Happy week before Christmas, guys--can you even believe it's almost here? Are you ready? If you're like me, you had every intention of getting ahead of everything and thought you were ready and then definitely woke up the other day like "sh*t, sh*t, sh*t" because guess what, you forgot about half your favorite friends/family. So you'll have to forgive me a little for the bit of radio silence earlier this week because I've been tending to those last minute loose ends. Moses and I got back earlier this week from San Francisco, and while I loved being back in the Bay, coming home to Los Angeles felt right, which I'm thinking means that it's finally starting to feel like home. In other news, I didn't make it to the finals for my Fantasy Football league, despite winning last week and coming in a close 7th. I'm out and my season is over :( :( :(. Also, Vienna had the best weekend vacay with her favorite "woof pack" and came home happy and exhausted (thank you to the best dog sitters on the planet)!
If you're wondering what I've been up to this week, I've been to FedEx a ton, have been slowly chipping away at my inbox (sorry if you still haven't heard back from me yet, you will!!), and have been making tons of sweet treats to gift all my sweet friends! There's something extra special about handmade confections, which is why this year I'm sharing my riff off one of my favorite Bon Appétit recipes for caramels!! I love it because it comes together quickly and is the creamiest caramel in all the lands (ok, idk if it's THE creamiest in ALL the lands but it def ranks high). I've dressed it up for the holidays with some freeze dried raspberry powder and a bit of Guittard chocolate, making it extra decadent and festive. It's an awesome treat to give around the holidays because once you pack it away in a cute box or jar, it ships super well, and can make that trek 'cross country a little better than a gingerbread or sugar cookie might. Although, those are totally gift worthy and you can find more sweet treat ideas in my 12 Days of Sweets or 12 Days of Cookies!!
Have you heard of Hedley & Bennett? I'd be surprised if you haven't cuz they're awesome, but in case you haven't met your favorite apron makers yet, let me tell you a little bit about them. They make restaurant-quality aprons, which you've probably seen worn all around LA's top restaurants, and they come in a rainbow of awesome colors and prints. They're handmade in LA and use only the best materials. This Wellfleet Apron is one my favorites, because it's made with a grey denim slub that looks so chic but is so soft and cozy, thanks to being pre-washed by the H&B team. It's got adjustable brass straps and cute yet super functional pockets that are reinforced with bar tacks (think the same stitching on the tops of your jean pockets) so that they won't rip off! I love all of my (yes, I've got a few) H&Bs, and don't want to play favorites, but if I had to, I'd say this one is my current fave.
To enter to win, all you have to do is leave a comment below sharing your favorite sweet holiday season sweet treat to make, gift, or just eat AND fill out the form below. Make sure you to follow me and Hedley & Bennet on lnstagram and then head to my Instagram on this Sunday because I'll be announcing the winner there )this Sunday, December 20th)! This giveway is open to US residents only.
Raspberry and Chocolate Caramels
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Makes 50 large caramels or 100 small caramels
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 2 c. granulated sugar
- ½ c. light corn syrup
- 1/4 c. water
- 14-oz. (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (~1 scant c.)
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freeze dried raspberries, ground into a coarse dust (using food processor)
- Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
- Medium saucepan
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Parchment paper
- 8 x 8-inch or 9 x 9-inch pan
- Candy thermometer
- Silicone dough cutter/bowl scraper
- Lightly coat an 8 x 8” baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2” overhang on 2 sides; spray parchment.
- Bring sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 8–10 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and whisk in sweetened condensed milk and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously) until smooth. Immediately whisk in chopped chocolate. Fit pan with thermometer and return to medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until thermometer registers 240°F. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract and kosher salt. Pour into prepared pan; let cool. Sprinkle caramel with freeze dried raspberry dust and sea salt, and cut into 3/4” square pieces or 1/2" x 2" pieces and wrap individually in parchment paper.
- Serve and enjoy (or gift)!
Do Ahead: Caramels can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store wrapped tightly in plastic in airtight container at room temperature.