One of the things that I wanted to do with the boys for Halloween was this DIY caramel apple bites I found via Pinterest:
How cute is that? Unfortunately, I have to mail-order allergen safe sprinkles and didn’t get around to it in time. Candy corn is out because of either egg or nut in every brand I’ve found, and marshmallows that are safe for us don’t come in a mini size. Also, food on a stick: I’m just not sure my one and four year old are ready for it. So, I decided to dial it back quite a bit and just do apples with caramel sauce for a snack.
Order of Business No. 1: Find a safe caramel sauce recipe. I found a vegan recipe that called for two cups of sugar, AND corn syrup. Yikes.
Order of Business No. 2: Find a safe caramel sauce recipe that doesn’t make me feel like a bad mother. I found this paleo recipe from Paleo Parents. I feel much better about honey and maple syrup. It’s still sugar, but at least it’s not super processed, and it is a cup versus 2 1/2 cups. But it bothered me that this recipe had no butter in it. I mean, every caramel sauce recipe I have read (and I read a lot, looking for a safe one) had either butter or heavy cream. So I decided to tweak the paleo recipe and throw in some Earth Balance margarine (if you use pastured butter instead, it would still be paleo – I just can’t do that with my kids’ dairy intolerance.)
Are you worried that paleo caramel just won’t taste like “real” caramel? Don’t be. The four-year old asked if he could drink the caramel. The one-year old didn’t ask – he just did it anyway. Yeah, it’s good.
*If you are making this and can’t tolerate dairy (butter) or the soy in Earth Balance sticks, you could use the soy free Earth Balance formula that comes in a tub. Or, possibly a bit of coconut milk. I think that will be what I try the next time I make this.*
Safe Caramel Apple Dip (gluten, dairy, egg and nut free)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 Tbsp. Earth Balance margarine
1/2 tsp. baking soda
You have to keep an eye on this one. It involves medium low heat, and lots of patience and whisking. It’s worth it.
In a medium saucepan, combine the maple syrup and honey, heat over medium heat until it starts to bubble, stirring frequently. After it is bubbling, turn heat down to medium low, and whisk constantly, cooking for about 10 minutes, until the maple syrup and honey come together. Remove from heat, and stir in margarine and baking soda. The combination will turn it from a clear liquid to an opaque color, but more stirring will make it clearer.