November 22, 2011

Apple Pie with Caramel Sauce

I saw this recipe on my cousin, Alicia's blog. It was one of those times when a warm apple pie just sounded so good to me. I have never made a pie from scratch like this. But I just craved it for some reason after seeing it. So I made it. The only thing I would do differently is double the caramel recipe. We used the entire amount for only half the pie. But it was so good you had to just totally cover the pie in it! And my, this pie is seriously so good. Thanks Alicia!

2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
Pinch sugar
1 C Crisco/vegetable shortening
1/2 C cold water (with ice in it - you want it VERY cold)

Cut the shortening into cubes and put it in the refrigerator to chill. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in bowl. Using a pastry blender, mix in crisco cubes until shortening is mostly combined and texture is crumbly. (I used my Bosch and regular beaters, just didn't mix too much and it worked great) Be careful not to over-mix. Add water and use a fork to completely mix together into doughy texture, but still letting shortening marbling be visible. (Again just used my Bosch) Divide dough in half and shape each into a ball. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out into a circle on a lightly floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. Place one crust on bottom of pie pan.

Apple Portion:
3 tablespoons butter
2 pound apples (Honey Crisp or Fuji are good) peeled & sliced 1/2-inch thick (I used 6 medium sized apples)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 lemon, juiced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sour Cream Portion:
1 C sour cream
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large saute pan, melt the butter. Add the apples and saute for 2 minutes. Add the sugars, lemon juice and flour. Continue to saute for 2 minutes. Season the apples with nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Mix thoroughly and remove from the heat. Cool the mixture. Spoon mixture into pie crust already assembled in pan. (I thought it would be too runny with the liquid, but it isn't! Pour it all into the pie crust)

Beat together by hand the sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Pour over apple mixture. Top with the remaining crust and crimp edges of crust together. Using a sharp knife, make 3 slits, about 4 inches long and 2 inches apart, across the pie dough. Glaze with egg, if desired. Place the pie in the oven, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit until cooled or just warm.

Option: Warm Caramel Syrup (I think this really takes it to the next level!)

Ingredients: (I would double this!)
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C butter
1/4 C heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, butter and cream in a saucepan. Let mixture simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool, and add vanilla. Sauce may be refrigerated and used over again. May be served warm.

November 19, 2011

Perfect Party Punch

I apologize for the fact that, after reading this, you will find it necessary to go to Target and spend $14 on a punch jar. But it will be worth the investment! I promise! It just looks so awesome in that big jar.

This punch has been made 4 times in the past week. First for a bridal shower, then one of the girls made it again for another shower, and then another friend made it two days later for a party, and it was made again for another bridal shower today. Tried and true. It's like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Punch.

1 can pina colada frozen concentrate, thawed
1 can orange pineapple concentrate, thawed
4 cans water
2 2-liters Sprite (2 bottles)
1 bag frozen raspberries
1/2 bag pebble ice (you can buy this at Sonic for a little over $1, and you need to!)

Dump juice concentrates in the bottom of the jar, add the 4 cans of water, and mix. Pour in 2 bottles of Sprite and mix. Pour ice in slowly. Top with bag of frozen raspberries. Mix gently.

*You can use diet Sprite for a less-sweet taste. It's still really good.

Pumpkin Spiced and Iced Cookies

1 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 {15 oz} can pumpkin
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 1/4 C flour
1 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 C chocolate chips
glaze or frosting

Beat butter and sugar till creamy. Beat in pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually beat in dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. This will not look like a normal batter! Use a cookie scoop to place on baking sheet. Bake 15 - 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Frost with cream cheese frosting or caramel icing. (Makes abt. 4 dozen.)

Basic Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, softened
3 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
milk to right consistency (start with a few tablespoons)

A new roll recipe

I knew I was taking a risk by making a new recipe of rolls for a bridal shower today, but it paid off. These were awesome, and I love that I got 48 rolls out of one batch. For those times when you need a lot of rolls, these are my new favorite! For really detailed instructions, see the recipe at HowDoesShe. I put any of my notes in bold below:

1 1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 egg
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 cups of warm water
about 9-10 cups of flour
additional softened butter (1/4-1/2 c)

To start out: Scald 1 1/2 cups of milk, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of butter in a microwave safe bowl for about 2 minutes. Cutting the butter into pieces helps it melt faster. There will probably be some little cubes of butter still floating in the hot mixture; they will melt.

(I poured it into my Bosch at this point.) To cool it down stir in 2 cups of flour, then add 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon of salt, and leave it to cool for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, in a measuring cup dissolve 2 Tablespoons of yeast in 2 cups of warm water and 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Let it sit for a couple of minutes until it is bubbly.

Make sure your milk mixture is just warm, not boiling and add the yeast mixture. Gradually stir remaining 7-8 cups of flour. Add about 2 cups at time and knead until the dough comes together and leaves the sides of the bowl. Leave it in a warm place and let it raise until doubled in size. (Mine took about an hour.)

When your dough is close to raising completely, butter 2 cookie sheets and set them aside. Sprinkle flour on your counter. (Or put a teaspoon or two of oil on your counter and spread it around. It cleans up so well and the dough doesn't stick like crazy to your hands). Dump your dough out and divide it into 4 balls. Try to make them even, but they don’t have to be perfect. Using one ball of dough at a time, roll the dough into a circle. Once it is rolled out spread the top with butter from edge to edge. You will use 2 Tablespoons per circle of dough. (I used 1 T. per circle of dough.) Cut each circle into 12 triangles from each circle of dough. Form each piece into a crescent and place it on the buttered cookie sheet. You will make 3 rows, with 8 rolls per row. This will give you 24 rolls per pan.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the pans of rolls in a warm place (on top of the oven if possible) to let them rise. (45 minutes or so.) Once they are touching and full in size, cook (one pan at a time) in the oven till they are golden brown, about 10–15 minutes. Keep a close eye on your first pan to get the right time for the second. (Mine actually took about 17 minutes.)

Start to finish: about 3 1/2 hrs.

November 15, 2011

Cranberry Chicken

20 chicken breasts**
1 bunch green onions
4 tbsp. oil
1 ½ c. brown sugar
3 c. ketchup
3 c. cranberries

Preheat oven to 375. Bake chicken in pan for 20 minutes. While baking, soften onions in oil. Add brown sugar, ketchup, and stir to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries and stir. Take chicken out and spoon sauce over chicken (I drain chicken drippings). Return to oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

**can lessen chicken breasts to whatever quantity needed. I do not lessen the sauce amount though. Same sauce, less chicken for my family!!

November 1, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Soup

1 lb. chicken breasts
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. masa harina (corn flour, by flour on baking aisle)
3 c. water
1 c. red enchilada sauce (mild/medium)
2 c. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin

Cube chicken into small pieces. In large pot, cook onion, garlic, and chicken in a little olive oil until chicken is no longer pink and onions are translucent. Take off heat and allow to cool a second; add chicken broth. Return to heat. Whisk together masa harina and 2 c. water. Pour into pot and add the remaining 1 c. water, the enchilada sauce, and spices. Bring to boil. Add cheese and stir till melted. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Serve with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese.
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