October 3, 2011

Apple Fritters

These fritters are so good! If you haven't made time for them yet, please do soon! Quick and easy for a special treat. See the rest of the post on the Lovely Lady Baker's blog.

Happy Baking (or Frying)!

September 6, 2011

September Recipes!

Because we all like choices, you have two very different ideas for September: Fennel & Parmesan Shortbread or go crazy with Apples! 

Shortbread is savory and warm with flavors of fall, and apples are finally back in season. I didn't want to limit when it came to apples because everyone has a favorite. I've added a few different recipes to try but feel free to make the recipe your own and don't forget to try and post before the end of the month. 

Fennel & Parmesan Shortbread
from Sweet Paul

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C butter cold and cubed
1 C grated parmesan cheese
1/4 C milk
1 T fennel seeds

In a bowl of a food processor, add the flour and butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cheese and pulse to combine

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in milk. Form the dough into a 1" thick log and wrap in parchment paper. Chill at least 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with baking paper (parchment). Cut the log into 1/4 inch rounds and place on a tray. Sprinkle with fennel seeds. Bake until golden, about 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. 

Makes 20. A perfect companion to any cheese. 

Baked Apples with Brown Sugar, Golden Raisins & Cinnamon
from Sweet Paul

makes 4
Four good baking apples (Rome, Idared, Pink Lady, Ginger Gold) cored and scored around the middle (do not peel)
2 C apple cider 
1/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C golden raisins
4 cinnamon sticks
2 T unsalted butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 375˚F. In a small bowl, mix sugar, raisins, cinnamon and cloves. Place apples upright in a baking dish. Fill apples generously with sugar mixture. Add any remaining mixture and raisins to dish. Add apple cider to cover one inch of the bottom of the apples. Dot the tops of apples with butter. Place a cinnamon stick in each cavity. Cover pan with a tent of parchment paper-lined aluminum foil. Bake one hour or until apples are knife tender (check periodically). 

Apple Fritters
Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman

2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C sugar
3 T sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
3/4 C milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 T melted butter
2 whole granny smith apples peeled and diced
powdered sugar for dusting

Glaze (optional)
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 C milk

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. 

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a fork, then add milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Gently fold dry and wet ingredients together until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in apples. Add enough apples to make a very chunky batter. You want the apples to shine through! 

Heat a couple of inches of canola oil over medium to medium-low heat. When it gets hot, drop a little drop of batter into the oil. If it sizzles immediately and rises to the top, the oil is ready; if it burns quickly, turn down the heat. 

Drop teaspoons of the batter into the hot oil, six or eight at a time. SOmetimes they'll flip over by themselves; sometimes you have to flip them. Just watch them and make sure they don't get too brown, but cook them long enough to make sure the batter's cooked through, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes total. 

Remove and drain on a paper towel. Dust very generously with powdered sugar, or dip fritters in a light doughnut glaze (mix all ingredients together, then dunk warm fritters). 

Serve warm! (may be heated up the next day in a 350˚F oven for 8 minutes. 

Caramel Apples
101 Cookbooks
 6-8 small apples, unwaxed, cold
1 C heavy cream
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 C honey

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Push lollipop stick or popsicle stick deep into each apple - in through stem. Fill a large bowl 1/2 full with ice water and set aside. 

In a medium, thick bottomed saucepan heat the cream and salt until tiny bubbles start forming where the milk touches the pan - just before a simmer. Stir in the honey. Bring the mixture to a boil. Now reduce the heat to an active simmer and cook, stirring constantly witha  wooden spoon, for about 15-20 minutes or until the mixture reaches about 255˚-260˚F. To stop the caramel from cooking, very, very carefully set the bottom of the saucepan in the bowl of cold water you prepared earlier - taking special care not to get any of the water in the caramel mixture. Stir until caramel begins to thicken up - you want the caramel to be thin enough that it will easily coat your apples, but not si think that it will run right off. If the caramel thickens too much simply put the pot back over the burner for 10 seconds or so to heat it up a bit. 

Tilt your saucepan so all the caramel pools on one side and use your other hand to dunk and twirl each apple until it is thoroughly coated with caramel. Place each apple on the parchment lined baking sheets and allow the caramel to cool and set. 

August 31, 2011

M is for...

Monumental failure. I should done more research on what I was getting myself into. Or rather, what the Lovely Lady Baker was getting me into! Yeah, epic fail, for sure.

I did do a tiny bit of research after the fact. I do believe that I:

1. didn't beat my egg whites long enough,
2. didn't bake the shells long enough, and
3. have an oven that heats unevenly.

Needless to say, because the shells didn't work out, I didn't bother making the cheese cream buttercream filling. So we've been eating a lot of bagels lately...

Anyway, here's photographic evidence of my sad attempt at making macarons. Warning: it isn't pretty.

I might just stick to buying them...

July 9, 2011

July/August Recipe

For the month of July/August, we will be making French Macarons! I know this might seem scary to some of you, and some may have no idea what a french macaron is. Trust me though, I've never made them, but I've found if you follow a specific technique, the recipe doesn't really matter. I've added an inspirational photo and links to a few good websites for you to do your homework. I also made this a July/August recipe because I know it will take some time to figure out (and it's almost halfway through the month of July). Post questions in the comments section of this post, and as a collective we can share our thoughts and trials with each other. Feel free to post anytime within the month(s), no need to wait until the end.

Happy Macaroon Baking! 

David Lebovits: Making French Macarons
Serious Eats: Introduction to French Macarons
Tartelette: Recipe Index for amazing Macarons
Not So Humble Pie: Macaron Troubleshooting
Melanger: Making Macaron Tips

Stone Fruit Cobbler

I decided to make an apricot, peach, blueberry cobbler for the June recipe. Mostly apricot and blueberry, but I couldn't resist adding one little peach I needed to use. The sugar dough from Stove is really good and quite versatile. I used it to make the crust of a tart as well. I'll definitely keep this recipe in my favorites pile!

Thanks again Sarah and Eric for picking a fantastic recipe! To see more of my post, please visit the Lovely Lady Baker site.

Happy Baking!

July 5, 2011

This weekend my husband and I hosted a 45th wedding anniversary party for his parents. For dessert I used the sugar dough recipe as the base for strawberry shortcakes. I appologize for no pictures (We had 11 RSVP and 29 showed up!!! So we were a bit busy!). However, they were a great hit. Agreeing with Dana, how could a dessert recipe calling for a pound of butter not be delicious!

I patted the dough out on a cookie sheet, sprinkled it with coarse raw sugar and baked it all in one piece. While it was still warm, I cut it into squares with a pizza cutter.

To serve the shortcakes I had a variety of fruit ~ strawberries, blueberries, and spiced peaches ~ in separate bowls and whipped cream. Guests could build their own to their liking.

Thank you, Sarah, for a great recipe this month!

June 29, 2011

Not a berry tart

Strawberries are now out of season in the heartland. "Why? It's still June", you ask. Well tomorrow the heat index will be close to 110 degrees F. in Kansas and we will have over 20 mph winds. All things tender and succulent, like the spring-loving strawberry, tend to hunker down and just try to survive. Peaches love the heat though. And raspberries/blackberries get busy in the summer sun. So I decided to make a fresh peach and blackberry (picked from a friend's community garden) compliment for the shortbread crust posted for June's recipe.

The shortbread was delicious (what wouldn't be with a lb. of butter in it) and so easy to put together. I pressed the dough into my tart pan and it held up sturdily without being overly tough when cut. I served it unchilled with optional fresh whipped cream. My ten guests for the evening left 1 piece out of the two tarts I served. I made 3 crusts from the posted recipe and froze one for later. Thanks for the recipe Sarah and Eric!

Musings of a former botanist...did you know that "berries" are actually things like tomatoes and grapes? Strawberries are clusters of "drupes"--a single seed surrounded by a bony covering. And the peach is just a large drupe! So this is a drupe (pleural) tart, which really doesn't sound as appetizing as a berry tart so I will dispense with botanical musings. Happy summer.