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Deep Dark Gingerbread

January 7, 2011

In case you didn’t notice (or you live in some place with obscenely nice weather), it has been raining A LOT this winter.  (My apologies to anyone reading this who is currently snowed in or worse, lots of rain is extreme weather for us here in Northern California.) In fact, it rained nearly every day of our Winter Break from school.  At first it was nice.  We read books, built forts, danced, and suited up in rain gear for wet adventures through the woods.  By the end of the second week though, the mere thought of constructing another LEGO plaything made me ill.  Luckily my children love to eat even more than I do and given the opportunity they love to cook as well.

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Caramel Apple Tarts

December 20, 2010

Oh, it is a good thing to have a refrigerator full of caramel sauce. When I set out last week to make a pot full  of caramel sauce, I  truly  intended to pass it on to well deserving friends and family.  As the days wear on however, I can see the supply dwindling.  The problem is…  it is really good!  (If you don’t yet have a fridge full, check out my post on Edible Gifts! Chocolate and Caramel Sauces. ) First was the obvious, caramel over ice cream (which has possibly converted this chocolate faithful to the caramel side of the ice cream shop), then apples dipped in caramel (it’s OK to eat it as a snack then, right?), and then putting it all together for one holiday worthy dessert.   Tonight’s dessert was  part apple crisp, part caramel apple, entirely decadent and yet homey, the caramel apple tart.

This recipe has been sitting in my “someday I want to make” pile for over a year.  It was originally published in Bon Appetit magazine, May 2009 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito and originates at the restaurant, Baked, in New York.  Here is the concept: individual tart crusts, baked off in advance, then layered with caramel sauce, sauteed apples, and crisp topping.  These tasty tarts are then baked again until the sugary syrup bubbles up and the topping browns.  The original recipe suggests pairing these with Cinnamon-Rum ice cream (and provides a delicious sounding recipe- you should check it out on Epicurious).  I couldn’t manage the extra prep, so I topped it with good ol’ vanilla and a drizzle of caramel sauce.  No complaints.

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This time of year, many of us face the very difficult task of choosing the right gift for everyone on our list.  If we are lucky, we know just the perfect thing for each special someone,  a gift that will not only excite and surprise them, but will also be of good use.  Many times it is more challenging though.

Perhaps we don’t know the person very well or maybe they already seem to have everything they need.  Too often,we pick out a gift just to check it off the list.  The gift ends up having little meaning to us or to the recipient.  That is why, when faced with that dilemma, I generally choose to give an edible gift!

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