Monday, September 30, 2013

Salt Caramel Apple Pie

In my quest at trying all the Back in the Day Bakery's recipes I made the salted caramel apple pie this weekend.  Although good - its not going to replace my other apple pies I made.  Jeff prefers a crumb topping as as far as two crusted pie, I think I like Grandma Ople's recipe from better.  However, I actually enjoyed the crust more than the Pioneer Woman's recipe that I usually use, but Jeff did not.  The crust came out a nice color and I liked the cake like texture - probably from the cake flour.  This pie was a lot of work.  I'm not sure if was worth all the effort.

Salt Caramel Apple Pie


  • 1 recipe for the Old-Fashioned Flaky Piecrust, unbaked (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 large apples, such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Honey Crisps, or a combination, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced (see Tip)
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
  • Fleur de sel for sprinkling
  • Ice cream for serving (optional)
  • OLD-FASHIONED FLAKY PIECRUST[makes 1 crust for a double-crust pie)]:
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into cubes
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes


  • To make the crust:In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, and salt; set aside
  • In a large measuring cup or a small bowl, beat the egg with 1/3 cup of the water and the vinegar.
  • Add the shortening and butter to the flour and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the butter resembles small peas. Add the egg mixture, gently tossing and mixing with your hands or a fork just until the dough comes together in a ball. If the dough seems too dry, add a little more ice water, about 1 tablespoon at a time as necessary.
  • Gather the dough together on a lightly floured work surface and divide it evenly into 2 balls. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten with the palm of your hand into a disk. Chill for at least 1 hour. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

  • To roll out the dough: Dust your hands and your rolling pin with flour. On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll out the chilled dough into a 12-inch round. Roll the dough from the center out, rotating it slightly as you roll to prevent sticking and to keep it round. Dust off any excess flour using a dry pastry brush. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and place it in the pie dish. Carefully arrange the dough to slump inside the dish and press it into the edges. Trim the excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving about a 1-inch overhang. Wrap and place the pie dish in the refrigerator to chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  • Roll out the remaining disk of dough on parchment and transfer it to a baking sheet. Wrap in plastic wrap and return the dough to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • When ready to bake, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.

  • To make the caramel: Combine the granulated sugar, fleur de sel, and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Wash down any crystals from the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, without stirring, until the syrup becomes a medium-dark amber caramel, about 15 minutes; you can carefully swirl the pan around to check the color.
  • Carefully remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and heavy cream. Be careful of hot steam when the heavy cream is added, and do not worry if the butter starts to separate--it will come together once the caramel is cooled.
  • Transfer the caramel to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or to a medium mixing bowl, if using a handheld mixer) and beat on low speed until the caramel cools and starts to come together. Set aside.

  • To make the filling: Put the lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the apples and toss gently.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and turbinado sugar. Gently toss the apples with this mixture.

  • To assemble the pie: Place the bottom piecrust in a 9-inch pie pan and prick the bottom of the crust gently all over with a fork. Layer the apple mixture in the crust, making sure there are no gaps between the apples. Pour 1/4 cup of the caramel mixture on top of the apples. Reserve the remaining caramel for serving.
  • Place the top piecrust on a work surface and cut 4 to 8 vent holes in the center with a mini cookie cutter in whatever shape you like. Reserve the cutout pieces for decorating the crust. Brush the rim of the bottom piecrust with the egg wash to create a seal. Place the top crust over the pie filling and seal and crimp the edges, trimming the excess dough. Decorate with the cutout pieces, and brush the entire crust with the egg wash. Sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar and a pinch of fleur de sel.
  • Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 375°F and bake for an additional 45 to 60 minutes, until the caramel blossoms into big, thick, syrupy bubbles and the crust turns golden brown; test the apples with a small paring knife to make sure they are tender but not mushy. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 4 hours before serving to allow the juices and caramel to thicken. The pie is best served the same day, but it can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • To serve, slice the pie into wedges and top with a drizzle of the caramel sauce and, if desired, a scoop of ice cream.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cornbread old vs new

I tried a new cornbread recipe.  We have our favorite but its a little harder to 1/2 because of the eggs so I tried a new one.  I halved it and made it into 18 corn muffins instead of putting it into the cast iron skillet like I usually do.  It was delicious and may just be my new "go to" recipe.  Here's both for the reference:

Sweet Cornbread Cake (from - the "new" recipe

1 cup cornmeal

3 cups all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, honey, beaten eggs, and milk, and stir just to moisten.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, until the top of the cornbread starts to brown and show cracks.

Just wanted to edit this: baked at 350 for between 45-50 minutes in the cast iron skillet and it turned out WONDERFUL!

Edit again - 45 may have been a bit too long.  Try 40 and watch carefully.

Update.  Used full amount of milk.  Baked cast iron skillet and two large muffins.  Excellent.  Skillet 30 min.  Muffins 20 minutes.
Buttery Cornbread (from Taste of home ) the "old"

2/3 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

3 Eggland's Best Eggs

1-2/3 cups 2% milk

2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

4-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine eggs and milk. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with egg mixture.
  2. Pour into a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Bake 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cut into squares; serve warm.Yield: 12-15 servings.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

I made this last night and it was excellent.  I will definetely make it again - although it is HOT.  I wasn't going to add the full brick of cream cheese but I needed too otherwise it would have been too hot to eat.  I did it in the crockpot and made a few changes which I will note below.

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili
  1. 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil -eliminated
  2. 1 small onion, diced - eliminated
  3. 5 jalapeno peppers diced, seeds removed (leave some seeds for extra heat) - I used 3.
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced - eliminated
  5. salt and fresh ground black pepper
  6. 1 + 1/4 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces - I used one whole chicken quarter
  7. 2 teaspoons chile powder
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  9. 1 teaspoon oregano - eliminated
  10. pinch of crushed red pepper
  11. 1 (10 oz) can dice tomatoes with green chiles
  12. 1 + 1/2 cups chicken broth
  13. 1 (14 oz) can cannelloni or navy beans, drained
  14. 1 (14 oz) can corn, drained - I used frozen corn
  15. 8 ounces cream cheese - I used reduced fat
  16. 1 pound bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled, divided - I eliminated
  1. In a large saucepan (deep enough for soup) heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, jalepeno, and garlic until tender.
  2. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then add to the saucepan adding another tablespoon of olive oil as well. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Toss chicken and seasonings together and lightly brown chicken on all sides.
  3. Stir in can of diced tomatoes, chicken broth, corn, and cannelloni beans and increase heat to bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in cream cheese and stir until completely melted. Stir in 1/2 of the crumbled bacon. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper as needed. **Add more chicken broth if too thick.
  5. Serve and garnish with cheddar cheese and the rest of the crumbled bacon.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tiger Bread

In a search to find a recipe for alligator rolls, I decided to try another tiger bread recipe.  The roll of these was fantastic.  The only change I made was I used bread flour (3.5 cups) instead of all purpose.  I really wasn't that crazy about the topping on these.  It needed to be a little bit sweeter.  I made the dough in the bread machine so I didn't necessarily follow the directions for mixing the dough.

Tiger Bread
    Soft White Rolls
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Dutch Crunch Topping
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 - 1 cup rice flour*
  1. Combine the milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 1 minute, until the milk is warm and the butter has melted. Stir together, and set aside to cool until lukewarm.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour with yeast, sugar and salt. Add the lukewarm milk and butter mixture and fold in with a spatula until everything is combined in a somewhat sticky dough. If it is very sticky, add a bit more flour. Otherwise, turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead, incorporating the remaining 1/2 cup flour only as needed, until the dough is elastic, tacky, and smooth.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball with a smooth top surface and place in a greased bowl roughly double its size. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise until doubled in size (for me this took about 2 hours).
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and divide it into 6 equal pieces**. Shape each piece into a ball by tucking the outer edges underneath and pinching them together as you would a twist-tie. Place the balls of dough pinch-side down on the prepared baking sheet, spaced apart from each other. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for another 30-45 minutes, until puffy.
  5. Preheat oven to 425°F. Prepare the dutch crunch topping by combining the yeast, warm water, sugar, vegetable oil, salt, and 3/4 cup rice flour in a medium bowl. Beat together well to form a smooth, thick "batter" that drips off your whisk in thick clumps. Add up to another 1/4 cup rice flour if needed to achieve the desired consistancy. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.
  6. Spoon the topping in equal amounts over the fully risen rolls. As you do so, it will start rolling over the sides of the rolls. Once you've used it all up (it will seem like a lot, but use it all), scoop up any excess topping that has dripped onto the baking sheet and use it to cover any areas of the rolls left exposed.
  7. Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until golden-brown on top. Cool briefly before serving.

Baked Honey Sesame Chicken

I made this this weekend and we really enjoyed it. I thought I had a full bottle of soy sauce thanks to the black label when I didn't have enough to make the receipe so I had to use teryaki baste and glaze. I'm not sure if would have made much of difference. The kids didn't like it, but my husband and I did. I think I still prefer the firecracker chicken, but I did enjoy this too.

Baked Honey Sesame Chicken
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 3 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • Sauce:
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 t minced garlic (I didn't add this)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In separate bowls, place cornstarch and slightly beaten eggs. Dip chicken into cornstarch then coat in egg mixture. I have also found that you can put the chicken pieces in a gallon size bag and shake to coat.
  3. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken until browned. Place the chicken in a 9 x 13 greased baking dish.
  4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and minced garlic. Pour over chicken and bake for 1 hour.
  5. I stirred the chicken every 15 minutes so that it coated them in the sauce.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Arby's Fries

I made these recipes off of Pinterest. There are supposed to taste like Arby's curly fries, but even though I didn't really think they tasted like Arby's they were good. The method worked really well. I may even try making regular fries out of them without the spice.  I didn't use the curly cutter, I just cut them into fries.  I also baked at 425 in my convection oven.  I used 1 large potato and 1/2 the spice recipe.

Oven Baked Curly Fries

3 large potatoes
2 tsp paprika
1.5 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 TBS flour
3 TBS egg
1.5 TBS milk
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil.
3. Cut potatoes into curly fries using a curly fry cutter, or cut potatoes into regular fries. (You can peel the potatoes first if you want to)
3. Put potatoes in boiling water and boil for 3 minutes.
4. Rinse potatoes off in a colander with cold water.
5. Dry potatoes with paper towels and set aside.
6. Combine paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and flour in a small bowl.
7. Add in egg and milk and mix well.
8. Pour fries into a large bowl and pour seasoning mixture in and mix well.
9. Dump fries onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread around evenly (so they aren’t overlapping)
10. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping half way, until french fries are nice and crispy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lucious Slush Punch

I've made this for two parties and it was really good. The first time I didn't freeze and was ready to go. The 2nd time it froze solid and took awhile to defrost. I'm not sure what the difference was but it was definetely good. I used fruit punch instead of orange juice because that's what I had to use up.
2 1/2 cups white sugar
6 cups water
2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry
flavored Jell-O® mix
1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 quart orange juice
2 (2 liter) bottles lemon-lime flavored
carbonated beverage
1.Bring the sugar, water, and strawberry flavored gelatin to a boil in a large saucepan; boil for 3 minutes. Stir in the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Divide mixture into 2 separate containers and freeze.
2.Combine the contents of 1 container with 1 bottle of the lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage in a punch bowl; stir until slushy. Repeat with remaining portions as needed.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Bars

These were good.  I don't think I'd be in a hurry to make them again, but they were good.
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 c light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c creamy peanut butter
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Tbls vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 c old fashioned oats
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c Reese's peanut butter baking chips
  • 2 cups Reese's minatures, chopped or Reese's minis
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add peanut butter and continue mixing.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add in vanilla.
  5. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
  6. Add the flour mixture slowly stirring until well combined.
  7. Stir in the peanut butter chips.
  8. Spread 2/3 of the dough on the bottom of the pan. Top with Reese's minis or chopped miniatures.
  9. Drop the remaining dough on top by the teaspoon. It doesn't have to be perfect and it won't cover all the Reese's.
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool completely and then cut into bars

Maple Crackle

I made this for a party and although I don't think it is as good as my regular caramel corn, it definetely is good.  And I love the addition of the nuts to it.

Maple Crackle (

  1. 12 cups plain popped popcorn
  2. 11/2 cups walnut halves
  3. 11/2 cups pecan halves
  4. 11/2 cups salted dry-roasted peanuts
  5. 1 cup butter
  6. 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  7. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  8. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 250°.
  2. In a large bowl, combine popcorn and nuts. Pour popcorn-nut mixture into a lightly greased roasting pan and spread evenly; set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat on stovetop. Add sugar and maple syrup, stirring to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add baking soda, salt, and vanilla, stirring to combine.
  4. Pour syrup mixture over popcorn-nut mixture, stirring to coat as much of the popcorn and nuts as possible.
  5. Bake for 2 hours. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

I made these my my mother in law's party and they were super easy.  I made them the day before than reheated before the party. 

5 poundsYukon Gold potatoes, cubed

Semolina Pizza Dough

This crust was phenomial.  In fact, I think it tasted exactly like pizza hut's.  First try, i baked at 500 degrees, however the top got a little over browned so I may try to reduce the temperature down the next time.  There will definetely be a next time though.

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup semolina pasta flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons SAF yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons breach machine yeast

  • Place all the ingredients in the pan according to the order in the manufacturer's instructions. Program the machine for the Dough or Pizza Dough cycle and press start.
    When the machine beeps at the end of the cycle, immediately remove the bread pan from the machine and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into the desired number of portions using either a pastry scraper or sharp knife. Knead each portion a few times and then shape into balls. Place the dough balls a few inches apart on your work surface, cover them with a damp towel, and let them rest about 30 minutes or until the dough has increased about 20 percent in size.
    At this point, you have three options. First, you can roll out and shape the dough as directed in your pizza recipe. Option two is that you can lightly oil the dough and then place the oiled dough in plastic food storage bags and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To use, let rest for 20 minutes at room temperature before rolling out. Finally, the third option is to freeze the dough for up to 3 months. Let the dough defrost overnight in the refrigerator and then let it rest for 20 minutes at room temperature before using.

    Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

    I made this for my son's birthday and it was definetely the best thing I've had in awhile.  Matter of fact, we've already eaten the one serving only that was left over from the party.  I did make a few changes to the recipe.

    Buffalo Chicken Lasagna (from Taste of Home Magazine)

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground chicken (I used 3 buffalo chicken sausages)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Hunt's® Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) buffalo wing sauce (I used one bottle of Franks and added a stick of melted butter)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (I eliminated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 9 lasagna noodles (I used about 12)
  • 1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 1-3/4 cups (7 ounces) crumbled blue cheese, divided (I eliminated this and served it on the side)
  • 1/2 cup minced Italian flat leaf parsley (I eliminated)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded white cheddar cheese (I used yellow cheddar)
  • In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, onion, celery and carrot; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes, wing sauce, water, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
  • In a small bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup blue cheese, parsley and egg.
  • Spread 1-1/2 cups sauce into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Layer with three noodles, 1-1/2 cups sauce, 2/3 cup ricotta mixture, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 2/3 cup cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup blue cheese. Repeat layers twice.
  • Bake, covered, at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 20-25 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 12 servings.