Saturday, December 17, 2011

Apples with Caramel Dipping Sauce (Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Vegan)

I'm sitting on a bus headed to New York City. I left Brittany's house about seven hours ago, armed with my bags, my lunch, and a box filled with baked goods. Last Saturday, I flew to Massachusetts, where my parents picked me up; On Sunday I took a train to Rochester, NY to spend the week working on my cookbook photo shoot. After five straight days of working from 8am 'til midnight, Brittany, our photographer, and I have a beautiful portfolio of shots for our books. I wish I had some on my computer to show you, but in the meantime, if you want you can see some of the images on my Facebook page. 

Now, I'm headed to the city to spend a few days with friends before going back to Massachusetts for the holidays. I haven't been back to the city since I left over a year ago, and I'll admit to equal parts excitement and sadness. I'll spend the next couple of days catching up with old college friends, my roommates from grad school, and friends from Jenny Craig. It was hard enough to leave that I haven't been ready before now to go back. I'm still not quite sure I'm ready. 

I have the tendency to compartmentalize my life into segments. New York (and by New York, I really mostly mean Brooklyn) feels like a different part of my life. I made a decision to move and start fresh in Seattle, and the universe has been telling me since that it was the right choice. And yet it's difficult not to feel my heartstrings pull at the thought of being back in my old world, at seeing how it's changed, how people have changed, and how life has moved on. 

I've moved on. And that is both glorious and heartbreaking. 

I always thought life was black and white. I think I read too many books of the "happily ever after" variety. It turns out that life is seldom so simple. Our parents were right when they told us that things only get more complicated. But as a good friend recently told me, sometimes all you can do is make a decision. And then keep going. The universe will do the rest. 

And so I'll visit my friends in New York, laugh at old memories, probably cry over a few as well, and make some new ones. Then I'll go back to Seattle and take a walk over the bridge near my house and watch the sunset. 

While the universe is spinning with the force of all of our energy, let us enjoy this wonderfully crazy time of year.  And while we're at it, delight in the simple pleasure of fresh fruit dipped in caramel sauce.

Caramel Dipping Sauce (Print-Friendly Option)

1 cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons tapioca starch or arrowroot starch
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4 hours to overnight
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 tablespoons shortening (I use Spectrum Organic Palm Shortening)


  1. Start by making your powdered sugar. Place the coconut palm sugar and starch in your blender. Make sure the blender is completely dry inside first. Blend the sugar and starch until it's the consistency of powdered sugar. This takes me a few minutes. Once it's ready, set it aside. 
  2. Rinse and drain the cashews, and puree them in a food processor with the lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt. Continue to process them until the mixture is a thick, smooth consistency, scraping down the sides as necessary. 
  3. Add the shortening and process, then add the powdered sugar a little at a time, until you've reached the consistency you like. This is great for dipping with fruit or can be thickened with more powdered sugar to make a filling for cakes, cookie sandwiches, or whoopee pies.


Adrienne @ Whole New Mom said...

Oh my, Iris. I am going to make this sauce - soon! Thank you!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Fabulous recipe and another one of your incredible posts, Iris. Wow. I'm so excited that your and Brittany's photo shoot is done, that you still believe that you made the right choice to go to Seattle (and all that entails), that you shared this incredible sunset photo, and more. Hugs to you, dear!


Jacqueline - The Dusty Baker said...

Welcome back to NYC. My heart caught for you, reading this post. I understand how many memories must have come back, and the bittersweet aspect of being back in Brooklyn. Someone recently told me to "create new stories", and that sounds exactly like what you're doing, having followed your instincts over a year ago now. Welcome back, and have a safe trip back.

Jonathan said...

I am so excited for you and the progress of your cookbook, Iris! Brava!

Laura said...

I have a bag of apples that I was pondering what to do with-now I know. I can't wait to make this sauce and I love that it has cashews in it!

stephanie said...

I just got done making this. My picky daughter thought this was fabulous. It was so easy. If you have a vitamix, it took about 30 seconds to make the powdered sugar. Can't wait for the cookbook.


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