9.25.2012

Apple Crumble Pie

.  Fall, Fall, Fall.

Unfortunately my Fall baking hasn't occurred quite as rapidly as I would like, but hey, life happens.


However, I did manage to set aside some time to make this pie.  This Apple Crumble Pie.  Or a more approrpiate name may be the Apple [Mile High] Crumble Pie.  Seriously.  Ain't no joking around when it comes to the crumble in this recipe.

Last weekend Robbie's [good looking, single] brother came into town for the week from Houston, Texas, and it's a rare treat that we get to see him.  His brother works ridiculously hard, and thus, finds it hard to get away most of the time. So you can bet everyone was happy to see his smiling face ☺


So due to his arrival, I decided to make this pie for him.  Robbie told me his brother especially likes fruity desserts, so in order to stay within my Fall mantra, apple pie it was.

I would say this pie is your classic apple crumble pie.  The crust is rather basic, letting the homemade cinnamoney-apple filling and thick-as-can-be crunchy crumble topping completely steal the show.  Personally, I could eat the crumble all.  day.  long.   For reals, it's splendid.


On a side note, I'll be traveling to Washington State this weekend to visit my dad, who's out there for the month with Tasty Bites.  I'll be visiting Yakima, where most of my relatives live [yay!!] and where my dad has planted the trailer at the Yakima State Fair.  Fair food?  Count me in!  So unfortunately this will be my only post for the week.  Sorry guys...

Hope everyone has a wonderful week and weekend though.  Bake lots!  .

My Notes:
  • I'm not kidding around when I say that this pie has a lot of crumble.  So much so that you probably won't know where to put it all when you're piling it on the pie before baking.  But fear not, put it all on there.  The pie and crumble bake down quite a bit, so it'll all end up just perfectly.
  • I used Golden Delicious apples, which were indeed very good, but I would recommend going with something a bit more tart such as Granny Smith's.  The Golden Delicious were very tender but didn't quite pack the punch I was hoping for.


Ingredients:
Crust:
1-1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. solid vegetable shortening
1/4 c. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. iced water

Filling:
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 c. peeled, cored, and sliced tart apples

Crumb Topping:
2-1/4 c. all purpose flour
1-1/2 c. light brown sugar, unpacked
1 c. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425°F.  For crust, place flour in a large bowl and using pastry blender or your fingertips, cut in shortening and butter until pieces are pea-size.  Sprinkle ice water by tablespoons over flour mixture, tossing with a fork until all dough is moistened.  Form dough into a ball.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to fit into a 9-inch pie dish.  Fold edges under all around and crimp.
  2. For filling, in a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Add apple slices and toss gently to coat.  Transfer apple mixture into pie crust.
  3. For topping, in a medium sized bowl, mix together flour and brown sugar.  Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle crumb topping over apple mixture until well covered.
  4. Bake 10 minutes, then turn down oven to 375°F and continue baking additional 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown on top.  
Yield: 8 servings


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9.20.2012

Improv Cooking Challenge: Streuseled Zucchini Bundt Cake

.  What a crazy busy week for LSM, huh?  Three posts in one week?  We're coming up on the limit.


But for one reason or another [apparently I felt ambitious] I decided to participate in all three clubs this month: SRC, TWD, and featuring in today's post, ICC.  And they all happened to be due the same week.  Go figure.

Most of you have probably forgotten I'm a part of ICC [or maybe you even forgot what ICC is] because it's literally been months since I last participated.  And to be honest, this is probably my most favorite club because it forces you to get those creative juices flowin'.  And who wouldn't have fun with that?!

Anywho, this month's ingredients were a bit tricky...

Zucchini and Brown Sugar


Not gonna lie, I initially thought I would sit out again for this month because it appeared like this would be a savory challenge.  But then I thought 'Hey!  This is called a challenge for a reason!' [and yes, I really did think that].  So here we are!

I wouldn't say I came up with anything ground breaking, but I guess this recipe is a bit different!  I actually had a hard time finding any recipes that used both zucchinis and brown sugar, but thanks to my tried and true Taste of Home Cookbook, I bring you Streuseled Zucchini Bundt Cake.  Nom, nom, nom.


The cake itself is rather simple, a plain vanilla cake made uber moist due to the addition of the zucchini.  But the fun and flavor comes from the cinnamon-raisin streusel ribboned throughout the bundt.  A simple glaze drizzled across the top serves as 'the cherry on the top.'  And together, these elements make a wonderful, comforting breakfast treat paired perfectly with a piping hot cup of coffee.  Can the weekend be here, already?

Gosh, I love ICC.  Can't wait to see what next month brings!  .


My Notes:
  • I omitted the walnuts from the original recipe but after tasting, they definitely are needed.  The cake was still great but it could have definitely used that crunch.  If you don't have to, I wouldn't leave them out.
Adapted from Taste of Home Cookbook


Ingredients:
Cake:
2 c. (about 1-1/2 medium zucchinis) shredded zucchini
1-1/3 c. vanilla-flavored yogurt
3/4 c. sugar
2 egg whites
1 egg
1/3 c. canola oil
3 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. dry bread crumbs

Streusel:
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1/3 c. chopped walnuts
1/3 c. raisins
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice

Glaze:
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 to 3 tsp. milk

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl, beat zucchini, yogurt, sugar, egg whites, egg, oil, and vanilla extract until well blended.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; gradually beat into zucchini mixture until blended.
  2. For streusel, combine brown sugar, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, and allspice; set aside.
  3. Sprinkle bread crumbs into a greased 10-inch bundt pan.  Add a third of the zucchini batter to the pan.  Sprinkle half of the streusel mixture over the batter.  Top with another third of the batter and sprinkle with remaining streusel mixture.  Top with remaining batter.
  4. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely.
  5. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and enough milk to achieve desired consistency.  Drizzle over cake.
Yield: 14 servings

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9.18.2012

TWD Baking with Julia: Whole Wheat Loaves


.  Have you ever tried a yeast bread?  Because they are quite possibly one of the greatest creations a baker has to offer.  No joke.  That's only my opinion though.

For this month's TWD, we made Whole Wheat Loaves and my goodness, why does anyone consume store bought bread?  There's your obvious reasons but seriously, nothing beats homemade bread.  Homemade yeast bread, to boot.


As I was working my way through this recipe, I was amazed at how easy bread making actually is.  I've made yeast breads before but never really thought about the process.  If you really get down to it, all you have to do is mix, maybe knead, and let the dough do it's thang.  At it's core, bread becomes great bread during all of the rises when you're simply letting the dough sit by it's lonesome.  Easy peasy, huh?  So now you have no excuse to not try your hand at bread making.

As for these wheat loaves, well, they're wheat loaves and very classic at that.  The bread is soft and fluffy and bodes well with anything: make a sandy for the kiddies, toast it up for breakfast with some jam or honey, or just grab a slice on it's own.


Classic and quality bread at it's finest.  Thanks again, Dorie.

Head on over to our blog hosts for this month, Veggie Num Nums and The Family That Bakes Together, for the Whole Wheat Loaves recipe.  And be sure to check out the LYL post to take a peak at all of the other TWD participants posts and read about their bread making adventures.


Don't forget to make this bread either  .

My Notes:
  • I wasn't able to find malt extract, so I just swapped it out for molasses.  My bread turned out wonderful, so I would suggest doing this if you're like me and still don't know what malt extract is. 
  • I also didn't have the right sized loaf pans that the recipe called for, so I used my standard 9x5-inch pans instead.  Again, the bread was great so I see no problem there!

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9.17.2012

Secret Recipe Club: Pepperoni Pizza Dip

.  Guys, you have to remember to tell me to submit my SRC participation form every month.  It's really your responsibility...(wink, wink).

Not sure if you noticed or not but it's again been a couple of months since my last SRC post because, yep you guessed it, I definitely forgot to enter my participation form for August, so I had to sit out.  Again.  Dang it.

But I'm back for September and not.  even.  kidding.  SRC brought me back with a bang!


Let's all give a little praise to SRC for assigning me The Avid Appetite, which led me to one of my all time favorite dips.  Ever.  Robbie agreed, too.

Pepperoni Pizza Dip.

Or just pizza dip, which you can adapt to be whatever kind of pizza your belly is craving.  This dip is truly versatile, the possibilities are as many as your creative minds can think up.  And that's just too many to count.


Robbie, his parents, and I had to do some deck painting this last weekend and after a good number of hours, I got to putting together this dip for a well deserved treat.  And I must say, everyone loved it.  There may have been a spoonful of the dip left after we were done.  And that's probably being generous.

This dip is creamy goodness with layers of your favorite pizza toppings, including onions, mozzarella, and pepperoni [or whatever meat you'd like!].  But don't be afraid to turn this dip into your favorite pizza.  Next time around I may have to try a Margherite Pizza [our personal favorite] or perhaps a garbage pizza with all of the goodies under the sun.  Dang, I want to make this dip again.  Now.


Thank you so very much, Rachel, for this outstanding dip!  This will definitely be going into my forever recipes drawer and you can bet it will make an appearance every football season.  Robbie thanks you, too ☺  .

My Notes:
  • I served this dip with Tostito's as well as a sliced up French baguette.  Both were great but Robbie and I agreed our favorite was the bread.  I'm sure there are some other great options, so I'd love to hear them if you try out this recipe!
Adapted from The Avid Appetite

Ingredients:
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp. dried basil
1 medium onion, diced
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
Pepperoni slices, cut into fourths
Chips, bread, etc. to serve

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Evenly spread cream cheese into the bottom of a 9-inch pan.  
  2. Spread tomato sauce evenly over cream cheese layer.  Sprinkle (to taste) oregano and basil over sauce and then sprinkle over onion.
  3. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the onions and add pepperoni slices as the final layer.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbling and cheese is browning.  Serve immediately.
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9.11.2012

C's to the Fifth Degree

.  I tried to come up with a creative title for this post.  But this was all I came up with.  So humor me.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.

5 C's, get it??

Anyway, this post is my first ode to the Fall season.  I know it may be a bit early but the sooner we get to Fall baking, the better for everyone.  Trust me.


When it comes to Fall, I think of pumpkins, apples, pies, and spices.  Spices.  Like nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice.  You get the gist.  So this perfectly classic, cinnamon-bursting coffee cake is a great start to the most wonderful season there is.

If you've never had coffee cake, this is the coffee cake for you start out with.  Or if you're just a sucker for plain delicious, then this is right up your alley, too.  The cake itself is dense, yet moist, due to the addition of sour cream.  And that is topped with ribbon of sweet, cinnamon cream cheese and a generously thick layer of crunchy, cinnamoney streusel.  Simplistic, yes, but jam packed with the essence of Fall.  Well, to me at least...

I mean really, isn't this coffee cake just lovely?  Your guests will think so, too.


On a side note, I'd like to give a quick update on my knee.  I know, we're back to that again.  But I actually have some semi good news.  The orthopedist told me I have what they call runners knee.  Fortunately it's nothing major and over time, it can be 'fixed.'  The frustrating part about the whole thing for me was that [in the short version] my knee problem is probably due to the new shoes I bought a few months back.  Basically, the [not-so-cheap] shoes I was persuaded to buy [shame on me!] have arch support, which the orthopedist told me I actually didn't need.  Even though I have flat fleet, the arch support is adding pressure to a ligament [can't remember the name of it for the life of me...] on the outside of my knee and that's causing me all of this dang pain.

So you can bet that I'll be going back to my old style of shoes, Nike Free's, and hopefully back out on the pavement in no time.  Fall only lasts so long, so staying inside to work out has been a complete bummer.  Looks like I'm going shoe shopping!

Now bake some coffee cake  .


My Notes:
  • I'm a streusel girl, so next time around I would think about doubling the streusel in this recipe.  There's definitely quite a bit already, in addition to that wonderful cream cheese layer,  but I'm simply a sucker for that crunchiness.

From Bake or Break

Ingredients:
Crumb topping:
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. chopped pecans
Pinch of salt

Cream Cheese Swirl:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. chopped pecans

Cake:
3 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/4 c. sour cream

Directions:
  1. For crumb topping, combine butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, and salt in a small bowl.  Mix with a fork until mixture resembles crumbs; set aside.
  2. For cream cheese swirl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar in a small bowl until fluffy.  Mix in vanilla extract and cinnamon.  Stir in pecans.  Set aside.
  3. Heat oven to 350°F and grease 13x9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.  For cake, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.
  4. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition.  Mix in vanilla extract.  Gradually add dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.  Stir in sour cream and mix until just combined.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared pan.  Top batter with spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture and using an up and down motion with a knife, swirl mixture into batter.  Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over top.
  6. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Yield: 16 large servings

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9.08.2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

So I'm a little bummed.

I try not to complain about anything on LSM because let's be real, who wants to read about the poor woes of another?  But life happens and sometimes you just gotta vent.  And luckily, it's nothing life changing or dramatic.

It's my knee.

Okay, that sounded dramatic.


I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this on LSM, but lately I've been getting into running a bit more than normal.  I decided to team up with a friend of mine [an avid distance runner] to train for the Omaha Half Marathon coming up September 23.  The training has been great and I started to run distances I thought only 'crazy' people did [sorry, but it's true!].  But a couple of weeks ago, I tweaked my leg somehow and it's been downhill from there [figuratively speaking].  At times I couldn't even keep a slow jog going without my knee hurting and often times it even effected walking.  I tried putting off exercise for a number of days but lo' and behold, I was back out [painfully] running again. 

Well, the knee has just been too much lately.  Before, I was able to do the Stairmaster but now it's gotten to the point where my knee hurts even doing that.  Every work out session has become a pain in the a** [excuse my frustration] and I've just had enough.  So despite my efforts to resist modern medicine, I'm heading to the orthopedist this Monday to see what's going on.  All I hear is 'cha ching!'


And that's all I have in regards to that.  Thanks for hearing me out.

But you know what cheers up any and every person on this Earth?  I do.  And I bet you could guess, too.

Cookie Dough.


Whether you like to admit it or not, I know that during your lifetime you've snuck a finger swipe here or there of mom's chocolate chip cookie dough.  And then went back for more.  Well, I seemed to have found the perfect treat for you cookie-dough-lovin' spirits out there [myself included] and I know you won't be able to get enough of this stuff.

Basically this bar is one big slab of cookie dough topped with a heavenly, thick, and rich layer of melted chocolate and peanut butter [the best combination known to man].  Cookie Dough.  Chocolate.  Peanut Butter.  HELLO!  Nothing more needed here.

I think my knee even feels better now  .


My Notes:
  • The ingredients list says to use milk chocolate chips for the topping, but feel free to also use the left over semisweet mini chocolate chips.  Up to you!




Ingredients:
Cookie Dough:
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 c. mini chocolate chips

Topping:
1 c. creamy peanut butter
2/3 c. milk chocolate chips

Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, mix together butter and light brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, alternate mixing in flour and sweetened condensed milk and mix until combined.  Gently fold in mini chocolate chips with spatula.
  3. Line 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper.  Press the cookie dough into the pan (the cookie dough may be sticky, so lightly flour your hands).
  4. Cover the bars with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight until firm.  
  5. For topping, combine the peanut butter and milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until smooth.  Spread the mixture over the cookie dough bars.  Chill the bars for 1 hour or until topping is firm.  
Yield: 16 large bars


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9.04.2012

S'more Cookies, please.

.  Hi everybodyyyyy!  I've missed this place a bit.  But I'll be honest, Labor Day weekend was a much needed break.  I'm sure you'll all agree.  How was your long weekend, by the way?

As I mentioned, Robbie and I spent Labor Day weekend in the beautiful state of Colorado hanging out with his parents and also celebrating the marriage of some of our dear friends, the Cafaro's.  Some perfect and exciting days, I would say!


But now we're back to reality and blogging.  I was a bit eager to get back to LSM though because you know why?  Well, it could be that Fall is my absolute favorite time of year and by far my favorite season to bake.  Yep, that's it.  The thought of pumpkin, apple, cranberry, and spices galore could only get a baker excited but what can I say, I have the baker in me.  And I can't get to Fall baking soon enough, my friends.

But to end the summer right, I felt obliged to offer up one last summery treat that I had inadvertently not ventured to this past season.  S'mores.  And what is a summer without some s'mores?  The answer: no summer at all.  So to fulfill my duties, I'm [un]officially ending my summer baking with S'more Cookies.  And baa-lieve me, these are a keeper.


Unbeknownst to you all, I've tried a s'more cookie recipe here or there but obviously they weren't any good since they never made it to LSM.  And I typically put up recipes I've tried out, regardless, because everyone's tastes are different.  So that's saying something about this particular recipe I snagged from the Cookies & Milk book my mom gave me a while back.

These cookies have your basic s'more ingredients: chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers.  But the fun twist is how they are used.  The cooke is soft and jam packed with chocolate pieces, gooey marshmallows, and then coated in a crunchy, cinnamoney graham cracker mixture.  Pure heaven.  Pure s'mores heaven.


Deliciously unique, huh?  I told you I'd send you off with a delectable summer treat, but the only way to judge is to try them for yourself.  Go ahead, bake your ❤ out  .

My Notes:
  • I had a wonderful bag of See's Candy semisweet chocolate chip disks [also from my mama] that I used in this cookie and I absolutely loved them!  Not only for their flavor but also because the disks create layers of chocolate in the cookies.  You can see this in some of the above pictures and let me tell you, it's a simple tip but really makes the cookies unique.
  • These cookies last about one week when stored appropriately and to get that right-from-the-oven gooeyness, try warming up the cookies in the microwave for a few seconds.

Adapted from Milk & Cookies

Ingredients:
Cookie Dough:
2-1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1-1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. mini marshmallows
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Graham Cracker Coating:
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:
  1. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Combine the butter and shortening in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Begin beating on low speed to blend together.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and creamy (about 3 minutes).  Add sugar in a slow and steady stream and continue to beat for 2 minutes.  
  3. Reduce the speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, beating until completely blended.  Add vanilla extract and when blended, slowly beat in dry ingredients in two parts but still leaving streaks.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in mini marshmallows and chocolate chips, mixing until evenly distributed.
  4. Scrape the dough from the bowl, pat into a disk, and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Heat oven to 350°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.  Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl; set aside.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator.  Using hands, form dough into 1-1/4 inch balls.  Roll each ball into crumb mixture to coat completely and place 2-1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake 12 minutes or until golden.  Let cool for 1 minute before removing cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: 30 cookies


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