Easy Caramel Sauce

Hey pals! Today we’re talking about how to make caramel sauce. If you’re like me, you have been intimidated by this for years. Or maybe you’re like…buying this at the store is easy. Here’s why we’re doing this… it is really easy if you follow the instructions and pay attention to it. AND it tastes so much better than store bought. If you buy an actual homemade jar of caramel from a gift shop, it’ll be expensive! This makes a lot more than it seems and will be good in your fridge for 2 weeks or your freezer for 2 months.

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If you want to see this in action, check out my YouTube video!

Between measuring and making it from scratch, it’s under 15 minutes. SERIOUSLY. This isn’t like those recipes that say ‘Prep Time: 5 minutes’ when you have to clean and chop 2 onions, 3 peppers and 8 carrots, measure 14 spices and sauces & that ends up taking 30 minutes. This is measuring out THREE ingredients (4 if you want salted caramel) and dicing a few butter cubes.

I’m not going to lie to you…I’ve burnt 2 out of the probably 20 batches of this that I’ve made. Not because it’s hard to do. Because I probably got distracted on Instagram. Or one of my dogs decided it was important to start barking at a rabbit at an ungodly hour. IF you pay attention and don’t leave the saucepan, you’ll be absolutely fine.

!!PSA!! Read through the whole recipe first and get prepared before you make it. I used to always just start following instructions when I had ingredients out. It’s a bad plan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp butter (cold, dice it up into chunks)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (room temp if possible)
  • 1 tsp salt (if you want salted caramel)

Tools:

  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spatula (or rubber, I don’t recommend metal)
  • Whisk (or real big fork?)

Steps:

  • PREP WORK: Measure everything out and have it sitting next to the stove. Otherwise, you’re going to get stressed out.
  • Put your sugar in a saucepan. Turn stove to medium heat.
  • Constantly stir the sugar until it’s completely melted with no clumps (if there’s a few small ones, it’ll be okay). Note: It takes 5-6 minutes. I’d set a timer just to reference. The first 3 minutes you won’t see much action. DON’T TURN UP THE HEAT. I SAID MEDIUM. Keep stirring. It’ll happen. You can kind of “chop” up clumps if you get them.
  • Now you’re going to reduce your heat a little bit- about 1/4 of the way from medium to low.
  • Grab your whisk. Toss in your butter. Note: It’s going to bubble up like crazy, don’t panic.
  • Whisk for about 2-3 minutes until it’s fully incorporated. It’ll seem like it is incorporated quickly but there will be a small layer of butter on top. Keep going for at least 2 minutes. You’ll notice it gets a little thicker, that’s good!
  • Turn the heat down now to about halfway between medium and low.
  • Pour in the cream while whisking. Mix until fully incorporated, about 1 minute.
  • Let simmer for 45 seconds. DON’T KEEP STIRRING. Just leave it be.
  • Remove from heat. (add in salt and stir until incorporated if you want salted caramel sauce)

That’s it, you did it! I meant to tell you not to wear a big sweater while doing this. You’re literally standing over a hot saucepan for about 10 minutes. It gets super toasty.

Now you have an awesome caramel sauce to use on apples, cupcakes, caramel apple martinis :), brownies, sundaes, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!

Enjoy,

-Slightly, Samantha

Marble Leaf Sugar Cookies

Why wait until Christmas to make sugar cookies? LET’S DO IT NOW! I love the marble technique in royal icing and it’s so much easier than it looks. This is another one where the messier it gets, THE BETTER IT LOOKS!

The recipes I used are from Baking With Josh & Ange. It’s Angela Kinsey from the Office and her husband and they are so cute and funny and have great recipes. Her husband, Josh, is my favorite kind of food blogger. He makes things so easy! Check out their YouTube channel for great tutorials and the best part- OFFICE CAMEOS!

Recipes Links: Sugar Cookies & Royal Icing

I’ve found that a half batch of icing is plenty for one batch of cookies. The best part about sugar cookies is that they BAKE IN 6 MINUTES. They’ll literally be done before you even finish cleaning up your counter.

I used leaf pie crust cutters because that’s all I had lying around. These work fine for cookies you just don’t use the stamp part to leave leaf indents on the top. I got these a few years ago in a set from William Sonoma but they still have a similar set. They’re great to have on hand for pie crust accents on your fall pies as well! If you want actual cookie cutters, here’s a cute, affordable set from Amazon.

I was inspired by Chelsweets Marbled Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies from a couple years ago. I always thought these were so cute!

I split the royal icing into a couple of batches to do this. The colors eventually start running together so you’ll want a fresh batch and you go along through the cookies. Add water in small bits, about 1/2 tsp at a time, until you get the consistency you want. I think for our purposes you’ll want it to be like a shampoo-like consistency.

Add in about 4 drops of a few different colors of food coloring. I used red, orange and yellow. Use a toothpick to swirl the coloring into the icing and help get that marbled look. Then you just dip the cookies in! It takes a few to get used to it. You want to lean the edges all down in a rotation to get the icing completely to each edge. Then when you pull up, let the excess fall off before you tilt the cookie back and set aside.

I do have a little bad news. These take FOREVER to fully dry and harden. Like, several hours. I usually leave them to dry overnight. I know, it’s annoying. But, then the icing ends up being super firm and you can pack them up on top of each other and there’s no mess or worrying about ruining any of them. So, you win some, you lose some!

To give my batch of cookies a little variety, I did the second half with just standard white royal icing and this cute fall sprinkle blend from Joann. I only used one of the two styles because my dogs ate a full tube of sprinkles while I was out to dinner. #rude

You can easily do this year round with any shape/color combo that comes to mind. Happy baking!

Slightly, Samantha

Banana Bread

You know who loves banana bread? THIS GIRL. If you don’t, you just haven’t had a good one or you’re a monster! I mean.. it’s basically like having cake for breakfast or a snack. And I’m an adult so I can eat cake for breakfast if i want to! If you really want to do it right, mix in chocolate chips. This time I just put them on top with some pecans. It’s called balance, people. #HealthyAF

It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s delicious! Here’s what you need-

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup butter (one stick- SUPER soft but not melted, leave it out on the counter for a few hours)
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)

Ok, so let’s talk about the bananas real quick. They need to be ripe. REAL RIPE. Honestly, I was alarmed when I found out how ripe they should actually be for bread. I always used them when they had like one little freckle on them. (WAHOO THEY’RE READY. No. Just no.) . This recipe is perfect for when you get ambitious and buy a bunch of bananas and then only eat 2 out of the 5 in the bundle and you’ve let them sit there for a week or so and they look like they might make you sick if you eat them…that means they’re perfect for banana bread! Ok, back to how to make this guy!

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Quick prep work: Sift together (or just whisk/mixup, let’s be real) the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. Mash your three bananas in a small bowl with a fork until it looks like baby food.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a stand up mixer. Basically that means mix it on med/low until it’s all mixed together and smooth-ish.
  • Toss your egg and mashed bananas in there. Mix on low until incorporated.
  • Mix in your flour mixture on low by large spoonfuls until incorporated.
  • Mix in the milk on low until fully combined.
  • Throw it all in a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. (Check with toothpick, it should come out clean. TBH, mine usually takes an extra five minutes)

*If you want to be fun an adventurous, add some toppings! I added chocolate chips and pecans. You could really add anything on top of here. Fruit, nuts, different kinds of candy chips, the sky is the limit!

*TIP: If you want to make your life easier, cut a strip of parchment paper to place in your greased pan. If placed sideways, you’ll have little paper wings for you to easily pull your bread out! I like when things are easy, you do too. Take the tip.

That’s all! Enjoy your cake bread!

-Slightly, Samantha