10.22.2014

perfect homemade caramels


Yay! I have another super fun Halloween treat to share with you today! These caramels are seriously the best. Ever. They have a wonderful soft and chewy texture without being sticky or gooey, and they taste fantastic! They are so creamy and rich and flavorful. Best of all, they are pretty much foolproof! I'll confess… this was actually my second attempt at making caramel this month. And, well, the less said about the first attempt, the better. Turns out I really just needed the right recipe, and this one is it!


You could dress up these caramels pretty much any way you can imagine… sprinkle them with sea salt, dip them in chocolate, etc. The recipe itself is pretty versatile and can also be used for caramel popcorn or even caramel apples (coming later this week!). No matter how you use it, it's super delicious! 

Perfect Homemade Caramels

1 cup salted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish by buttering or lining with parchment paper, then set aside. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt, and stir using a rubber spatula.  Add the sweetened condensed milk slowly, stirring well to incorporate. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Let cool completely before cutting into pieces. I've found that small squares of parchment paper are my favorite for wrapping up the caramels, but wax paper or cellophane works too. Enjoy!

slightly adapted from Ella Claire

P.S. I knew it was too dangerous to keep all of the caramels in the house for myself, so I dressed them up cute and gave them out to some friends. I downloaded the adorable "Trick or Treat" tags from Design Eat Repeat and bought the striped bags at my local party store (I think they were 8 for $1). Pretty snazzy, right? 


10.20.2014

chicken parmesan sliders + free printables!


I was asked to participate in the #scarytastyeasy campaign, sponsored by Tyson at Sam’s Club. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

Happy Monday! Who else is super excited for Halloween? I absolutely love this time of year and look forward to it all year long. The past few years we've always had things come up during the month of October and haven't been able to do all of our fall traditions, but this year (through sheer force of will on my part, I think) we've actually managed to cross a lot of things off our fall bucket list. We've made caramel apples and Halloween sugar cookies, we've seen the pretty fall leaves and visited the pumpkin patch, and we've got plans for some fun Halloween parties. And speaking of Halloween parties, these chicken parmesan sliders make the perfect party food! They are super quick and easy to make, and so tasty too!

Click to read more.

10.17.2014

creamy pumpkin shells and cheese


Wow, it's about time for a post, right? This week (like most weeks) has been really busy, and I haven't been feeling like blogging. It's funny, because I have a ton of fun posts saved up that I have photographed and edited, but I have the worst writer's block when it comes time to sit down and write the darn post. I'm hoping to take some time this weekend to knock out a few posts so I can share all my fun Halloween recipes before this season (my favorite time of year, by the way) is over!

In any case, this creamy pumpkin pasta is perfect for an easy fall dinner and tastes unbelievably good! I'm always a little skeptical about using pumpkin in savory dishes, but the pumpkin makes this pasta incredibly flavorful and savory. It's definitely subtle and not overpowering at all, but it adds a lot of richness and depth of flavor. I also love that this is so easy and quick to make! It's definitely going to be on the menu all fall long!

Creamy Pumpkin Shells and Cheese

8 ounces shell pasta (I used large shells)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2/3 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
3/4 cup grated cheese (I used muenster)
bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350. Cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a paste, and cook 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, until incorporated. Slowly add the chicken broth, continuing to whisk, until the sauce has thickened. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and ground pumpkin, and let cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the grated cheese until melted. Toss the cooked, drained pasta with the sauce. Pour into a 9 x 9 baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbling around the sides. Enjoy!


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