Some food, some drink.
Caramel Peanut Butter Dip in Only Three Ingredients.
Sometimes, practical overrules in the kitchen. However, that caramel apple dip they sell in the tub around the corner from the produce section simply isn't worth the trade-off in convenience when I can grab three ingredients from my kitchen and put something much better together. Leveraging some individually-wrapped caramels and your trusty microwave, you can put together a peanut butter caramel dip that'll make your pretzel sticks cheer and your apple wedges swoon. I guarantee Your kids are gonna love it! (...unless your kids are allergic to peanut butter and/or dairy; then probably notsomuch.)
Y'know it just doesn't seem neighborly to set out a spread of cut fresh fruit without giving folks something to dip; and nine out of ten times, those kind of spreads include something overpriced from the grocer's refrigerated section in a plastic tub. One of the aforementioned varieties of dip is a caramel variety that is frankly kinda nasty; it doesn't taste like much of anything beyond sweet and it's almost greasy in texture. Well, I was pretty sure that I could do better than the tub; and while I was at it, I couldn't think of a good reason to not healthy-up caramel dip; and peanut butter is definitely works in this capacity.
Truth be told, I've been sitting on this dead-ass simple recipe for quite some time; and I could no longer ignore my wife's gentle yet persistent reminding to do this post. Sometimes simplest is best; and simple in this case is three ingredients and five minutes (depending of course on your dexterity where unwrapping caramels is concerned).
Recipe: Jump to the detailed recipe. (or, keep reading for the gist of it) -
UNWRAP the caramels and add them along with the milk to a 4 cup microwave-safe container (Pyrex is best). Nuke for 2 minutes on high (90 seconds if your micro is high-wattage) and stir with a whisk until integrated. If caramels are not totally melted, microwave in 30 second intervals at a go until it is so. Stir in the peanut butter with a whisk (and the cinnamon if you're opting-in) and continue stirring until a smooth consistency is achieved. Serve immediately, and be sure to refrigerate anything unused (assuming no one double-dipped).
- Really, I think I find myself stirring with my whisk easily as much as I whisk proper. Fluids seem to integrate faster, and most of the time, a little bit of aeration never hurts either. I think those oblong "French Whip" style whisks are great multi-purpose whisks, and I keep a couple of sizes of 'em in my drawer of kitchen miscellany.
- I've never understood why American home kitchen appliance manufacturers are generally so stupid about microwaves. "High" on my 1400 watt microwave ain't the same as it is on your 900 watt nuker. If we could all dial in by wattage instead of percent power, then I think the microwave could be so much more than a reheat and popcorn appliance (I've seen microwaves for the Japanese market that do this. Just brilliant, really). Regretfully, it ain't like that, and a couple of minutes isn't so long to keep your eye on something, so don't stray too far from the radar range while cooking lest you're looking for a hot mess to clean up.
- This dip is best served at room temperature, but it's best to keep it refrigerated for storage. So if you need to loosen things up to serve, portion out what you need and take it back to the microwave for just a handful of seconds. A quick stir following will usually get you back to rights, but if it's still a bit thick or if things are a-separatin', then a couple of teaspoons of milk stirred and a few seconds more in the microwave should get it all back to good.
- If three ingredients is just too terse a recipe for your liking, add a pinch of cinnamon. It's totally optional, but if you decide to roll with it, try to get into something ground fresh. It doesn't have to be expensive; just grab your grinder and a bag of what's widely marketed here in the states as "Mexican Cinnamon" or canela and you'll also be set for all that rhubarb cake you'll be making this summer as well.
Apple slices or pear slices; even bananas and strawberries, very few chunks of fruit are immune from the charms of this here fruit dip; works great with pretzels and graham cracker sticks too. My favorite nosh for this dip however has got to be chunks of grilled pineapple. The caramel and the charred edges of the pineapple make for a killer flavor profile (my stomach grumbled a little just typing the sentence).
Oh sure, this dip is also quite serviceable with all the standard sweet fare; but If I might be allowed to get a little weird, this is a dip goes fantastic paired with baby carrots as well, and it'll take "ants on a log" to a whole new level (my youngest will vouch for this).
This might not be the epitome of health food, but you could certainly do a helluva lot worse. As far as I'm concernd, this is a sly way to sneak some protein in and really doll up raw fruits and vegetable for those otherwise picky eaters; and having been down that road with my kids, I'm betting you'll take all the help you can get.