Caramel Apple Mace Shortcakes Recipe

Leave any bobbing for apples to the kids and whip up a dessert that mixes all-time favorite caramel apples with shortcakes jazzed up with mace. From the same tree as nutmeg, mace clings to the shell of the nutmeg seed like a hand. Nutmeg and mace have similar flavors, although mace is more delicate and has a somewhat fresher, lighter, and less robust aroma than nutmeg, which makes it ideal for sweet and savory dishes, notes cookbook author Lori Longbotham, who contributed this recipe to Real Food. For best results, make the shortcakes within an hour or so of serving them. And of course, vanilla ice cream makes a natural partner.

Caramel Apple Mace Shortcakes

Serves 4

134 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
34 teaspoon ground mace
14 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Milk for brushing

Caramel Apples:
4 medium tart cooking apples, such as Granny Smith (about 112 pounds)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 cup caramel sauce (recipe follows) or store-bought caramel sauce

To make shortcakes, position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 425°F. Butter a baking sheet.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, mace, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk in zest.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream and vanilla in a medium bowl just until cream holds soft peaks. Make a well in center of dry ingredients, add cream mixture, and stir with a fork just until it begins to form a dough.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough about 6 times to combine well. Roll or pat out to 34-inch thick. With a floured 312– inch cutter—preferably crinkle-edge—cut out 4 rounds, gathering and re-rolling scraps, as necessary. Transfer rounds to baking sheet. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer with a wide metal spatula to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make caramel apples. Peel and core apples and cut each one into 8 wedges. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in caramel sauce and boil, stirring gently, until apples are soft, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Split each shortcake in half. Arrange bottom halves on dessert plates, spoon apples over them, and add tops. Serve immediately.

Caramel Sauce

Makes 2 cups

1 cup heavy cream
18 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
34 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Heat cream and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until just hot. Set aside, covered to keep warm.

Heat sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a damp pastry brush if sugar crystals form. Boil, without stirring, until caramel turns a dark golden brown.

Remove saucepan from heat and add cream, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Return pan to low heat and cook, whisking, until sauce is smooth. Use immediately, or let come to room temperature, transfer to a glass jar, and refrigerate, tightly covered, until ready to serve.

Nutrition info (per serving)
Caramel Apple Mace Shortcakes: Calories 683 (268 from fat); Fat 30g (Sat. 18g); Chol 98mg; Sodium 563mg; Carb 99g; Fiber 3g; Protein 8g
Caramel Sauce: Calories 148 (42 from fat); Fat 5g (Sat. 3g); Chol 17mg; Sodium 25mg; Carb 27g; Fiber 0g; protein 0g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.