Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Apple Fritters

 I made Pioneer Woman's Apple Fritter's the other day...they were a huge hit with everyone and were eaten as fast as I could make them!  I recommend them to everyone and my own personal suggestion is to roll them in cinnamon and sugar as shown here and serve them with a custard dipping sauce!

Find the recipe HERE

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spiced Apples and Dumplings

Spiced Apples and  Dumplings

My father brought over about 10-15 pounds of Arkansas Black apples the other day and I am still working my way through them!  I had an old recipe laying around that I had made a long time ago, from Joy The Baker, that used berries and so I decided to play around with it and adapt it to use with apples.  I kept the dumpling recipe the same, except I doubled it.  The apples are reminiscent of apple pie filling, except with a thick juicy sauce for the dumplings to cook in.


Peel your apples, I peeled and sliced mine into a solution of water and Fruit Fresh, but lemon juice and water would work too!  Drain before using apples.

Cook your apples until fork tender....not all the way tender because they still have to cook with the dumplings and you don't want them mushy.

 I used a scoop to portion out the cookie dough (a Pampered Chef size medium). The I sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar.

 The cooked dumplings kind of mush together but are easy to separate for serving.

 These apples and dumplings would be amazing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or maybe a drizzle of caramel sauce (or both) but I like to keep things simple!

Spiced Apples and Dumplings

Adapted from Joy the Baker 

 10-12 medium apples (I had a few large thrown in too), peeled, cored and sliced thin
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups apple cider (I used Simply Apple juice)

2 cups all-purpose flour (level cups)
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 tablespoons sugar + 1 tsp. cinnamon
Wash, peel and core your apples, then slice them thin (like you would for a pie).  Place them in a deep heavy bottom pot (I used a dutch oven).  Mix the next 6 ingredients together and pour over apples in pot.  Toss to combine and then pour in the apple cider (or apple juice).  Cook over medium low heat until you can just pierce them with a fork and the liquid is bubbling and thick. (If it looks like there isn't enough liquid, add some more cider).  

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in melted butter and buttermilk until a soft, moist dough forms. Portion out scoops of dough, (I think I fit about 10 in my dutch oven) and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the dumplings.  Cover with a tight-fitting, heavy lid or cover tightly with heavy duty foil. Cook 10-15 minutes or until dumplings are set and dry to the touch.  Serve warm.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I made these little beauties the other day......they were so much better than my first attempt...much more flaky.  I made an assortment of blueberry (filled with my homemade blueberry jam) and also cherry and apple. These were snapped up almost immediately! 

 These were made from the same recipe I used previously over at Joe's Pastry.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Summer's Bounty

Wow, it's been a while since I posted, hasn't it? I haven't felt much like taking pictures and blogging while I bake this past summer but I'm hoping with the cool weather and the plethora of pumpkins and apples we have around here, I'll be able post more and more.

This past summer I canned cherry jam, blueberry jam, brandied cherries and concord grape jelly. The only one I took pictures of was the grape jelly, which I did in early September. Here are a few pics:

Half a Bushel of Concord Grapes from Tontitown, Arkansas

The grapes chopped up

Be sure to strain your grape juice or you'll have tartaric crystals in your jelly!

Cooking the strained grape juice into jelly!

And we have grape jelly! I think I ended up with somewhere around 10-12 half-pints!

Find the recipe I used here:

Grape Jelly

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Danishes and Snails: My First Attempt

I think it went pretty well!

This recipe came from Joe Pastry and it turned out absolutely perfect the very first try! I took his advice and very easily quadrupled the recipe and I still have 2 lbs in the freezer just begging to be rolled out and turned into more delicious pastries!

This isn't my first time working with laminated dough....I regular make croissants and pain au chocolate for my family but I've always wanted to make danish from scratch and I am just so surprised at how EASY it turned out to be! Joe Pastry is so amazingly clear and helpful that I am now a fan for life! I must admit, I cheated a little and used pie filling for the danishes but it was the flavor I like and wanted and they came out wonderfully. If you do the same, put the pie filling through and sieve and just used 3 -4 cherries per danish and 2-3 slices of apple and a small spoonful of the cherry or apple pie filling "juice". I doctored the apple pie filling up with some extra cinnamon and nutmeg as well. And the icing for both pastries was just powdered sugar, vanilla and a little hot water. For the snails I mixed in a little cocoa with the powdered sugar before I added the vanilla and hot water and it was perfect.

I sent this beautiful tray of Apple and Cherry Danishes and Chocolate Iced Chocolate Chip Snails over to the hospital for a lucky group of nurses and doctors and they all loved it. As a matter of fact a doctor wanted to PAY ME to make her some more! What a compliment!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Cranberry Sweet Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls

My family loves cinnamon rolls but there is one sweet roll out there that they are even more crazy about and that is Cranberry Sweet Rolls! They strike just the right balance between sweet and tart and between soft pillow-y buns and fruity goodness. These are the perfect holiday sweet bun....I serve them every Thanksgiving morning (and the cinnamon rolls every Christmas Eve morning).

Cranberry Sweet Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls

2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter, very very soft (I use 1/2 cup for each section of dough, 1 cup total)
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Icing (make double this recipe)

1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk

Filling for Cranberry Sweet Rolls:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups cranberries
1 teaspoon grated orange peel (optional, I usually leave this out)


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, and let stand for 3 minutes. Add cake mix, 1 cup flour, eggs, oil, and salt; beat well. Stir in remaining flour until a soft dough forms.
Knead on well floured surface for about 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the dough surface. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

To make the filling for the cranberry sweet rolls, combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, add cranberries and boil for 14 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zest if using, transfer to container, cover and chill.

Punch down, and divide into two equal parts. At this point you can make all cinnamon rolls or all cranberry sweet rolls. I usually make one of each. Here are instructions for cinnamon rolls:

Roll out each section on a lightly floured surface. Spread each with softened butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
Roll up like jelly rolls and cut buns 1 1/2 inches thick with a piece of dental floss or a dull knife. Place in greased baking pans, and allow to rise until doubled.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the cranberry sweet rolls:

Roll out each section on a lightly floured surface. Spread each with softened butter and spread with cranberry filling.
Roll up like jelly rolls and cut buns 1 1/2 inches thick with a piece of dental floss or a dull knife. Place in greased baking pans, and allow to rise until doubled.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, combine sifted confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, vanilla, and milk. Remove baked buns from oven and spread with frosting while hot. Allow to cool in pan. I like to individually wrap each bun with plastic wrap, makes it very easy to toss them all in a big ziploc to freeze and it makes them really easy to hand out as gifts.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Best Cookies Ever!

I'm not even sure I can accurately describe how much my family loves these cookies. I'll just say that I made 3 dozen cookies on Monday and by Wednesday they were gone! These lovely little treats are made up of a soft lemon-scented sugar cookie coated with the best strawberry icing you've ever tasted! My sister passed this recipe on to me a few months ago from the The All-American Dessert Book and I have made them about 10 times since and they get better and better every time I make them.

Big Soft Sugar Cookies With Strawberry Icing

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2/3 (10 2/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, slightly softened
2/3 cup solid white shortening
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 cup sour cream

To Make the Cookies:

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl,
combine the sugar, butter and shortening. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until well blended and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs, then the corn syrup, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon extract until smoothly incorporated. Beat in half of dry ingredients, scraping down the sides as needed. On low speed, beat in the sour cream, then beat or stir in the remaining dry ingredients just until the mixture is well blended and smooth. Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 2 days.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. On a ungreased cookie sheet, use a cookie scoop to form balls of dough. This dough can be very sticky even after it's been chilled, so if you use your hand, work quickly. The recipe says it makes about 2 dozen, but with a cookie scoop, I get a little more than 3 dozen. Lightly dust your palm or a juice glass with flour and flatten each ball of dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Remember, you're going to be icing these so you need the top to be relatively flat. Bake for 10-14 minutes until the edges are just barely browned and the tops just spring back when lightly pressed. Be careful not to overbrown the cookies, the tops should still be fairly pale. Let cookies stand on sheet one minute to firm up and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing. Set the cooling racks over parchment or wax paper to ice the cookies.

Strawberry Icing

1 1/4 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter, so soft it's almost melted
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup (do not omit or substitute)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Water, if needed

This is easiest done in a food processor but you can also coarsely chop the berries by hand and also mash them by hand. In a food processor combine the berries, lemon zest and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Process until berries are completely pureed. (Or you can mash them by hand with a fork, let them sit for 5 minutes and then mash again) Using a wooden spoon or stiff spatula, press as much of the strawberry puree mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl, discard the seeds. Whisk in the butter, corn syrup and vanilla into the berry mixture. Stir in 3 3/4 cups more powdered sugar until well blended and smooth (if you're smarter than I am, you'll sieve the sugar first to avoid lumps) . Ice the cookies with a small spatula or table knife (I had more luck with a small spoon), and for the best looks, swirl the icing in the middle and let the icing flow outward toward the edges. Thin the icing with water if it stiffens as you work. Let the cookies stand until the icing sets, at least 2 hours.