11.30.2012

Brown Butter Cranberry Shortbread


.  Heyyy-o!

How has everyone's holidays been?!  Well, just Thanksgiving I guess.  I know I say this every year but the holidays creep up on me faster and faster.  It's crazy.  Can you believe 2012 is near over?  And isn't the end of the world coming up quite soon here, too?  Just kidding.

Hopefully.

Anywho, my life has been a bit topsy turvy as of late and the holidays are not making anything calmer.  Aside from conjuring up Christmas presents for everyone, working, slipping in a workout or two, and attempting to blog, I also have several Christmas parties coming up that I'm oh-so-excited for.  But really, who wouldn't be?!  So needless to say, both my weeks and weekends are pretty much jam packed for the rest of the month.  And so here's my early apology for neglecting LSM.  It's already begun and I feel bad about it.  Sowwy.


As you can tell, it's been hard for me to get in the kitchen for one reason or another.  Too tired, too busy, you know the deal.  But I made myself bake something this week because I knew it'd make me feel better.  And the magic of baking worked.

I decided to go with something rather easy and uncomplicated because I was short for time and energy, but dang.  I'm glad I did.  I opted to try out une gamine dans la cuisine's Brown Butter Cranberry Shortbread because it seemed classic and simple, yet I knew it'd be a quality treat as this blog is one of my all time favorites.


And.  I was right.  The bar consists of a tart, jam-like cranberry filling nested atop a soft, brown buttery, shortbread and finished with crumble of the same shortbread mixture.  Does that make sense...?  In my head it reads funny.  But regardless, all you must know is that the combination of the sweet, brown butter shortbread, and [very] tart cranberry filling is one festive holiday treat that will keep you coming back for seconds.  Or thirds.  Addictive little buggers.

I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season.  As we well know, it only comes around once a year and even if you're feeling the stress of it all, take a breath and really enjoy it.  Family, friends, and food.  What more could we want?!  .

From une gamine dans la cuisine

Ingredients:

Crust and Crumble:
1 c. plus 5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 c. sugar, divided
3/4 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3 c. plus 3 tbsp. all purpose flour

Cranberry Filling:
1 (12 oz.) bag fresh cranberries
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. orange juice

Directions:
  1. Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil; butter or spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. For the crust, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.  Increase heat to medium and, stirring occasionally, cook the butter until it turns golden and develops a nutty aroma (about 5 to 8 minutes).  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled brown butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt until well blended.  Add the egg yolks and almond extract and whisk until smooth.  Using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour until you have a stiff dough.
  4. Transfer about 2 cups of the dough into the prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom of the pan.  Refrigerate for 40 minutes.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to the remaining dough and using your fingertips, work the sugar into the dough until it becomes crumbly.  Cover and set aside.
  5. In the oven, place one rack second from the bottom and the other rack second from the top.  Heat oven to 325°F.
  6. Once done, remove the crust from the refrigerator and prick the dough with a fork several times.  Place the pan on the lowest rack and bake 15 minutes or just until crust begins to set (don't worry if the center is still doughy, it's better to under bake at this point).
  7. For the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, and orange juice.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid turns into a thick syrup and the cranberries take on a chunky, jam-like consistency.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow the filling to cool for about 5 minutes.
  8. Spread the filling over the partially baked crust and crumble the remaining topping over the filling.  Place the pan on the highest rack and increase oven to 350°F.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until crumb topping is golden brown.  Let bars cool for 1 hour before cutting.
Yield: 2 dozen bars

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11.19.2012

Secret Recipe Club: Apple Cinnamon Truffles

.  Dang SRC, you one upped yourself this month.

Truly.

Before I get into these luscious, creamy truffles you see before you, I must first talk about my November assignment: Mother Thyme.


For you bloggers, you know the blogs you 'favorite' and religiously follow?  Those blogs that in your mind you say 'one day, I'll have a blog like theirs...maybe.'  Well Mother Thyme, created by Jennifer, is one of those blogs for me.  Gorgeous pictures, slideshows, and organization like none other.  I kind of think only fellow bloggers can appreciate all of the techno things we find on certain blogs, knowing that so much effort goes into the smallest of things.  But bringing your idea to fruition is truly one of the greatest rewards.  And Mother Thyme is doing it right.

But to back up that lovely interface, Mother Thyme is crankin' out a variety of quality recipes, both savory and sweet!  Oh and guess what, she also has a cookbook!  Now that's legit, huh?

 
So no one should be shocked that I absolutely fell. in. love with these Apple Cinnamon Truffles.  First, how cute are they?!  But I'd like to let you know that they taste even better than they look.  Or sound, for that matter.  They are unreal!  For reals.

Let's start with the innards [probably not a great food descriptor but we'll go with it].  Smooth, creamy, apple delishness finished with a Fall-ey hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Uh, yum.  But to round the treat out, the apple [slightly] cinnamon filling is encased in a cinnamon white chocolate coating.  A super cinnamoney coating, to be exact.  And it all merries together just right.  

And to make these truffles even more appealing is the fact that the are stupid easy to put together.   In no time flat, you'll have an impressive [no bake] treat to go around the room.  And with all of the Thanksgiving craziness, who isn't looking for a dessert just like that?!  Well you are, trust me.


So once again, thank you SRC and especially Mother Thyme, for broadening my dessert spread. I can't wait to share these luscious truffles with family and friends, and I know they'll love me for it when I do!  I'll give you some cred though.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving week, I personally can't wait to eat my little heart out!  Now get bakin'!  .


From Mother Thyme

Ingredients:
1 package Golden Oreos
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c. chunky applesauce
2-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
10 oz. white chocolate baking bar (for melting)

Directions:
  1. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper; set aside.
  2. Break up Oreo cookies and place in a food processor.  Pulse until cookies are finely crushed.  Transfer to a large bowl and mix with cream cheese, applesauce, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined [you can use a spatula but I found it easiest to just use my hands].
  3. Roll filling into about 1/2 tablespoon balls and place on lined baking sheet.  Chill in refrigerator 15 minutes or until firm.
  4. Melt chocolate as directed on package.  Stir in remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon.  One by one, roll balls in chocolate and place back on lined baking sheet to cool.  Once all are done, place in refrigerator to set chocolate.
Yield: 3 dozen truffles

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11.13.2012

Musselman's Giveaway Winner, a Lucky Leaf Pie Filling Giveaway, and Cherry Cheesecake Pie


One giveaway ends and another begins. 

But who's complainin'?!

Can you believe this?  LSM has NEVER had one giveaway.  Not even one in it's almost two years of existance.  Yet in the past month, we've had three!  Weird how things work, huh?

So first things first.  The Musselman's Apple Butter Package giveaway winner!

Drum rolllllll, please...

Cyndi Hamm!

Congratulations, Ms. Hamm, you are officially LSM's second giveaway winner!  You should be receiving [or already received] an e-mail from myself to get some of the info I'll need to get you your Apple Butter package, which I can't wait for you to get because I had such an amazing time with it!

And now on to some more exciting news!


I have for you both another giveaway and a stupidly [outrageously delicious] festive holiday pie that you will not want to pass up.  I kid you not.

So let's get into the details for this giveaway.  Like the Musselman's giveaway, I was contacted to see if I would like to test out some Lucky Leaf Premium Pie Fillings and offer up a package to one of my readers.  And like Musselman's, I said heck yes

My BFF.  She makes me proud.

If you've read any LSM pie posts, you know that I adore pies pretty much more than anything.  Seriously.  Flaky, buttery crusts and sweet fillings will never be passed over by me.  No, sirree.  So there was no way I was skipping this opportunity.

After my acceptance, I received a substantial package in the mail a few days later filled with ALL sorts of goodies, including peach, blueberry, and cherry pie filling, a [SUPER ADORABLE] handmade warming towel, and three recipes demonstrating the various ways you can use the filling!  Hmm...AWESOME.


So what to do with all of these options?!  Well, make a pie, of course!  And that I did.  But not just any ol' pie.  Nah, I had to go for something a bit more creative.  A bit more sinful.  And, of course, holiday-ish.

And here's what I [a.k.a Woman's Day] came up with: Cherry Cheesecake Pie.

Yes, it's as good as it sounds.  And probably more decadent.


So what we have is exactly what you think.  The easiest, butteriest [word?], flakey crust you'll ever meet encasing an outrageously smooth, almond cheesecake, topped with the thick and creamy Lucky Leaf Cherry Pie Filling [seriously, it's impressive], and finished with a stunning pie crust lattice.

And even with all of those layers, this pie is actually quite simple.  And to make your life even easier, you can always use a store brought crust.  Though [like I'll say time and time again], it will never get any easier than this pie crust right here.


So what do you have to do to get the chance to make this very pie free of charge?  Leave a comment below, silly! Just tell me what creative recipes you'd try using the Lucky Leaf Pie Filling.  And to get some additional entries, follow Lucky Leaf on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and leave an extra comment below for each one telling me you did so.  Sweet and simple.  You have until November 24, 2012, so get commenting!

And just to recap, the winner will win the following:

1 (21 oz.) can Lucky Leaf Cherry Pie Filling
1 Seasonal Towel
1 Recipe Card
And lastly, I leave with you the recipe for this mouthwatering pie I made with the Lucky Leaf Filling.  Fo reals, it's pretty dyaaaaamn good.  That is all  .

 Adapted from Woman's Day

Ingredients:
1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 (8 oz. each) packages cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 (21 oz.) can Lucky Leaf Premium Pie Filling
1 egg white
1/3 c. sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Prepare crust.  Roll one half of dough to fit a 9-inch pie pan and place into pan.  Crimp as desired.  With second half of dough, roll to fit a 9-inch pie pan.  Cut strips of dough for lattice.  Place pan and strips into refrigerator while preparing filling.
  2. Mix sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl.  Add cream cheese and beat on medium speed until smooth.  On low speed, beat in egg and almond extract just until blended.
  3. Spread batter evenly into crust; spoon pie filling evenly over top. 
  4. Beat egg white with fork until foamy.  Brush pastry strips with egg white and arrange strips across pie as desired.  Trim and press ends to bottom crust.  Brush rim with egg white; press on almonds.
  5. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cherries bubble (you may need to place foil or a pie crust shield on crust to keep from burning for the 15 minutes or so).  Remove to wire rack to cool for several hours or over night.
Yield: 8 servings

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11.03.2012

Shabby Apple Giveaway Winner and Pumpkin Pillow Cookies

.  Hey everyone.  Happy Halloween!

Well...better late than never, right?


It's been a crazy time in my neck of the woods, so sorry for the lack of posts.  But some things just kind of zap the energy out of me, so blogging gets put on the back burner.  Good thing this is only a hobby!

Anywho, let's get into the fun stuff.  Remember that Shabby Apple Giveaway I had?  I'm sure you do.  Especially if you entered!  Well I'd say it's about time that I announce the winner of the $75 gift card.  So congratulations....

Yeny Flores!!

Okay, how exciting was that?!  I seriously love this.


And NOW let's get into even better things.  These cookies.

Pumpkin Pillow Cookies, to be exact.  And whew, I really can't say enough about these.  Except for the fact that I've made them several times in just the last month, they're THAT good.  

The 'pillow' part of the name really describes these cookies perfectly.  They're dense, yet soft, thick, fully spiced, and delicious.  That is all.


Oh, and they're topped with a perfect layer of smooth cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  UGH.  To die for.  Simple but not so simple at the same time.  Oh, the irony.

Maybe I'll make a batch right now.  Toast to the weekend!  .


My Notes:
  • The cookies don't spread very much so you can put quite a number onto one cookie sheet.  Also, if you like your cookies not so thick, flatten them slightly like the directions indicate.  Otherwise the cookies will be really thick [my favorite!].
  • Make sure the cookies are cooled before frosting, otherwise the frosting will melt and run right off.

Ingredients:

Cookies:
2-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 c. butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 to 3 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until creamy.  Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until combined.  Mix in dry ingredients just until combined.  Drop cookie dough by round tablespoonfuls or using a 1-inch cookie scoop, about 1 inch apart.    Flatten slightly, if desired.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cookies spring back slightly when touched.  Remove from oven to wire rack to cool completely.
  4. For frosting, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until thick and creamy.  Add vanilla extract and cinnamon.
  5. When cookies are cooled, frost cookies as desired.
Yield: 3 dozen cookies

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