This month I celebrated my annual 29th birthday. Although my actual birthday falls earlier in the month, several years ago, I began commandeering Halloween as my own annual celebration. After all, what’s more fun than Halloween?!? Oh wait, I know – The San Francisco Giants, gracing the party with their World Series presence during the bash! This year’s costume theme was “Hat Night” and there were no shortage of Giants hats in the crowd.
But what about the food?!? There is also plenty of food at this bash. This year, on the Tower of Treats, we offered, among other things, homemade caramels. I make these on the regular and they are a real crowd pleaser. What’s more is this caramel makes a really nice coating for caramel apples. Simply bring your caramel to temperature, remove from heat and, working quickly, spoon the caramel over your apples and transfer to waxed paper to dry. Looking for a great caramel sauce recipe for ice cream or other desserts? Stop cooking the caramel at 220 degrees F, let cool (or don’t) and pour.
Homemade Soft Caramels
2 cups (16 oz.) sugar
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 ¼ cups milk
1 cup corn syrup
1 ¼ cup (10 oz.) brown sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, reserving wrapper to grease pan
1 tablespoon vanilla
Using the reserved butter wrapper, butter a 9”x13” Pyrex or other heat resistant glass pan. In a large sauce pan, combine all ingredients except for vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until mixture starts to boil. Clip a candy thermometer to side of the pot, and continue cooking and stirring until the gauge reads 246 degrees F. Remove pot from heat, stir in vanilla and pour caramel into prepared pan. Once caramel is fully cooled and set (around 3 hours), using a metal spatula or butter knife, remove slab of caramel from pan and cut with a knife or bench scraper into desired shapes. Wrap in candy wrappers, waxed paper or plastic wrap.
Caramels will keep indefinitely once wrapped and placed in an airtight container. If they start to crystallize, they make a nice addition to coffee or can be re-melted and put on popcorn.
UM, so what, no pie? What? Of course there was pie! For the Halloween bash we had two kinds of lasagna pie – one from me and one from Amelia. Both were devoured instantly. On my actual birthday, however, my husband picked me up some pie from two of my favorite places – first of all, we had pizza pie from Napoli Pizza in Vallejo. We here at CPM recommend the Tony’s Special calzone. It isn’t on the menu but they will make you one. Awesome, as always! Secondly, we had 3 kinds of fruit pie from the Buttercream Bakery in Napa, CA. I had to serve it with some of my homemade ice cream (a blog for a different day).
Hap-pie birthday to all of the other October babies out there! I hope your October has been just as much fun as mine!