Category: fun food

Cinnamon Candy Apple Nut Brittle

Cinnamon Candy Apple Nut Brittle

Published in Carolina Country Magazine October 2019

YaY!  It’s finally NC State Fair week.  Most everyone loves the fair, for so many different reasons.  I have fond memories of fairs with friends during high school… fun dates… and taking my now 15-year-old nephew Wyatt in his younger years and loving every minute of glee in his little eyes and giggles on the kiddie rides and playing the games where he’d win a toy for $20 that we could buy at the dollar store.
Or a fish in a bag!! LOL 

Another enjoyable thing for me is to find a bench to plop down on… and just watch people.
You see some of the damndest things at the fair.  I’ll leave my thoughts and comments right there!

I have no idea what year it was… 15-20 or so ago, when I was first invited to be a judge for the daily cooking contests. By far, this may be my most favorite fair thing of all!  As a recipe creator myself, I always love sitting in that little room and seeing what will show up on the days I judge… and enjoy the camaraderie of those of us in that little room all tasting… oooh-ing and ahhh-ing… and sometimes saying “nope, can’t do that!”  I do admire all who enter their recipes, but some need to be sure and have a back up plan if they have aspirations of a culinary career.  

So… back to this recipe!  This is my final of 3 recipes to blog here I created for Carolina Country’s October 2019 fair-inspired recipes.  I had this idea in my head, and it took me a couple of times to get it like I wanted it… so I do hope you will enjoy.  My best advice for making this, as with most all candies, is to not make it on a humid day.  When creating and testing this candy apple brittle, it just fell that way in my schedule a couple of times.

Results = Total Sticky Pull-Your-Teeth-Out FAIL!

So when you’re missing fair time, and a good ole candy apple, give this a try.  It might help satisfy your craving just a bit.  It makes a pretty red Christmas red for your holiday festivities.  

I hope you’ll give it a try and come over and add your comments or questions on my facebook community.

…and hope you can make it to the NC State Fair next week too!

Cinnamon Candy Apple Nut Brittle

For those who might miss our NC State Fair, I stirred up something reminiscent of those iconic candy apples. My nut brittle will tickle your taste buds with its crunchy texture and candy apple flavor filled with toasty NC pecan pieces, plus a hint of cinnamon! Made in less than 10 minutes in your microwave.

Course: Fun Food!, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup toasted pecan pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons flakey or coarse ground sea salt, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar and syrup in an 8-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 5–6 minutes until it reaches a rolling boil.

  2. Carefully remove and stir in ¼ teaspoon salt, butter, extract, spices and pecans. Microwave 1–2 minutes longer until boiling. Remove and quickly stir in food coloring and soda.

  3. Pour onto greased slab or cookie sheet and spread with back of spoon. Sprinkle with salt.

  4. Let the brittle cool at least 1 hour. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Recipe Notes

Variation: Unsalted roasted peanuts or other nuts can be substituted for the pecans.

Tip: Best not to make this (or most candy) on humid days. You may end up with chewy rather than crunchy brittle.

 

Country Ham Lollipups with Molasses Mustard

Country Ham Lollipups

Ham biscuits and corn dogs … now there are a couple of fair favorites … along with those hot and crispy hushpuppies in the education building. I’ve combined this threesome into one fun food you’ll be sure to enjoy.

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State Fair Stoup

State Fair Stoup

State Fair Stoup

Published in Carolina Country Magazine  October 2019

Thank you Jesus… I can feel fall in the air!  My favorite time of year… when we can stop sweating and turn to cook’n.  Tailgate pot lucks… comfort foods… and goodies like chowders, soups and stews.  

We work months ahead for the magazine (just covered an event Saturday for next September issue!), and when I was thinking about October in April and May, while eating my first tomato sandwiches, I was trying to put my head into sweater season.  Ahhhh…. state fair time!  

I do love state fair time… and all that comes with it. I especially enjoy all the days I get to judge the daily cooking contests with the NC Department of Agriculture.  For years, more than I can remember now, I get all giddy when my packet of stuff arrives with my judging dates, tickets, parking pass and all.  Each year, I block off fair days on my calendar for the next and do my best not to let anything interfere with those culinary adventurous days.  This year, I will be judging vegetables, apples, pork and beef days.  It’s really fun to see what entries arrive… and honestly, some are rather scary!  I want to coach some of the entrants… to fine tune their dish just a bit to what we, as judges, usually all come to a consensus on would make their dish a big winner!  My biggest advice (and usually a comment from all around the table)… “where’s the SALT!?”  For years, folks got scared of salt… and went from one extreme to another. 

My best advice… make your dish and get a variety of honest folks to taste it.  Make sure they tell you the good, bad and ugly of it and fine tune it from there. There is great prize money on the contests… so if not this year, do start looking at the NC State Fair site (or your own state) mid-summer for the daily categories. Read all the specifics of the one(s) you want to enter (one little omission can disqualify your awesome recipe) and get to cook’n and tweaking!  And maybe next year, you will take home a ribbon and money.  To see all my suggestions… take a look here at this piece I wrote for Carolina Country Magazine a couple of years ago. 

Till then, get out your pot and cook up some of this stoup!  You can have the delicious aromas and tastes of the fair right now in your own kitchen.  When you do, hop over to my facebook community and tell us all about it.   

State Fair Stoup

You know you’ve arrived at the NC State Fair when you’re greeted on the midway with the smell of sausages, peppers and onions. This stoup is my version of these fair favorites, but in a bowl to enjoy on chilly days at home … along with toasted hoagies and cheese butter.

Course: Fun Food!, Soup, Stew, Stoup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: stoup, stew, soup, state fair
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
  • 2 each red, green, yellow bell peppers
  • 2 large onions,
  • 2 stalks celery
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 14 ounce pkg. kielbasa
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced dehydrated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 16 ounce jar pepperoncini, drained
  • 1 12 ounce jar sliced sweet ‘n’ hot pickled peppers (We used Mt. Olive)
  • 1 6 pack hoagie rolls, toasted and sliced in wedges

Cheese Butter
  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon each mustard and mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 and crockpot to low.

  2. Cut peppers, onions and celery into 1-inch pieces. Toss with 4 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper; spread out on large baking pan. Roast 30-40 minutes until lightly charred, tossing after 15 minutes.

  3. As peppers roast, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large skillet. Over medium heat, cook sausages, turning to brown on all sides. Remove to bowl and cut into bite-sized pieces.

  4. Add broth, tomatoes, seasoning, garlic and sugar to drippings and bring to a slow simmer.

  5. Put vegetables into crockpot. Add sausages, broth mixture, applesauce and pepperoncini. Stir to mix. Cover and cook 2–3 hours in crock pot. Garnish with pickled peppers.

  6. For the cheese butter, whip ingredients together until creamy. Serve on toasted hoagie buns.

Key Lime Pie Pretzel Ice Cream Bites

Key Lime Pie Pretzel Ice Cream Sandwich Bites

Sometimes, “just a little something” to finish off a summertime meal is all that’s needed. Make these no-cook no-churn key lime ice cream treats days ahead and just take out what’s needed.

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Everything’s HOT up ‘n here Bagels! Bye Bye Gluten & Carbs

Everything’s HOT up ‘n here Bagels! Gluten & Carb FREE

Cheesy gluten and carb free bagels… with a kick of cayenne and a dusting of crispy everything bagel dust!

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