for it … and wait … turn on a TV show or something to bide your time …
After 45 minutes or more have passed, preheat the over to 410 degrees.
While the oven heats up, plop the dough onto a newly floured cutting board, knead it a couple times then cut the dough in two.
Take one dough ball and use your palms to flatten it into an irregular oval. Sprinkle the heck outta that oval with your wild herbs. Then take a knife and score a line down the center with a few slanted lines on each side to crudely resemble a leaf.
Do the same for that other dough ball.
Brush both with olive oil, then sprinkle more herbs on top. If you have a salt grinder, crack some salt over the pair of soon-to-be-toasty hot loaves.
Stick ‘em in the oven for 15 minutes or however long it takes to toast ‘em to a golden brown.
That sexy thing, for those wondering, is a mojito mixed from foraged prickly pear simple syrup, white rum, lime and backyard-grown mint. ‘Twas one of several offerings at EBHH’s first-ever wild/foraged dinners.
I’m super grateful to everyone who showed up. Got to see my old journo teacher, some former and future co-workers, a bunch of friends and family and the magic of a foraged feast coming together.
That’s my dad knifing cuts of freshly killed goat liver into the haggis stuffing. My dad really helped me pull this off. He planned a unique all-foraged/wild menu that showcased a bunch of local herbs, meats and veggies we collected in recent weeks.
A sample of what we ate:
- Elk/acorn haggis
- Provincial wild sage flat bread
- Wild almond spinach salad with garden-fresh tomatoes
- Foraged prickly pear mojitos
- Foraged pomegranate martinis
- Backyard poached pears in creme anglaise and pom sauce
- Garden-grown spicy Peruvian potatoes
- Fresh foraged figs
- Foraged lemon curd crepes with gramma’s lavendar-infused sugar
- Wine-marinated, slow-smoked young goat
The amount of time we put into this dinner amounts to way more than the 10 or so hours we put in today, by the way. For weeks my mom and I have been hiking to collect wild sage, rosemary, acorns and other things. But seeing all the manpower my dad, siblings and friends offered on the day of the event really adds to my appreciation. I couldn’t have done this without them.
I had a lot of fun. Can’t wait for the next event! I’ll post some recipes for some of the night’s dishes on this blog once I catch up on sleep. Thanks for reading … and happy foraging!
- Jenn :)
More photos …