Apple Crisp II

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Quick Post: I served this with vanilla ice cream and my new favorite – salted caramel! Next time I think I will use a variety of apples to change-up the flavor and textures because the Granny Smith apples became mushier than I would have liked. Thanks for reading, enjoy :)

Apple Crisp – adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 stick butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup Old Fashioned oats
  • 3 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • lemon zest, optional
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions -

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cut butter into flour, using a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Add oats, and use your hands to toss and squeeze mixture until large, moist clumps form. Transfer to freezer to chill while you prepare apples.

In another large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, cinnamon, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish, and sprinkle with topping mixture. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden and bubbling, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

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French Toast Sticks

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My kids loved these, but what’s not to love? I like that the whole pan is finished at one time, so no standing by the stove waiting to flip each piece of bread. I used four thick slices of this egg bread, and there was just enough custard for them. Next time I will have to double the recipe so we have quick, no-effort school breakfasts perfect for those mornings when I just need five more minutes of sleep! ;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Baked French Toast Sticks – adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 4 slices Texas Toast (or other hearty, thick-cut bread)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter, slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees then spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray very well and set aside. Cut bread slices into thirds then set aside.
  2. In a large shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla, and cinnamon. Dunk bread sticks into batter, let excess drip off, then place onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes, spraying the tops of the French Toast Sticks with non-stick spray before flipping halfway through.
  3. To freeze: Let French Toast Sticks cool then place onto a baking sheet and freeze in the freezer. Transfer to a freezer bag or container when hard. To reheat, microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Cinnamon Rolls

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I wanted to try a new recipe for cinnamon rolls besides our go-to fave. I love the richness of the dough, but it does require 5 eggs and it makes 12 huge rolls. I sent a batch of these with my husband to share with volunteers this weekend; and made this smaller batch with some minor changes just to suit our preferences. Instead of white sugar, I used brown sugar for the filling and significantly less cinnamon. I also swapped the water and milk for buttermilk; and I used less butter in the filling – only two tablespoons. Oh, and instead of making 11 rolls (weird number) I made 8 slightly larger rolls that fit in the baking dish better.

Verdict: These were okay, and I guess good in a pinch if you don’t have lots of eggs on hand. The glaze is missing something too – cream cheese in my opinion. The dough was not nearly as easy to work as the other recipe, and it was actually really frustrating to cut into rolls. The differences were much more obvious because I had just made the overnight rolls…so I was really aware and very picky. I probably won’t bother making these again only because we’ve already found the best recipe. Thanks for stopping by!

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Easy Cinnamon Rolls – heavily adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Rolls-
  • 2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (1 packet)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 and 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
Filling-
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
Glaze-
  • 1 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

Directions -

  1. Make the dough: Set aside 1/2 cup of flour. In a large bowl, toss the remaining flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
  2. Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch. About 125F-130F degrees. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and only enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough. I only needed 1/3 cup, but you may need the full 1/2 cup. Dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 5-6 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk – about an hour.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Add more cinnamon/sugar if desired. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 8 even pieces and place in a lightly greased 9-inch round pan. Loosely cover the rolls with plastic wrap and allow to rise overnight in your refrigerator.
  5. In the morning, take the rolls out and allow to rise until they become puffy. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.
  6. Make the glaze: Right before serving, top your cinnamon rolls with glaze. Mix the powdered sugar and milk together until smooth and drizzle over rolls. If you prefer a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar and then add salt to cut the sweetness, if desired.

Vanilla Almonds

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(Happy New Year! I meant to post this a couple of weeks ago…but I was visiting family)

I was inspired to make these after watching one of my favorite cooking shows. I knew I would need some quick teacher gifts for the kids (I hope they like almonds!), and some snacks for the party we’re hosting today. I tried a few and I am happy to report that they are really tasty! Our friends loved them and I even had some recipe requests for them :) Thanks for reading, enjoy.

Vanilla Almonds – adapted from Kelsey’s Essentials

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups whole almonds
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Beat the egg white with the vanilla extract, add the almonds and stir to coat. Combine the sugar, salt, and cinnamon and combine with mixture. Place in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove and cool on wax paper and break into clusters.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffin

I added all the brown sugar into the batter…woops! I have a bad habit of not reading through an entire recipe – don’t be like me ;)  I figured the extra sugar couldn’t hurt these, and I was right. I didn’t add more to the tops, but next time I will be sure to remember that “divided” step. The kids and I love these and they are really flavorful, fluffy and moist. One of the ways I safeguard against dense baked goods that require whole wheat flour, is to make the simple substitution of whole wheat pastry flour. Another easy modification is to add the buttermilk and flour in three additions to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. The resulting batter is light and fluffy and baked into 16 Fall inspired muffins. And about the temperature called for in these – I cut it back to 350 degrees on convection for 20 minutes and they came out perfectly. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins – adapted from Smitten Kitchen via King Arthur Flour

Yield: They said 12, I got 16

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

Directions -

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Baked Rice Pudding

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I was in need of some comfort food! Rice pudding reminds me of my Gram, so what’s more comforting than that? ;) The rice baked up perfectly, with a nice bite, not mushy, and it was just sweet enough for my tastes. The original poster claimed this recipe will serve four – ha! ;) Let me put it this way:  if it was a really bad day, I could easily have eaten all of this myself! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Milky Rice Pudding – adapted from The Parsley Thief

  • unsalted butter, for greasing baking dish
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup arborio rice
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter a baking dish, or pie plate.
Add the milk, rice, brown sugar & salt to a mixing bowl, or measuring cup. Whisk, until well combined & pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the rice is very tender & most of the liquid has been absorbed. While the pudding is cooking, stir every 10 minutes, or so. When it nears the end of the cooking time, a skin will form on the surface of the pudding. When done, stir the pudding, divide into serving bowls & garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

Brown Sugar Waffles

Another weekend, another waffle recipe! Maybe next week I will try a chocolate waffle, although that would probably be much more appropriate as a dessert (with vanilla ice cream on top…yum!) This recipe made nine waffles which was more than enough for the four of us. I like larger batches like this one so the leftovers can go into the fridge or freezer for quick breakfasts during the week for my kids. Next time I make these, I will plan ahead to have the candied bacon the recipe calls for! Thanks for reading, enjoy :)
Brown Sugar Waffles – adapted from Pink Parsley
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cups canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk

Set your waffle iron a clean level surface, and set to preheat.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar together in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and buttermilk.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and fold in the wet ingredients.  Stir until just combined (its okay to still be lumpy).  Gently fold in the bacon, being careful not to overmix.

Cook in the waffle maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately or leave keep them warm in a 250 degree oven until it’s time to eat! :)

Finally: Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

“Finally” because I saw this recipe on Tastespotting back in March! :) December is a great excuse to make all the decadent goodies that don’t really need a “special” occasion to be made. I have eaten way too many cookies this month – too many carbs, period! Top that off with no gym time this month…this is why it’s so popular to have that “lose weight” New Year resolution!  ;)

While this was baking, it smelled wonderful as you may imagine! Who doesn’t love the warm yeast bread/cinnamon smell? It looks like it wants to climb out of the pan…(and into my belly) while it’s baking. It’s not as pretty as it was before the proofing, but looks don’t matter all that much because it tastes so amazing! Be sure to let it cool for at least 20 minutes (your patience will be rewarded, and your mouth will thank you). I used a piece of buttered parchment paper to make for easier removal of the loaf. This 9×5 pan is notoriously sticky and I’m looking forward to buying a couple of new USA Pans in this size to replace my old, junky ones. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread – adapted from Annie’s Eats via  Joy the Baker

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 ounces unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

In a large mixing bowl (I used just the bowl of my stand mixer) whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky.  That’s just right.

Place the dough is a large,  greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch  loaf pan.  Set that aside too.

Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay.  Just roll it as large as the dough will go.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  It might seem like a lot of sugar.  Seriously?  Just go for it.

Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.   Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto  a clean board.

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

What a perfect Fall breakfast! I only wish it felt like Fall here – I had to set the air conditioner yesterday…something is very wrong about that! Where is our cold front? ;) I have lots of apples here for our Thanksgiving deep dish apple crumble pie and also for the turkey. I’m sure I can spare one or two for this.

Turns out I had no apples to spare after learning that the deep dish apple pie requires 5 pounds! Thankfully, my neighbor and new friend had plenty to share :) This oatmeal was really yummy and satisfying. I kept it in the oven about 5 minutes longer than suggested to let the oatmeal absorb more of the milk. Once I took it out of the oven to cool, the oatmeal continued to thicken. I added a little maple syrup to sweeten this. I loved the apples and raisins in this because of the different textures and sweetness, and next time I may add a handful of chopped walnuts to this for added crunch. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Baked Cinnamon-Apple Oatmeal – adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 1 medium-sized Apple, cored and diced {like Cortland, Jonathan or Rome}
  • 1-1/3 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 cup Golden Raisins
  • 2 tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon Fresh Nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups Whole Milk

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the apple, oats, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the melted butter and pour the mixture into an oven safe dish. Pour the two cups of milk over top and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until most of the milk is absorbed. Sprinkle with a little extra cinnamon, drizzle with a little bit of milk and serve!

Chunky Beef Chili

This one is an old favorite. I don’t make it very often, but the weather promises to be much cooler tonight, so I had to take advantage of it! It’s not a quick meal but the flavors are worth the wait. The addition of the cinnamon stick is noticeable, but it is probably my favorite flavor note in this chili. The cinnamon’s sweetness/spiciness makes this dish so unique! Please don’t shy away from it ;)

Yum! This was so good and my husband was very appreciative of this dinner. It makes the house smell wonderful – so good, there should be a candle in the scent! ;) The long simmer makes the meat fall apart tender and there is a pleasant kick to it. It’s not the tongue burning type, but the kind that you feel in the back of your throat. I used two jalapenos, one I left with the seeds and membrane and the other I scooped out to guard against the taste bud searing heat. Thankfully, the sour cream cools it down nicely and the cornbread I made for this (to be in a later post) is perfect crumbled over top the chili. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chunky Beef Chili – adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 2 pounds sirloin steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 12 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno chiles, (ribs and seeds removed for less heat, if desired), diced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Toppings, such as shredded Monterey Jack cheese, pickled jalapeno chiles, sliced red onion, sour cream, fresh cilantro leaves, or hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat a Dutch oven (or a heavy 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid) over high heat until a drop of water sizzles upon contact. In three batches, cook sirloin until no longer pink; remove each batch with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
  2. Add sausage, breaking it up into small pieces; add onion and jalapenos. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until sausage and onion are browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Return sirloin to pot. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, tomatoes (with juice), cornmeal, cinnamon, bay leaves, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until sirloin easily breaks apart with a spoon, about 2 hours.
  4. Stir in beans; cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon and bay leaves. Serve.