Monday, November 14, 2011

Apples Galore!

My husband grew up in Apple Country! So, when we moved to the South, we missed fresh, crisp, amazing Washington apples. After my Hubby mentioned that to his mom, she sent us a box of apples. Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji, Honey Crisp, and Granny Smith. OH, so many apples! What to do! We ate a lot of them. We still are! But some were sacrificed for other things, like apple pie and apple butter. I made a fresh pie, and three frozen ones. Then I made two batches of apple butter. It is yummy, but using the granny smith made it a little too tart for my liking. But it was so simple. So, I wanted to share the recipe with you! I found it at Betty Crocker.

Here it is:
12 medium Granny Smith or other cooking apples, peeled and cut into fourths
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice ( I used was so good!)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 Mix all ingredients in 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
2 Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours or until apples are very tender.
3 Mash apples with potato masher or large fork.
4 Cook uncovered on low heat setting 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is very thick. Cool about 2 hours.
5 Spoon apple butter into container. Cover and store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shortbread Candy Bars

I decided I wanted to make something "halloweenish" for my small group. I found this recipe in my Everyday Food Magazine. You can find it online here as well.

These are so rich. Shortbread, chocolate and candy. I put reeses pieces and reeses peanut butter cups. The PB cups melted quite a bit, but after they cooled for a while they were better. I think next time I will stick to the pieces. But you can put anything on these and it would be delicious. I also made 32 bars instead of 16 because of how sweet they were. My small group loved them! So did the Hubby.

Here is the recipe:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups assorted chocolate candies or roughly chopped candy bars (12 ounces)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and salt on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. With mixer on low, add flour in three additions and beat until combined (dough will be crumbly). Press dough evenly into an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake until golden brown and firm, 30 to 35 minutes.
Scatter chocolate chips on top of shortbread. Bake until soft, 1 minute. With the back of a spoon, spread chocolate evenly over shortbread. Scatter candies over top. Let cool on a wire rack 30 minutes. Refrigerate briefly to set chocolate, then cut into 16 bars.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Strawberry Jam

I have memories as a kid of my Mom making homemade strawberry jam. We would have waffles for dinner with fresh strawberries. Then ice cream for dessert with still warm jam poured over the top. Since I live across the country from my Mom, I can't have her make me jam anymore. So, I made my own. I thought it would be really hard. I was surprised. It is a lot of work, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I burned myself several times, and made a huge mess in the kitchen but, I am glad I did this. This is how I made my jam. There are other ways, but this is how I did it.

1 Package of Pectin
4 Pints of Strawberries
7 Cups of Sugar
10 8oz jars

* Wash jars, lids and bands. Dry off bands.
* Wash, and cut stems off of strawberries

* Mash strawberries with potato masher (the recipe said do one cup at a time, I did like 4 cups! Oops!). You should have 5 cups total mashed.

* Add the pectin to the strawberries and place in large sauce pan

* Bring the strawberries to a rolling boil (where the boiling doesn't stop even if you stir it).
* Quickly add the sugar, stirring constantly. Bring back to roiling boil. Boil for one minute

* Meanwhile boil water. Pour some over lids in small sauce pan. Pour rest into glass jars to get them hot. If you don't, they will break.

* After minute of boiling, pour water out of jar, and ladle in jam. Leave some room at top.
* Place lid and rim on jar. Do not tighten the rim all the way.
* Let jam cool and seal. The jars are sealed when they "pop" and you cannot push the lid in.
* I saved some for ice cream! :) ENJOY!

Finished Product

My Mess!

A little hard work pays off!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sweet Cherry Pie Stars

The other day at the grocery store I walked by the cherries. Then I turned around and stood in front of the cherries. All I could think about was making a sweet cherry pie. My summertime favorite. So I bought them.

About a year ago, I bought a pie mold from Williams Sonoma. I hadn't tried it, so I thought today would be a good day to try it with cherry pie. While they are delicious, they are from "pretty". I think next time I would cut the cherries up in 4th's not in half. It was hard to fit the filling in the small spot for dough.

ANYWAYS! I will definitely make these again. Maybe I will try Apple Pie next time. I did cheat, I used refrigerated dough. I didn't have the energy today to make my normal crust, I just really wanted cherry pie.

First things first, I had to pit all the cherries. Thankfully, I have a contraption to do it for me...4 cherries at a time! Then cut them. I used the recipe I found at Smitten Kitchenfor the filling.

All you do is cut the dough with the pie mold. Then you place the dough in the mold, fill it with cherry goodness and add a top piece of dough. Close. Freeze for 30 minutes, then bake for 10-15.

Sweet Cheery Pie Filling:
4 cups pitted fresh cherries (about 2 1/2 pounds unpitted)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (adjust this according to the sweetness of your cherries)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits

1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
Coarse sugar, for decoration

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Stir together the cherries, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon and almond extract gently together in a large bowl.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

My good friend is getting ready to move. We are having a girls night to say goodbye to her. So I found out from her hubby that she really likes chocolate chip cookies. I also happen to know that she loves all things cupcakes (because really, who doesn't?). So, I found this recipe to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes. And I must say, each bite tastes like cookie dough. This was also my first time making cupcakes from scratch..I know...I am awful. The box mix is so good, and so easy. But these were pretty simple, for as many steps that there were.

The first step, making egg-less cookie dough (the recipe is down below). This is for the middle of the cupcake. You should really do this the day before because they need to freeze overnight. You don't include egg (because it's bad to eat raw egg) or baking powder or soda. I was going to just use my own cookie recipe, but I didn't. I used this, and I am glad I did. The dough doesn't bake.

The next step, making mini chocolate chip cookies for garnish. I ALWAYS use the Toll House recipe. It's classic. It's good. I like it. I am sure there are better recipes out there, but this is my go-to, and the husband LOVES my choc. chip cookies. So I just baked 24 mini cookies. I used my smallest scoop to make 2 cookies. Some of them were still a bit big. Just store these until you are ready to garnish them.

Then I made the cupcakes themselves. Again, the recipe is below. These were much simpler than I thought.

After they were done, I frosted them with a Brown Sugar Buttercream frosting. Soooo good!!

So here is the original recipe(s) for you! I found this at Beantown Baker

Egg-less Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - from Picky Palate
2 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine the butter and sugars in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 mins.

Beat in milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth.

Beat in the flour and salt until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop, shape the dough into balls. Freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet overnight.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes - from The Cupcake Blog - makes 24
1 batch egg-less cookie dough, scooped and frozen
3 sticks softened butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two muffin pans.

Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds after each.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Measure out milk and vanilla together.

Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine. Add about one third the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined. Repeat, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.

Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full. Drop one frozen scoop of cookie dough into each cupcake. Do not press the dough down at all.

Bake for 20-22 minutes until edges start to turn golden.

Brown Sugar Frosting - adapted from How to Eat a Cupcake
Printable Recipe
3 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.

Beat in the salt, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth and combined.

So, grab a glass of milk, and enjoy!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Coconut Cake

My husband's Admin. Assistant loves Coconut cake. So, for Admin Appreciation Day, I made her one.

I guess, it was a hit. My husband's co-workers all loved it. And his assistant, wanted the recipe. I wish I could say that I came up with. That I was the creative master-mind behind this recipe. But I am not. I found it here. One of my favorite blogs, Bake at 350. I did change one thing, I used two 9" round pans. I was worried the frosting would come off, but it didn't! So enjoy!!

Coconut Cake

1 box white cake mix
1/4 c. oil
3 eggs
1 carton sour cream (8 oz.)
1 (15.5 oz) can creme of coconut


8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1 box powdered sugar (1 lb.)
4 TBSP milk
Angel Flake coconut

Lightly grease a 9 X 13" pan. Mix cake ingredients and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Beat cream cheese with the powdered sugar and milk. Spread over cake and cover with coconut. Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

I love champagne. And strawberries. And cupcakes. I just don't know why it took me so long to make this recipe. I originally found it on Betty Crocker, but couldn't find it there again. But this one did the trick. They were delicious!! We loved them. I made them for my cousin to celebrate her birthday, so I had to make the frosting bright pink!!

Here is the recipe:
Sweet Pink Strawberry Champagne Cupcake Recipe

* 1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® strawberry cake mix
* 1 1/4 cups champagne, (The original recpie used a Red Sparkling Wine - Cinzano Brachetto d’Acqui, I used Domaine St. Michelle which is our favorite)
* 1/3 cup vegetable oil
* 3 egg whites

Champagne Frosting

* 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
* 4 cups powdered sugar
* 1/4 cup champagne
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 4 to 5 drops red food coloring

Pink decorator sugar crystals
Edible pink pearls


* Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
* In large bowl, combine dry cake mix and champagne. Add oil, eggs. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
* Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
* In medium bowl, beat frosting ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Frost cupcakes. Sprinkle with pink sugar or pearls.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Strawberries & Cream Scones

For a while I have been wanting to make Strawberries and Cream Scones. I found this great recipe from King Arthur Flour. They turned out nice and moist and all nice and strawberry-y. Can't wait to try these with strawberry jam!!

Here is the recipe:
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) diced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup (2 ounces) half and half or light cream
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Mellow Pastry Blend
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) cold butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup (3 3/8 ounces) diced fresh strawberries

3 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets, or a full-size or mini-scone pan.

To make the scones: In a blender or food processor, process 1/2 cup of the strawberries with the half and half or cream until the mixture is smooth. Set it aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Cut in the butter, using your fingertips, a fork or a pastry blender.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the strawberry/half and half mixture, the egg, and the vanilla extract. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the 2/3 cup diced strawberries and stir just until everything is well-combined. This is a wet, sticky dough, good for drop scones.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets; each scone should be about the size of a golf ball. A tablespoon cookie scoop is exactly the right size for this task. Or divide the dough among the compartments of the scone pan of your choice. Bake the scones until they're golden brown, 15 to 16 minutes (on a baking sheet or in a mini-scone pan), or 18 to 20 minutes (in a standard scone pan). Remove the scones from the oven when they're beginning to brown around the edges. Break one open, just to be sure; they should be moist, but not gummy, at the center.

To make the topping: As soon as you remove the scones from the oven, make the topping. Combine the sugar and water in a very small (e.g., 1/4- to 1/3-cup size) microwave-safe bowl, stirring until the sugar is moistened. Heat in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds, until the mixture is bubbly. Carefully remove from the microwave (sugar syrup is very hot), and stir in the vanilla. Stir until the mixture smoothes out. Drizzle or brush the topping over the hot scones. Yield: 8 to 18 scones, depending on your choice of pan.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Double Chocolate Biscotti

The other night I decided to make double chocolate biscotti. I found the recipe in my beloved Better Homes and Garden cookbook. I found this variation of the recipe on The difference: I used chips instead of chunks of chocolate and no drizzle.

Anyways, these turned out pretty good! Ryan loves it when I make biscotti. So does he grandparents who I made it for. In fact, they were such a hit I made these same ones for some friends. Only I took out the white chocolate and added peanut butter chips, even better in my opinion!

Below is the recipe. I will def. make these ones again. A side note, they may need more than 7-8 minutes baking to crisp up, I did it about 10 minutes and they were not quite crispy enough.

Double Chocolate Biscotti


* 1/3 cup butter
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 2 eggs
* 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 4 ounces white baking bar, coarsely chopped
* 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 2 tablespoons shortening (optional)
* 2 ounces semisweet chocolate or white baking bar, coarsely chopped (optional)


1. Grease a large cookie sheet; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder; beat until combined. Beat in eggs. Beat in as much flour as you can. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in the 4 ounces white baking bar and the 3 ounces semisweet chocolate.

2. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 9-inch-long roll. Place rolls 4 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet; flatten rolls slightly to 2 inches wide.

3. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool on cookie sheet on a wire rack for 1 hour. Using a serrated knife, cut each roll diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Lay slice, one cut side down, on an ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake slices in a 325 degree F oven for 8 minutes. Turn slices over and bake 7 to 9 minutes more or until slices are dry and crisp. (Do not overbake.) Transfer to a wire rack; cool.

5. If desired, in a heavy small saucepan combine the shortening and the 2 ounces semisweet chocolate or white baking bar. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Drizzle over tops of biscotti. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week. Makes 32 biscotti.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gingersnap Cherry Cheesecake

This fall I found this recipe in my Real Simple magazine. I had to make it. I did. We had some family over for dinner and I think the cheesecake was the star. My Uncle is not a big fan of cheesecake, but he loved this. In fact, he asked me to make it for him two weeks later as a birthday gift. It is delicious. By far my new favorite cheesecake recipe.

Here is the recipe:
Gingersnap Cherry Cheesecake
Serves 12| Hands-On Time: 20m | Total Time: 5hr 00m

* 3 cups ground gingersnap cookies
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
* 3 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1 1/4 cups sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 2 cups sour cream
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup cherry preserves


1. Heat oven to 350° F. In a medium bowl, combine the ground gingersnaps and butter. Using a straight-sided dry measuring cup, press the mixture into the bottom and 2 inches up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of the sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in ½ cup of the sour cream and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla.
3. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake until just set, 40 to 45 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 ½ cups of sour cream, ¼ cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Spread over the hot cheesecake and bake until set, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let cool in the pan, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake before unmolding.
5. Spread the preserves over the cheesecake before serving.

*Photo from

Friday, January 7, 2011

I am not dead

Hello to my readers!

I wanted to let you know, that despite the appearance that I have died, or at least disappeared from the blogging world, I have not.

My Husband and I recently moved to Nashville, TN from Portland, OR. We just got our internet working, and I have not been baking too much. Which I know, is tragic.

But I plan to make my return. It may be slow. So, please be patient. And thanks for reading! I can't wait to see what 2011 holds!