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Apple Pecan Galette

10 Feb
Apple Pecan Galette

Apple Pecan Galette

We have never celebrated Valentine’s Day in our house, aside from a few gifts to our daughter when she was younger. But for those millions of others that do, perhaps this rustic yet eye-appealing galette will touch someone’s heart for Valentine’s dessert! I’ve been on a bit of an apple kick lately, seeing as apples seem to be one of the few decent items I can pick up in the produce aisle in the middle of winter. (We haven’t really had winter here this year, but that’s another story.)

Since I’m also the least likely person to ever attempt my own pastry-making, I of course cheated and used a store-bought pie crust, which I balled up and rolled out into the rustic crust for the galette. For those of you more skilled in this department, feel free to make your favorite pie crust for this. Oh! And there is a surprise touch of brandy added to the applesauce base. Even better, there is no added sugar. Scrumptious!

Apple Pecan Galette

1 pie crust, thawed if frozen
1 cup sweetened applesauce
Lemon juice from lemon wedge (1/8 wedge)
Lemon zest from lemon wedge
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
2 teaspoons brandy
2 Gala or Honeycrisp apples
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Heaping 1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 small beaten egg for egg wash

On parchment paper, roll out the pie crust in an oblong shape to the largest possible even thickness. Use a little flour if necessary. Place on baking sheet and chill while you make the filling.

Rustic Galette Crust

Rustic Galette Crust

In a small saucepan, add the applesauce, lemon juice and zest, 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and brandy. Stir and bring to a simmer, the continue to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s reduced quite a bit.

Applesauce Brandy Filling

Applesauce Brandy Filling

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare the rest of the filling. Core the apples, then slice thin. No need to peel! In a bowl, combine the the apple slices, honey, vanilla, and the other 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir until evenly coated.

Applesauce Pecan Layer

Applesauce Pecan Layer

Spread the applesauce mixture over the pie crust, leaving about an inch border. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over it. Starting from the middle, fan the apple slices in concentric circles.

Apple Layer

Apple Layer

Fold the edges of the crust over, then brush the egg wash over the exposed pie crust.

Galette Ready to Bake

Galette Ready to Bake

Bake for 30 minutes until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Serve immediately, or at room temperature. I enjoyed it immensely with vanilla ice cream!

Apple Pecan Galette

Apple Pecan Galette

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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Butter Pecan Cookies

7 Jan
Butter Pecan Cookies

Butter Pecan Cookies

I’ve gone rogue on you, I tell ya’! Me, making more cookies? Unheard of! Unlike the dreaded cakes and pastries, it appears I’m able to make some humble cookies without a complete disaster.

Once again, I got this fabulous recipe from my friend Jodi over at The Creative Life in Between. She’s the cookie-maker queen! My mom sent me a couple of pounds of Texas pecans for Christmas, and another dear friend gifted me some candied pecans. So when Jodi posted her Butter Pecan Cookie recipe… well, you get the picture.

I halved the original recipe, so the smaller version is below which makes about 3 dozen cookies. And for whatever reason, this cookie recipe didn’t really need a high-altitude adjustment aside from maybe a minute or two cooking longer. I put the candied pecans on top, and omitted the raw sugar topping. We kept a dozen for ourselves and the rest I brought to a USPS potluck on my last night of work as a Holiday Clerk Assistant. I survived six weeks helping to bring your holiday mail and packages to your doorstep! That certainly deserved a cookie or two.

Butter Pecan Cookies

1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, chopped
2 sticks salted butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Candied or regular pecan halves for decorating

Buttered Pecans

Buttered Pecans

Prepare buttered pecans by melting 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped pecans and cook, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove from skillet to a bowl to cool.

In same skillet, melt 2 sticks of butter for cookie batter. Bring to a boil until butter just begins to brown, and then remove from heat. Be careful not to burn it as that tastes bitter, but be sure to get it to the browned stage.

Browning Butter

Browning the Butter ~ yes, you really do boil the butter!

Using an electric mixer, combine sugars with browned butter on slow speed until fully combined. Add vanilla and then eggs, one at time, beating until fully combined.

Add flour, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda – folding in with rubber spatula until fully incorporated, and then fold in the buttered pecans.

Butter Pecan Cookie Batter

Butter Pecan Cookie Batter

Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

If you have refrigerated overnight – let dough sit long enough to become scoopable.

Place ping-pong-ball sized scoops of dough 1-2 inches apart on baking stone or cookie sheet. Flatten slightly and press a pecan half in center.

Bake 8 to 11 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on baking stone/cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

20 Dec
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I made cookies!! Yes indeed, I really did. Most of you who know me are aware that me and flour and baking don’t really get along so well. And they actually came out pretty spectacular if I don’t say so myself. (Oh but my family told me too, along with my book club members at our cookie exchange, and the kind folks at my seasonal post office job!)

I first tried this recipe back in November, but the cookies didn’t come out so great texture- and shape-wise because of my high altitude. So I did a bunch of research, prepared a double batch, and set to experiment on cookie dough shape, oven temps, and timing.

The original recipe comes from my foodie friend Jodi over at The Creative Life In Between. I’ll share her original instructions, along with my high-altitude adjustments for those of you who share similar climes.

If you are a lover of snickerdoodles and are always first in line for pumpkin pie, this is a perfect marriage of flavors. I hope you enjoy these as much as we have!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
3 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 1/4 cups flour
For rolling: 1/4 cup sugar + 2 tsp ground cinnamon, combined

Cream together butter and sugars with electric mixer. Add egg yolk, vanilla and pumpkin, and combine.

Add next 8 ingredients, followed by the flour, and mix until combined.

Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.

Pumpkin Snickdoodle

Pumpkin Snickdoodle

Normal cooking directions:

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll and shape dough into golf ball sized balls. Roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place on baking stone or sheet and bake approximately 12 minutes until tops begin to crack. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking stone/sheet for an additional 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

High-altitude cooking directions:

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Roll and shape dough into golf ball sized balls. Place on baking stone or sheet and flatten the cookie with the palm of your hand to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch. Gently press into cinnamon sugar on both sides and place back onto the cookie sheet. Bake approximately 8 to 9 minutes until tops begin to crack. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking stone/sheet for an additional 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

P.S. Happy Yule Y’all!! 😀

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

No-Bake Chocolate Ganache Tart with Strawberries and Sea Salt Flakes

26 Feb
No-Bake Chocolate Ganache Tart with Strawberries and Sea Salt Flakes

No-Bake Chocolate Ganache Tart with Strawberries and Sea Salt Flakes

Are you ready for the Daytona 500??? No? Then why not have some easy no-bake chocolate ganache instead. With strawberries. And sea salt flakes. Did I mention no-bake? 😉

When my friend Jodi posted this recipe on her blog, it went straight to the printer in prep for making this chocolate delight for my family.

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows I’m not much of a baker of breads and sweet treats. But give me chocolate and sea salt? I’m game! Ooh, and the chocolatey pie crust is made from Oreo cookies. YES. Oreos. Cream filling and all. Shut up, right?

I halved the recipe since I don’t own an 11-inch tart pan that it called for. One that has a bottom that conveniently pops off the bottom no less. I missed this fact in my excitement to make the recipe, and PM’d Jodi asking her how on earth she got the tart out of the pan without destroying it. My tart was served from the dish, to the anxiously waiting mouths of my family and friends. My daughter and her friend dived into it with extra strawberries on top. It may be pretty with the strawberries arranged, but plan on serving extra strawberries with this, yum!

Without further ado, here is the recipe which is way shorter than my preceding ramblings:

No-Bake Chocolate Ganache Tart with Strawberries and Sea Salt Flakes
Adapted from Jodi at The Creative Life in Between

16 Oreo cookies
2 tablespoons butter, melted
6 ounces dark sweet chocolate (I used Baker’s German Sweet)
3/4 cup heavy cream
Sea salt flakes, for garnish
Fresh strawberries, halved-lengthwise
Additional melted chocolate, for garnish

Add the Oreo cookies to a food processor (I used my 2-cup Ninja) and process until they are fine crumbs. Pour in the melted butter, and pulse until the butter is combined.

Pour the crumb and butter mixture into a 9-inch (7 ½ at base) tart dish. Using your hands, pat the crust onto the bottom and up sides of dish. Refrigerate until for at least one hour before preparing and adding filling.

Pressing the Pie Crust

Pressing the Pie Crust

To make filling, break up chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl. Add the heavy cream to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Immediately pour over chocolate. Allow the hot cream to melt the chocolate for a minute or two, then slowly whisk the mixture until smooth and fully incorporated. Pour into the chilled, firm crust. Refrigerate for four to six hours or overnight.

Lightly sprinkle sea salt flakes over the chocolate, then arrange the strawberry halves over top. Drizzle additional melted chocolate over all, if desired. This serves about six.

No-Bake Chocolate Ganache Tart

No-Bake Chocolate Ganache Tart

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Chocolate-Covered Cookie Butter-Filled Oreo Thins

23 Sep
Chocolate-Covered Cookie Butter-Filled Oreo Thins

Chocolate-Covered Cookie Butter-Filled Oreo Thins

Surprise, surprise, I have a a dessert on my blog! If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know I really don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but when my friend Jodi at The Creative Life In Between posted this, I thought heck yes, I can handle that! I know my husband and daughter really like Oreos so surprised them with this recently. I think I more shocked than surprised them, as in sugar shock. Zowee, one bite is certainly a head rush.

I only made four of them in case they didn’t like them. They both liked them enough, but daughter could only eat half of one, and hubby took one bite and said it was like eating three cookies in one bite! Anyhoot, they store well in Tupperware so the fam gets to take a bite or two from them when they want.

I attempted to make fancy squiggles with chocolate on the top, but they came out more like scribbles, lol. The recipe below is taken directly from Jodi’s website here, so please navigate over there if you want to see a prettier version of these cookies. I even stole her idea to use my daughter as a hand model for them. Jodi is an excellent photographer, painter, and writer too!

p.s I’ll be gone the next two weekends fishing and crabbing! So hopefully all the sugar in this will tide you over until we get back and I can post a new recipe.

Chocolate-Covered Cookie Butter-Filled Oreo Thins
From Jodi at The Creative Life In Between

One box of Oreo Thins Chocolate cookies
One jar of Biscof or Trader Joe’s Speculoos cookie butter (I used Trader Joe’s)
One and 1/2 bags of Wilton’s Candy melts in dark chocolate (I used a microwavable tub of Baker’s Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate)

Place the amount of Oreo Thins Cookies on a cookie sheet that you plan on making.  Top each cookie with a teaspoon-sized scoop of cookie butter.  Press a second Oreo Thin on top to make a sandwich.

Assembling the Cookies

Assembling the Cookies

Freeze for approximately 30 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment, until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Take 3-4 cookies out of the freezer at a time, and carefully dip – one at a time – in the melted chocolate.  Use a fork to tap excess off, and slide the bottom of the cookie along the edge of the bowl to remove excess.  Set on parchment or wax paper to harden. (Since I am SO GOOD at reading directions, I put them in the freezer AFTER I added the chocolate, sheesh! They still came out fine. 🙂 )

Dipped Cookies Ready to Harden

Dipped Cookies Ready to Harden

Add sprinkles (if desired) before chocolate hardens, or drizzle with white or contrasting chocolate after it hardens. (I just drizzled the same chocolate over top.)

P.S. I’ve added this recipe to The Secret Recipe Club site! Pop on over to The Bewitching Kitchen here to see her creation, and tap on the frog to see many more great recipes!

Half Eaten Cookie

Daughter Modeling her Half Eaten Cookie

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

A Pie for My Parents ~ Peach and Blueberry Tart

7 Aug
Mom and Peach and Blueberry Tart

Mom and Peach and Blueberry Tart

I have been super-busy while my parents are visiting from Texas, and also have been cooking up a storm! I saw this beautiful tart my friend Suzanne over at A Pug in the Kitchen made a few weeks ago, and couldn’t wait to hit up our local farmer’s market to make this “pie” for my parents. Technically it’s a tart, but pie sounds so much cozier. (My daughter would disagree but that’s another story…)

Friday (I played hooky at work) and Saturday were beautiful, sunny days to hit up our local farmer’s markets, where I picked up peaches, blueberries, summer squash, pickling cucumbers (I made another batch of Spicy Refrigerated Dill Pickles), a Papadew pepper, and some flash-frozen Pacific Cod from the beautiful Oregon coast. I did find some tomatillos that I wanted , but they were very small so bought other ones at the local store (I made chicken enchiladas with Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Sauce). My mom also picked up a banana chocolate chip bread, which by all accounts was delicious.

I thought my mother would be a great model to present the “pie” for you, as I had a bit of an accident whereby our new dog Penny ripped a good portion of my skin off of my lower arm with her freshly-clipped paws. The groomers forgot to file them after clipping and WOW were they sharp! They’ve since been filed. (It was an ACCIDENT, she is not mean. I got between her and our other dog Hannah Banana who stole Penny’s stick, and was trying to give it back to Penny. Lesson learned!)

The original recipe called for 6 to 8 peaches, but 3 rather large ones fit the small, shallow pie pan I had.

Without further ado, here is how I made the pie:

Peach and Blueberry Tart
Adapted from Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen

Pie Dough and Tart

1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup light olive oil
2 tablespoons half and half
3 large peaches (I used both white and yellow)
1/2 pint blueberries

Peach and Blueberry Filling

Peach and Blueberry Filling

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl, then add the oil and milk and mix with a fork until well combined.

Press into a shallow pie or tart pan with your fingers. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Arrange the peaches in the pan around the sides and pour the blueberries in the middle. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheet (in case of drips).

Crumble Topping

3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons regular flour
2 tablespoons cold butter
Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with your hands until it resembles fine crumbs. Distribute the crumbs on top of the tart and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Peach and Blueberry Tart

Peach and Blueberry Tart

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

Food52 Community Pick! Coffee-Infused Upside-Down Banana Skillet Cake

12 Feb
Coffee-Infused Upside-Down Banana Skillet Cake

Coffee-Infused Upside-Down Banana Skillet Cake

Oh wow, how exciting! I’ve made it to the Community Pick level for the most recent Food52 cooking contest for Your Best Recipe Made with Coffee! This was a tricky category for me as I don’t cook a lot of desserts (as you can probably tell by the amount of recipes available in that category on my blog).

This was a great piece of news for the start of a three-day weekend for me! Yay! I’ve never made it to the finals but bragging rights at this level are still OK, right?

Click here for the Recipe as shown on Food52 —-> Coffee-Infused Upside-Down Banana Skillet Cake

And if you are truly adventurous, you can volunteer to test my recipe to submit notes on the entry for the judges. Click here for that —–> Community Picks Recipe Testing—Recipes Made with Coffee

*Beaming* 🙂

Happy Thanksbirthday!

27 Nov

A clever friend of mine wished me that today! Today I am celebrating both my birthday and Thanksgiving. We all have much to be thankful for, but today I am especially thankful for my wonderful husband who is building me a beautiful big kitchen in the house we are remodeling.

I do not have to cook today, as a very special friend’s sister is hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family. I am very much looking forward to the feast tonight!

And look at what another special friend made for me:

Casserole Carrier

Casserole Carrier

Yes, a very clever casserole carrier! Or in this case…

 

Pie Carrier

Pie Carrier!

a pie carrier! I made my grandma’s Texas Pecan Pie last night with true Texas pecans, shipped to me yearly by my mother in Texas. Thank you Mom!!!

Texas Pecans

Texas Pecans

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends.

Here is a link to the recipe: Texas Pecan Pie

Crêpes Caroline

1 Mar
Crêpes Caroline

Crêpes Caroline

Last weekend I asked our foreign exchange student if she had a French recipe she would like to cook for the family, and if so, what would she like to make? Luckily the French word for crepes is the same as the English word, so I understood immediately what she was planning to make. I told her she could make them for us for breakfast the next morning. Around 9:30 am the next day, I asked her if she was ready to make the crepes for breakfast. She shook her head yes, then brought up the recipe on her cell phone — in French and metric! Thank goodness for Google  Translator and my handy dandy weight scale that converts to metric! (I discovered that 250 grams is 2 cups!)

Weighing the Flour

Weighing the Flour

When I finally got the gist of the recipe translated, I found out we had to let the batter sit for two hours. Looking at the time, I said, “I guess we are having crepes for lunch instead!” So we ate small bowls of cereal to tide us over.

Caroline told me the French eat their crepes filled with jam. I said we like to put fresh fruit in ours. I let her assemble the first one, and she filled hers with jam and folded it over like a washcloth. I then made mine (using both jam and fruit) and showed her how to roll one up enchilada style. We sprinkled them with powdered sugar. A wonderful, light lunch!

Crêpes Caroline

2 cups flour (250 g farine)
3 eggs (3 oeufs)
2 cups milk (1/2 litre de lait)
1 tablespoon sugar (1 cuillère a soupe de sucre)
1 pinch salt (1 pincée de sel)
A little oil (Un peu d’ huile)
Let stand for 2 hours (Laisser reposer pendant 2 heures) 

Cracking in the Eggs

Cracking in the Eggs

Add the flour to a bowl, then crack in the three eggs. Mix the eggs into the flour with a whisk until well combined. Slowly add the milk, whisking to combine. After watching her struggle with some lumps, I decided to pull out the electric mixer for her, as she was having trouble getting it to combine well. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, mixing on high until well combined. Let stand, uncovered, for two hours.

Whisking the Batter

Whisking the Batter

When ready to make, heat up a medium-sized skillet to medium-high and spray with olive or vegetable oil. Pour in about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of batter, tilting the pan around so a thin layer coats the bottom. Cook each crepe for several minutes until the bottom stars to brown and the crepe is cooked through to the top. Using a spatula, flip the crepe over and heat about 30 seconds more.

Beautiful Crepe

Beautiful Crepe

Slide out of skillet and keep warm on a plate under a kitchen towel. Repeat until batter is gone. This makes about 10 crepes. Serve with jam, fresh fruit, and powdered sugar, folded or rolled any way you want!

Strawberries and Jams

Strawberries and Jams

Caroline is leaving back to France tomorrow, and we are all sad to see her go. She has been a wonderful addition to the family this past three weeks, and our entire family has really enjoyed the experience of hosting a foreign exchange student. If you are interested in hosting a student, please check out the Andeo organization. They are very well organized and I can’t be happier with the student we were paired with! Bon Voyage Caroline!

Crêpes Caroline

Crêpes Caroline

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Voting is Open for the Diced! Competition Winner

7 Feb
Upside Down Banana Cake

Upside Down Banana Cake

Please hop on over to the Ranting Chef’s voting poll and vote for my Coffee Infused Upside Down Banana Baba au Rhum if you think it’s the winner. Many thanks!

Vote here —-> http://rantingchef.com/2014/02/07/vote-for-the-winner-of-the-diced-competition/

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