}]; Noreen's Kitchen: 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Quick Caramel Sauce! Hit Your Sweet Spot!

Caramel Dip!  Easy and delicious!
Anyone who knows me, knows that autumn is my favorite time of year.  I wait with deep desire and anticipation for the first crisp mornings to make their debut.  Living in North Carolina, I sometimes have to wait a bit longer than other places I have lived but the feeling is always the same!  I breath in that crisp morning air and let the stresses of summer leave my psyche.  Ah, sweet autumn, welcome once again!  Once the leaves begin to fall and blanket the earth for her long winter's nap, it brings to rise certain necessities in our home.  Candles change their fragrance, the garden goes to sleep, warmer clothes come out of hiding and requests begin to come from members of the family for things that they love this time of year.

Caramel is one of those beloved flavors of the season.  Caramel is a favorite the year round, however in the cooler months, especially in the fall, it is essential.  Drizzled over ice cream, as a sweet dip for apples or as a chewy moment of satisfaction on the go, this is the flavor of the month for sure!  I have recently been playing around with those little cellophane wrapped caramels that we all grew up with just to see what I could do with them.   I also was trying to recreate a caramel dip similar to those found in the produce section but without all the garbage ingredients.  I was successful on many levels.  One thing led to another and the results spoke for themselves!  O caramel, I we love thee!  

I made a plain caramel dip with just a bag on unwrapped caramel candies and some heavy cream popped it in the microwave and let it melt, gave it a stir and voila', beautiful caramel dip for my girls to dip apple slices in, after school!  My husband of course covered a bowl of vanilla ice cream with the stuff and was in heaven!

Next up, I wondered what would happen if I threw  a cup of chocolate chips in that mix.  Wonder no more!  This made the most amazing chocolate caramel sauce you will ever put in your mouth!  It has the texture and consistency of the best hot fudge you have ever tasted and I really mean that.  When this cools, it is perfect for dipping pretzels and enjoying that sweet and salty combo.  

Then, one evening as I was sitting with my husband and doing research for a few new projects.  I asked him if he thought that caramel dip would work with some peanut butter chips.  Rick said what he always says,  "Only one way to find out!"  And so it was that we created this delicious, decadent peanut butter flavored warm and gooey caramel dip that was just as amazing as the other two.  It has a distinct thickness about it and it is perfect after it cools for dipping crisp sticks of carrots and celery into.  Probably not diet worthy, but definitely kid friendly and who doesn't want to get just a few more veggies into their kids?  Am I right?!

I think I will be making batches of these dips/sauces to share for the holidays.  I think jarring them up in jelly jars and giving in trios would be a welcomed and thrifty gift for friends and neighbors and a little bit different from the ubiquitous cookies and banana bread, not that there is anything wrong with those things, but sometimes it is nice to be a little different!

So the next time you have a yen for something sweet, give these sauces/dips a try!  Eat them warm or let them come to room temperature so they get thick and gooey.  Either way you do it they will be devoured right before your eyes.  You can be happy in knowing that you made it yourself, you know whats in it and your family will love it!

I hope you try these and I hope you love them!

Happy Eating!

Check out the videos for the sauces here:

Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Caramel Sauce

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce