It would be a sad fall without caramel for apples. Before I found out about my son’s casein sensitivity I had never looked at the ingredients on caramel. I suppose dairy as a main ingredient should have been a no-brainer. Ah well, it was time again to put on the R&D pants and whip up a batch of something that worked without cow milk.
Besides the coconut milk dairy replacer, there are some other friendly ingredients in this recipe. Ever since we emptied our cupboards of conventional sugars I’ve been up a creek on recipes like this, which typically include corn syrup, refined table sugar and brown sugar. But this stuff works really well with agave syrup instead of corn syrup, reducing the GI. Add unrefined coconut sugar to the mix and you get the delicious, complex molasses flavor that makes caramel special – plus just a hair more nutrients than the white and brown sugar it replaces. It cooks just like a recipe for homemade caramel squares, but it stays gooey … perfect for dip! This recipe got a major thumbs up from my kiddo.
- 1-1/2 cups unrefined coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- 1-1/2 cups coconut milk creamer
- 1/2 cup butter replacer (we use Earth Balance soy-free spread)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a large sauce pan, mix the coconut sugar, agave syrup, coconut milk, and butter replacer on low-medium heat. Using a candy thermometer, watch the heat of the mixture so that it doesn’t go over 250 degrees F. Stir frequently. If you have trouble reaching 25o, increase the heat in small increments until the heat steadily climbs up. The sauce pan will seem too large for these ingredients until they approach 250 – at that point they will start to boil and you’ll be glad you used a large pan. At 250 remove the pan from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the caramel mixture into a reheatable glass bowl. Once the mixture cools off a bit, it’s ready for apples!
You can also coat caramel apples with this mixture. If it gets too cool to easily dip or cover an apple, zap it for 30-45 seconds in the microwave and it works perfectly.
Caramel is so much fun. My son is excited to drizzle it on a cake some day. Try it on bananas and grapes, too. Yum!!
10-31-2014 – Maybe this has been done before but I haven’t seen it yet :-P. I created these Witches’ Toes using the dairy-free caramel dip for a Halloween potluck.