Category Archives: Caramel

Caramel Pretzel Pie

Caramel Pretzel PieHave you ever seen the movie Waitress? It’s one of my very favorites—it’s about a small town pie waitress who is saddled with the worst sort of husband and a lifestyle of which she doesn’t see a clear way out. Her passion is pie, and throughout the film she thinks in pie recipes with very specific names: Marshmallow Mermaid Pie, Bad Baby Pie, Lonely Chicago Pie…you get the idea. I won’t ruin it further. You can and should stream it on Prime for $4.Caramel Pretzel PieAlternatively, you can come to NYC and see Waitress the musical, which has been running on Broadway for three years and is every bit as good as the film that inspired it! I nabbed tickets when my dear friend, Tad, was here a few weeks ago and I already want to see it again.Caramel Pretzel PieWhen we left the theater and headed for the subway, I knew two things:

  1. I wanted to download the soundtrack immediately.
  2. I needed to make pie.

Caramel Pretzel PieCaramel Pretzel PieDone and DONE. Caramel Pretzel Pie, y’all. It’s sweet, salty, and full of creamy caramel flavor!Caramel Pretzel PieCaramel Pretzel PieCaramel Pretzel PieOne great thing about Caramel Pretzel Pie? It’s almost-no-bake. I had originally intended for this beauty to be oven-free, but the idea of a slightly-toasty pretzel crust won out. I think you’ll agree that the ten minutes of oven time required to set the crust are absolutely worth it.Caramel Pretzel PieCaramel Pretzel PieAnother great thing? This pie is very quick and simple to make, especially if you make your caramel sauce ahead. You could swap in a store-bought caramel sauce if that’s more your speed (I hear Trader Joe’s has a good one), but homemade is super easy to make and is far better than anything I’ve ever found in a grocery store.Caramel Pretzel PieCaramel Pretzel PieThe creamy, cloud-like caramel filling comes together in minutes and has a nice tang from a hit of cream cheese.Caramel Pretzel PieCaramel Pretzel PieCaramel Pretzel PieAfter a few hours chilling in the fridge, the pie is finished off with whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and a few broken pretzels.Caramel Pretzel PieIt’s so delicious, it’s ridiculous. I always love a salty-sweet dessert, but the toasty pretzel crust, creamy filling, and the teetering-on-the-brink-of-burnt (-but-in-a-good-way) flavor of the caramel really make this pie something special.Caramel Pretzel PieAll it’s missing is a very specific name. Somehow Feminist Movie/Musical Inspo Pie doesn’t sound quite right 😂 Maybe you can come up with something when you make this for every cookout this summer. Believe me–this one is a guaranteed hit.Caramel Pretzel Pie

Caramel Pretzel Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

Pretzel Crust:
1 1/3 cup finely-crushed salted pretzels (I used 63 thin pretzels)
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

3/4 cup heavy cream, very cold
8 ounces (1 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup caramel sauce (recipe below), room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Topping:
3/4 cup heavy cream, very cold
2-3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
caramel sauce (recipe below)
broken salted pretzels

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together finely-crushed salted pretzels, brown sugar, and melted butter until combined. Transfer mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate. Bake 10 minutes to set. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Do not overwhip. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and salt until fluffy. Add caramel sauce and vanilla and mix until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream. Working in 2 installments, carefully fold in remaining whipped cream until combined. Transfer to chilled pie crust. Chill for 3 hours or overnight.

Make topping. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Top pie with whipped cream. Drizzle with caramel sauce and scatter broken pretzel pieces over the top, if desired.

Slice and serve. Leftover pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days. Broken pretzel topping will soften over time.

Caramel Sauce
makes about 1 1/4 cups

1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Place sugar in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk sugar until the sugar melts and turns a deep copper color. Whisk in butter until completely incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in heavy cream. Caramel will bubble violently, but will quickly relax into a smooth sauce. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Transfer sauce to a jar and let cool to room temperature.

Leftover caramel sauce should be kept in the refrigerator. Microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring in between, to reheat.Caramel Pretzel PieCaramel Pretzel PieCaramel Pretzel Pie

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}I must have pancakes on the brain. Last week, I posted this single-serving pancake recipe, and thanks to the response I got, I have spent the last week working on another. If I ever get the banana version to quit sticking to the pan, I’ll put it on here.

Until then, let’s talk about this Caramel Apple Puff Pancake. Oh, y’all. It is good. Goooood. Like apple pie meets caramel meets the best weekend breakfast there is. You’re going to want to make it for every weekend and holiday brunch you have for the rest of the season because it. is. ridiculous.

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}It all starts with a classic Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby} batter. Puff Pancakes are a family favorite. They’re super easy to make and very impressive. The batter comes together in a food processor (or blender) before being poured into a screaming hot pan. Then, it’s baked for about twenty minutes until it puffs up. When it comes out of the oven, it quickly deflates, leaving behind a beautifully browned pancake with a soft custard-like center and chewy edges. It’s a thing to behold and is perfect with some confectioner’s sugar and maple syrup (or lemon juice). It really doesn’t need to be messed with. But we all know that’s not really my style.

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Here, the traditional batter is poured into the pan and then sprinkled with sliced apples that have been tossed with sugar and pie spices–basically pie filling without a thickener. As the pancake bakes, it envelops the sliced apples. When it comes out of the oven, it’s basically the most autumnal thing ever. A drizzle of caramel sauce is all it needs to bring it over the top.

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Now, of course you may use store-bought caramel sauce (I hear Trader Joe’s has a good one), but I am here to convince you to make your own. It’s quick, easy, involves minimal ingredients, and is SO much better than anything you could get near the ice cream toppings. I swear. All you do is melt some sugar over medium-high heat, stirring until it becomes a dark copper color (but doesn’t burn). Then, whisk in a bunch of butter. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in some cream. It’ll bubble up violently, but just keep whisking and it’ll calm down and become a smooth, luxurious sauce. Whisk in some vanilla and salt, and then pour it on everything.

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}The best pieces of advice I can give you for making homemade caramel?

  • Use a silver or white saucepan so you can see the sugar changing color.
  • Wear an oven mit. Molten caramel burns a lot more than boiling water.
  • Don’t step away from the caramel, even for a second. It can burn in the blink of an eye.

If I haven’t scared you away, please try this caramel sauce. It comes together in a matter of minutes and really is worth the (minimal) effort…especially when it’s drizzled over this perfectly spiced apple puff pancake.Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}
makes 4-6 servings*

Apples:
2 large baking apples,* peeled, 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Puff Pancake Batter:
4 large eggs
1 cup milk (not skim or fat free)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons butter (unsalted or salted)

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Place a large ovenproof cast iron or stainless steel pan in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 400F.

Prepare the apples. In a medium mixing bowl, use your hands to toss apple slices and vinegar together. Sprinkle sugar, spices, and salt over the top and toss to combine. Set aside.

Prepare the pancake batter. In the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender*, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, and salt. Process 30 seconds, or until no lumps remain. Let batter rest five minutes.

Once oven has reached 400F, remove the hot pan and add butter. Place pan back in the oven for 60-90 seconds, until butter has melted. Remove pan from the oven, and swirl the butter so it coats the pan. Pour in batter. Scatter apples over the top, leaving any excess liquid in the bowl. Bake 19-20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Do NOT open the oven door during baking.

While the pancake is baking, make the caramel sauce. Place sugar in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk sugar until the sugar melts and turns a deep copper color. Whisk in butter until completely incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in heavy cream. Caramel will bubble violently, but will quickly relax into a smooth sauce. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Transfer sauce to a jar.

Let pancake cool 2-5 minutes before slicing. Drizzle individual portions with caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Caramel sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Notes:

1. If you’d like to make a 3-4 serving puff, use 3 large eggs, 3/4 cup milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons butter. Use the same amount of apples. Follow all instructions as written, changing the baking time to 18-19 minutes.
2. I used one tart apple (Granny Smith) and one sweet apple (McIntosh).
3. If you do not have a food processor or blender, you may whisk all of the ingredients together and then push them through a wire mesh sieve to remove any lumps of flour. Let batter rest five minutes before proceeding as written.

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip Cookies

Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip CookiesIn five days, I will post a pumpkin recipe. I promise.

For some reason, this year I’m insisting on holding out on all the pumpkin until it’s “officially” fall. It’s getting silly. I have had absolutely zero recipe ideas this week that don’t involve cracking open a can of the orange stuff. Not a one. But I’m stubborn, and so I am holding out for exactly five more days. If, however, you are not as ridiculous as I am, you can get your pumpkin fix here and here.

Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip CookiesThank goodness I have an ever-growing list of recipe ideas on my phone. When I feel stuck on an ingredient, or if I have had too many fails in a row and don’t feel up to baking, that list always helps me to get excited about being in the kitchen again. Without it, I may have put off sharing these Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip Cookies until after Christmas, and that’d be a real shame because they are fabulous.

Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip CookiesCaramel-Stuffed Potato Chip CookiesCaramel-Stuffed Potato Chip CookiesThese cookies, y’all. They’re super chewy, studded with crispy crushed potato chips, and stuffed with gooey caramel. Top that fantastic mix of textures with an addictive sweet and salty flavor combination, and they’re absolutely irresistible! Trust me, these cookies make holding out for pumpkin season just a little bit easier.

Have a great weekend!Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip Cookies

Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip Cookies
makes about 3.5 dozen cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups crushed ruffled potato chips*
20 caramel candies,* sliced in quarters

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Mix in light brown and granulated sugars, followed by egg and yolk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing completely after each addition. Add in crushed potato chips, mixing just until dispersed. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 90 minutes or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls. Flatten the balls. Place a quarter-caramel in the middle of each dough ball and wrap the dough around it, using your fingers to smooth any seams. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 8-10 minutes, until they look just slightly underbaked.

Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for ten minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Serve cookies warm or at room temperature.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Notes:

1.  Use sturdy chips–if they can’t scoop up dip without breaking, don’t use them here. Thin, flimsy chips will basically “melt” into the dough. Use ruffled or kettle-cooked potato chips.

2.  I use Kraft caramels.