I absolutely love this gift idea! An apple and a little jar of homemade apple dip. Her recipe for apple dip sounds delicious, but I was giving these to some teachers today and I didn't want them to have to refrigerate it immediately. So while I still want to try out her dip (cream cheese. . . Heath bits. . . mmmmmm. . .) I substituted this recipe from DirtyGourmet.
While I do cook a lot and am not usually intimidated by new recipes, candy making is not an area I have worked with a lot. I am terrified of burning the sugar! A few years ago I made an attempt at a few Christmas candies that just turned out a mess. I pretty much stay away from boiled sugar. But I was feeling brave so I jumped right it.
Then I jumped right out! Just as the sugar was starting to brown I pulled it off the heat and finished off the recipe and ended up with this:
I filled 4 half-pint jars about 3/4 full and let them cool. The next day I packaged them up with a nice fresh green apple and sent them off to school for the boys' teachers. Luckily, I had only three teachers to gift, so I got to keep the last jar for myself. I sat down and had apples and caramel for lunch by myself yesterday! Today after school this is all Big Brother wanted to eat. I'm rationing it out! Looks like I am going to have to make another batch soon. Good thing I have a stock pile of sweetened condensed milk.
Total cost: The only item I had to purchase was the apples, and I actually sent my husband out for them. He didn't report back on the cost.
Total time: It took me about an hour but that was for two batches and a little google searching. Plus I washed and dried all the jars before I started cooking. 15 minutes to package them up.
Final verdict: Dip was very, very good. Better than the store bought stuff. I actually have some in my fridge and taste tested side-by-side. Makes a cute and easy gift as well. L asked if we could make some for the principal, his secretary, the school bus driver, his Sunday school teacher, . . . looks like I'm in the boiling sugar business now.