Caramel Apple Popcorn Mix

Happy holiday season! It’s the time of year for all things merry and bright… and yummy! Gift a box of sweetness or satisfy a snacky crowd with this (vegan!) Caramel Apple Popcorn Mix!

Caramel Apple Popcorn | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Ho ho ho! Lol jk I’m a bit of a grinch when it comes to the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I love the time with family and plates piled with comfort food. I’m just not here for all of the hubbub of decorating, presents, snow… Maybe Ohio isn’t the best state to be avoiding snow in but here I am.

Caramel Apple Popcorn | AreYouKitchenMe.com

When I do get around to preparing for the holidays, I choose to show my love by feeding people and gifting useful items or experiences. A few years ago, I did all experiential gifts (like a pedicure with my mom and a taco night with my dad) and it was a total hit! It gave me dedicated time to spend with each of my family members and allowed them to unwrap something that wasn’t just useless junk.

Caramel Apple Popcorn | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Besides experiences, I love giving food gifts. Whether that’s contributing to the holiday table spread or giving a homemade plate of cookies, I know that food gifts won’t go to waste! One year I even painted personalized cookie plates at a local pottery paint shop and gifted them covered with cookies. I’ve seen them used years later!

So, when thinking of gifts to give or snacks bring to events this year, I came up with this Caramel Apple Popcorn Mix!! It’s perfect for taking to parties or gifting in tins for those hard-to-please relatives. Even my first attempt, which didn’t turn out as perfect as I wanted, got rave reviews with John’s coworkers. I’m sure it will please even your pickiest giftee.

Caramel Apple Popcorn | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I’m lucky to be making with recipe with Florida Crystals Sugar who sent me nine (!!) pounds of sugar to experiment with this year! I love using their sugar because it is produced in the U.S. using earth-friendly farming methods, comes in recycling packaging, and best of all, is certified vegan! Did you know that many sugar brands use burnt animal bones to filter their sugar? Yuck! That’s never the case with Florida Crystals!

Caramel Apple Popcorn | AreYouKitchenMe.com

When I was researching recipes to develop this Caramel Apple Popcorn Mix recipe, I saw a lot of recipes that used regular white cane sugar. But I wanted something more complex and deeper, so I went with brown sugar for a darker caramelized flavor. Whatever sugar you choose, I highly recommended using Florida Crystals sugar products. For realsies, this was my sugar brand of choice before I got lucky enough to work with them!

This holiday season, whip up a batch of Caramel Apple Popcorn Mix to please guests, family, friends, and be sure to save some for yourself! You’ll thank me!!

Caramel Apple Popcorn Mix

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Happy holiday season! It’s the time of year for all things merry and bright… and yummy! Gift a box of sweetness or satisfy a snacky crowd with this (vegan!) Caramel Apple Popcorn Mix!

Ingredients

  • 10 cups popped popcorn (from about 1/2 cup kernels)
  • 2 cups chopped almonds (raw or lightly toasted)
  • 2 cups chopped dried apples
  • Caramel:
  • 2 cup Florida Crystals brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) non-dairy butter
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pop the popcorn according to manufacturer directions. I pop mine on the stove, but microwave works just as well here. Remove any hard kernels.
  3. Add popcorn, dried apples, and almonds to a large heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  4. Make the caramel by adding the brown sugar and water to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then add in butter, stirring until melted. Cook, stirring frequently for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Remove saucepan from heat and add in the baking soda and vanilla, which should produce a bubbling chemical reaction. Whisk in salt.
  6. Quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn mix and stir gently to coat.
  7. Spread mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing once.
  8. Let cool completely before breaking mixture into pieces.
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/caramel-apple-popcorn-mix/

Thank you for supporting this sponsored content. I would never represent a brand or product that I did not fully endorse. For more information and recipe ideas, visit Florida Crystals at their website, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Classic Sugar Cookies

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m back for my first recipe of 2018 and have been struck by Cupid- I’m in LOVE with Classic Sugar Cookies!

Heya howdy hi hello! Been a while, huh? I took December and January off of blogging and writing recipes and did a heck of a lot of reflecting and learning. It had originally been my (admittedly last-minute) intention to take some time off during December and “come back strong” in January with concrete goals and renewed energy. But as I thought about it…

I realized I was aiming to start the year with renewed mental strength, just as I had in years past with dieting and disordered eating behavior.

Fearing that I was going to fall into an addiction transfer trap and not wanting to set myself up for failure and disappointment, I decided not to push it. Deliberately and decidedly, I started this year off with no goals for this blog. John and I did set some personal goals like “set boundaries to protect my mental health” and “clean the litter box more frequently” but we worked hard to set objectives that were meaningful and achievable.

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

That said, one “unofficial” goal I have for writing this year is to feature less healthy and green recipes and incorporate more decadent and delightful noms. I still love vegetables and eating wholesome, balanced meals makes me feel great. But you know what fills me with nostalgia and joy?

Cookies.

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I can take zero credit for the original recipe for these classic sugar cookies. My mom has been baking them every single Christmas for as long as I can remember. She has a printed recipe titled “Beth Stiver’s Sugar Cookies” (I have no idea who Beth Stivers is but I feel like I owe her a tray of cookies for all of the wonderful memories of my youth) but could probably bake them blindfolded.

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

One week in January, John asked me “Can we have sugar cookies besides just at Christmas?” and I was perplexed. It had genuinely never occurred to me to bake these outside of the holiday season. They were a treat after all, right? But how silly!

Why should cookies be limited to one time of year??

So cookies again it was! I’ve experimented with a few variations of veganizing the classic sugar cookies of my childhood and finally landed on a version I’m satisfied with. You’d never know they’re vegan- slightly crispy, soft in the center, and smothered in fluffy buttercream frosting.

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I may not have concrete plans for writing in 2018, but I do have a lot of plans for eating cookies. Cheers to that.

Classic Sugar Cookies

Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies

Classic Sugar Cookie cutouts with a light and fluffy buttercream frosting! Perfect for your favorite holiday or, even better, any day of the year!

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) room-temp non-dairy butter, I use Earth Balance
  • 2 Tbs. aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Frosting
  • ½ cup (1 stick) room-temp non-dairy butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-4 Tbs. non-dairy milk

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream sugar and butter.
  2. Add aquafaba and extracts and beat to combine.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and slowly add into the wet until combined, scraping the sides.
  4. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Heat oven to 375F. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to soften for about 30-60 minutes on the counter.
  6. Divide dough in half, generously flour work surface and rolling pin, and roll 3/16 inches thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. *I like to freeze my cut out cookies for at least 15 minutes at this step to help them keep their shape in the oven but it is totally optional.
  7. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 7-8 minutes or until golden. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  8. To make the frosting, beat the ingredients together with a hand mixer adding milk a little at a time, until smooth and spreadable. I decorated these cookies with finely crushed freeze-dried strawberries but feel free to use sprinkles or whatever floats your boat!
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/classic-sugar-cookies/

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Who needs candles when your food smells this good?! Prepare for a houseful of fantastic fall scents (and flavor!) when you make 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter!

A few weekends ago, John and I drove out to Branstool Orchards, a family-owned fruit farm in Utica, Ohio, to go apple picking. We had visited their truck at the Clintonville and Worthington Farmers Markets over the past few months and the produce is always fantastic! So when I was looking around for a place for us to go pick our own, I knew that Branstool had exactly what I wanted.

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter | AreYouKitchenMe.com

While we were there, they were picking seven different varieties including Melrose, Fuji, Pink Lady, Gold Rush, and a few others I can’t remember. We weren’t really sure which we liked- except for Gold Rush, which I adore- so we hit up all the trees and got a little bit of everything. It gave us a nice mix of crisp apples for snacking and softer apples for baking or blending.

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Enter, apple butter. Though it contains no actual butter at all, you’ll find yourself slathering it all over alllll the things. Crunchy wheat toast with vegan butter? Tasty. Add apple butter? Irresistible! Bagel with cream cheese? Good. Add apple butter? Heavenly! Warm bowl of oatmeal? Comforting. Add apple butter? Decadent! I have yet to find something it doesn’t go great with…

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Something so indulgent surely takes hours of manual labor, involves pounds of refined sugar, and requires a laundry list of hard-to-find ingredients, right? Wrong-o my friends! Just a few pounds of apples, a few dates or spoonfuls of your sweetener of choice, and a touch of cinnamon. Das it!

Perhaps the most thrilling part of this recipe is walking through the door after work to your own potpourri of sweet, spiced apples. Forget buying fall-scented candles and toss a few apples in the crockpot and call it a day.

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Make some apple butter and try to hang on to a jar for at least a week. I’ve got an incredible recipe using the sweet stuff coming at ya next week. But I can’t say I’d blame you if it’s all gone by then…

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 hours

Who needs candles when your food smells this good?! Prepare for a houseful of fantastic fall scents (and flavor!) when you make 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter!

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds apples
  • 5-6 pitted dates (optional)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (or sub 2 tsp. ground cinnamon)

Instructions

  1. Wash the apples well and chop them into large chunks, removing the seeds and core but keeping the skins.
  2. Add the apples, dates, and cinnamon sticks to a large slow cooker and turn to Low setting. Cook for 8 hours, until apples are completely soft.
  3. Transfer apples to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You will have to do this in batches. Alternatively, you can blend right in the pot with an immersion blender.
  4. Return the blended apples to the slow cooker and cook for an additional 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container for 2-3 weeks.
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/3-ingredient-slow-cooker-apple-butter/

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter | AreYouKitchenMe.com

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