Tag Archives: Apple

Apple Cinnamon Pop Tarts

24 Mar

Today I’m going to tell you about two of my favorite things. The first one?

Twitter

I have to admit, when I first joined Twitter I didn’t really get it. It felt like an extention of my Facebook status. I thought I would never use it. Then I got my smartphone (how did I ever live without this thing???) and became obsessed with Twitter. I think my husband thinks I need to join a Twitter-aholic’s Anonymous group or something. He just doesn’t get it šŸ˜›

I love Twitter because I’ve made so many AMAZING contacts and people that I consider friends. Twitter gets me thru the painful moments in my day. Never before have you been able to really connect with people like we have with the advent of Twitter. I can have a great meal at a restaurant and Tweet directly to them that it was fantastic, and if that restaurant is a good user of social media, they will usually respond, and I LOVE that.

When I got back from San Francisco, I checked my Twitter and noticed that Kathy & Megan were planning a bake date for that Sunday and wanted to know if I wanted to come along. Well, you both had me at bake date my dear friends.

Which brings me to my second favorite thing, which is actually part person and part book.

Joanne Chang and the Flour Cookbook.

I am not afraid to admit that I am also obsessed with Joanne Chang (but not in a stalkerish way I swear!) and her Flour Cookbook. I’ve only recently been exposed to the fabulousness that is Flour Bakery, and when I saw there was a cookbook, well, I just HAD to have it.

When I was deciding what to make for the bake date that weekend, I went straight to the Flour Cookbook. I like to take any opportunity I can to make something from the Flour Book because everything is just SO bad for you (and SO AMAZINGLY AWESOME all at the same time), I can only make something from that book if I’m going to be meeting up with people that I can give everything away to, otherwiseĀ I would be going up about 10 sizes thanks to the amount of butter and sugar that appears in these recipes.

My first foray into making homemade pop tarts was very bad. I thought I would be smart and hurry the cooling process for the dough by placing it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Let me give you some advice, DON’T do that. Just, don’t. Learn for my mistakes, PLEASE.

This time around, I was NOT fooling around. And even though they didn’t come out nice and pretty, they were AMAZING and DELICIOUS.

I am going to make these all the time. Butter be damned.

They paired nicely with the homemade hot chocolate supplied by Megan:

And the croissants that were made by Kathy:

I think I just discovered my third favorite thing: Bake Dates

Apple Cinnamon Pop Tarts

Recipe found in the Flour Cookbook by Joanne Chang

Pop Tart Crust

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into about 12 pieces
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp cold milk

In a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar and salt for about 10-15 seconds until combined. Add the butter to the bowl and mix on low speed for about 1 minute, until it holds together and there are still chunks of butter in the batter.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and milk until blended and then add to the flour mixture. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until the dough just comes together.

Empty onto a floured surface and gather into a tight mound. Starting on one side and at the top of the mound, use your palm and slide down the mound. Do this a couple of times until most of the butter is incorporated and the dough comes together.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and flatten into a 1″ disk.Ā RefrigerateĀ for at least 4 hours (I did overnight)

Apple Cinnamon Filling

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over high heat. Add the apples and toss for 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar and toss for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for at least a half hour before spooning onto pop tarts

Assemble the Pop Tarts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Take the dough out of the fridge and divide in half. Roll out each half on a floured surface to about a 11×14″Ā rectangle. I think mine rolled out a little smaller but I just rolled the extra dough together to form extra pop tarts.Ā Using a paring knife, lightly score one rectangle into 8 3.5×5.5″ rectangles or about the size of an index card. Lightly beat one egg and brush the top of the dough with the egg. Spoon 2 big tbsp of filling on each. I had some filling leftover. Lay the second layer on top of the first. I used a fork to seal the pop tarts and brushed it again with the remaining egg. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Let them cool for at least 30 minutes.

I made a cinnamon glaze and brushed it on top. It was a little watery (not enough sugar me thinks) but still delicious!

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Secret Ingredient Fruit Smoothie

5 Dec

One day I was food shopping with my friend Rachel when she told me about how she makes smoothies with spinach. Now, I like spinach just as much as the next person (I was also a fan of Popeye and his love of spinach), but the thought of putting spinach in my fruit smoothie made me a little nervous. But I decided what the hell and bought all the ingredients to make a delicious smoothie.

Let’s fast forward another month or so when I actually MADE my first spinach smoothie. I decided that today would be the day for a healthy breakfast considering we are taking my mother-in-law out for her birthday at Cafe Polonia in South Boston today and the Polish aren’t exactly famous for their healthy cuisine.

Wonder Woman to the rescue!

I was a little timid and only put 1/4 cup of frozen, chopped spinach in my smoothie, but next time I will most likely double the amount. I was pleasantly surprised how tasty the smoothie turned out! I barely tasted the spinach, and luckily it turned out a pretty purple color, thanks to the blueberries and cherries. I even had Mr. Kitchen Misfit taste it without telling him there was spinach in it and he thought it was tasty as well! You might consider doubling the recipe for a fuller breakfast, or keeping the same amount. This would be a great drink to have before going out for a run, which I told myself I would do, then didn’t. Whoops.

Secret Ingredient Fruit Smoothie

  • 1/4 cup frozen, chopped spinach
  • 3oz fresh blueberries
  • 3.5oz Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup frozen whole cherries

Combine in blender until pureed fully. Serve in tall glass.

Disclaimer: Consumption of this drink may or may not result in Wonder Woman like powers.

Daring Baker’s: Crostata

28 Nov

Happy Post Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your weekend and holiday was fabulous. I spent the weekend at home with friends and family which means posting late for Daring Baker’s. Oh, and forgetting my camera and only having my point and shoot with me, so my apologies for the less than stellar photos.

The 2010 November Daring Bakersā€™ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakersā€™ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusiā€™s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

This challenge sounded like a fun way for me to prepare something for the holidays without making just a boring pie. I was originally going to make an apple pie crumble so the fact that this month’s challenge was a crostata was perfect.

I really liked this dough and it tasted delicious. I would love to make a more traditional crostata the next time around because they just sound delicious.

I also got a chance to use this precious bottle:

I recently got to attend a food blogger event at Cambridge 1 in Fenway and we were given the opportunity to try this fabulous brand of hard cider. And let me tell you, their Solstice hard cider tastes EXACTLY like caramel apple pie. So when I found a bottle of this stuff at the local liquor store I snatched it up quickly.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of my leftovers!

 

Apple Crumble Crostata

 

For the Crostata:

  • 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • grated zest of half a lemonĀ 
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbles (You can use a food processor for this, or use your hands if you want to get some aggression out). Make a well in the center of the mound and pour in the beaten eggs then add the lemon zest. Use a fork to start to incorporate the flour mixture into the eggs and then knead lightly until it forms a ball. Shape the ball into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I did overnight). Once the dough has been properly chilled unwrap it from the plastic wrap but don’t remove it. Place on a floured surface with the plastic wrap on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch. Put some muscle into it.

Now I didn’t have a tart pan, so I used a regular 9″ pie dish. Spray lightly with cooking spray and flip the dough onto the pie plate so the plastic wrap is still facing you. Using your fingers, press the dough into the pie dish. There will be excess dough on the top.

Since the crostata dough is a little shorter than traditional pies, I used a sharp knife to trace a line all the way around, cutting to just below the pie plate. Then take the remaining dough and roll into a pipe and add that to the sides of the crostata, to make the edges thicker. Then, using a fork, poke the bottom on the dough withe the fork to make some air bubbles in the dough.

Apple Filling

  • 2lbs granny smith apples, sliced into 1/8″ strips (do not remove the skin!)
  • 1 cup of your favorite hard cider
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

In a heavy saute pan line the sliced applies around the pan and pour the sugar, cinnamon and apple cider over the apples. Cook on medium heat, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Turn them once or twice. Remove the cover and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated, again, turning the apples gentlyto cook evely on both sides. Remove from pan and cook completely (Again, I did this the night before)

Crumble Topping

  • 4 tbsp butter, chopped
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Mix sugar, flour and cinnamon in a food processor. Slowly add the butter and pulse until coarse crumbles form.

Now it’s time to assemble your crostata!!!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully line the dough with the apple slices. Spread the crumble topping over the top. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is crispy. Make sure to place the crostata on a baking pan in case and juices flow over.

Well there you have it! Delicious crostata! The dough was flaky and delicious and very sturdy (which I like). I can’t wait to make it again!

 

 

 

Vanilla Bean Spiced Pork Chops

18 Nov

So one day I was perusing Twitter when I saw that Katie over at Good Life Eats and Jamie at My Baking Addiction were hosting a Holiday Recipe Exchange with a different ingredient every week and a chance to win some fabulous prizes. I thought, Hey, I can do that! Sounds like fun!

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Beanilla.

 

When I was thinking about what I wanted my submission to be for this week I wanted to think outside the box. There was a good chance almost everyone would be submitting baking recipes, and there was no rule stating that it HAD to be something sweet, even though the first thing you think of with an ingredient like vanilla is something sweet, cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, you get the drill. So I started thinking about what I could do with a vanilla bean.

Then I did a Google search (Where would we be without Google? Lost, that’s what) on vanilla dry rub and came up with A LOT of good ideas. I decided to make a dry rub for some pork chops that I was planning on buying.

 

Vanilla Bean Dry Rub

  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped, with the actual bean chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • salt and white pepper, sprinkle or two

I took two thick cut pork chops (it equaled just under a pound) and cut then in half. Combine the dry rub ingredients together, I find using my hands to mix everything together works best. You can really smell the vanilla as everything comes together.

Apply liberally to the pork chops, making sure to get all sides. The chopped pods will probably fall off, so just put them back on after. Either make immediately or store in your refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Once your ready to cook with them preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Then grab your cask iron skillet and put it in medium high heat on the stove top. Cover with olive oil and once the oil is hot add your pork chops. Cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes, remove from pan and then set aside.

At this point I made an apple/onion mixture which involved 2 apples, cut into chunks, and half a medium onion, sliced along with 1/4 cup of apple cider, and a dash of the following: garlic powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Mix together thoroughly and add to the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until slightly soft. Add the pork chops to the top and put it in the oven for about 15 minutes.

I also made some roasted red potatoes to go along with this lovely concoction.

It came out really delicious and very different from what I normally do with pork chops. You can clearly see the vanilla bean and there is an essence of vanilla that compliments the pork in a great way. And the juices from the apple/onion mixture also taste great on the pork.

So hopefully in my attempt to be original you’ll ALL vote for me (voting opens on November 21st!), so I’ll win the fabulous swag gift from Beanilla.

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