I have always said I couldn’t give up bread amidst the whole gluten-free fad. I say fad because I don’t think everyone who gives up gluten needs too. I have no doubt that once the dust settles only those who have gluten issues will stick to it.
However I had been doing research because of chronic pain and inflammation which I’ve had enough of. I did get bloodwork done but I have the family trait of not presenting the normal way for medical issue so they came back negative. My doctor, who is normally really good, said that some people are just built this way and are weaker. Given that I was a 3rd degree black belt I don’t accept that. So I am on a 30 day experiment to go without gluten to see what happens. I’ve done it for a week now and I think I’m making progress but it’s too soon to tell.
Right now because I am being strict with it I have to be creative with the recipes as I don’t want to do two sets of meals for all of us. Someone I know who loves to bake has also gone gluten free and she suggested finely processing oats and use that as flour as a substitution for certain desserts. I thought this would be perfect for my date bars or this week apple bars given that we have a massive amount of apples.
And because I was baking with apples I thought I would try my hand at salted caramel.
For the caramel you will need:
2 cups sugar
12 T butter
2 tsp sea salt (some recipes call for fleur de sel but that’s crazy expensive)
A cup of heavy cream
Spiced rum to taste
Brown sugar to taste
This will make a lot so you can half the ingredients. In a saucepan heat up the sugar.
You need the heat to be medium, medium high and stir constantly while the sugar melts. It will get chunky then will smooth out.
Turn off the heat when the temp reaches 350F/175C and add the butter a bit at a time.
Stir until the butter is fully incorporated. Then add the cream and stir well. This is where it almost went wonky for me. When you are cooking the sugar you have to be very careful not to burn it. I had a slightly burnt taste so I needed to fix it. I incorporated some brown sugar and a couple of tablespoons of spiced rum while adding the sea salt. Turned out to be similar to toffee flavour and everyone gave it a thumbs up. A happy left turn!
Let that cool while working on the apple bars.
Cut up 4-5 apples into smallish pieces and start to heat in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of apple cider.
Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste and simmer until the apples soften.
Pulse enough oats to give you 1 1/2 cups of oat flour to replace the flour.
Mix this with 2 cups of oats, 1 cup sugar, and 1 tsp of baking soda. I added 3/4 cup of melted butter like the original recipe but I think next time I would add a cup to keep it moist. Spread out half in a 8 x 11 pan then spread out the apple mixture.
Top with the rest of the oats and bake for 25 minutes. Drizzle with the caramel and serve.
The caramel can be kept in the fridge for a few weeks. To soften just microwave for 10-15 seconds. I’ll have to come up with a few more desserts to use up the caramel!