Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Carmel Apple Fiasco

Well, this probably isn't going to seem like as much a fiasco as it did to me. 
But since you were all SO interested to hear it... here it is. 
Its lengthy... someday I'll learn how to be less wordy, but until then ENJOY the story. 

Some of my friends in Utah got together and made Carmel Apples last Friday. I have been wanting to make them forever so when I saw my cute girlies making them and having fun, I showed Ryan and asked if he wanted to do the same. He agreed, even with his mounds of studying to accomplish, and we picked up the goods on the way home that evening. We got home later than expected, it took longer to get the girls to bed than we expected and we were more exhausted than we expected. So, after a little of reasoning from the good ole hubbs-a-roo, we decided to call it a night and try making them as a family on Sunday. 

As some of you already know, Sunday was no fun. I woke up with a borderline migraine and was completely unable to function. So we tossed the idea of making them once again and decided to do them for family night. 

Monday I was still feeling yucky and it was just "one of those" days. By dinner time I was stressed and frazzled and while trying to frantically clean up the kitchen and make some space Ryan kindly suggested I call it a night. 

{this ended the time Ryan had available to help}

Ah, so Tuesday it was. I scrubbed up all of the apples and set them out to dry before I took Sarah to preschool. I realized that I didn't have enough brown sugar, so I swung by the store on the way to take Sarah to school. By the time I got home and got Abby down for her nap I only had a little less than an hour to make the carmel and dip the apples. I didn't want to risk being in the middle of dipping when the time came to pick up Sarah so I set out all of the ingredients and decided to do it after. 

All prepped and ready, with both girls eating a snack (by my feet mind you) I began to make the carmel. It was really a simple recipe. Straight forward and simple. The hardest part is knowing when it is cooked enough. 

{Quick Tangent} When I was up at Rick's College I learned how to make caramels and after them turning out perfect the first time I made them regularly... well I was never able to get that perfect consistency again, it was either too soft or, more often, too hard. 

Given my history with carmel, I was incredibly nervous that I would overcook the carmel and make it impossible to bit off the apple. I don't own a candy thermometer, and did several tests in cold water and after convincing myself that it would be too hard if I cooked it any longer I turned off the stove and poured it into a glass bowl. 
By this time Sarah was driving me batty with her excitement. She saw the two bags of sugar I dumped in there... and smelled the warm gooeyness cooking on the stove and was very ready to "help" me dip them (or rather help herself to endless spoonfuls, she didn't double dip... she got a new spoon each time, in case you were grossed out). Abby was completely done being in her high-chair at this point and I was forced to get her out to save my ears (and remaining headache).  
Of course this meant I was now responsible for making sure she didn't seriously harm herself with her new learned trick... yes, she climbs up here all proud of herself and than instantly begins yelling/screaming for help. *sigh* 

Finally I got the apples all dipped. 
They looked so pretty 
(the recipe recommended using dark brown sugar... I think I'd've preferred the light... they are really dark!)
I was so excited how they were turning out. '
I didn't know how much carmel the recipe made, so I doubled it, fearing I'd run short for dipping the 14 apples I had bought. I was more than safe... in fact... it was WAY too much. 
So I dipped an entire bag of pretzel rods. 
Do you see that bowl of carmel? There was still so much left. 
 So I dipped another ENTIRE bag of pretzel rods. Sheesh! They are everywhere!

By this point I had discovered that my carmel wasn't getting firm enough on the apples. Gah! It was much too soft! There was still quite a bit of carmel left over, so I cooked it a little longer in the microwave and poured it into an 8x8 pan to cool and cut up later into caramels. 

I decided to let the carmel apples firm up a bit in the fridge and stuck them in to sit overnight. Of course I had planned to take one as a hostess gift to a dinner party that night, so I hurriedly dipped a dozen of the pretzels in chocolate and drizzled them with white and threw them in some cellophane. 
They weren't perfect, but I knew they'd enjoy them once they dared sample one. 

We got home late from the dinner with two extremely cranky, and exhausted daughters and we all went to bed. (Really, if I had know it would have taken me this many days to execute my plan... I may have reconsidered)

Wednesday... *sigh* I waited until Abby was down for her nap, got Sarah good and distracted and snuck into the kitchen to get these blasted apples dipped. 

It went great. The white chocolate melted beautifully. Putting on the cinnamon and sugar was a different story. The chocolate was too hot and with the weight of the cinnamon and sugar, it began to just run off the apple. It took a couple of them to figure out how long I needed to wait before coating. Finally... some progress... and they really were looking great. But, for some odd reason (probably because the apples were cold and the chocolate was hot), as the chocolate was drying it got huge long cracks down some of them. 
Out of the fourteen that I made there were seven that didn't crack (or weren't my first uber drippy ones) and one other that had a semi-unnoticeable crack (that one was assigned to go to one of the single guys Ryan home teaches, they wouldn't notice)
All done. We even got half of them delivered last night. 
(even caught a new sister at home that I haven't been able to get a hold of for three weeks! woohoo!)

I still have a pan of caramels that need to be cut and wrapped and endless amounts of carmel pretzels that need to be dipped in chocolate and drizzled (not to mention all the dirty dishes everywhere!)... but I don't care. I'm done, and I've noticed that the number of pretzels is slowly diminishing (*cough*ahem). Maybe I won't have to worry about dipping them at all. 

So that was the fiasco... and the reason why I wasn't up to explain it all last night.
I. was. tired. 

The End

Hooray, you made it down to the end of this novel... you get a gold star!


Kerri's Recipes said...

What a project! I'm so honored to be the recipient of all of this hard work! You are a supermom - and they are delicious!

Brittany said...

Yum and yum! I think you're so on top of things Liz, wish I could be more like you!

Eric Westover said...

Sounds like fun. I would be happy to eat the apples that cracked and any left over pretzels. Man, I love those things.

Ash said...

haha this so sounds like a story that would happen at my house. When I get something in mind I wanna complete it RIGHT THEN! And Josh always has to talk me out of it to save me from over kill. :) Your amazing to do it all by yourself with two little kiddos hanging on ya and a migraine banging at your head. Far braver then I who wouldn't attempt it with out some other Betty crocker mamas beside me. Your my hero! :)

Deb said...

Wow! What a crazy story. You're very ambitious Liz. But I have a great secret for's's the only way to do caramel it is: go to the chocolate shop and buy them! :) They look amazing though. Way to go.

Carolyn said...

Wow, I didn't know you made the caramel from scratch! I'm not even going to go there at this point; I'm picking up a bunch of those little caramel squares and melting them:) I love the idea of the caramel and the white chocolate. I've never had them like that before.

Ali or Mike said...

You're amazing and very funny too. I love to read your blog! I would love to get together and bake or sew something!

Aden and Jamie said...

You rock! I saw the picture of the completed apples below and I was reminded of the ones in Utah that you can BUY that look just as nice as yours.... or I mean yours look as good as the ones you can buy. Aden and I want to make chocolates/candies for Christmas this year as gifts and I will never forget your candy platter at Ricks so if you have any good recipes/ideas, send them our way!

Brooke said...

See? This is why I stay far, far away from the caramel apple-making. (You can ask Dad, who watched me make and burn three batches of caramel topping over the course of ONE evening.) Even though the apples you made look hunka gorgeous and I want to eat one right now.

Even though I have sensitive teeth and eating one would probably make my teeth hurt for 3 hours afterwards. IT WOULD BE WORTH IT.

Jennifer said...

Well, yours look much better than mine did, and I just used Kraft caramels. :) I might have to try homemade caramel next time. Mmmm...