Tag Archives: recipe

Easy Fall Dessert: Caramel Drizzled Apples

So long Pumpkin Pie. Move over Maple Ice Cream.

My favorite fall dessert is in town – Caramel sauce and fresh apple slices.

This is the easiest fall dessert to make!

And it’s even easier than it used to be with these awesome Caramel Bits by Kraft (found by the chocolate chips, $2.99 for the bag.)

I used to make this all the time with my mom, except I had to unwrap a whole bag of these:

Now it’s even easier.

Take 1 bag of Caramel Bits and 2 tablespoons of Half and Half and slowly bring to a simmer. Caramel burns very easily, so stir often!

Easy Fall Dessert: Caramel Drizzled Apples - DesignLively

When it’s a rich, amber color it’s done!

Slice a fresh apple (yum!) and drizzle on the caramel.

Easy Fall Dessert: Caramel Drizzled Apples - DesignLively

Don’t be too hasty – it’s easy to burn your mouth!

Not that I know what that’s like… because when it comes to caramel sauce I’m the Queen of Patience.

Eat and enjoy! Happy Autumn!

Recipe: Homemade Concord Grape Ice Cream

Recipe for Homemade Concord Grape Ice Cream - DesignLively

For some reason it never occurs to me that grapes are an autumn fruit, but indeed they are.

Grapes are typically harvested between August and October.

When we were in the Finger Lakes over Labor Day weekend we went apple picking. We were quickly seduced by the delightfully strong and sweet aroma of the concord grapevines a few rows over.

Recipe for Homemade Concord Grape Ice Cream - DesignLively

Impulsively, I picked five pounds. Quite quickly too, the vines were lush with grapes.

I may have eaten a few Cleopatra-style.

These bad boys were plump and tasted like candy.

Recipe for Homemade Concord Grape Ice Cream - DesignLively

For the first two weeks I ate them plain. Yum!

Then I realized, there is NO way I’m going to eat my way through five pounds before these start to go bad. So I put my thinking cap on and… it immediately went to dessert.

Specifically, ice cream. Grape ice cream.

Berry ice cream is difficult to get right. We had delicious homemade blueberry ice cream at a local ice cream shoppe this summer, and it was so good – a real fruit concentrate makes all the difference. I was inspired.

First we hauled out the juicer. We own a beast of a Jack LaLanne juicer and it came in handy for this recipe! (There are other methods of boiling and straining through cheesecloth, but this was obviously much faster and easier.)

We juiced about 3 pounds of grapes, and we sent the skins through about 5 times before we felt like we got all the juices out.

The result was about three cups of unadulterated grape juice. We drank one cup over ice (yum!).

Recipe for Homemade Concord Grape Ice Cream - DesignLively

Sorry for the blah-lit photos. Most of our life happens after work. Aka, when there is no more natural light. : (

The other two cups of grape juice I put on the stove to boil. I slowly stirred in one cup of sugar. I let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Then I transferred it to a covered dish and left it in the fridge overnight to thicken.

The next day I started making the recipe for vanilla ice cream in my Cuisinart ice cream maker.

Recipe for Homemade Concord Grape Ice Cream - DesignLively

As the ice cream started to thicken I poured in 2 cups of the grape concentrate and let it stir until completed. The concentrate will make the ice cream slightly runnier than usual. You will want to let it firm up in the freezer.

The result was a creamy, light, grape ice cream!

And definitely not artificial “grape”. My husband said he thought I was crazy when I first started talking about making grape ice cream, since most grape-flavored things taste so fake, but he was pleasantly surprised.

Recipe for Homemade Concord Grape Ice Cream - DesignLively

If mine looks drippy it’s because I couldn’t wait any longer to try it 🙂

YUM! This will definitely be a repeated recipe next year.

Grape Concentrate Ingredients:
3 pounds concord grapes
1 cup sugar

Ice Cream Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/8 cups granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Welcome to Hogsmeade: Homemade Butterbeer

Recipe Welcome to Hogsmeade: Homemade Butterbeer - DesignLively

Get your wand out friends. It’s time to get your inner Gryffindor on. Or at least your inner Madame Rosmerta.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, I apologize.

Not really. Go read Harry Potter you fools!

Recipe Welcome to Hogsmeade: Homemade Butterbeer - DesignLively

You won’t even need to rummage through Snape’s Potions closet for these ingredients:

– Root Beer
– Half and Half
– Imitation Butter extract
– Fluff

Recipe Welcome to Hogsmeade: Homemade Butterbeer - DesignLively

First, add about half of the container of Fluff and 1 cup of half and half. Stir it with a mixer until it’s foamy!

Fill your glass with rootbeer and add butter extract. We found 1tsp per glass to our liking.

And stir.

Recipe Welcome to Hogsmeade: Homemade Butterbeer - DesignLively

Now that your fluff/cream is nice and foamy, add a few spoonfuls to your glass.

Add it slowly, it WILL foam.

And it might overflow and cover your kitchen island in stickiness… I need a house-elf to help me!

Recipe Welcome to Hogsmeade: Homemade Butterbeer - DesignLively

These adorable chalkboard mason jar glasses were favors from my cousin’s wedding!

Choose your favorite Potter name and drink up.

Recipe Welcome to Hogsmeade: Homemade Butterbeer - DesignLively

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Valentine’s Day Special!

One of my first jobs was working at a minor league baseball stadium making gourmet desserts.

I must have made thousands of chocolate covered strawberries in one summer! While that doesn’t mean I’m a “pro” I would certainly say it means I have a bit of experience.

To start, I wash and let the strawberries dry thoroughly. I do NOT hull them. Neither do I cut off any soft spots. The chocolate will cover any blemish!

The strawberries need to be completely dry. Chocolate will not stick to damp strawberries.

While the strawberries are drying, I melt 1/2 a bag of bittersweet chocolate chips in a double boiler.

Sometimes (when I’m too lazy to get my double boiler out) I just fill a pot with 2″ of water and put a glass bowl on top. I put the heat on LOW and let the chocolate chips melt together, stirring occasionally. Within 10 minutes your chips should be melting. I leave the heat on low. I don’t like to microwave my chocolate or heat it up quickly – the chocolate can turn quickly.

Next, I line a cookie sheet with wax paper.

To begin dipping, I stick a toothpick through the stem of the strawberry. This is where the tightest hold is on the berry and it will help stop the berry from falling off into the chocolate. This is why I prefer not to hull my strawberries. I think they are easier to dip, as well as easier to eat.

There are two ways to dip.

1. Kerplunk her down right in the center leaving about 1/8″ of red. (I like to see a little bit of red color.)

2. Flying V – Sweep the berry through on it’s side, and then the other side, leaving a little “v” in the middle.

Let it the excess chocolate drip off. I will also spin it around by the toothpick to help wick away excess chocolate. Then I put the berry down on the wax paper and pull the toothpick out. Once all your berries are dipped, put the cookie sheet in the refrigerator.

To decorate my strawberries, I ended up using some frosting (I didn’t have any white chocolate left in my pantry – what I usually use).

I put two heaping spoonfuls of frosting in a ziploc bag with a few drops of red food coloring.

Then I gently smooshed it (yep, that’s a fancy culinary term right there) around in my hand until the frosting was all pink. I put the bag into the fridge and let it firm-up for a few minutes.

When the chocolate on the strawberries has hardened in the fridge, I take the cookie sheet and the frosting out. I snip off a teeny-tiny corner of the bag and go at it.

I decided to frosting a few plain strawberries too!

After I’ve finished frosting I put it all back in the fridge until I’m (erm… I mean we’re) ready to eat them!

NOM NOM NOM!