This is my first recipe post joining Christianna and a delightful crew of bloggers for the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap! The premise is that bakers/bloggers take a recipe that Christianna passes along and, changing at least three things about the recipe, adapts to their whim and fancy. Fun, right?!?! I’ve enjoyed many happy moments paging between the incredible foodies and they’re takes on an old, homey recipe. It’s just inspiring to see how imaginative people who truly love food can be. Please check them out at Burwell General Store!
This month’s recipe: Ozarkian Taffy Apples.
The caramel apples I remember from my youth were sticky and delightfully, sickeningly sweet; a rare treat reserved for fairs and trips up north to quiet New England towns during the hot summer.
But now I’m an adult. Living with gluten and dairy allergies, hypoglycemia and a waistline that has started getting smushy since this Dusty Baker thing entered my life! For the sake of my digestive health, the way my body feels and how I feel in it, I needed to develop a recipe I can feel confident in. And I did!
Caramel Apple Cake pops!! I’ve seen these floating around the internet food world and, of course, at Starbucks. They look like a nap to me (as in, if I ever ate one I’d probably clean every apartment in my building, write a novel and then crash for two weeks in exhaustion). But they’re adorable. So, I made a healthier cousin to the caramel apple that retains the yummy-tastiness and the visual appeal. Gluten-free, dairy-free, white-sugar-free, and delicious.
I used my gluten-free cake flour blend because (a) it’s blended already! and (b) it has a lot of starch so will hold together well and support a good amount of moisture. If you don’t have the time or know-how to blend your own flours, use an already mixed blend like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur and simply add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum per cup of flour you use.
To cut down on the fat of basic apple bread/cake recipes, I used apple sauce instead of oil which provided moisture and upped the apple taste. And to get rid of the white sugar completely, I used pure maple syrup in the cake and sucanat in the caramel.
Speaking of which: next big problem - candy coating!! I’m not good with candy. I mess up “easy” peanut brittle. My carob coffee and carob coriander candies definitely are yummy, but they don’t involve thermometers or “soft ball” stages. And I had vowed against white sugar. So slowly-caramelized sucanat was the best this Dusty Baker could come up with (made while I clicked my cowboy boots on my crumbling linoleum floors and danced to Michael Franti, Dusty style).
Honest results? My roommate and I loved the cake. So much so that, while we enjoyed the pop of the caramel candy crunch, it was the cake that took such precedence that we agreed we just wanted to eat MORE CAKE! It is incredibly moist, and the sweetness seems rich yet light and not overpowering. If you choose to make the cake on it’s own, I recommend adding a drizzle of maple syrup on top of the cake while uncooked in the pan, and then swirling it with a fork. This will give the top a great color and caramelization.
But if you want to continue on in making an adorable, caramel-apple miniature with a sweet crunch, continue with rolling this incredibly mushy bread into a ball and drizzling with sucanat caramel coating.
Oh, and according to the nifty nutrition converter at CookEatShare, these only have 57 calories a pop!! Take that, Starbucks, with your 300 calorie woppers!