Before I finally had the courage to sit down and start working on this blog I took a stroll for a little inspiration. I’m so fortunate to have worked for Disney twice in the past as an intern, and currently to work for Disney once again as a seasonal cast member. I have been given the opportunity to take advantage of multiple restaurants on property and honestly its kinda hard for me to decide what to start with because they are all so good!!!! So where does one stroll when they need inspiration with food- lets call it foodspiration- Epcot of course! I knew I needed to go to Epcot alone, when it wasn’t crowded and just walk World Showcase. This place is just filled with sites, sounds and smells that inspire one who loves food and culture.
As I passed each country I took pictures and remembered back to when I had eaten at that particular spot. So many wonderful memories! So many recipes I have tried at home…. The smells in the United Kingdom get me every time!!! The fish n’ chips!!! SOOOOOO good!!! And easy to make might I add.
But that post is for another time. I finally made my way around to Germany. See I love Germany, the way Disney has it presented just speaks to me and it hits a special place in my heart since my Grandmother is German. However, I just can’t bring myself to blog about Biergarten Restaurant (the buffet sit-down restaurant option)- not because its not good- it’s very good- been there twice in fact and love love loved it!! However- bratwurst, schnitzel, cabbage salad and my stomach have yet to see eye-to-eye…. But if your stomach is a little more forgiving than mine I highly recommend you check it out!
I was about to continue my trek around the world when I looked up and noticed Karamell- Kuche. It is the cutest sweet treat shop ever!!! I had been in there before, maybe once around when they opened several years back and I realized I didn’t try anything. I obviously just left salivating over all the sweet treats and refrained from the calorie intake. Today that wasn’t happening!
After several minutes of acting like a giddy tourist since the place is so darn cute I got in line.
The selection seems endless and it was a tough choice- not gonna lie.
But then…. Be still my heart…. There was a girl dipping strawberries in chocolate and house made caramel! Ding ding ding!!! We had a winner!!! Literally the only thing I ever want for Valentines Day every year is a batch of chocolate covered strawberries- and bless my Daddy’s heart for making sure I get them every year! But adding caramel to it??? Honestly I wasn’t sure at first, but don’t you think for a second that I wasn’t all about giving it a try!
Honestly- it was AMAZING!! First off the strawberries were spot on- as they usually are this time of year in Florida. Checkout what I just picked up at the market:
Anyway… it was the perfect chocolate to caramel ratio! And now I’m officially convinced that you can put caramel on anything. I mean if Buddy the Elf puts syrup on spaghetti, we can surely put caramel on a strawberry and many other things (sorry- its still close to Christmas and I have the movie Elf on my mind).
A little hint for Disney guests staying on property- if you get the dining plan use your snacks wisely! Depending on the plan you either get 1 or 3 snacks a day, and so many people use them on a $1 bag of chips or a $2 bottle of water. Most of what you see in Karamell- Kuche is eligible as a snack and they are at least $4 each!!! Take advantage people!
And now what I am about to say is soooooo important! Never buy caramel in a jar again! I used to…. That is until I realized it is just not going to satisfy those taste buds like homemade, and did I mention it is so easy to make????
Below you will find my recipe for homemade caramel sauce- no candy thermometer needed! And bonus! I’m adding in my caramel apple cake recipe since I already had it typed up and you need something to put the caramel on… I mean I won’t judge if you just eat it by the spoonful but drizzling on a cake is a nice touch too! Make the recipe as a double layer cake or cupcakes- your choice! The caramel drizzle is also good on scones and that will most definitely be a future post!
Homemade Caramel Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablesoons unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
- Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan (I use non-stick to make life easier) over medium heat, stirring constantly. Be sure to use a spatula that can handle high heat.
- After several minutes the sugar will become clumpy. Eventually it will begin to melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid. Stirring constantly is a must and keep an eye on the heat as to not burn the sugar.
- Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. I cut the butter up into 6 chunks so it melts faster. Once the butter hits the sugar it will bubble rapidly- be very careful of the splatter. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while stirring. Just like the butter, the heavy cream will cause the mixture to bubble rapidly.
- Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool down before using.
- Make it ahead of time! It stores perfectly in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or 24 hours in room temperature.
- Prefer salted caramel? No problem! Just use salted butter instead of unsalted and feel free to add a pinch of salt as a last step after the heavy cream. I am one of those odd ducks that does not prefer salted caramel but its super easy to make the switch.
Apple Crisp Cupcakes w/ Caramel Buttercream and topped w/ Apple Crisp Crunch
- This was originally a double layer cake recipe and makes enough for such. Should you want to make the cake simply follow the instructions and split batter into two round cake pans and bake accordingly.
- See the original post of this recipe for detailed instructions and pictures!
2 cups brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 medium apples (Jazz or Honey Crisp preferred)
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup Homemade Caramel Sauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6-10 cups confectioners sugar
3-5 tablespoons heavy cream
Apple Crisp Topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
For the batter:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line your cupcake tins with paper liners.
- In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth (2-3 minutes).
- Once butter is smooth add the brown sugar and beat for several minutes.
- With the mixer running on low, add the vanilla and then add the oil in a steady stream.
- Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Let mixer run on medium speed while you sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl.
- Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, mixing well- do not over mix.
- With the electric mixer, in another medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold them into the cake batter.
- Peel, core and chop up the apples into small pieces- fold into the batter.
- Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
For the buttercream:
- Beat the butter for 3-5 minutes on the high speed of an electric stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat until the butter is very smooth and is no longer yellow- butter will eventually turn white.
- Once the butter is smooth add the vanilla, caramel sauce, heavy cream and half the confectioners sugar. Beat on high another 3-5 minutes.
- Add the remaining confectioners sugar (more if needed) to get buttercream to the desired thickness and sweetness. Beat for at least 3-5 minutes once remaining sugar is added.
- Pipe buttercream onto cooled cupcakes with a large round tip (if you do not have this tip simply snip of the end of a piping bag or ziplock bag). Pipe in a circle to make a double layer birds nest.
For the apple crisp topping:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine all dry ingredients into bowl and cut in butter with a pastry knife. Mixture should be crumbly and butter the size of peas.
- Place mixture on a non-stick cookie tray (use non-stick aluminum foil to avoid extra clean-up). Spread mixture evenly over tray.
- Bake until all butter is melted and is brown on top- 30-40 minutes. Keep a very close eye on this- all it takes is a few minutes too long in the over for some parts to burn. If you find that the butter isn’t evenly distributed you can stir the mix every 5-10 minutes while in the oven.
- Make sure crisp topping is fully cooled before using. With a spoon sprinkle the crisp topping on each cupcake.
- Drizzle with a little or a lot of caramel.