Recipe Testin’: Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings (Adapted from the Pioneer Woman)

appleI love Pinterest for its multitude of awesomeness. It’s no surprise it’s an extremely popular interactive vision board many use for ideas on an array of categories–food included. I often utilize Pinterest’s food boards and pins for cool recipes. Deciding after much procrastination to try a perfect fall treat incorporating basic ingredients, I found a simple, yet delectable recipe using sprite, crescent rolls, apple, butter, sugar and cinnamon. The original recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman, whose version includes 2 cans of crescent rolls and Mountain Dew. I had to improvise by adding Sprite and 1 can of crescent rolls, but it did the trick. (Click on this link for the original recipe. This has step-by-step pictures, and some of you may prefer that.)

The following is Pioneer Woman’s recipe with a few tweaks I added for creativity. It takes 10 minutes to prep, 40-45 minutes to cook (depending on oven and browning) and serves 6-8 people. The recipe is straightforward, the dessert is undeniably scrumptious and this is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  •  2 cans of original crescent rolls. I used one can and it worked just fine.
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 oz/ 1 cup Mountain Dew or sprite.
  • Cinnamon to taste. I added nutmeg as well. (To put it in quantative terms,start with 1/2  of 1/4 of a tsp. I eyeballed it, and this is the best I’ve got.)

Directions: (Preheat over to 350 degrees)

  • Peel, core and cut apples into 8 slices. This is an opportune time to use that apple peeler and corer if you have one. If not, it’s a great investment.
  • Open box of crescent rolls, and separate them into triangles. Place dumplings into a 9 x 13 inch pan. I used a round clear pan, lightly greased with butter.
  • Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll, starting from the top of the triangle, rolling downward to the tip of the crescent roll. Secure by applying gentle pressure to create an adhesion.
  • Melt two sticks of butter over medium-low heat. Add vanilla, sugar, and gently stir. Mixture doesn’t have to be smooth.
  • Pour butter and sugar mixture over the apple crescent rolls, thoroughly covering apples. Pour Mountain Dew on the sides of the pan, around the appley crescents.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon. (I got creative and used nutmeg and sugar in conjunction to cinnamon. I thought a good idea would be apple pie spice or a dash of sugar and ginger for next time.)
  • Place into oven and bake for 40-43 minutes, until apples are soft, butter bubbles and the crescents are golden brown and crispy.

Serve while warm. Toppings may include: ice cream, whipped cream, or whatever works for you! Why not try both versions/substitutions and incorporate the optional ingredients for variety? I’d love to hear your experiences in your comments.

Sweet and Salty: Salted Caramel Concoctions &The Craze

From the website “Created by Diane.” Diane’s salted caramel frosting. Link to her site below.

Unless you don’t leave your home much,  you’ve heard about the magic of salted caramel. It’s received much exposure and publicity as the salted caramel craze has been everywhere-on t.v, drizzled on cupcake icing, nestled in brownies, combined in ice creams, and coffees. According to the New York Times, this trendy flavor has seen its fair share of followers since 1990.  French baker Pierre Herme created the salted caramel macaroon, being the first to fuse the ingredients together. (Here is the recipe!) He experimented with flavors by adding a salty undercurrent to the sweet caramel flavor that allowed consumers to embark on a unique flavor combination. These two flavors complimented each other whimsically, as the caramel’s decadence became enhanced by a subtle, yet sizable salted influence. Since then, salted caramel is a trend that’s gaining staying power, as it’s not at all difficult to find it anywhere. I have also explored this flavor, initially wary of the salty nuances but I have come to appreciate it.

Private Selection Sea Salt Caramel Truffle Ice Cream.

My first experience was trying a “Sea Salt Caramel Truffle” ice cream introduced by Kroger in their Private Selection brand. The caramel ice cream has caramel ribbons, and salted caramel filled chocolates. I found this ice cream richly decadent and the caramel sweetness toned down by a subtle sea salt that was divine. This ice cream will be available in limited stores as Kroger supermarkets are not a national chain. It was so good, I still had to blog about it! 🙂 I’d give this 4 tongues. This ice cream was not overly sweet, and I craved it on a regular basis.

Starbucks has also capitalized on the salted caramel trend. Their release of a salted caramel mocha was popular. The caramel was the stronger flavor I tasted, along with a rich chocolate undertone, but I didn’t taste the saltness until near after I finished each sip. I couldn’t taste any traces of sea salt, until I sipped a few times and found it somewhere in there. The caramel didn’t have the traditional “less sweetened” element it usually does when mixed with sea salt. On the yumfactor scale-a strong 3 tongues and a tastebud. The salted caramel could only be detected in the drizzle on top of the whipped cream, and according to the site, the mocha base is mixed with a toffee nut syrup. The salted caramel is drizzled on the top. If that is the case, why market it as a salted caramel mocha if there isn’t a lot to begin with? This is a rhetorical question.

My other experience was eating a salted caramel salt water taffy.The fun, chewyness of the taffy naturally complimented the caramel, and the salted flavor kicked in at the end of the chew.Not overbearing, and an even balance of flavors.  This is your typical salted caramel experience, and worth a try. For $.25 I indulged in a salted caramel taffy, a mango jalapeno taffy, a cupcake flavored taffy, and a maple bacon taffy- the latter was surprisingly tasty!

I love this coffee!

I recently bought salted caramel flavored coffee by A.M- “Coffee for tired people.” This has by far been my favorite flavor to get creative with, and I usually combine a coconut and chocolate flavoring to it, or a Madagascar vanilla to the salted caramel. Both have been exceedingly good as the salt tones down the possible sweetness such flavors can have in this mixture. This has been my ultimate favorite aspect about the salt. It gives a light depth to a caramel flavoring, making baking and creativity less predictable.  This coffee flavor needs to be in everyone’s pantry. Granted, it will be slightly plain if you do not add anything else to it, but if you like caramel on its own-let alone salted caramel, you’ll enjoy this. On the yumfacor scale, it gets 4 tongues. (4/5 stars) because of its versatility and taste.

Now, for the grand finale.

T.G.I. Friday’s Salted Caramel Cake.

I have saved the best for last. My favorite salted caramel experience is T.G.I.Friday’s salted caramel cake. Firstly, this cake has heaps of flavor. This is a moist vanilla cake with a decadent vanilla bean whipped pudding/filling in the center of a slice. Then there is more. The moist and drizzle dance with the crunchy caramel bits decorated with pieces of sea salt. When you thought you couldn’t indulge anymore, there is a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream and more caramel drizzle. Yes, it’s rich. Yes, it’s full of calories, but this has been one of the best desserts I have ever tried. 5 tongues (5/5)on the yumfactor. Yes, I think it’s perfect, but everyone is different. What I like about this dessert (which is part of the 2 for $10, or 3 for $16? don’t quote me on that) is the variety of sizes- standard and individual. I need a copycat recipe for this, then all will be well in my world! 😀

Here is the link for Created By Diane, who gives a recipe for the fabulous vanilla bean and sated caramel frosting cupcake.

What are your thoughts on Salted Caramel? Overrated? Unappreciated?

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Archer Farms Turtle Cookies-I’m Addicted!

❤ these

 

 

I bought these cookies at Target just because they looked yumtastic. Upon chewing into the soft cookie to uncover indulgent dark chocolate chips, pecans and buttery caramel chunks, I found myself yearning for the warmth of this cookie on a daily basis. Last time I checked, they were on sale for $2.15.

 

You get 8 in z box. Be warned the caramel is VERY chewy as to be expected. Each cookie contains 140 calories, and 9 grams of sugar. Not too bad if you ask me. I’d easily give these cookies 4 tongues and a tastebud. (4.5 out of 5 stars.) I love the chewy texture and the depth of flavors contained in each one as turtle flavored cookies aren’t flavors you see everywhere. Cons: there are only 8 in the pack!  😦

Fiber Plus Antioxidants Cereal- Caramel Pecan Crunch Review

I have tried Fiber Plus “Berry Yogurt” cereal and thought it needed a bit more sugar. The flakes were harder and thicker than what I wanted, so after finishing the box, I never bought it again. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good, but I’d give it a strong 2.5 out of 5 because the flakes seemed a it too “brany” for my tongue. The berries are nothing but strawberries coated in  yogurt, and tasted average. There was also an underlying warmth to the cereal, maybe cinnamony or something in the flakes that threw me off when paired next to the strawberry flavor. Did the fiber get me moving? I’d say yes, but that was what it was supposed to do.

Fiber Plus Berry Yogurt Cereal

Verdict? It tastes like Fiber. Much better with sprinkled brown sugar. I know this is a healthy cereal, and shouldn’t be drowned in sweetness, but I was expecting a little better quality of cereal, especially because I have had Fiber One bars, and they were enjoyable, so I figured another brand of fiber enhanced cereal should be the same. Nope. It made me feel as if I should follow it up with a cup of prune juice, and take supplements for my aching hip.  It could be fine it that was my morning ritual, but I’m not even 30 yet. But this is obviously my opinion, so you may like it a little more than I did. 🙂

IMO,This was was better than the other one.

Fiber Plus Berry Yogurt Cereal Yumfactor– 2 tongues and a tastebud (2.5 out of 5) Do keep in mind that I was NOT just buying this cereal for the fiber content, which I why I think I was a little more disappointed with the taste.

On to the good stuff. Fiber Plus Antioxidants Cereal- Caramel Pecan Crunch is GOOD! The first thing I noticed was that the hard flakes didn’t hurt my mouth. (I’m not going to say any names here, but it was completely unlike that Strawberry Yogurt flavor *evil glare*) The caramel is detectable, and the pecans add a wonderful, nutty, and warm flavor to the cereal. It’s light, nicely sweetened, and it does get things moving. I’d say that Fiber Plus followed up nicely with this sweet, rich and nutty cereal that outdoes the other flavor.

I honestly think my favorite thing about this cereal is the caramel. You don’t see it, but upon getting a spoonful, you get a taste of the sweet, buttery flavor that acts as a pleasant surprise, although you know caramel is in there somewhere. So, how much fiber is included in this cereal? According to the label, a service size of 3/4 cup is equal to:9g, or 35% Sugar content is relatively low at 12 g, and you also get 3g of protein, along with essential vitamins A,B12, C, D &E,and other nutrients .

Fiber Plus antioxidants cereal Caramel Pecan Crunch Yumfactor- 4 tongues. (4 out of 5 stars)  I will most likely enjoy this on a regular basis.

Coffee Mate’s White Chocolate Caramel Creamer (Review)

Coffee Mate's 3 new flavors (1st on the left is the one being reviewed.)

In comparing Coffee Mate’s creamers to International Delights, I usually prefer International Delights, however there are exceptions in a few cases-Coffee Mate’s Latte Creamers. Firstly, the velvety, smooth, creamy texture provides the taster with the feel of latte goodness.  Not overly rich, nor too thick (unlike International Delight’s Breve Cream in my opinion) I get a pretty even taste of caramel, but a slightly less white chocolate undertone. I had thought that the white chocolate would overpower the subtle buttery caramel, however one taste’s the opposite.

I’d have to say that overall, I really enjoy this creamer flavor, and appreciate the smooth latte texture that makes me feel as though I have an authentic latte in my cup, although the white chocolate is subtle.

*TIP:* Also try coffee creamers in various teas (like Vanilla based teas, or even Chai teas) to experience a unique creamer experience. Sometimes, flavors that do not come through strongly in coffee make their entrance through teas.

Coffee Mate’s White Chocolate Caramel Creamer Yumfactor: 4 tongues. (4 out of 5)  With a rich texture and yummy taste, that doesn’t prove to be too fattening, you can be sure to enjoy this amidst the hassle and stress of your crazy mornings.

 

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