Happy Thanksgiving!

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November 27, 2014 · 9:00 am

Salted Caramel Apple Cake Recipe

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INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup, no sugar added, apple sauce
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee, hot (or warm apple cider)
Salted Caramel
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups sugar
1 cup honey (or corn syrup)
1/2 cup bourbon + 1/2 cup apple cider (or 1 cup cider)
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + flakey salt for sprinkling
3 your favorite SMALL apples (I used granny smith and honeycrisp)*
6 twigs or wooden sticks
Snickers Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not the oily kind)
1/3 cup salted caramel (ingredients above)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped + more for garnish
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the Cake
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch (or 9 inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.
    2. In a medium size bowl combine the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Set aside.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) beat together the eggs, apple sauce, canola oil and vanilla until smooth.
    4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Add the hot coffee and mix until combined. Batter should be pourable, but not super thin. Stir in the chocolate chips, if using.
    5. Pour the batter among the 3 cake pans and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan. Grab 3 large flat plates, line them with wax or parchment paper and invert the cakes onto the paper lined plates. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
To Make the Caramel + Frosting
    1. Place sugar, honey, bourbon and apple cider in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, boil, without stirring, 9 minutes or until light golden in color. Add the heavy cream, butter, vanilla, and salt, slowly stirring into pan. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 210 degrees F., stirring frequently. Remove the sauce from heat and add the salt. Using a heat proof measuring cup scoop out 1 cup of caramel sauce and allow it to cool. Cover the remaining sauce and set aside until the cake is ready (I just covered my pot and set it aside overnight).
    2. Now make the frosting, add the butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar to the bowl of stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer). Beat together until the butter is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the peanut butter, 1/3 cup of the cooled caramel sauce and the vanilla, beat, scraping down the sides as needed, another 2 minutes or until there are no streaks. Stir in the chopped peanuts.
To Assemble the Cake
    1. Place 1 layer of cake, flat side up, on a plate or cake stand. Drizzle the cake with a little salted caramel sauce (from the reserved 1 cup, not from the pot of caramel). With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and drizzle with caramel. Spread the frosting evenly on the top. Add the final layer of cake and drizzle with the remaining caramel. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry about it being too perfect as you will be covering most of it up. Place the cake in fridge.
    2. To make the chocolate coating. In a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate and cream. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Allow the sauce to cool 3-5 minutes, and then pour the sauce onto the middle of the cake and spread to just the sides, allow the sauce to drip down the sides of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge preferably overnight, but at least 1 1/2 hours. You need the chocolate to be completely set and the frosting firm.
To Finish.
  1. Once the cake is cool, grab that reserved caramel sauce in the pot. Place it back over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads between 220-230 degrees F (I let mine go to 225 and it was perfect). Remove the sauce from the stove and let is cool 15-20 minutes, stirring every so often. Make sure the caramel does not become too stiff. If it stiffens too much you will not be able to dip the apples. While the sauce cools, push the twigs or wooden sticks into the top of the apples. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  2. When the caramel has cooled (it should be a little thicker now, but still pourable), pour about half the caramel over the cake and allow it to fall down the sides of the cake. Working quickly, dip the apples into the remaining caramel and place the in the center of cake. Sprinkle the cake with flakey salt and peanuts. Make room in the fridge for the cake and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. The caramel should never get completely hard, but should be more of a soft firm. Once the caramel is firm, store the cake in the fridge until ready to serve. Allow the cake to sit 15 minutes at room temp before serving. Please not that this is a delicate and with all the toppings it is a bit tricky to slice. Your slices will not be perfect.

via Half Baked Harvest

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Peace, Love & Sandy Feet

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November 24, 2014 · 9:00 am

Friday Favorites

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1. Anchor Scarf

2. Chevron + Anchor Pillow

3. Silver Anchor Earrings

4. Clinique Lipstick

5. Clarisonic Cleaning System

6. Anchor iPhone Case

7. Anchor Socks

8. Sterling Silver Knot Ring

9. Beach Print

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DIY – Gold Leaf Coasters

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Supplies Needed:

canvas fabric
gold leaf sheets (available at an arts & crafts store)
spray adhesive
mod podge in satin finish
pencil
ruler
scissors
paintbrush
foambrush
sewing machine
neutral tone thread
iron

Directions: 

1. Iron your canvas to get rid of any wrinkles.

2. Fold it in half so that you have 2 layers overlapping.

3. Use the ruler to draw a 4″x4″ square on your canvas, and cut out the square from both layers at once to save time.

4. Sew both layers together with a neutral tone thread, leaving about a 1/4″ border all around.

5. Spray adhesive on the areas where you would like to apply gold leaf (this doesn’t have to be too specific). Make sure to do this on a piece of cardboard or other disposable workspace, and in a well-ventilated area. Let set for 30 seconds.

6. Use a piece of wax paper to remove a sheet of gold leaf and gently lay over the adhesive area. Use a clean, dry paintbrush to carefully press the gold leaf onto the canvas, and remove excess pieces of gold leaf.

7. Use the foambrush to gently spread mod podge over the gold leaf, paying special attention to the edges of the gold leaf. Let dry, and voila! You have your coaster. Repeat for as many coasters as you would like to make.

via SMP at Home

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Sun & Sea Quote

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November 17, 2014 · 9:00 am

Apple Cider Waffles

ingredients:

2 cups flour

2 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp all spice

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup apple cider

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

 

Salted Caramel Sauce:

ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter (cut into small pieces)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp salt

directions:

1)  In a large bowl, mix together all of your dry ingredients.

2)  In a separate bowl, whisk your eggs until they’re frothy.  Then whisk in milk, apple cider, oil and vanilla.

3)  Gradually add your wet ingredients to your dry, and mix until just combined.

4)  Heat up waffle iron.  Spray with cooking spray if needed once it’s warmed up.  Pour batter onto the hot waffle iron.  Cook until golden brown.  Serve!

directions:

1)  In a large saucepan, heat your sugar over medium high heat.  Do not walk away from the pan!

2)  Gently start swirl the pan once the sugar starts to melt, but don’t stir.  Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn.

3)  Simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved and starts to turn an amber colour.

4)  Wait until it’s just a bit darker than the initial yellow colour, and then quickly add your butter, heavy cream and salt.  Stir like crazy!  This mixture will foam quite violently, so be careful.

5)  Remove from heat and allow to cool down to room temperature before serving or placing in the fridge to store.  The sauce will thicken as it cools.

(*It will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge)

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