Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Apple Pie Bars

Pin It

Call me crazy but I'm not a big fan of apple pie.  It's just rare for me to eat one that is really, really delicious and perfect.  It's not worth the calories unless it's that way!  Usually it's just blah to me so I'm more of a cherry, chocolate, and banana cream kind of girl.  I found this recipe last year and it sounded so interesting to me.  Apple pie in bar form?  I had to try it!  I LOVE these so much.  They taste just like a really good apple pie.  They are a labor of love but not hard to make, there's just quite a few steps.  Have some friends/family in mind to share these with when you make them because it makes a lot.  Happy baking! 


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
12 Granny Smith apples (about 6 pounds)—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup water, as necessary

3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled

1. Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 15-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. With an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour, spices and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and 1/2 inch up the side in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a very large, deep skillet melt the butter with the brown sugar. (If you don’t have a large skillet, divide between 2 skillets). Add the apples to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet and add up to 1/2 cup of water to the pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.

3. Prepare the topping: In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using fingers (wash your hands and take off your rings first!), squeeze the butter into the oats & sugar and crumble together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press the mixture into clumps.

4. Assemble the bars: Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking, and keep an eye on it to make sure the top isn’t getting too browned. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.

Makes 4 dozen bars

Cooking Tips:
*For this recipe, the 15×17-inch rimmed baking sheet is easiest to use. It fits perfectly in this pan. If you don’t have this pan, you can try and wing it using a couple of smaller ones.
**This recipe makes a large quantity. Make sure you have lots of people to feed
***The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days or frozen for up to a month (they freeze well- try putting them in individual zip bags for impromptu snacks or as an easy addition to your child’s lunch box).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

Pin It

I have been making this amazing chicken pot pie for about 7 years now.  It is so delicious that I don't bother trying a different version.  The first time I made this was the first time I'd ever made a sauce from scratch and I remember being so proud of myself.  I practically have this memorized now!  You could replace the chicken with leftover turkey which would be a great and yummy way to use up leftover turkey from your holiday meal.  You can even make these and freeze them before baking for a quick meal later on.  I rarely have frozen mixed veggies so I usually just add frozen corn, frozen peas, and finely chopped fresh carrots.  I also think rotisserie chicken is the best in this.  If I don't have one, though, I just throw some chicken breasts in the crock-pot with seasonings (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, rosemary) and a little water and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6.  Enjoy!


2 pie crusts (I use Pillsbury pre-made)
1/3 C butter
1/3 C flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 C water
2/3 C milk
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 C cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
1 heaping C frozen mixed veggies

Preheat oven to 425.
Melt butter in saucepan.  Stir in flour, garlic, and S&P until blended.  Gradually stir in water, milk, and bouillon.  Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes.  Mixture will be thick.  Remove from heat and stir in chicken and veggies.  Pour into pie crust and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Doughnuts

Pin It

I love fall!  I feel like I've missed out on so much of it, though, because of my surgery.  That was my time to bake not recover from an appendectomy!  I had planned a fall desserts class to teach for my church's women's group a couple of months ago.  There was no way I was going to let this darn surgery spoil my fun of doing it so I did it anyway and it was so much fun.  I knew most of what I was going to make for it but wanted to do one more thing that was different using pumpkin.  I found these and they were perfect!  I am a doughnut lover.  I mean I will never turn down a doughnut!  Don't be intimidated by making your own doughnuts.  These are pretty easy in my opinion.  You just make the dough, chill it for a few hours, roll it out, cut your circles and holes, fry, then glaze.  Not too much right?  :)  They are worth it and I hope you enjoy them as much as my family did!  If you want to see a step by step version with pictures just click on the link under the title below.  My version is slightly different only because I used a glaze instead of a dusting of powdered sugar.


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon molasses
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
Canola Oil (for deep-frying)

1/3 cup butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons hot water or as needed

Glaze instructions: Melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in sugar, hot water, then vanilla. Keep whisking over med-low heat until there are no clumps in the sugar. Let cool a little before dipping the donuts in.

1. Whisk first 9 ingredients (flour through cardamom) in a medium bowl to blend well; set aside.

2. Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended (mixture will be a bit grainy). Beat in egg, then yolks, then vanilla. Gradually beat in buttermilk and molasses, then beat in pumpkin, in four additions.

3. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture in 4 additions, blending gently after each. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours.

4. Lightly flour two baking sheets. When dough is well-chilled, lightly flour a work surface. Starting with about 1/3 of dough, gently press it out to a round that is 1/2- to 2/3-inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out dough rounds. Using 1-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out center of each dough round to make doughnuts and doughnut holes. Arrange doughnuts and holes on the baking sheets as you go. Gather dough scraps. Press out dough and cut out more dough rounds until all dough is used. If dough is very sticky, dip the round cutters into flour before cutting each doughnut.

5. Line a couple of baking sheets with paper towels to drain doughnuts. Also, set out a couple of wire racks to place the doughnuts on after glazing. Pour oil into large deep skillet or dutch oven to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pot and heat oil to 355°F to 365°F. Fry doughnut holes in 2 batches until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Fry doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, until golden brown, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 1 minute per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. While doughnuts are still warm dip tops in glaze then set on wire racks to drain off excess.

Note: If you don’t have cardamom or don’t want to spend the money (it’s a little pricey), just omit it. It does add great flavor but they are still very good without it.

Also, I didn't have a doughnut cutter so I used a biscuit cutter then a water bottle that I cut the main body off of for the holes (does that make sense?).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rosemary Au Gratin Potatoes

Pin It

I'm back!  Sorry for the absence but I had an APPENDECTOMY on October 28.  Crazy huh?  The Thursday before Halloween too!  It was awful and the recovery is still happening.  I guess it takes a while to get over all the meds they pump into you and the anesthesia.  I have an awesome mother-in-law who started packing as soon as she found out and drove the 12 hours to get here.  She wouldn't let me lift a finger for the week she was here!  I am happy to almost be back to normal and of course to be cooking again.  Today I'm sharing with you a recipe I made up for Rosemary Au Gratin Potatoes.  I have tried several recipes and they were all ok but lots of times came out dry.  I like my au gratin potatoes to be creamy and flavorful!  I made this back when I had family and friends visiting and there were thumbs up all around.  It's not the best picture but I was exhausted and thought this was better than nothing!



1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 C cheddar cheese, divided
1 C monterrey jack cheese, divided
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1.In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add the cream. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add 3/4 C cheddar cheese and 3/4 C monterrey jack cheese and stir until melted.  Remove from the heat. Stir in the rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and potatoes.

2.Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and remaining cheddar and jack cheeses. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

Serves 8