A few weeks ago we got the urge to have another contest. One of us (I won’t say who) suggested a caramel contest. At first some of us (I won’t say who) wondered if there were enough caramel recipes out there to have a real contest. I mean, there’s caramel popcorn and caramel apples, and….what else?
But within minutes of the posting, our inbox began to fill up with caramel recipes: old family favorites, crowd pleasers, and even original concoctions. Who knew you could make so many things with caramel? There were dips and drinks, cakes and cookies, pies and pizzas.
It took about twenty-four hours for us to remember why, in four years of blogging, we’ve never done a cooking contest: oh yeah, because the only way to judge the entries is to cook them! What have we gotten ourselves into? Whose crazy idea was this anyway?
With dozens of entries there was no way we could make them all. So Mom and Janelle divided them up into categories (cakes, bars, cookies, crisps, cheesecakes, muffins, pies, drinks, dips, breakfast foods, snacks, and more). Then they chose from the categories using a single, strictly scientific, standard: which recipes look the yummiest.
After paring down the options they doled out assignments. We dragged the kids to the grocery store where we purchased bags of caramels, tubs of caramel dip, jars of caramel topping, and sugar for homemade caramel sauce.
The newly created girltalk test kitchens swung into action.
(I have to admit: it’s not as easy as it looks on The Food Network. I guess it helps to have an assistant to unwrap all those little caramels.)
After much cooking and tasting and deliberating we chose our winners. It wasn’t easy—you all sent in so many amazing recipes! We’ll be posting the winners throughout the week (in no particular order) and those women will each receive one of our favorite cookbooks.
So, without further ado, our first winner is Kristy Wigginton with her recipe “Divine Decadence.” This one is rich (but not to rich for me!) It’s easy to make and an elegant dessert to serve on a special occasion.
2 cups pecans, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted margarine
Combine and press into a greased 9” pie pan. Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes. Cool completely.
1 (14 oz) bag of caramels
1/2 cup whipping cream
Melt two ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 1 1/2 minutes. When well combined, pour into the crust.
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Bring cream and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Combine until all chips are melted and smooth. Pour over caramel. Refrigerate at least four hours or overnight. Cut into wedges or bite-sized pieces. You definitely need to eat this with a big glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee!