Creamy Caramel Apple Shortcakes

You remember those caramel apples on a stick that you loved as a kid, I don’t know too many people that don’t like them, except for maybe those with dentures or braces.

This is a great grown up version of caramel apples, or a great substitute for baking an entire apple pie.  This caramel sauce is creamy divinity and makes enough for you to add to anything you put in your mouth, at least  for the next few days!

Make this for your Valentine or as an addition to any great meal!

Don’t be intimidated by making your own shortcakes or the length of this recipe.  It’s super easy and the perfect basic stepping stone for any kid of shortcakes or biscuits.  The addition of lemon really takes this to another level and brightens the whole dish.

The original recipe can be found in this wonderful cookbook, Luscious Creamy Desserts by Lori Longbotham.

Shortcakes

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbl sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
1 tbl baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 t finely grated lemon zest
1 c heavy (whipping) cream
1 t pure vanilla extract
milk for brushing

Directions

To make the shortcakes: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.  Whisk in the zest.

With an electric mixer on medium- high speed, beat the cream and vanilla in a medium deep bowl just until the cream holds soft peaks when the beaters are lifted.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the cream, and stir with a fork just until it begins to form a dough; it will be very sticky.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough about 6 times, just until it is well combined.  Roll or pat it out to 3/4 inch thick.  With a floured 3 1/2 inch cutter, cut out 4 rounds, gathering and rerolling the scraps as needed.  Transfer the rounds to the baking sheet.  Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the caramel apples:

4 medium tart cooking apples, such as Granny Smith (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 tbl unsalted butter
1/2 cup caramel Sauce (recipe below)

Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

Peel and core the apples and cut each one into 8 wedges.  Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned.  Stir in the caramel sauce and boil, stirring gently for 4 minutes, or until the apples are soft.  Remove from the heat.

Split each shortcake in half.  Arrange the bottom halves on dessert plates, spoon the apples over them, add some caramel sauce, and then the tops.  Drizzle with remaining sauce and then serve immediately, with ice cream, if using.

Newfangled caramel Sauce
Ingredients

1 c heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 c crème fraiche, or additional heavy (whipping) cream
2 cups sugar
1/2 c water
2 tbl light corn syrup
pinch of salt
2 t fresh lemon juice

Directions

Combine the heavy cream and crème fraiche in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until hot.  Set aside, covered, to keep warm.

Heat the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.  Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush if you see any sugar crystals.  Boil, without stirring, swirling the pan toward the end to even out the color, until the caramel is a dark amber color, approximately 4 minutes.  Don’t over cook, as it will continue to cook when taken off the burner.  Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat.  Let stand for about 1 minute, or until most of the bubbles have subsided.

Being careful to avoid the spatters, stir in the cream mixture about 2 tablespoons at a time.  Return the pan to low heat and cook, whisking, until the sauce is smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Use immediately, or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to 2 months.  Gently reheat the sauce before serving, if desired, adding a little water or cream if necessary to thin it slightly.

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