Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Apple Butter Apple Pie

This pie is my second attempt at an apple pie and my first at making a lattice top. Surprisingly, the lattice top wasn't too hard. I liken it to making the basketweave design on cakes. And it just looks so pretty! Well, prettier than my usual pies look. And the sides aren't burnt! Thanks to a well-timed pie shield buy at our last minute shopping adventure before Christmas.

I made this for our Christmas dinner with friends here in town and it was wonderful! We even got comments that we could be invited back next year just to have this pie come back. :) I think that's a good sign.

Apple Butter Apple Pie
Recipe adapted from Smithfield Recipes

1 box of refrigerated pie crust or your own recipe. (I was lazy this year and used the premade crusts.)

  • 7 Gala Apples
  • 2 tablespoons 7Up or lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 7 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Egg Wash
1 egg, beaten with a little bit of milk


For Crust:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Roll out one premade crust and place in an ungreased pie pan. 
  • Using the other crust, cut the pie crust into 1" strips (they don't have to be perfectly even) and set aside until the fruit mixture is ready.
For Filling:
  • Peel and slice all the apples. Toss the apples in some 7 Up to prevent the apples from browning. I got a tip this year to do this versus lemon juice because the lemon juice makes the apples too tart for me. But you could most certainly use lemon juice.
  • Add the apple butter to the apples and stir to combine.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and cloves.
  • Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the apples and stir thoroughly. 
  • Spoon the fruit into the pie shell. It will be a tall mound.
  • Place the butter on top of the apples, making sure to place them all around the pie.
  • A great tutorial on making a lattice top is here
  • If you want to make a regular top, place the second dough on top of the apples and crimp the sides. Use the extra dough to make designs on top of the pie if desired. Add slits to allow the stem to escape.
  • Brush the pie with the egg wash mixture. 
  • Set the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until it has browned and the fruit is bubbling around the edges (another 30-35 minutes). 
  • Cool 30 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Peanut Butter and Nutella Fudge

This holiday season baking bug has finally truly hit me. I baked all morning and it felt good. I feel like I've got my baking mojo back. Yay!! :)

Making and tasting it brought back so many memories of the holiday season. I love making these kind of recipes. And our lucky friends and neighbors will have this fun variation of my family's fudge on their tray of holiday cookies.

Peanut Butter and Nutella Fudge
an original creation by Tracy

  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter (I used margarine)
  • 1/3 package mini marshmallows
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • Heat ingredients until smooth. 
  • Add peanut butter and Nutella to mixture, stir until completely incorporated.
  • Pour mixture into 8" greased pan and refrigerate until cool and able to cut into bit sized pieces.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chocolate Cookie Bark

This post was meant for last week and then on Monday and here it is Tuesday evening and the post is still not up. My heart was just not in it after the shooting in CT. As a former elementary school teacher, my heart is broken. I just don't know what to say.

Chocolate Cookie Bark
Recipe from Caramel Potatoes

  • Graham Crackers (I used Honey but it called for Chocolate)
  • 2 bags of chocolate chips (I used a combo of white chocolate and semisweet chips but it would be amazing to use the dark chocolate and mint chips)
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
  • Line a 11 x 13 baking sheet with foil.
  • Spray the foil with cooking spray.
  • Line the pan with the graham crackers, making one single layer.
  • Cover the graham crackers with the chocolate chips, making a nice even layer on top.
  • Bake for 2-3 minutes until the chips are glossy. Run a knife through the chips to spread the chocolate around the crackers.
  • Remove the bark from the pan (keep the foil - just slide the foil off the pan) and let cool. 
  • You can refrigerate for an hour instead of letting it sit on the counter. 
  • Break into pieces and enjoy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Soft Sugar Cookies (12 Weeks of Christmas Treats)

These cookies are one of my favorite cookies to eat during the holiday season, the cookies are soft and the icing is sweet (but not too sweet) and the sprinkles add a tiny extra bit of crunch that is the perfect addition. These cookies are similar to Lofthouse style cookies, un-iced I'd say they resemble a Nilla Wafer cookie but then again, I was eating one of the ones that we were a little more done. :)

Soft Sugar Cookies
Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

Cookie Ingredients:
  • 6 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream (I used about 1 cup because I bought the wrong size container, whoops!)

Cookie Directions:
  • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until well combined. 
  • Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and mix until well blended.
  • Add the dry ingredients slowly, beating until the dry ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be sticky.
  • Divide the dough in half and flatten into rectangles that are about 1/2 inch thick. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. 
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • When the dough is fully chilled, sprinkle the dough with a little bit of flour and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut out dough and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet about 1and 1/2 inches apart. The cookies won't spread too much so you can place them pretty close together. 
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 7 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden brown. 
  • Immediately move to a wire rack to cool. When cookies are completely cool, ice them with the following frosting. 
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
 Frosting Directions:
  • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and vanilla extract together.
  • Slowly beat in the powdered sugar and salt.
  • Add the heavy cream and beat until the icing becomes smooth, light, and fluffy.
  • If desired, add food coloring.
  • Frost the cookies, add sprinkles (if desired) and let the frosting set before storing the cookies.

It's that time again, the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop! Thanks to Brenda at Meal Planning Magic for hosting us this year! Let's see what everybody baked up this week. :) After seeing all these treats, I'm kinda sad we aren't having our holiday party this year, I would love to make so many of these wonderful treats!


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