The first time I came to Texas, I flew away from a huge snowstorm in Chicago and into a mild (if cloudy and slightly rainy) climate. It was December, and I vividly remember our tour guide saying, “Ha! Heard it’s a-snowin’ up in Chicaaaaahgo. It doesn’t fix to snow here, ever!”
I’ve lived in Texas for over six years, I have seen snow every year. Every. Single. Year. At first, it was fun and novel and we all joked about how we brought a little Chicago with us to the Lone Star State:
Now, not so much. I have had to cancel vacations, fret over whether or not my car will drive in the snow (I can drive in snow just fine, thank you. My rear-wheel drive crybaby car cannot.) and I’ve spent too much time shut indoors trapped by an inch (!!!) of ice on the ground. Like I said last year, SALT TRUCKS FOR ALL.
The problem in Texas (or one of them, anyway) is that we get snow or sleet…and then it melts slightly only to refreeze in sheets overnight. This total nightmare shuts down the entire area. As my office was closed today, I took advantage of the melty time to go for a run around the neighborhood…and boy am I glad I did because I learned that Texans will build a snowman out of darned near anything. Dirty snow? Check. Snow mixed with grass and pebbles? Check. Old stuffed animal for the head because we ran out of snow to build the snowman? Check. Meanwhile, I’m running by all snow-snobby thinking: “Hmph, I would never use such low-grade snow to build a snowman. These poor people. They just don’t get it.” (Don’t worry, Texans – I am fully aware that you think similar thoughts when northerners come down and want to hit the pool when it’s only in the 70s. Brrrr.)
This is the other thing that I came up with on my run. I almost called it a Texas Snowman…because, well, you know…
For the Caramel Whiskey Sauce:
- 1 Cup of Light Brown Sugar – lightly packed
- 2 Tbs. Salted Butter
- 1/2 Cup of Whitetail Caramel Whiskey
- Pinch of Salt
For the Apples:
- Two Honeycrisp Apples – peeled, cored, and chopped into cubes
- 3 Tbs. Salted Butter
- A little less than 1/3 Cup of Sugar – (I know, sorry. I wanted to use a full third of a cup but it seemed like too much so I added most but not all of it. You know me and measurements.)
- 4 oz. of Cream Soda – IBC is my brand of choice
- Pinch of Salt
- 1/4-1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (optional)
For the Graham Crumbles:
- 8 Graham Crackers – smashed into crumbs
- 1 Tbsp. Butter
- 1 Tbsp Cream Soda
- Pinch of Cinnamon
For the Final Product:
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Small Saucepan
- Medium Skillet
- Knife and Cutting Board
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Bowl for Cooked Apples
- Small Paper Bag
- Wire Whisk
- Highball Glasses – for serving
- Make the Whiskey Sauce – Melt butter in your small saucepan over medium heat, add whiskey and sugar and stir to combine. Let the mixture melt slowly and whisk it occasionally to prevent clumping and sticking. Once it is melted a bit, add a pinch of salt. Let simmer over medium to medium-low heat until thick and bubbly. Before it cools, the mixture should coat the back of a spoon. Set aside and let the sauce thicken up while you prepare the apples.
- Prepare the Apples – Melt butter in your skillet over medium-high heat and add the apples to the butter along with the sugar. Work the apples around to combine the butter and sugar. Reduce the heat if necessary so as not to burn the sugar. The apples will start to break down after 5-8 minutes. When they are soft but not mushy, add the cream soda and cinnamon. Let the mixture bubble for a while on medium heat. Test for texture and seasoning. Add cayenne if you like for a little heat. When you are satisfied with the texture of the apples, pour the apples into a bowl and set aside.
- Make the Graham Crumbles – Smash the graham crackers into crumbles by placing the crackers into a paper bag and smashing the bag with your hand or a wooden spoon. (Do this while the apples are cooking.) Using the same pan (do not wash it) as you did for the apples, melt a tablespoon of butter in the remaining apple/sugar sauce over medium. Stir in the grahams to coat with the butter and sugar. You may wish to add more butter for a wetter graham. Add your tablespoon of cream soda and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir to coat and combine. Remove from the heat.
- Build Your Snowman -Turn the heat on low under the whiskey sauce to heat it a bit. Stir it around as it heats. When it’s warm again, layer a highball glass with the graham crumbles and top those with a generous layer of apples. Top with another dusting of graham crumbles and top with vanilla ice cream. Drizzle the whiskey sauce on top of the ice cream.