Easy Butter Pecan Caramel Candy Recipe

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Home Made Butter Pecan Caramels

Butter Pecan Caramels

I love sweets. There. I said it.

I must have a sweet treat after dinner every night. But we try not to eat processed foods anymore.

What’s a girl to do?

That is why I began my quest to make my own sweets. By making my own all natural desserts and treats, I can satisfy my sweet tooth without compromising our goal of eating as few food additives as we can.

I’d been making a lot of chocolates and such lately, and was craving something different. So I set out on a Google Search to find something yummy for my tummy. You can find a recipe for almost everything on the ‘net today. I am not sure how the idea of Squirrel Nut Zippers came to me. For some reason, it did.

My Inspiration: Squirrel Nut Zippers

Squirrel Nut Zippers are individually wrapped, odd little caramel-type candies I used to see only at Halloween time.Back in the days when candy didn’t have to be ‘sealed for your protection’. Anyway… Lo and behold, someone had posted a home made version of them! [original recipe link at page bottom] I couldn’t wait to try it!

I love that this recipe is super easy. I love that it is made in one bowl and one pan. I did not love that it called for corn syrup, as I don’t use it. Instead, I substituted honey in one trial, and  Brown Rice Syrup in another. Both worked fantastically. The original recipe also calls for walnuts. Neither of us likes walnuts, so I substituted pecans. WOW! It taste AWESOME! I made them twice in two months, so they must be good! Well, what are we waiting for?

Let’s Get Cooking!

Butter Pecan Caramels

Butter Pecan Caramels

Easy Butter Pecan Caramels

*Ingredients (makes 40 – 50 small candies) 
All Natural Ingredients

All Natural Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (I use raw cane sugar)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Honey, Maple, or Brown Rice Syrup (or light Karo syrup)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans (or other nuts of choice)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
Sprayed Pan Lined with Parchment, then nuts

Sprayed Pan Lined with Parchment, then nuts

Method:
  • Prep a 8″ X 8″ casserole dish with cooking spray on bottom and sides, and then line pan with parchment paper. DO NOT skip the parchment paper step!! You need it to remove the candy from the pan.
  • Sprinkle nuts evenly on bottom of pan and set pan aside.
  • In a large microwave safe glass or ceramic bowl (i used corningware) mix together butter, sugars, honey / syrup and condensed milk. The caramel will bubble up when cooking, so make sure your bowl is large enough.
  • Cook mixture on High for 7 total minutes, STOP AND STIR at the 2, 4 and 6 minute marks.
Mix at 4 minutes

Mix at 4 minutes

Mix at 6 minutes

Mix at 6 minutes

  • Remove the cooked mixture from the microwave. Add the vanilla and stir.
  • Gently pour the hot caramel mixture into the lined pan, trying not to displace the nuts.
Cooked mix in lined pan

Cooked mix in lined pan

  • Sprinkle sea salt evenly over the caramel. Set the on the counter to cool for 20 minutes. The original recipe says to fridge the mix at this point, but when I did, it got all moist & sticky the next day. We recommend you simply allow to cool on counter several hours, until firm and no longer sticky.
  • Remove caramels from pan by gently lifting the ends of the parchment paper. If the caramel sticks, gently go around the edge of the pan with a spatula to loosen. They should then lift right out. lip & turn out on flat dish or cutting board. Remove parchment.
Cut into pieces

Cut into neat pieces

  • Using a bench scraper or large chefs knife, cut into 1″ squares, or 1 x 1.5″ rectangles.
  • Plate so they do not touch each other – they will stick. Or, wrap pieces in wax paper to store. Unwrap, eat, and enjoy!

Try them using maple syrup, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, coconut –  experimenting is fun!

Try Peanut  Caramels too!

Try Peanut Caramels too!

 

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** Original Source Recipe HERE: Homemade Squirrel Nut Zippers

Apple & Yam Oat Crisp! ~ A Modern twist on a Classic Recipe

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Delicious Apple & Yam Oat Crisp

When I moved out of my parents house at age 19, one of the best things anyone gave me was a ring binder style Betty Crocker Cookbook. That was many, many years ago. I still have that cookbook, and there are still a few tried and true recipes I refer to as loose bases for my own recipes. The original Betty Crocker Warm Apple Crisp is one of those recipes. It was as yummy when I was 19 as it is now.

1980s Edition

Flash forward to this past Tuesday. We were at our Brand New Local Natural Food Co-op. As we walk in, I take note of some beautiful, gnarly little yams on a painted hutch. A few feet away are some big, firm perfect yellow-blush apples. Pennsylvania isn’t great at many things, but we do grow some awesome apples. I grabbed six of those right away – half for our son to eat;  the other half for us to cook with. Over in the organic bulk bins, I saw some great smelling rolled oats. It hit me all at once. Brown Sugar, Oat, Apple & Yam Crisp! Oh, Yummy!! I told Bruce my idea and he was all in! 🙂

You can eat this hearty, delicious crisp as a dessert, as a side dish with pork, or even for breakfast.

Are you ready? Let’s get cooking!

Apple & Yam Brown Sugar & Oat Crisp

* Ingredients: 

2 cups sliced Apples

2 cups sliced Yams

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Crunchy Oat Topping

1 cup of Water

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour

3/4 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oat

1/3 cup butter, softened

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

healthy pinch of cloves

– 9 x 12 baking dish [I like glass or Corningware best]

* Method:

  • Heat oven to 375º F. [190 c] Grease bottom and sides of baking pan with butter. (or coconut oil spray)
  • Arrange apples and yams alternately and evenly in pan. Do not worry about design – it will be covered. Carefully pour water into pan so it runs to the bottom. Set aside.
  • In medium bowl, cut in and stir remaining ingredients until well mixed; sprinkle evenly over apples and yams. Try to cover the yams and apples completely.
  • Bake about 45-50 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling slightly through. The apples and yams should be tender when pierced with a fork.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

You can serve this right away, cool to room temperature, or make ahead and reheat.

It is amazing topped with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Apple & Yam Crisp with Cranberry Orange Sauce

Bruce served ours warm with home made Cranberry Orange Sauce. Y-U-M!

We hope you give this easy and tasty dish a try. We love it!

Cheers, and Happy Eating!

Caye Lime Coconut Butter Cream Candies! ~ Made in Beautiful BELIZE!

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Woot! We are on holiday in sunny San Pedro, Belize

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We have been coming to the gorgeous Caribbean Island of Ambergris Caye (prounounced “Amber-Grease [or gris] Key”) for several years, and have developed friendships with a lovely and diverse group of people.

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Just 4 Simple Ingredients!

Today, a dear friend came to cook and lunch with us. While it was a casual thing, I wanted to have a little sweet treat for after our savory meal.

But some ingredients I use often at home are not available here, as they would have to be imported and barged here. Like Lemons.

Some recipes won’t hold up in the tropical heat & humidity.

I had to think about what I could easily purchase that was inexpensive,

quick & easy enough to make in an hour, work,

and still make us go, “Mmmm!”.

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Beautiful San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

As soon as I made my Lemon Coconut Butter Creams, I thought they would be awesome in a Caye Lime Version. So today I whipped them up while lunch was being prepared – AND THEY CAME OUT YUMMY! So, here is the Lemon Coconut Butter Cream again, using LIME instead of Lemon! 🙂

Caye Lime Coconut Butter Creams

*Ingredients

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Lime Butter Cream Mixture

2 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

4 TBSP Butter, Softened

1 or 2 Limes – will need 2-3 TBSP of juice, and 1 TBSP zest

Scant Pinch of salt (adds balance to the sugar)

– Baking Sheet Lined with Buttered Wax Paper

– 1/2 Cup of Toasted Coconut Flakes (Recipe HERE) for Coating  – Optional: mix with 1 tsp Granulated Sugar

*Method:

Sift powdered sugar into large mixing bowl. Add all the rest of the filling ingredients and mix until it becomes smooth.

Taste and adjust to your liking. If it is not Lime-y enough add more zest. If it is too thick, add more juice. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.

Place in Fridge 10-15 minutes to chill to firm (in Belize, I used the freezer). Cream should be thick enough be easily handled – the mixing spoon should stand up on it’s own.

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Butter Creams, Ready for the Freezer

Meanwhile, prepare the baking sheet and place the toasted coconut in a shallow bowl, or on a dish. Pull the mix out of the fridge. Using a teaspoon, scoop a bite-sized bit of cream in to your hands, Working quickly so they don’t melt too much, pat into a roundish shape (they do not need to be perfect!), and then drop into the dish of coconut.

Gently cover ball & pat gently in coconut until coated, and place on butted sheet pan[see photo above] Continue until all the cream is rolled in balls, and rolled in coconut. Place sheet pan in the fridge (or freezer) again, for at least 15 minutes.

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Mmm! Caye Lime Coconut Butter Creams!

That’s It! They’re Done!

Now you have scrumptious, decadent, melt in your mouth

Caye Lime Coconut  Butter Creams!

Cheers, and Happy Eating!

Lemon & Coconut Butter Cream Candies

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If you’ve been following us, you know our M.O. is using what we already have on hand to make meals and treats. Today was my turn, so it was ~ Treats! I had good intentions to make some Iced Lemon Cookies, but the day got away from me. Secretly, really I wanted more Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites, or some kind of creamy candy instead.

With creamy candy on my mind, I remembered now I was left with two lemons that had to be used soon, and a bag of organic powdered sugar. Hmm. Powdered sugar. I used that to make Chocolate Vanilla Butter Creams…. (light bulb goes off)

Mmm, I know! LEMON BUTTER CREAMS! That sounds yummy!

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Sugar & Zest, Toasted Coconut and Pecan Lemon Creams

I’ve been sharing a lot of chocolate recipes lately. Thus, I pondered what to coat my candies with instead. I had a bag of chopped pecans, extra powdered sugar & zest, and leftover Toasted Coconut from our Quinoa Porridge. With a basic Butter Cream Recipe and those three coating ideas, off I went to the kitchen to experiment.

Trying all three, several times for good measure ( 😉 )… Bruce and I both agreed the Toasted Coconut ones were the Taste Winners, by a landslide. The experiment was a success, and I am pleased with the end result…So, Ready? Let’s Get Cookin’!!

* Toasted Coconut Lemon Butter Creams *

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l – Powdered Sugar & Softened Butter
r – Sift the Sugar

*Ingredients

2 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

4 TBSP Butter, Softened

1 Lemon – will need 2-3 TBSP of juice, and 1 TBSP zest

1 1/2 TBSP Coconut Milk, or Heavy Cream

– Baking Sheet Lined with Buttered Wax Paper

– 1/2 Cup of Toasted Coconut Flakes mixed with 1 tsp Granulated Sugar for Coating

*Method:

Sift powdered sugar into large mixing bowl. Add all the rest of the filling ingredients and mix until it becomes smooth. It should be pretty thick, so it can be easily handled – the mixing spoon should stand up on it’s own. Taste and adjust to your liking. If it is not Lemony enough, and too thick to stir, add more juice & zest. If it is too Lemony and too thick, add a little more coconut milk. If it is too thin to shape, add more powdered sugar.

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Smooth, Creamy, Lemon Filling Mixture

Place bowl of cream in the fridge for 10 minutes until firm. Meanwhile, prepare the baking sheet and place the toasted coconut in an even layer on a plate. Pull the mix out of the fridge, and using a teaspoon, scoop a small amount of cream in to your hands, Working quickly so they don;t melt too much, roll scoop into a ball, and then drop into the dish of coconut.

Gently roll ball in coconut until coated, and place on butted sheet pan. [see photo above] Continue until all the cream is rolled in balls, and rolled in coconut. Place sheet pan in the fridge again, for at least 15 minutes. That’s IT! They are done!

 Now you have scrumptious, decadent, melt in your mouth

Toasted Coconut Lemon Butter Creams!

Lemon Butter Creams

Lemon Butter Creams

My friend Mary Beth swears these would be amazing coated with glazed & salted pecans.

My other friend, Sue, says I should have tried them chocolate dipped anyhow. Both suggestions sound delicious to me, and I got a few ideas for different filling flavors.

I guess there will have to be a lot more experimenting with Butter Creams in my future!

Hope there will be in YOURS too!

Cheers, and Happy Eating!

Spiced Apple Spring Rolls with Vanilla Sauce!

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Scrumptious Pan Fried Spiced Apple Chinese Blintzes

Mmm! Lookie what we made for dessert tonight! Yum!

So about an hour ago, Bruce said “I want Dessert”. I said “We don’t really have anything.”

He said there’s two apples left. I saw spring roll wrappers in the freezer,

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Prepared Spring Roll Wrappers

a can of condensed milk…we looked at each other, and then… this happened:
“Spiced Apple Spring Rolls” with Vanilla Sauce!

Three Words this time: Oh. Em. Gee!

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Spices: Sugar, Cinnamon, Mace,Vanilla, Cloves & Sea Salt

These only took 30 minutes start to finish.

Made with our own Easy Apple Compote Recipe and packaged Spring Roll Wrappers, these babies are sweet, warm and juicy.

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Warm Spiced Apple Compote Filling

I just “winged” the Vanilla Sauce using a little sweetened condensed milk, almond milk, a liberal amount of vanilla extract, and sifted powdered sugar, warmed over a double boiler.

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Tah-Dah! Dessert from nothing in 30 minutes!

Cheers, and Happy Eating!

For Our own Apple, Raisin & Spice  Filling Recipe: Click Here

Mmm, Taste This! Delicious Honey-Almond Cream Puff Eclairs

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Delicious Honey-Almond Cream Puff Eclairs

Mmm, You Should Taste This!

Here we have a variation that Bruce made using his Home Made Eclair Recipe.

The chocolate ganache topping has been replaced with Toasted Slivered Almonds. (* see note), Then heat honey mixed with a small bit of water (so it doesn’t burn) on the stove top till warmed and thins out. Drizzle honey mixture liberally over the almond covered Eclair. Garnish with fresh berries, and…

Two Words: OH YUUUM!

*How To Make Toasted Almonds: Place slivered almonds in a dry non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Stir almonds in pan with wood spoon until the edges turn golden brown, about 5 minutes.

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Cheers, and Happy Eating!

Poached Pears with Condensed Milk and Chocolate Ganache ~ Mmm!

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Poached Pears with Condensed Milk and Ganache

This is another example of creating something delicious with whatever you have on hand.

We both wanted dessert. We had three local pears that had to be used up. He said “I can poach them in simple syrup.” That sounded good. I said, “I have an open can of sweetened condensed milk, a new bag of chocolate chips, and a little heavy cream left.”

Bruce poached the peeled pears in boiling sugar and water. Then we cooled them in the freezer. Just before serving, Bruce heated the cream over a double boiler, and folded an equal amount of chocolate chips into it. He drizzled the cooled pears with sweetened condensed milk, and then the ganache. I sprinkled a small amount of raw sugar over it, just to make it glisten.

We just threw this together with what we had, and it was FABULOUS! I mean, lick the bowl fabulous.

So, again it shows you CAN go into the kitchen with no ideas, and still come up with something great.

Get creative – and please feel free to share your ideas with us. If we try it, and it’s good – we’ll post it, with your credit!