Tag Archives: butter

Caramel Sauce


food 031

Seriously. S.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y. I really don’t want to tell you that you HAVE to make this caramel sauce, because you DON’T have to. But maybe you should. Caramel sauce has been something  I have tried and tried and tried to make. I have kinda succeeded, sorta failed, totally flopped and mostly failed my way through making caramel for a few years now. Seriously, I had given up. BUT what made me try just one. more. time (……well, two more times, more on that in a minute…….) was that fact that Aldi did not have a jar of caramel sauce. They had about 10 bijillion hot fudge sauces in the same place were there was SUPPOSED to be hot fudge AND caramel. No caramel. So I was “forced” to buy some heavy whipping cream and try again, cause I  someone “needed” caramel.  Thanks Aldi.

So here I am. Me, tho one who thinks if the weather man says it will be 70º I dress for 70º……colder or hotter, I will not change. I wanna believe he is right. The one who thinks if you tell me to boil the sugar for 5-7 minutes that it will take 5-7 minutes and it will be done. Period. The one who is blistfully ignorant to the fact that things may not always go as planned.  I guess I am gullible? Is that the right word? I try and tell my self not to be, but self just does not listen.  Anyway. Precisely 15 minutes before we were to get the kids to bed, I started. making. caramel. The girl said that in “15 minutes” you will have caramel sauce. I thought it to be true. Well……..

I heated up the sugar. 15 minutes later I was still stirring this dark brown nearly burned sugar…..thinking “those hard chunks of sugar are sure to melt away any second now.” A few minutes later my son comes to me and says it smells like burned marshmallows in the house. To which I simply said “it is the caramel I am making.” The face he gave me said it all. He had his doubts. I thought, “butter will heal this.” Cause butter is butter and it is good. Well, the butter melted. The sugar did not. It was so so hard. No caramel in sight. My pan was ruined. The pan was about to go in the garbage. But then I thought better. I filled it with water and boiled it and boiled it till the hard chunks of sugar melted off. My husband, noting that crazy boiling pot on the stove, asked if it was going to boil over. I mumbled “No, maybe, thanks, just making caramel”……..under my breath. I didn’t look at his face. We got the kids to bed and back at it I went. Cause I had to…….you know?

Round 2. I opted to add a bit of water to the sugar. I was giddy. I was pumped. Pretty sure I jumped up and down and twiddled my fingers together a time or two. BECAUSE. Before my very eyes, caramel was happening!!!! That sugar/water mixture got to a lovely caramel color, I took it off the heat and added the butter. (PS. I was able to save the butter from the above said calamity. As soon as I saw the sugar NOT melting but instead turning into a ball of rock hard, teeth ruining candy, I poured the butter off. To precious to throw away and it was fine. Just fine. Just melted.) Stirred that butter around and added the heavy cream. Well, the caramel went crazy on me at that point. BOILING like mad ~ mind you, it was OFF the heat and on the counter. Oh no, I have ruined it again. I stirred and stirred and…..there it was. Caramel. It looked good. Did it taste good? I wonder.  The vanilla and salt went in next. I did not taste yet, surprising myself with my wise choice as to not burn my tongue clear off. Oh……the suspence…….

It cooled a bit. I tasted it. It was caramel. Legit caramel. I put it in my jar and left it there on the counter. To look at a bit. Husband came into kitchen. I happily said,  “Look!!!!! Caramel.” Well, he had been the recipient of my crunchy caramel or my rock hard caramel a few to many times and the house still smelled of burnt marshmallows. So I am sure he had his doubts. He said “good” or something simple like that. Then he noticed my lovely burning fall candle, commented on the flavor (Cinnamon Vanilla). I said “thanks, that was from you.” He said “that was nice of me.” (If you know him you can appreciate this whole conversation. He is a very to the point kinda guy.)

I thought about the caramel. I actually dreamed about. Food nerds have dreams about food sometimes.  First thing in the morning I opened it up. I looked good. But was it hard? Too hard?? The spoon went right in. It was just the right caramel consistency. It worked. It was yummy.

We had the caramel a day or so later on ice cream.  I think the kids expected it to turn to candy when it hit the ice cream. It HAS happened. But noppers. It did not. Success.

Some tips about this caramel making ~

~ Have the heavy whipping cream be room temp, don’t forget this.
~ Have the butter be melted, don’t forget this.
~ Don’t leave the sugar/water mixture, just hang out by it, stirring. Laundry can wait.
~ That is all I can think of.  Just learn from my mistakes. If you burn the sugar, no worries, just add water to the nearly ruined saucepan and boil it off.

Are you thinking ~ didn’t she already share a caramel recipe?” Well, yes, thanks for asking. I did.  Right here. I have made that one a good number of times, it works half the time.  Not sure why. So this is now my new favorite one. 🙂

PLEASE let me know if you try this or any thoughts you may have concerning caramel or any food. 

PS. It’s fall! High fives alllll around! WAHOO!!!!

Caramel Sauce 
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 stick of BUTTER, melted
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream, room temp
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix together the sugar and water, bring to a boil.  Boil and stir till a caramel color. (Watch as it will go from caramel color to burned useless sugar in a few seconds flat! This is not a thing to time, as all stove tops cook differently, just watch carefully and use your best judgement. I have burned a batch or two. Sadly. Just stick by it, you will be fine.)
Take off heat, put the butter in the sugar mixture and stir till combined. Then add the heavy whipping cream, it will bubble up on you just be brave and keep stirring till all combined. Add the salt and vanilla. Do not eat right away or you will burn you tongue so very bad. When warm, serve over ice cream. Or store in fridge and heat in microwave till warm. Also very good by itself on a spoon.

Candy Cane Snowballs


food 798

I totally meant to share this cookie with you all last December, time does FLY doesn’t it??!!

* I usually prefer to chill my dough for a day or so, then bake later. This dough gets kinda hard, so if you DO chill it 1st (I still did) just note that it will be a bit harder to scoop.

Candy Cane Snowballs 
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/4 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 egg
3 c. flour
1 TB. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. crushed candy cane
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

Beat together the powdered sugar and butter till light and fluffy. Add the extracts and egg and beat till well combined.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and slowly add this into the butter mix.  Beat about 1 minute.

Add in the crushed candy canes and mini chocolate chips by hand. Scoop into balls, I used my cookie scoop. Bake @ 350° for 11-13 minutes.  Take off pan as soon as possible, the melting candy canes get sticky and hard rather quickly on the pan. Cool on wire rack.

Yields about 40 cookies.

Recipe adapted from a recipe clipped from the Times Newspaper.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread


So, the other day I really didn’t feel like cleaning up the dinner dishes….. instead I made shortbread.  Shortbread is buttery crumbly easy delicious. A good baking distraction, when you really should be doing something else :/. (THEN of course I had baking dishes to clean up too……but that was fine, just fine.)

I know  a few of my loved ones who enjoy their shortbread on the shy side of charred (pretty sure you know who you are!), I however enjoy mine just barely browned. Barely. THAT is why the baking time ranges so much. I think about 30 minutes is just right, for me. Check it at 20 minutes, again at 25 minutes, etc. till YOUR desired brownedness.

food 865

* I have made and enjoyed these little shortbread bars 2 ways, well, 3 ~ oh, I mean 4 different ways. Pick the way that sounds bestest to you!!  #1. Bake with NO chocolate chips in the dough and simply top the bars (right out of the oven) with the 1 c. chocolate chips. When melted, spread. Cool. Cut. #2. Add 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips TO the dough ~ then bake and top with 1/2 c. chocolate chips, let melt and spread. #3. Bake without the chocolate chips. Cool. Cut into rectangles. Dip 1/2 of the shortbread bar INTO melted chocolate. Set on wax paper, let set, cool. #4. Bake with 1 c. mini chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread 

1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2/3 c. soft butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips (I like to use “mini” for these)

Mix the flour, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla till well blended. Pat into a greased 9″ baking pan (I believe I use an 8″). Bake @ 325° for 20-40 minutes. (Depending your oven and how dark you want your shortbread.) Take out of oven and top with the chocolate chips. Let set till melted. Spread. Cool. Cut.


Recipe from Stacie.

Fruit Pizza Cups & Sugar Cookies


 food 1056

Yesterday was the 4th of July ~ was your day filled with festive red white and blue fun?!?!? Perhaps you had  a lovely day at home or visited with friends or vacationed or worked. Perhaps you had fun. 🙂 

I am a few days late sharing this dessert BUT no need to wait till next
4th of July! It is a GREAT summertime dessert!  

The base for this recipe, the fabulous sugar cookie bottom comes from my friend’s grandma. You know that kind of recipe ~ fab.u.lous. The “pass down from generation to generation” recipe. NOT one of those “genius” recipes that begin AND end in our own kitchens. This sugar cookie trumps any other recipe I have tried. 


This dough is not for “cut out cookies”, but more of the roll in a ball and sprinkle with sugar cookies. Or form a ball and roll it in sprinkles. You won’t regret it. Festive fun fabulous (my new favorite word).

food 952

(Don’t look TOO hard for a picture of a baked cookie. As there is none. They were totally hoovered before a picture was taken!)

Back to the Pizza Fruit Cups. Are you familiar with Fruit Pizza?? Basically, this is that ~ just in hand-held form.  Yummy and refreshing. Use whatever fruit that looks fabulous to you that day (or that your fruit bowl/fridge has for you).  

* I use 1/2 c. coconut oil and 1/2 c. canola oil for this recipe.

* I do chill the dough, as I like to make dough one day and bake it another. However, the dough needs to sit out just a bit before it is easy to roll. SO the chilling is NOT necessary ~ just yields more time for dough sneaking…..sssheesh. Caught. 

* MAKE AHEAD?? ~ You can bake the crust ahead a bit, it freezes well. Adding the cream cheese filling ahead (not more than 24 hours) works too. Top with the fruit a few hours before serving  (as the fruit, after 24 hours, will seep color into the cream cheese. NOTHING wrong with that, just not as pretty………)

* So, making the cups can be a challenge. I have seen people flip muffins tins over and wrap the dough around the outside OF the muffin tin and bake it that way. Wala…you have a cup shape. I have not tried that. I choose EVERY year to blistfully think that when I painstakingly pat the dough on the bottom and sides of my muffin tin it will come out looking just like that ~ a crust. Nope, it comes out looking like a puffy cookie in the bottom of my muffin tin. NO PROBLEM. Working fast, take a spoon and gently push the cookie down, forming your very own crust. see…..

food 1057

pat the cookie down till you have formed a cup shape. Is this making sense? I should take more photos as I go…… OR perhaps you are more patient than me, as the muffin cup cookie cools ~ the middle should indent. However it gets done, it should be good. 

1st off the cookie~  

Sugar Cookies    

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. oil (I use 1/2 coconut oil)
2 eggs
1 TB. vanilla
4 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
a couple shakes of salt

Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and a couple shakes of salt. Set aside. 

Cream the butter, sugar and powdered sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in the oil. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. Beat till smooth. Add the flour mixture, beat in the vanilla.

Roll into balls, roll in sugar, sprinkles or nothing. You can leave in a ball shape or press down with a glass or the prongs of your fork (dip cup or fork in sugar so it does not stick to the dough.) Bake @ 350° for about 10 minutes or till your desired doneness. 


Sugar Cookie recipe from Kathy.  Seriously good.

Fruit Pizza Cups
Yields about 12.

1/2 a batch of sugar cookie dough ↑ (or your favorite sugar cookie dough, bought or made) (make the rest into sugar cookies)
8 oz. softened cream cheese
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 TB. sour cream
fruit of your choice

Divide dough into 12. (if seems like it will be too much dough, make a few extra cups.)   Press dough into muffin tins, up the sides a bit ~ you can go ahead and prick the dough on the bottom, as you would think it would prevent the cookie from puffing ~ it doesn ‘t, so don’t waste your time. Bake @ 350° for 15 – 18 minutes, till edges are browned slightly.   

Take out of oven and press puffed cookie down a bit to form a shell, or wait till middle falls on its own…it might.  I am not patient. Let me know if that works. 

Cool in pan. Carefully remove shells from pan. Fill with filling. 

Filling ~  Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla till smooth. Add sour cream, if too thick you can add another TB. of sour cream.  Spread, carefully in cookie shells. Top with fruit. Chill. Enjoy!!!

Hi!!! As always, I really enjoy hearing from you all….hint hint…hint!! 🙂

Crispy Caramel Corn


food 971

Who doesn’t love caramel corn?!?!?!?  ESPECIALLY when it is so very crispy and crunchy!!   One of my kids requested this the other day and here we are 4 days later and it is STILL crunchy and crispy! YAY!!!

* The recipe calles for 2 – 9″ x 13″ pans full of popped popcorn. I used 1 -LARGE deep pan and 3 bags of microwave popcorn.   Maybe that will help you.

Crispy Caramel Corn 

Popped popcorn to fill 2 – 9″ x 13″ pans
2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. lite Karo syrup
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks of butter
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Bring the brown sugar, Karo syrup, salt and butter to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add the vanilla and baking soda. (Stir carefully as baking soda makes the hot mixture bubble and foam up like crazy!!!)

Carefully pour over the pop corn. Stir. Bake @ 250° for 1 hour. STIR every 15 minutes.

Dump onto counter to cool, I like to dump mine on paper bags that I ripped so that they lay flat. It absorbs some of the butter. Cool completely. Then store in covered container.


Recipe from Prized Recipes to Cook and Savor.

Flourless Chocolate Cake


food 908

Need a gluten – free cake for this weekend?? Hummm….need a wonderfully rich delicious cake for this weekend?? EITHER was give this “cake” a try.

I say “cake” BECAUSE it. is. nothing. like a cake. Really, I challenge you to take a bite AND NOT try to figure out what it reminds you of. Impossible. It reminds me of fudge. No, no. I ment it reminds me of cheesecake. Oh, wait, I ment fudge. How about cheesecakey fudge??? Yum.

This is insanely rich. A small slice will do you. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries. Did I mention you can enjoy this EVEN if you are not gluten – free. FACT. I know.

food 906

Flourless Chocolate Cake    

8 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares (found in the baking isle)
4 oz. semi – sweet chocolate
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 c. butter
5 eggs

Butter a 9″ round cake pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper (I actually used wax paper and it was fine).

Chop the chocolate up a bit and place in a food processor or blender (if using a blender you may need to process the chocolate in a few batches). Process till finely chopped, teeny tiny pieces.

Bring the water to a boil and add the sugar, stir to dissolve sugar. Slowly pour into the food processor, with it running. Next add the butter, 2 TB. at a time (still with processor running). Next, add the eggs 1 @ a time. (Yep, processor running…..) Process till well blended.

Pour into prepared pan. Place pan in a large roasting pan and pour hot water (carefully) around the 9″ pan, till about 1/2 way up the side of 9″ pan. Carefully put in oven (better YET, put pans IN oven and pull rack out and pour water in. No chance of water getting in your cake).

Bake @ 350° for 25-30 minutes.

When the cake was cool, I sprinkled with powdered sugar. Very optional. It just dressed it up a bit.

Serves about 16, at least. Seriously rich.

Thanks Aunt Sher for sharing, she clipped this out of a magazine a few years ago.

That is all I have for gluten – free recipe so far. I have a few more recipes in mind that I hope to share as well. How about YOU? Do you have any gluten-free recipes that use average pantry staples. If you do and want to share, send it to favoritefamilyfoods@hotmail.com. Or include it in the comment section or “Readers” Page.

THANKS and have a GREAT weekend!

Buckeye Brownies


food 543

Are you a peanut butter and chocolate fan??? We are. We like these Buckeye  Cupcakes, and when I saw Buckeye  Brownies in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook, I knew that they would be fantastically delicious as well! They were. If this is a flavor combo that you enjoy…..you MIGHT want to give it a whirl. IF you don’t like that combo, then just make it for your family ~ they will thank you. If you are allergic…. 😉 ….love ya….STAY AWAY.

Buckeye Brownies 
Brownie mix for a 9 ” x 13 ” pan. (or these)
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. + 3 TB. butter
8 oz. (about 1 c.) peanut  butter
8 oz. chocolate chips
1 TB. shortening
Prepare the brownies as directed on box.  Allow to cool. Beat together the powdered sugar, 1/2 c. butter and peanut butter. (I added a scosh of vanilla too….) When all mixed nicely spread over cooled brownies. Chill 1 hour. Melt the chocolate chips with the shortening. (I prefer to do with my double boiler, but melt it as you usually melt your chocolate.)  Stir and spread over cooled peanut butter layer, working quickly OR it will harden up on you. Enjoy :).

Recipe adapted from a Gooseberry Patch Cookbook.