Tag Archives: smitten kitchen

Apple Cider Salted Caramels from SmittenKitchen

3 Jan

One of my favorite food blogs is SmittenKitchen. Her recipes are great and she does a great job of describing how to make certain things. Also, I find her recipes pretty crowd pleasing so I usually go to her site first when it comes to baking.  She released a book recently and when asked to pick out her favorite recipe, she managed to point to her Apple Cider Salted Caramels.

I read the post during Hurricane Sandy (while we somehow got insanely lucky and kept our power) and knew immediately I had to try this recipe. I love salted caramels and I love apple cider. This sounded like everything wonderful about fall.

So the day after the storm, I put on my boots and went a few blocks away to the grocery store in search of cider. By some odd fortune, there was one, single carton of cider left… laying down on an empty shelf.

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The recipe is actually incredibly easy. I know that a lot of people are intimidated by caramels and making candy, but it really just comes down to a bit of patience and a good thermometer.

I put mine into a silicon baking dish and they came out perfectly.

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I sprinkled some flake salt on top of mine as well.

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And I used my bench scraper to cut them into perfect squares.

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And managed to get through the cutting only eating one… 

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But these little nuggets of heaven didn’t last long as I rolled them in parchment paper.  I think I ate almost half during the next hour.  They were freakin’ amazing. 

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And they got accolades from my office. Perfect little candies.

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I made them a second time and I think that the cider I used impacted the final texture.  It just refused to reduce to the same syrupy consistency of the first time, even after I cooked it for twice as long.  I went with it, and they still tasted GREAT, but they were a bit stickier and harder to handle.  I had to keep them in the fridge just to make sure they could be peeled from the wrappers.  But still… delicious.

The recipe specifically says to use unpasteurized cider, but I couldn’t find that, so both times I used pasteurized cider that was in the refrigerated section.  I’ll have to try a few more times (damn!) The first time around I used Red Jacket cider, so if you find that, I’d scoop it up for this recipe.

This recipe is going straight into the KEEPER section.

Confetti Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting

12 Sep

I have a tradition in my office where I bake my coworker’s favorite desserts for them on their birthday.  One coworker said she loved confetti cake.  Hmmm… I was stuck.  That’s out of a box.  But… I said ok. I went to the store and looked for a box of confetti cake.  To my dismay, they had none.  I wasn’t sure if confetti cake could actually be made (weren’t those sprinkles inside magic so they got soft and didn’t bleed into the cake?) but a short google later, I found out that any regular sprinkles will do.  Good to know!


So I whipped up a simple vanilla cake recipe (recipe here) and added in some sprinkles.  Worked like a charm!


But I had to get a little more original with the frosting.  Lori had blogged about a Bailey’s frosting a few months back, and that seemed like a great idea to spice up these cupcakes. She originally got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen.


I also bought a new cupcake piping set, and it made for some LOVELY looking cupcakes.


So lovely in fact, that I couldn’t stop taking pictures.


And this picture was definitely my favorite.


If you want to make Bailey’s frosting at home, I recommend staying very close to the following recipe.  I added a bit of extra powdered sugar to make sure the peaks kept their shape after I piped them and brought this to the office.  It was perfect.


Bailey’s Frosting
(from Smitten Kitchen)

3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)


1. Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.  NOTE FROM SMITTTEN KITCHEN THAT REALLY HELPED: “This is a fantastic trick I picked up while working on the cupcakes article for Martha Stewart Living; the test kitchen chefs had found that when they added the sugar slowly, quick buttercream frostings got less grainy, and tended to require less sugar to thicken them up.”

2. When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.