Posts Tagged With: carmel

The Real Reason Cows Exist


Photo by Evelyn Simak [CC-BY-SA-2.0

Photo by Evelyn Simak [CC-BY-SA-2.0

It’s that glorious time of year when the perfect pairing of Mother Nature and Enhanced Mother Nature collide in a state of bliss. My taste buds sing, my lips smack, my happy vibes light up.

What the heck?


It’s the season for Apples. The perfect all purpose self contained fruit. Colorful, crunchy, sweet and juicy all in one self-contained orb. Perfection.


And Cows.

Yes. Cows.

Stay with me.

Don’t tell me you’ve never read this Robert Frost poem! It practically proves my point.

The Cow in Apple Time

Something inspires the only cow of late
To make no more of a wall than an open gate,
And think no more of wall-builders than fools.
Her face is flecked with pomace and she drools
A cider syrup. Having tasted fruit,
She scores a pasture withering to the root.
She runs from tree to tree where lie and sweeten
The windfalls spiked with stubble and worm-eaten.
She leaves them bitten when she has to fly.
She bellows on a knoll against the sky
Her udder shrivels and the milk goes dry.

There’s good reason cows love apples. It’s a natural pairing. Really!

Photo by Joy (Caramel apple) [CC-BY-2.0 (

Photo by Joy (Caramel apple) [CC-BY-2.0 )

Cows produce milk, cream and ultimately, butter. Add some sugar to those ingredients, boil, simmer, pour and cool. And you have the real reason cows exist: Carmel!

Combine warm, melted carmel with an Apple and you’ve arrived at the true taste of Autumn.

Oh sure, Apple Pies taste nice. And Apple Fritters deserve mentioning. Apple Crisp tops the list of delectable fruit desserts. But nothing beats a carmel apple for pure delight and comfort.




Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Baking Up a Storm

I wish I were baking up a storm.

But no, I’m putting it off. Just not feeling the baking love yet this month. I haven’t even made a loaf of bread in weeks. What’s up with that?

Russian tea cakes

Russian Tea Cakes are more like a cookie than a cake. Must be eaten with a glass on milk on the side. Powdered sugar on your shirt, face and arms will be guaranteed.

Normally I’d have whipped out a few batches of Russian Tea Cakes and eaten half of them myself by now. And I’d be contemplating making another batch or two to share with friends and neighbors.

Why the hiccup in my usual plans?

No idea.

I have a formidable list of treats I like to make this time of year. Here it is in no particular random order:

  • Russian Tea Cakes
  • Six Week Muffins
  • Carmel
  • Fudge
  • Christmas Pudding
  • Snowdrops
  • Toffee
  • Baklava
  • Divinity

New this year Olympic Cremes, a childhood favorite. If they turn out okay I’ll post the recipe. I can almost taste them just remembering how Mom would carmelize sugar and then add the other simple ingredients then shape the mixture into balls of delight. Sugary, crispy, melt in your mouth confections unlike anything I’ve ever tasted for sale in a store or on a plate of gifted goodies.


Baklava (Photo credit: niquei)

The Baklava is a middle eastern delight I learned to bake in the Paleocene era, from the original Greek dinosaurs Lambda Iota Tau Eateosaurus Rucus. Takes hours of painstaking work and pounds and pounds of butter and this decadent amount of honey, spices and nuts. But, it’s worth every aching muscle in my tired feet and back when it finally cools after eight hours. Those diamond-shaped delicacies bring joy to even the most grinchy soul.

The Toffee gets made multiple times over several weeks because we here at Casa de la Tilby inhale it like oxygen. Oh the butter and chocolate state of nirvana that one achieves! Words fail me.

Christmas Pudding graced my husband’s table as a wee lad. It took me years to embrace this unusual, I’m guessing British, dessert. The smell of all the spices steaming into the air over hours of bubbling on the stove top adds to the charm of this recipe. The best part about Christmas Pudding lies in its carmel sauce that I prefer to drown my small bowl of rich cake-like succulence in. I’m licking my spoon in my mind as I write.

Homemade Caramel Sauce-001

Basic ingredients to anything wonderful, butter, sugar, milk…mmmm (Photo credit: Emily Barney)

You should drop by for a taste or two. Anytime would be fine, if I ever get around to starting this process. That thought might motivate me to start the process sooner.

I don’t need to waste my words describing fudge or carmel as everyone has their own favorite twist on both. I’ve thought of forgoing the fudge this year to make next years batch seem all the more precious, but I might get in trouble. Maybe just half a batch and call it good.

How can I describe Divinity if you’ve never eaten any? Marshmallow cream training for a marathon. That doesn’t do it justice though. Divine Food of the Gods. Manna. Fluffy taste bud heaven. Here’s a visual I always think of when I say Divinity: the album cover to Herb Albert’s Whipped Cream and Other Delights. (Not exactly a G-rated piece of art, so don’t click if you’re a sensitive soul. Great music though!) I digress. Find some divinity or make some Divinity. Then, partake. You’ll thank me.

MSH prefers it with Walnuts. I don’t. I win since I’m the cook.

He gets nuts in nearly every other thing I bake this time of year, so don’t feel sorry for the man. Carmel and Divinity, no nuts. Everything else, nuts.

I’m nuts.

But that’s normal, not exclusive to this holiday season.

Melted white chocolate chips

Melted white chocolate! (Photo credit: frugalupstate)

Snowdrops are a recent addition to the repertoire. Okay, not that recent now that I think of how long ago we lived in Oklahoma, where I got the recipe.  It wasn’t an original Tilby or Mitchell family recipe.  It’s the easiest one I make and surprisingly satisfying. Imagine Rice Krispy treats but replace the melted sticky marshmallow with melted white chocolate, add peanuts, mini marshmallows left whole and unmelted, and a touch of Capn Crunch Peanut Butter cereal. That’s it. Weird, but truly delicious.

Great, just as I suspected I’ve made myself hungry for Christmas baking. I should jump on that motivational train before it departs the station.

photo 1 copy 3

Nothing like sugar to help you blast through that Christmas to-do list!

What do you bake for the holidays? Anything unusual? Fun? Weird? I’d love to hear about it. Maybe I’ll forsake one of my standards and try one of yours.

(Lest anyone feel slightly, I used to do sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles, but they had to take a sabbatical to make room for everything else.)

Include links to recipes and I’ll be your friend forever.

Now, where’s the sugar?

Categories: Food, Fun, Holiday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Apple, Not Pumpkin, You Silly People You

We had our first outdoor shindig of the reasonable seasonable weather last night. Ah, everything you could wish for was going on. Well, almost. One daughter and her man were missing.

We had the grill throwing up three foot high flames, a bit of a puddle to splash in, music wafting onto the patio, a babe sleeping in someone’s arms, the smell of bread baking indoors and shrimp on the finally tamed barbie. Hugs, kisses, dancing, a board game, a couple napping, laughter, olive fingers and way too much food. And to top it all off, three choices of dessert, lemon bars, cream puffs, or, wait for it, wait for it, yes, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

You know I had to throw some pumpkin in the mix because it’s autumn and autumn apparently means pumpkin, although I’m not quite sure why. Probably because whoever grows and markets pumpkin has a massive campaign blitz going from here to Antarctica to sell the darn stuff or else. There’s stuff out there that should never include the word or texture of pumpkin. Fudge, hot chocolate, cider, soup.

Ew. Just don’t!

Please people, lets exercise a little reason out there!!

To me apple is the fruit o’ the season. Apple crisp with it’s cinnamon and nutmeg crunchy topping with a little ice-cream melting on the side says Autumn like nothing else. Don’t forget apple pie and apple cider and, yes, apple fritters. And the creme de la creme, carmel apples.

That shiny golden brown chewiness on a stick beckons teeth and lips and gums to sink in as you become one with drippy stickiness. Can’t you just feel your chin collecting that sugary glue covered sensation.

I worry some about my dental work getting destroyed by the succulence and power of the lowly carmel apple. And because of that worry I came up with a highly acceptable alternative.

This is kind of a recipe, which I don’t generally do, so you might want to pay attention at this point.

(This point.)

Yes, this is where you really need to pay attention. Thank you.

  1. In a tiny glass bowl place five unwrapped Brach’s caramels.
  2. Add two teaspoons of water.
  3. Nuke in the microwave for thirty seconds. Stir with a fork. If not melted all the way, nuke again for thirty more seconds.
  4. If this mixture isn’t all creamy and delectable by now you’ve probably overcooked it. So sad. Although microwaves can be finicky and maybe you’ve undercooked it, but not likely. Punt. Or try again. I guess.
  5. Cut up one apple, which variety is purely your choice.. I prefer using one of the apple corer/slicer things <== (highly technical name of the device.) You can use a paring knife to cut slices as well. The thinner the better but not too thin. If you make this often enough you’ll get the right ratio eventually.
  6. Find a cozy, secluded spot and dip your apple slices into your melted carmel mixture. Enjoy every bite without fear of losing your fillings, molars or any other teeth parts. And no sticky chin!

There you have it. The perfect personal autumn treat. The quintessential dessert improved and perfected. Who knew such things were possible?

*No pumpkins were harmed in the making of this blog post.

**Now apples being harmed, that might be a different story.

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

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