Old books//Caramel for dipping.

The husband has decided it looks like lots of fun to burn barn trash, so he’s joined the effort. He’s doing a better job than me at not getting distracted by old books. I don’t go out and look at the things he is burning because I’m trusting it’s just trash of the regular variety, old clothes and bug-ridden Christmas decorations. I do hate seeing pages blowing up and out of the fire pit.
But then he reports killing a snake. Worse, he says things (out loud!) like, “I wonder if that whole pile of toys is full of snakes…” and I cover my ears and tell him to go back outside because I’m too busy making caramel inside to help. The word “snake” has a half-life in my world—it takes twice as long for the threat to dissipate (or for me to forget it entirely).

Ernest Thompson Seton, from what I know, was part of the group that created the Boy Scouts. He was kind of like a Mark Twain and Teddy Roosevelt wrapped into one, and he was a great artist and storyteller. The book was published in 1898. I want to read all the stories inside because they come with fantastic illustrations. I can only imagine how exciting it would’ve been for a kid around the turn of the century to get their hands on a book like this!
But the pages are quite brittle so for now I’ve just taken a few photos.

Better a snake in a book than on the ground.

Let’s focus on the caramel.

I am a big caramel apple fan. Not an entire apple on a stick dipped in caramel, but an afternoon snack, which is tidier and satisfying and best of all, warm.
This time of year you can buy a little tub of caramel dipping sauce next to the apples at the grocery store, but it’s a terrible substitute for the real thing. If you’re going to get real, fresh apples, you may as well make real, fresh caramel for the dipping.
Now let me sell you on the matter of frugality. You’ll buy a small carton of heavy whipping cream and use half a cup. You might wonder for a half second why go to the trouble to buying $3 of whipping cream, but I will tell you why:
Cream will go in coffee. Caramel will go in coffee. You won’t even need to buy macchiato coffee creamer ever again! Caramel will go on cake, cookies, bananas, apples, and a spoon, for Pete’s sake. You won’t be wasting your three dollars on fake caramel, but real, usable cream which is pure satisfaction. And the rest of the ingredients you probably already have at home. (Or you should. Corn syrup is a must for caramel corn, and we will be making it soon! ‘Tis the season!)

Invite the neighbors! Making caramel is easy and fun and shareable.

Caramel for Dipping and Drizzling

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Heat cream, sugar, corn syrup, and butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, reduce heat and let boil a full 5 minutes, continuing to stir.
After 5 minutes at a full boil, remove pan from heat. Beat in vanilla and salt. Let cool at least 15 minutes before handling. Caramel will continue to thicken as it cools.

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