Tag Archive: dessert

Nov 26 2013

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Thanksgiving is nearly here and I haven’t even begun to plan. Luckily, we’ll be feasting at my sister-in-law’s house–my contribution is just a small part of the whole shebang–but I still feel like such a slug for not at least having an idea of what I’ll be presenting on Thanksgiving day. I really should be better at this by now. I’m 36, after all!

Cranberry Apple Crisp

The problem is that I have always been a mood eater. As such, I have also always been a mood baker. I can schedule anything I want but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, if I don’t feel like it, it won’t happen. And I can have quite the rebellious spirit. I’m such a brat.

This year, I’ve had cranberries on my mind a lot. A key harvest fruit here in New England, cranberries usually get their moment in the limelight as that gelatinous goo that slides out of a can moments before being ferried to the table for the big meal. Not my idea of featuring them at their best.

Cranberry Apple Crisp

I almost always volunteer to bring dessert to family gatherings and I’m quite impressed with what I’ve conceived today. Apple Crisp is one of my most favorite ways to eat apples–simple, modest, with the intoxicating aroma of pie without all the fuss. Apple Crisp is about as close as you can get in the baking world to relying upon intuition to guide you, as you would while cooking. No leavening, no eggs, and few ingredients. Fruit’s a little tart? Add more sugar. You prefer Gala apples? You should probably use less sugar. Don’t want to use sugar? You could try maple syrup. So many options! It seemed ripe for the addition of tangy cranberries.

Cranberry Apple Crisp

The combination is harmonious. Different layers playing together, working off each other to create a whole far exceeding the sum of its parts. A little buttery goodness in the crunchy topping, apples that are perfectly sweetened and have great texture, and then the cranberries come in, tart and tangy, slapping your taste buds and calling them to attention. Wow! I am loving this! Add a little bit of sweetened whipped cream and you have the perfect Thanksgiving dessert.

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Will I bring this to our Thanksgiving repast? That remains to be seen. But I highly recommend it for yours! Or for any time you want a little something fruity that’s not too sweet. Happy Thanksgiving!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cranberry Apple Crisp
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
  • ½ cup demerara sugar
  • ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a deep dish pie plate with butter or coconut oil and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the apple slices and cranberries with the ½ cup demerara sugar. Spread into the prepared dish.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, stir the flour, oats, remaining sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Cut the butter up into chunks and cut it into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two knives, working the butter in until you have small chunks of it throughout.
  4. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes, or until fruit is tender and the topping is crisp and lightly browned.
  5. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Notes
Serve warm with a dollop of ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.

What are you baking for Thanksgiving this year?

Nov 17 2013

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I haven’t had much pumpkin going on in the kitchen. Which feels strange since Fall is in full swing and there’s no better time of year to indulge in all things pumpkin. This needed to be remedied!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

Saturday night we attended a Pie Social. Yup, a party with a pie theme. This was right up my alley! Being a bit of a pain in the ass, though, I couldn’t let things be and bake a regular ole Fall-themed pie, as instructed: I had to make a play on words (again) and make whoopie pies. Pumpkin ones, in fact, with a Maple Cream Cheese filling. Oooh, the filling. I could have taken a spoon to that and been quite happy!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

These are very moist cookie/cakes. I worried a bit that they were under-baked when we finally feasted upon them, but nobody else complained. I highly recommend doing the toothpick test to be sure, as it’s hard to tell from how they look whether they’re baked enough. As long as there are no crumbs, you’re good to go. I imagine it would be quite difficult to over-bake these, so don’t worry about that.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

Because of the high moisture content, they will get sticky the longer they sit out. Which is true of most whoopie pies I make. I usually wrap each pie individually with plastic wrap to keep them from sticking together (and to keep your hands cleaner when eating!). Then store them in the refrigerator to save the cream cheese filling. They seem to be less sticky this way, too.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

The verdict? Amazing! Spicy, not too sweet, with a finger-licking frosting holding it all together. A fabulous treat for this time of year!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cookie
Serves: 24
Ingredients
Maple Cream Cheese Filling
  • ½ cup (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons Grade B pure maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Pumpkin Cookies/Cakes
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 large cage free eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 15-ounce cans pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
Instructions
Maple Cream Cheese Filling
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese, beating for a couple minutes to mix them together.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla bean caviar and slowly turn on the mixer, working your way up to medium speed.
  3. Beat for 2-3 minutes or until smooth (if you don't sift your confectioner's sugar, the filling will be lumpy like mine; proceed at your own risk).
  4. Transfer to a covered container and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Pumpkin Cookies/Cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Get out 2 rimmed baking sheets and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the coconut oil and butter, mixing for 2-3 minutes to blend together.
  4. Cream the sugars into the butter/coconut oil mixture, beating until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes).
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, incorporating the first fully before adding the second.
  6. Stir in the vanilla bean paste.
  7. Add the flour mixture and pumpkin puree, mixing slowly until incorporated. Scrape the sides, stir a few more rounds, and then remove from the mixer.
  8. Portion out with a #40 cookie scoop onto the baking sheets. They will not spread a lot, so you can bake 12 at a time.
  9. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Let sit on pan for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
Assembly
  1. Once the cookie/cakes are completely cooled, you can transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a circle tip and pipe on the flat side of one cookie, then apply the flat side of another to the top to make little sandwiches.
  2. If you're in a hurry, you can spread the filling on the flat side of one cookie with a butter knife, apply the flat side of another cookie, and make your sandwiches that way.
  3. Eat within 3 days.
Notes
If you'd like smoother tops, you can pipe out the batter instead of scooping it, smoothing the surface of any irregularities with a clean water-moistened finger, or wet the back of a spoon.

 

Sep 27 2013

Happy 3rd Blogiversary to Me! I Baked You A Fresh Apple Cake!

Can you believe it? 3 years ago today I felt compelled to put myself out into the universe through this blog and here I am today, transformed by the experience. What an amazing journey this has taken me on!

Fresh Apple Cake

As the story goes, when I started this blog, it was at the beginning of my creative resurgence. My renaissance. I reconnected with an old friend from high school and was inspired once again, after far too many years of ignoring that part of me. I enrolled in a Shakespeare course. I signed up for Creative Writing. I pulled out my DSLR and got to work capturing the world. And I decided that dreaming about becoming a published author someday without actually writing was a tad ludicrous. Hence, the blog began.

Fresh Apple Cake

It wasn’t about food at first. I was too afraid. What did I have to add to the conversation? Who would be interested in what came out of my kitchen? They say you should write what you know, so I wrote about the community around me. And soon discovered that I knew more about my kitchen than what would be the hip thing to do. As a mother to two young children, I spent more time in my kitchen than in night clubs and theatre seats anyway. And just like that, poet in the pantry became a food blog.

Fresh Apple Cake

There have been a lot of unexpected benefits to inviting you all to my table. This last year, in particular, has been one of many exciting opportunities!

Yup, it’s been quite the year!

Fresh Apple Cake

It wouldn’t be anything without all of you, though. This blog exists because you are here reading it. Like the tree that falls in the forest, if you were not traveling along this road with me, it would be as if none of this happened. Thank you for your continued support!

So this celebration is really more about you than me. And in your honor, I baked you a Fresh Apple Cake–perfect for this time of year! The best part? It’s a one-bowl operation. Toss everything together, spread it in the pan, and you’ll be eating in your own honor in no time! (Psst! I give you permission to eat the entire cake, if you so wish! It’s YOUR day, after all!)

Fresh Apple Cake

Thank you! May there be many more blogiversaries we can celebrate together!

Fresh Apple Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon dried orange peel
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 dash ground cloves
  • 2 large cage free eggs
  • 2 cups chopped tart apples (no need to peel if you don't want to)
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped roughly
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9" square baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients.
  3. Transfer to baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool completely before serving.

 

Sep 25 2013

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread: Warm Spices of Fall

Have you heard? Starbucks launched their new pastries from La Boulange this week! I stopped by my local shop on Tuesday–conveniently across the street from where I work–and was greeted with pink banners and bows, a celebration for the occasion. Honestly, I knew it was coming and I was thrilled to find it happening so soon. I figured those of us on the East coast would have to wait longer. This is one time I’m happy I was wrong!

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

What’s the big deal about La Boulange? It is an artisinal bakery in San Francisco with a reputation for quality going back to 1996. As much as I love my occasional stops at Starbucks–a treat I infrequently allow myself–the pastries were sometimes meh, especially the morning buns. They could have been great if they were fresher, but they often tasted like they’d been sitting around for a week.

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

On Tuesday I sampled the chocolate croissant–I have been waiting for this! Imagine my surprise when I wasn’t handed my highly anticipated delicacy immediately, but was instead informed that it would be warmed for me. In fact, all baked goods would now be heated before consumption, freshening them up a bit to better resemble hot-from-the-oven-goodness. The croissant? Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and the melty chocolate was amazing. So much better! Today, I opted for the Ham and Cheese Savory Square. It’s like an updated version of my ham and cheese croissant sandwiches that I make at home and heat up in the toaster oven. So far, so, so, so good!!! I look forward to eating my way through the case of La Boulange treats!

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

What was missing? Chocolate Cinnamon Bread. It’s officially Fall now and the absence of this spicy, chocolatey cake was definitely felt, even with my complaint about stale baked goods. Lucky for us, Starbucks has shared the recipe for this treat on their website! I made some tweaks to better suit my needs–I didn’t want to bake 2 loaves at a time and the sugar was way too high, plus I used white whole wheat for a teeny bit of a nutritional boost–and now I can make this any time I miss it. It’s the best of both worlds!

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Quick Bread
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
Chocolate Batter
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ½ cup (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1¼ cups organic sugar
  • 3 large cage free eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ⅔ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ Tablespoon (1½ teaspoons) ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
Topping
  • 3 Tablespoons organic sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • dash ground ginger
  • dash ground cloves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the bottom only of a 9x5x3 loaf pan, line it with a parchment paper sling, and set aside.
  2. Measure out the buttermilk and stir in the vanilla bean paste. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, coconut oil, and sugar, beating until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until the first is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape the sides as needed.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  6. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 additions, starting with the flour and ending with the buttermilk.
  7. Beat until just incorporated, then remove bowl, scrape the sides, and stir a couple times, just to be sure there are no dry spots.
  8. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared loaf pans.
  9. In a small bowl, whisk together the topping ingredients.
  10. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top.
  11. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Cool on wire rack before removing from the pan carefully, so as not to dump off any excess topping.
Notes
The type of pan you use will change your results. I recommend stoneware, if you have it. If baking in a glass or dark metal pan, you should reduce the temperature by 25 degrees and watch the time at the end.

Which La Boulange treats are you looking forward to trying?

Disclosure: I was not compensated for, nor has Starbucks endorsed, this post. All opinions and photos are my own.

Older posts «

Fetch more items