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Monday, November 26, 2012

Nutella Drop Cookies (November's Secret Recipe Club)

 For the month of November I had the honor of meeting Sally from Bewitching Kitchen through the Secret Recipe Club.  I have often seen her gorgeous food throughout my travels in food blogging and have admired her adventure and passion that she shares with her food and her stories on her blog.  She is originally from Brazil but has had the opportunity to live in Paris, France along with the U.S. in California so her exposure to delicious foods has a very wide range.  You can see this clearly in her recipes that she shares with all of her tasty Brazillian recipes to her gorgeous breads - many of which came inspired from her life in France. 

Unfortunately, my time was limited in the kitchen today.  If I had had more time I would have made Sally's gorgeous Cinnamon Wreath bread.  Instead I made her delicious and very simple Nutella Drop Cookies.
In a jiffy these cookies came to life with just a few ingredients.  And as my oldest daughter exclaimed so well, "my goodness those cookies look like scoops of ice cream!"  As they did!  They held their "ice cream" shape perfectly even after they were baked.
A batch of these cookies would go perfectly with a hot cup of tea on a cold Winter night.  Tender in texture and sweet on the tongue.  I know you will enjoy this recipe just as much as I did!
Nutella Drop Cookies  
(recipe from Bewitching Kitchen)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup Nutella, at room temperature
powdered sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchement paper and set aside.
2. Cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy - about 3-4 mintues.  Add in vanilla extract and mix to combine.
3. Gradually add in flour until combined and then the Nutella.
4. Scoop cookie dough by the tablespoon or a small cookie scoop onto prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookie edges start to flatten slightly. Cool cookies 5 minutes before removing from sheets.  Once cookies are completely cooled dust with powdered sugar if you wish.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Happy Nutella Drop Cookie Baking!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Glazed Apple Bundt Cake (Week #8 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats)

My love for bundt cakes will never die.  I the idea of the simplicity yet beauty of such a cake makes me happy.  In one pan a delicious cake can be created, decorated and then served to friends and family and get the same "ooh" and "ahh" factor that a layered cake would get.  As you can see from the above photo my bundt pan has produced many a cake.  Cakes such as the,  Sweet and Tart Rhubarb Cake, the Peachy Bundt Cake, along with the fabulous Root Beer Float Cake, and moist Blueberry Lemon Cake and of course the Hummingbird Cake have all come from my precious stoneware bundt pan. If you have yet to treat yourself to such a baking pan put it on your holiday wish list! It is the perfect gift for a baker!
 Speaking of holidays I want to share with you today a perfect cake that can be presented at a festive party or given in a pretty basket as a gift as it is delicious beyond words and beautiful to the eye.  Sweet apples and sugary chopped nuts are surrounded by a dense cake which are then covered in a brown sugar glaze.  The perfection of a bundt cake!  Thus I present to you on this 8th week of the 12 Weeks of Holiday Treats created by the lovely Brenda of Magical Meal Planning, a Glazed Apple Bundt Cake.
 Glazed Apple Bundt Cake
        (recipe discovered on A Recipe a Day)
Cake Ingredients:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Filling Ingredients:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped nuts - I used walnuts, pecans are good too!
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3-4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
Glaze Ingredients:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1. Grease bundt pan well and set aside. Mix together all filling ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Beat together butter and sugar until light in color and consistency - about 4-5 minutes.  Add in eggs - one at a time.  Mixing between each until the yellow of the egg is completely incorporated to the batter.
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Add to butter mixture alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.   Beat on low speed after each addition until mixture is just blended.  Stir in vanilla extract.
4. In prepared bundt pan pour in half of the cake batter.  Layer with sliced apples and then all of the filling ingredients. Pour remaining batter over apples and nuts.  Bake in a preheated oven of 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  My cake took 1 hour and 10 minutes.  I covered the cake with tin foil for the last 10 minutes so that the top of the cake did not burn.
5. Cool cake on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan.  Once cake is completely cooled make the glaze.  Melt 2 Tbsp butter just until it starts to brown.  Remove from heat and then add in brown sugar, milk and vanilla extract.  Stir all together until smooth.  Drizzle glaze over your beautiful cake and serve (or give away).
Happy Glazed Apple Bundt Cake Baking!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Appledoodle Cookies (October's SRC pick)

Goodness I am so excited to share this month's recipe for Secret Recipe Club! I was granted the honor of being assigned the blog called, Fried Ice and Donut Holes for the month of October (such an fabulous name for a blog!).  It truly was an honor and so much fun to browse through this blog.  Please do hop on over to Fried Ice and Donut Holes and check out all the scrumptious recipes.  You might want to take a peek at the Blueberry Biscuit Cobbler along with the Buffalo Chicken Shepard's Pie and then be sure to check out the Cashew Chicken recipe too! So many wonderful recipes.  And yes of course I choose to pick a recipe that I could bake.  You know the kind the has flour, sugar and butter in it.  Yes, you know me well!  Always baking over here! :-)
  I have so many apples in my house that have to used before they get rotten so when I came upon the recipe for Appledoodles I jumped on it fast! I could make cookies and the cookies would be made with apples! Granted it was only two apples from my 20+ but still it was a win win situation as the cookies came out fabulous and I had two less apples in my pile of "must-use-soon-apples" before they turn mushy and rotten. 
I loved everything about these cookies.  The fact that they are a spin off of Snickerdoodle cookies caught my eye right away as I just adore Snickerdoodles!  Adding in chopped apples to a favorite cookie was brilliant.  The cinnamon sugar rolled cookies came alive with all things Fall and comforting when the apples were baked into these little gems.  And since I had some peanut butter morsels just itching to be paired with the apples (because apples and peanut butter go together in my world) I threw in a couple handfuls to the cookie batter.  Oh my, what delicious happiness found in a cookie!

Appledoodle Cookies
Cookie dough
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1-2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup peanut butter morsels (my addition)
Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon.  Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy - about 3-4 minutes. Add in eggs and beat to combine well.
3. In a medium bowl combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt and nutmeg (if you wish).  Add to the wet mixture. 
4. Gently fold in chopped apples and peanut butter morsels.
5. Form balls of the dough and roll carefully to coat in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place sugar rolled cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 14 minutes turning cookie sheet half way through baking time. Cookies will be golden on the edges and blond in the middle.  Allow cookies to cool on sheets before removing.  Cookies are stored best in an airtight container and will remain soft for about 3 days.  Yum! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Caramel Swirled Apple-Pear Bread (Week #3 of 12 Weeks of Holiday Treats)

Confession.  I baked this bread twice in a 12 hour period of time.  Not once but twice I say. Yes, this quick bread which is packed with chunks of apples and pears, oozing with cinnamon happiness and swirled with a rich loveliness of caramel sauce is NO joke.  I promise you that once you make it once you will then make it twice within a day.  Bake one loaf for yourself and one to give away.  EASY!   Even better, bake a couple as holiday gifts!! This bread would absolutely perfect wrapped up in a pretty package and handed off to friends and family for the holidays.   They will all love and thank you for it over and over again -  I can promise you that.  So put your apron on and get out your apples and pears!  It's time to make a lovely quick bread.

Thus I present to you my #3 entry for the 12 Weeks of Holiday Treats. I can't thank Brenda from Meal Planning Magic for all the hard work and dedication she has put towards making this 12 week party happen.  Hugs of gratitude to sent to you dearest Brenda!
 Feel free to make this bread with just apples as the original recipe only used apples.  Also feel free to use store bought caramel sauce (simplicity is crucial during the holidays!) or you can use the recipe I posted last week for Homemade Caramel Sauce - it's super yummy and very easy to make. The original recipe also called for pouring caramel sauce over the top of the bread when baked and cooled.  Such a good idea!  I did not do so for either of my breads but I promised myself that the next time I make this recipe I will. 
Caramel Swirled Apple-Pear Bread
(recipe altered slightly from one of my all time favorite blogs - Bakingdom)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 medium apples - peeled, cored and cut into small chunks (shredded is fine too)
1 medium pear - peeled, cored and cut into small chunks (shredded if you prefer)
1/4 - 1/2 cup caramel sauce - homemade or store bought
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Set dry mixture aside.
3. Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs one at a time - mix well inbetween each one.  Add in 1/3 of flour mixture, mix to combine and continue with remaining 2/3's flour mixture.  Do not over beat as that will create a "tough" bread.
4.  Gently stir in prepared fruit.
5.  Pour 1/2 of bread batter into prepared pan and then pour caramel sauce over batter. Finish by topping with remaining bread batter.

6. Bake for 50-60 minutes.  Rotating pan half way through.  A toothpick inserted in center should come out with only a few crumbs stuck to it when bread is done. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and enjoying.  Don't forget, you can always drizzle some caramel sauce over the top of your bread before sure looks good that way!

 Happy Caramel Swirl Apple-Pear Bread Baking!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Homemade Caramel Sauce ( Week #2 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats)

Chocolate sauce or caramel sauce....which one do you prefer? I kind of lean towards both. Especially when they are homemade! Chocolate sauce is perfect over good vanilla ice cream and caramel goes perfect over anything apple.  And well, geez both of them go perfect with just a spoon! 
Since I have already tried my hand at making homemade chocolate sauce I couldn't wait to do the same with homemade caramel sauce.  I seized the opportunity recently keeping in mind that caramel sauce would be a lovely present for friends and family this coming holiday season along side a jar of chocolate sauce
With the encouragement of my participation in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats group (thank you so much Brenda for hosting this group!) I present to you today a super easy and extremely delicious recipe for HOMEMADE Caramel Sauce.  Hooray! Amen. YUM!
The recipe below will fill one good sized jar.  Double the recipe if you wish to make multiple jars.
Homemade Caramel Sauce
(recipe slightly altered from Countertop Confessions)
1 stick salted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream (the original recipe calls for milk)
2 Tbsp light corn syrup (the original recipe does not call for corn syrup - I added it to help with keeping the sugar and butter from separating)
1 tsp vanilla
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Add in brown sugar once butter has fully melted.  Stir constantly as you bring the melted butter and sugar to a boil.  Allow mixture to boil for 2 minutes or until sugar has dissolved completely.
2. Stirring constantly, add in milk.  Mixture will snap and pop...not to worry this is normal.  Stir in corn syrup.  Allow sauce to return to a boil and do so for 2 more minutes. 
3. Remove pan from heat.  Add in vanilla extract.  Stir well to combine.  Sauce will be smooth and deliciously beautiful.
4. Cool for 30 minutes before pouring into a pretty jar and wrapping it with a ribbon.
Happy Homemade Caramel Sauce Making!
 To enjoy the other talented bloggers of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats see links below.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Apple Pie Cheesecake (12 Weeks of Holiday Treats)

12 weeks until Christmas friends.  Yup, I am NOT kidding.  But not to worry because I have your back.  Help is right here for all your baking, treat making, homemade gift ideas needs.  For the next 3 months, one a week you will be handed a variety of amazing and totally delicious recipes and ideas to help you figure out the best of the best for holiday treats.  Yours truly along with a spectacular group of many talented food bloggers will provide you with a plethora of such resources once a week for the next 12 weeks.  So sit back, relax and be ready to drool. :-)
Speaking of drooling happiness how about a fabulous cheesecake recipe?  You know the kind with apples, cinnamon and sugary goodness all on top? Ahhh yes, an Apple Pie Cheesecake.  Heaven in a springform pan.  HEAVEN.
What could be better than a cookie crust that surrounds a silky cheesecake filling and then topped off with slices of cinnamon sugary dusted apples?  The perfect dessert for a special holiday party or even given as a gift to a special friend.  This cheesecake could easily be made for Thanksgiving, Christmas or even New Year's.  A delicious dessert that is easy to make and makes everyone fall over backwards for seconds.
The crust is easily adaptable to your preference.  If you don't wish to use the crust recipe I have to share you can make a graham cracker or even a ginger cookie crust.  Apples go well with a variety of flavors.  I jazzed up the apple layer of the cheesecake by drizzling  it with a lovely homemade caramel sauce.
Apple Pie Cheesecake
(recipe discovered from Dinner with Julie)
Crust Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk (reserve egg white for later)
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
Filling ingredients:
2 8oz. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Apple topping ingredients:
2 large apples (I used Cortland) - peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Butter or grease 9" springform pan and set aside.
2. Prepare crust by combining all crust ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mix well all together with a fork or pastry cutter.  Ingredients will be appear as big soft crumbs.  Press mixture into prepared springform pan on bottom and up sides.
3. Prepare filling by beating cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and lump-free.  Add in eggs, one at a time and then reserved egg white and vanilla extract. Pour filling into prepared crust.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
4. Prepare apple topping by combining sliced apples, sugar and cinnamon - toss gently so that sugar and cinnamon coat apples.  Arrange sugary-cinnamon apple slices over cheesecake filling to cover completely.
5. Bake cheesecake for 12 minutes at 400 degrees F. and then reduce to 375 to continue baking for another 30-35 minutes.  Cheesecake will be puffed and lightly browned but slightly jiggly in center when done.  Turn off oven and open door slightly to allow cheesecake to cool for a good 45-60 minutes.   Then take out of oven and cool further to room temperature.  Refrigerate over night before serving. 
Serve with a lovely drizzling of your favorite caramel sauce or freshly whipped cream.  A delight of a dessert!  Enjoy!
Happy Apple Pie Cheesecake Baking!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Apple Clafoutis for September SRC

Clafoutis.  Such a beautiful word that just rolls off your tongue.  Try it.  Pronounced as, Cla-Fou-Tee.  See wasn't that wonderful to say!?!

Just as wonderful as saying clafoutis I would like to introduce you to a very special food bog called, My Judy the FoodieMy Judy the Foodie was my assigned blog for the month of September for the Secret Recipe Club.  Not only is this food blog packed with amazing recipes that make your mouth water and drool but more importantly the love, dedication and happiness that has given life to this blog is just beautiful.  Shari, daughter to Judy (as in Judy of My Judy the Foodie), created this blog in an effort to teach herself how to be in the kitchen with confidence and ease along with honoring her mom who was a beautiful master in the kitchen. In reading through Shari's blog it became clear to me that her mother surrounded her herself by all things beautiful and meaningful including food.  And through her kitchen magic Judy created happiness and special moments all around her that were deeply treasured by all.  Shari has done a beautiful job through her own words (and video's!) exploring her mother's recipes and then sharing them with all of us lucky people.   I was honored to have been part of Judy and Shari's world for this past month as I soaked up all the deliciousness and kitchen passion through my SRC assignment.  Sending you hugs Shari!  You are an amazing woman!  Truly amazing. :-)

Apple Clafoutis was my pick from all the delicious recipes from My Judy the Foodie which I will share with you today.  I could not have been happier with my choice!  Clafoutis hold a special place in my heart as my family in France often make such a dessert.  Instead of using apples they use FRESH cherries, apricots or plums from their fruit trees.  Delicious!  The simplicity of mixing up a clafoutis is lovely.  Your fruit of choice is surrounded by simple ingredients such as eggs, milk, flour,sugar and melted butter which can all be mixed by hand.  Grab those apples you have in abundance right now and make your heart and palate sing with joy over this dessert.  And then invite me over for a piece - I can never have enough clafoutis! :-)

Apple Clafoutis
(recipe from My Judy the Foodie)
Batter Ingredients:
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
1 cup milk
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon (my addition as I can never go without adding cinnamon to an apple recipe)
Apple ingredients:
1 Tbsp butter
4 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" slices
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp rum (which both Shari and I omitted)

1. Prepare your apples by melting 1 Tbsp butter and sugar in a large frying pan. Mix melted butter and sugar together to combine.  Peel, core and slice apples and then place into pan with melted butter and sugar.  Cook apples for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring gently.
2. Prepare batter while apples are cooking.  In a large bowl whisk together all batter ingredients.  Your batter will have the appearance similar to a pancake batter. 
3. Grease and dust with sugar a pie plate.  Add in 2 cups of batter to the prepared pie plate.  Gently add in cooked apples.  Leave the syrup of the apples behind for later use. Pour remaining batter over apples.
4. Bake your clafoutis in a 350 degrees oven for 30-35 minutes.  The clafoutis will be golden brown and set in the center when done.  The center will be just a little bit jiggly but that's what a clafoutis will do when baked.
5. Pour remaining apple syrup over your clafoutis when you take it out of the oven.
Serve warm or cold...either way is delicious!

Happy Apple Clafoutis Baking!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Rustic Peach Tart with Crumble Topping

Although I am on the verge of all things apple and pumpkin in my baking world I want to continue celebrating Summer by offering a perfect PEACH of a recipe.  Easy, beautiful, completely delicious and packed with peaches!

You start with a lovely crust made in a food processor (or a pastry cutter - either one is fine). And then keep in mind the word, "COLD".  The butter you use should be COLD and then the prepared pastry should be kept COLD in the refrigerator while you make the crumble topping.  A perfect crust comes from all things COLD.
Beautiful peaches are sprinkled with a crumbled topping allowing for the perfect sweetness to top off the tart. Ahhhh, the magic of peaches.  Grab a hold of the last couple moments that Summer still suggests and make this rustic tart.  It will be well worth it.  I promise.  
Rustic Peach Crumble Tart
             (recipe from Farm Flavor)
Pastry Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, COLD and diced
1/4 cup ice water
Filling and Crumble Ingredients:
4 cups sliced and peeled FRESH peaches
1/4 cup sugar (white or brown is fine)
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp tapioca (flour will work fine if you don't have tapioca)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, COLD and diced
1. Make pastry by placing DRY pastry ingredients into food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Pulse a couple of times to combine together. 
2. Add in COLD diced butter and pulse 12-15 times or until butter is the size of peas.  Add in iced water through the feed tube as the food processor is on.  Pulse several times - stop just before dough comes together.
3. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and shape into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at lease 1 hour.
4. Make crumble topping by adding 1/4 sugar, flour, tapioca, salt and cinnamon into bowl of food processor.  Pulse a couple of times to combine ingredients.
5. Add in COLD butter and pulse until mixture is crumbly.  Keep crumble topping in refrigerator until needed to sprinkle over peaches.
6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Roll out COLD pastry dough into approximately an 11-inch circle onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper.  Transfer onto cookie sheet.
7.  Cover dough with peaches, leaving about a 1 1/2 -inch border.Sprinkle crumbled topping over peaches.  Gently fold the pastry border over the peaches, pleating to make a circle. 

Bake for 25 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned and peaches are tender.   Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Happy Rustic Peach Tart with Crumble Topping Baking! 


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