September 27, 2010

Apples, Caramel and Cream.....Oh, Lovely Autumn!

Yet, another new experience for us in New England. Apple Picking! I chose a farm which turned out to be owned and operated with the most beautiful apple orchard surrounded by mountains, and a beautiful sunny September sky.

 Blueberry bushes, apples galore, pumpkins.....the smell in their little store as apple sugared doughnuts were being made fresh, apple cider and their homemade apple pies.....oh such wonderful times!

 I love supporting local farmers and their families. And oh yes, the apples were divine! We had never tasted anything quite so was a very busy day! This recipe will be a must-have for your collection. Not only will your kitchen smell delicious, it will most likely earn you hugs and kisses!!

Apple Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Caramel Sauce and Whippped Cream 
1/2 cup creamed shortening
1 cup Sugar
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 cups All-purpose Flour
½ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Sour Cream
2 cups Peeled And Chopped Apple

½ cups Chopped Pecans
½ cups Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter

Caramel Sauce (Homemade)
2 cups Whipped Cream
1 cup Chopped Pecans

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir in flour, salt and baking soda. Add sour cream. Fold in apples. Spread into a well-greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
For the topping, combine 1/2 cup chopped pecans with brown sugar, ground cinnamon and melted butter. Sprinkle mixture evenly over cake batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Caramel Sauce

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix the water and sugar in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a medium brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Watch it carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Stand back to avoid splattering, and gradually add the cream and the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean (or vanilla extract). Simmer until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Serve warm, or add another 1/4 cup of heavy cream and serve room temperature.

"Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue, and nights that become suddenly clear and chilled. The season comes full with the first frost, the disappearance of migrant birds, and the harvesting of the season's last crops."- Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis

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