Tag Archives: apple

Apple Upside Down Cake

Blissful Brownies by Love Food books

My cookbook bookcase is packed to the brim, its shelves bowing and books sticking out every which way as I squeeze more in. I love cookbooks. Oddly, though, I very rarely use the recipes in them. I love to read them, look at the pictures and get inspired to make new concoctions. I could, and do, spend hours pouring through each one, circling things that look interesting and dog-earring pages for future reference. Every so often, though, I do follow a recipe, especially when it comes to baking—The science behind making dough rise or cake crumbly doesn’t quite come naturally to me. So, when my friend Sarah spent a night with me several weeks ago, I pulled out a cookbook to bake some brownies for our late night snack. I hadn’t ever used this Blissful Brownies book before, but I definitely will again! Since I still have apples from the fall, I tried the upside-down toffee apple brownies, with sticky caramel, apple and crunchy nuts. Lacking a square pan, this came out more like a dense cake in the round tin I baked it in, but it was sooo delicious and looked gorgeous. I’ve actually made it again since. The cake part isn’t too sweet in itself, so the toffee layer is not overpowering. This is a great one for company or a potluck!

Upside Down Toffee Apple Brownies (or Cake)
from Blissful Brownies

Ingredients

Ingredients—I have NO CLUE why I put shortening in this picture. There isn't any shortening in this recipe. Thanks, Karen, for pointing that out!

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter
  • 1 eating apple, cored & thinly sliced (Strawberry Acres)

Brownie Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten (Valley View Farm)
  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp apple pie spice (I used cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg)
  • 2 eating apples, coarsely grated
  • 3/4 c. chopped hazelnuts (I used raw almonds from the kettle corn vendor at the farmer’s market)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 9″ cake pan (square or round).
  2. For the topping, place butter and sugar in small pan and heat gently, stirring, until melted. Pour into greased pan. Arrange apple slices on top.

    Apples Over Toffee

    Apples Over Toffee

  3. For brownies, place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat well until pale and fluffy.
  4. Gradually beat in eggs.
  5. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and spice and fold into butter mixture.
  6. Stir in apples and nuts.
  7. Spread into cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until firm and golden.

    Cake, Out of the Oven

    Cake, Out of the Oven

  8. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out upside down and cut to serve.
Apple Upside Down Cake

This is one of the prettiest cakes I've made!

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Bread Stuffed Squash—It’s What’s for Dinner!

After the delicious stuffing-stuffed apples at Thanksgiving this year, I was inspired to see what other yummy bread-stuffed stuff I could make. The best part of stuffing is the crispy edges, in my opinion, so I also wanted to experiment with how to maximize that crunchiness without having it dry out. The bacon in this recipe adds smokey richness that balances with the sharp cheese and sweet apple.

Bread Stuffed Squash
(serves 4)

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn or other round winter squash (Heritage Farm CSA)
  • 1 apple (Strawberry Acres)
  • 3 slices bacon (Valley View Farm)
  • 3 scallions (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1/2 small loaf bread (this is from Taste of Italy Restaurant)
  • 1/4 c. milk (Keepsake Farm)
  • 1/2 c. mozzerella (sharp cheddar would also be excellent) (this is raw milk mozzerella (sharp tasting) from Groffdale Farms)
  • few sage leaves (my garden)
  • pinch thyme (my garden)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • couple tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Finely chop bacon and garlic. Slice scallions.
  3. Cook bacon in skillet until crispy, adding scallions and garlic halfway through.

    Bacon, scallions and garlic

    Bacon, scallions and garlic

  4. Place bacon mixture and drippings in bowl.
  5. Cut bread into cubes and add to bowl with bacon mixture.
  6. Add sage and thyme.
  7. Grate apple and cheese into bowl.
  8. Mix contents of bowl together. Add milk, stirring until mixture is evenly moist.
  9. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Brush inside and edges with olive oil.
  10. Pack stuffing into squash, pressing in so that surface is flat.

    Stuffed Squash

    Stuffed Squash

  11. Gently place squash, cut side down on baking sheet.
  12. Bake 45 minutes -1 hour, or until squash can be easily pierced with a fork.
  13. Carefully flip squash over (this may take extra spatulas or hands!) and serve hot.
Bread Stuffed Squash

Lots of crispy, crunch goodness to enjoy!


What’s for Dinner?

Can you figure out what I made for a weekend dinner based on these local ingredients? Check back for the recipe on Friday and see if you were right!

Ingredients

milk, squash, mozzerella, bread, bacon, scallion, garlic, apple, salt, pepper, olive oil


Snack Time!

It’s a holiday week, which probably means you’ve got at least one meal lined up where you anticipate eating to the point where you will swear off food for a week. When you realize that you are hungry later that same day, wouldn’t it be nice to have

In an attempt to put my excess of apples to creative use, I sat flipping through a stack of Food Network Magazines, searching for inspiration. I caught a recipe for fruit leather out of the corner of my eye and almost passed right over it because, who the heck eats fruit leather? Then I remembered how much fun I had with Fruit Roll Ups as a kid and decided to give this recipe a try. I made some modifications and was super pleased with the results (aside from some minor swearing when I discovered that my tin foil is not non-stick after all). This recipe does take quite a while to bake, but that’s not hands-on time, so pop it in the oven and go get sucked into a marathon of Axmen on Netflix or something.

Also, remember those apple chips from last week? Well, I wanted a sweet and salty snack, so scroll on down the page to find a ridiculously easy, healthy snack mix recipe I made up using those chips and some other ingredients.

Apple Fruit Leather

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Doesn't get much simpler than this!

  • 6 apples (I used Ida Red from Strawberry Acres)
  • 1 lemon (it felt so strange to buy citrus!!!)
  • 1/4-1/2 c. sugar, optional
  • cinnamon, ginger or other spices, to taste and optional

Directions:

  1. Peel, core and slice apples (it’s moments like this when I am oh-so-grateful for my apple peeler/corer/slicer that looks like a medieval torture device).
  2. Place apples, sugar and spices in food processor or blender and squeeze juice from lemon over top.
  3. Purée apples.

    Apple/sugar/lemon juice purée

    Apple/sugar/lemon juice purée

  4. Transfer apple mixture to saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until thick and dark, with most liquid having evaporated, about 40 minutes. Keep a close eye on it towards the end so it doesn’t burn, and be careful—It will spit when it bubbles!
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°.
  6. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with nonstick foil and spread fruit mixture evenly over both.
  7. Bake for 3-3.5 hours, or until surface is barely sticky.
  8. Remove from oven, cool and peel off foil. If the bottom is still sticky, flip it over and return to oven for 15-20 more minutes.

    Apple Fruit Leather

    My lack of non-stick foil left me with this large piece of fruit leather that looked vaguely like the USA! It tastes like an applesauce fruit rollup!

Curried Popcorn Snack Mix

Ingredients:

[This was such an impulse concoction that I didn’t even take a picture of the ingredients.]

  • 2 c. air-popped popcorn
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. roughly broken apple chips (recipe here!)
  • 1/4 c. spicy roasted chickpeas (Cardamom & Curry)
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garam masala

Directions:

  1. Mix popcorn, cranberries, apple chips and chickpeas in large bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over popcorn mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Sprinkle garam masala over mixture and toss again.
  4. Chow down!
Curried Popcorn Snack Mix

Sweet, spicy, tangy, crunchy, chewy—Everything a snack mix should be!


Weekend Hodgepodge

Wow, what a whirlwind of a weekend! I am definitely looking forward to a good night’s rest. I had a TON planned for this weekend, but unfortunately, and as expected, not everything got done.

Free Dinner

Friday night, we went supply shopping for our DIY Christmas gift supplies. We got almost everything we'll need. Since we were out and about, yet trying not to spend money on dinner since we were shopping so much, we got creative. We had two small gift certificates for two different Italian restaurants in town. We used a $10 one for Taste of Italy to purchase a spaghetti dinner, which came with bread and salad—Enough to share of everything. Then, we used a $5 certificate for Penn Pizza to order a side of meatballs. Voila! Free takeout!

Lemon Zest

It felt so strange to buy a fruit that isn't grown here (first time in about a year), but I needed to make lemon zest Saturday morning for a gift I am working on.

Strawberry Acres Slide

After zesting the lemons and straightening up a bit, I was off to Strawberry Acres with my friend who is visiting from AZ and her two sons. They enjoyed the slide at the farm.

Apple Ride

It was the last weekend for apple picking at the farm, so we got the whole topless bus to ourselves. I somehow ended up with two huge bins of apples, so I spent some time trying to think of what I could make with them. Look for lots of apple recipes coming up!

Christmas Gift

After apple picking and a couple of farm stops along the way home, I got to work making Christmas gifts and apple goodies. I can't say what this one is yet because some readers may be receiving it!

Vegan Treats Confetti Cake

Saturday evening, my coworker and I were supposed to take a prospect out for dinner. When I found out she was allergic to gluten and dairy, I knew just where to go! I picked her up a gluten free vegan chocolate tandy cake. By chance, I also scored a treat for myself, as the frosting on this yummy confetti cake cracked while I was at Vegan Treats!

Aladdin Food

We ended up taking the prospect to the Aladdin, a local Middle Eastern restaurant. As usual, the food was delicious. I refrained from pulling out my camera during the business dinner, but I did snap this picture of my leftovers when I came home. I had an eggplant, tomato, chickpea and potato dish, which came with rice pilaf. For appetizers we shared a small pie sampler and kusa, a fried zucchini dish.

Katie's Bunny

When I came home Saturday night, my husband and I got sucked into several Glee episodes while I sewed this bunny out of goves for my niece.

Irie

Sunday was the day that got thrown off track. My cat, Irie, hadn't been feeling well for a couple of weeks. We took her to the vet last week for not eating much. They gave her an appetite stimulant, some fluids and anti nausea medication. This weekend, she sounded congested and coughed, so we spent a decent portion of the day and our money in the vet's office. Now, she's got antibiotics and we are hoping it's a simple respiratory infection. A sad moment of realization that at 14, she's an old lady.

Apple Fruit Leather

After Irie's ordeal, I still had time to whip up a batch of apple fruit leather, as well as a couple of other recipes I'll share in upcoming days. Doesn't this kind of look like the USA?


Butternut Apple Soup

If you buy a big butternut squash and roast it on the weekend, you’ll have squash to use as a base for meals all week long without spending tons of time cooking. Of course, my obsession with soup is showing again, as I present you with a quick soup recipe that will leave you feeling warm and satisfied.

Butternut Apple Soup

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 large apple (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 c. chicken or vegetable stock (I used homemade chicken stock)
  • 1/2 c. white wine (left over from a work event)
  • 1.5-2 c. roasted butternut squash (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 8-10 sage leaves (my garden)
  • 3 tsp. garam masala or yellow curry

Directions:

  1. Dice apple (no need to peel—keep those nutrients!) and onion. Chop garlic and half the sage leaves.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot and add apple, onion, garlic and sage, cooking and stirring until onion is translucent.
  3. Add wine and stir, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan.

    Apple Mixture

    Apple Mixture

  4. Add stock and wine to cover apple mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until apples are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add butternut squash and garam masala. Continue to cook over low heat until mixture is heated through.
  6. Using an immersion blender, or working in batches with a regular blender, purée the soup.
  7. Ladle hot soup into bowls.
  8. Chiffonade the remaining sage leaves and sprinkle on top.

    Luxorious Soup

    Luxorious Soup. If you have toasted squash seeds sitting around, sprinkle them on your soup, too, for a little crunch texture.


Pumpkin Apple Goodness

Pumpkin. Apple. The two quintessential flavors for autumn and winter desserts of all kinds, especially pies, right? Inevitably, though, when you have a bunch of people gathered around, waiting for the pie to be unveiled after a spectacular meal, at least one is going to have a slight look of disappointment cross his or her face no matter which pie you reveal, if only for a moment. There always seems to be someone who prefers apple to pumpkin or vice-versa, even if they will eat both. So, next time it strikes your fancy to concoct a tasty fall dessert, please everyone by including pumpkin and apple in one dish! While you are at it, if you aren’t much for the precise measurements involved in a pie crust, leave it out! This dessert is so ridiculously easy and delicious.

Pumpkin Apple Goodness

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Peel and dice apples (about 1/2 cubes).
  3. Spread apples on bottom of 9″ pie plate and bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp-tender.
  4. Meanwhile, combine flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl. Use a pastry blender, two forks or your finger tips to mix the topping until crumbly.
  5. In another bowl, whisk pumpkin, sugar, milk, eggs and more nutmeg and cinnamon until smooth. (If you are feeling adventurous, add a dash of curry or garam masala here!)
  6. Remove apples from oven and pour pumpkin mixture evenly on top.
  7. Sprinkle crumb topping over pumpkin layer.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until center is set. Let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving this plateful of fall!

    Apple Pumpkin Goodness

    Warm and full of sugar & spice to please the apple and pumpkin fans!


What’s For Dinner?

Can you figure out what I made for a weekend dinner based on these local ingredients? Check back for the recipe on Friday and see if you were right!

Ingredients

ground beef, apple, onion, carrot, garlic, bread, soft cheese, thyme, sage

 

 

 

 

 


The Stale Baked Good Predicament

My sister in-law works at a scrumdiddlyumptious vegan bakery, Vegan Treats, right down the road from our apartment. Occasionally, she will deliver some day old baked goods to us instead of throwing them away. Vegan Treats are so freaking yummy and ridiculously rich. The last batch we received was just too much to eat! I took some to work the next morning, my husband and I snarfed some down at home, but I still had a ton of donuts and a bun left over! Before we could eat them all or give them away, the tasty confections were stale. As I mentioned in the peach bourbon tea pops post, frugality is a way of life in this PA Dutch region. I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the goodies. So, recipe creation and baking ensued. I do feel awkward about adding eggs, milk & butter to vegan baked goods, but I am not vegan and I didn’t have the proper substitutes at the time. Sorry to the hardcore folks out there! I am sure they’d be tasty animal-product free, too!

Stale Baked Good Treat #1: Donut Bread Pudding
*For a vegan bread pudding recipe, click here. Just sub donuts for the bread!

Ingredients:

Donut Bread Pudding Ingredients

Add some less than fresh donuts, and you've got dessert to feed a crowd!

• 12 or so stale donuts (Any flavor will work. Mine were a mix of glazed, sugar, jelly, & chocolate cream)
• 3 cups whole milk (I used raw milk from Klein Farms)
• 2 eggs
• 2 egg yolks (Save the whites for a tasty lunch scramble while this bakes!)
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla
• dash salt
• cinnamon, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut the donuts into approximately 1-inch cubes and place in 9×13″ baking pan (grease if not non-stick).
  2. Whisk together milk, eggs, and egg yolks.
  3. Add sugar, vanilla, salt & cinnamon. Stir.
  4. Pour milk & egg mixture evenly over donut cubes in pan.
  5. Let sit for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°.
  7. Bake bread pudding for 60-70 minutes.
  8. Serve warm or cold. Store leftovers in fridge.
    Donut Bread Pudding

    Rich & Delicious!

     

Stale Baked Good Treat #2: Fruity Bun Pie
*To make these vegan in keeping with the vegan bun, just sub margarine for the butter!

Ingredients:

Fruity Bun Pie Ingredients

These ingredients (plus butter, a bit of sugar & cinnamon) are really flexible ... Use what you've got!

• 1 large less-than-fresh bun (this is a coconut bun, cinammon would work, too)
• 2 peaches (mine were a bit hard from being put in the fridge, no problem! I got mine at Bechdolt’s Orchard)
• 2 small plums (mine were a little over-ripe, again, no problem! From Pappy’s Orchard)
• 1 apple (mine is not local … leftover from road trip lunch at Panera)
• 2 T. butter
• sugar, to taste
• cinnamon, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Slice the bun hamburger-style so you have two rounds.
  3. Spread 1/2 T. of butter on each round and toast, cut side down, on a griddle or skillet until golden. Transfer to cookie sheet, cut side up.
  4. Thinly slice the fruit (use a mandolin if you have it).
  5. Arrange fruit slices on bun halves. (I also sprinkled some coconut that fell out of the bun on top)
  6. Dot 1/2 T. of butter on top of each bun pie.
  7. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until fruit is soft.
  9. Serve warm.
Fruity Bun Pie

Warm, fruity, buttery, delicious!


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