Baked Apple

It must be autumn.  The variety of apples is amazing.  My neighbor brought me some King Apples yesterday.  I’ve not seen those since I lived in Portland.  It’s funny how some apples can’t be shipped and are only passed on with a secret coded hand shake.  I will be making Apple Crisp with part of the box, but I decided to try making Baked Apples with some.

Unfortunately, they did not photograph as well as I would have liked.  The problem is, they photographed as they looked.  What is it with me and brown food?  This is a recipe from Grandma O’s recipe box.  If she finagled the recipe just right, she could eat one, even with her diabetes.  Of course, she needed to use Saccharin.  This was the 50’s before cancer was a big deal.

Ingredients

4 large baking apples, such as Honeycrisp

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup oatmeal

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Wash and core apples, leaving enough of the core at the base of the apple to contain the filling.
  3. Combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and in a small bowl. Roll log shapes of the mixture and press enough into each apple to fill the core.
  4. Fill a 2-quart baking dish with enough to cover the bottom. Place the apples upright in the dish. Bake until the apples are soft and the filling is browned, 1 hour.
* From the Recipe Box:
 
It’s just G and I living at the cabin, so I only baked 2 apples in a bread pan.  I ordered an apple corer, but I wasn’t impressed with the end result.  I guess I don’t have the hand strength to control the depth of the core.
 
Grrrr, more brown food.  G put so much whip cream on it, you couldn’t see the apple.  I’m not a major whip cream fan so mine ended up naked and brown.  The flavor was good, but I’ve got to say, it’s a wee bit on the ugly side.
 
If you’re trying to identify everything in the picture, good luck.
 
and remember:   Teddy Roosevelt said it best:  Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining.   Big kiss, Lynn

Raisin Cream Pie

We are pie people.  None of that frou-frou cake stuff for us.  Mom was raised on a farm and pie was the dessert of choice.  Yesterday was her birthday, so G and I made pie in her honor.  More than a few years ago, mom, the S-I-L and I were discussing our favorite pie after a pie heavy Thanksgiving dinner.   The 3 of us all admitted a deep love for Raisin Cream Pie.  It’s not everyone’s choice.  It’s kind of fallen out of favor over the last few years, decades.

The last time I made this pie, I used my favorite raisin mix from Trader Joe’s.   It’s a 5 raising mix that is totally the bomb diggity, but those suckers grew incredibly large when soaked in the hot liquid.  Don’t do that.  Use the regular old raisins.  Save the fancy raisins for eating out of hand.

Be that as it may, we’re going this this pie for mom’s birthday.

Stew 1 1/2 cups raisins until fluffy.

Drain and add 1 1/2 cups sugar and 3 tablespoons flour.    Stir until mixed.  Add 1 1/2 cups sour cream.  Cook for 5 minutes. 

Add 3 egg yolks and cook until thick.  Pour into a baked pie shell.  

Cover with meringue.

*…….From the Recipe Box:

I think the golden raisins were a little too subtle.  

and remember:  Walk away from anything or anyone who takes away from your joy.  Life is too short to put up with fools.   Big kiss, Lynn

**** I’m having blog issues. If this comes across totally wonky, I apologize and hope to improve things soon.

Butterscotch Pie

My dad didn’t have much of a sweet tooth.  He liked Cashew Brittle from See’s Candies, Idaho Spud Candy Bars, Black Cherry Floats and Butterscotch Pie.  I don’t remember him ever asking for any of these except maybe a quick run to the store for black cherry float ingredients, but he seemed to enjoy them when they were around.  So, in honor of dad’s birthday, let’s make Butterscotch Pie.

He was never silly, but I do remember when he and my Uncle Jimmy battled for the last bite in the pie pan one Easter of this very pie, so let’s assume this is a pretty good recipe.  This is from my Grandma O’s WWII Betty Crocker Cookbook and it hasn’t failed me yet.  It’s the one my mom used, so it must be good.

Melt in a skillet over low heat 6 tablespoon of butter.

When the butter is golden brown, add 1 cup of dark brown sugar.

Boil until foamy (2 to 3 minutes), stirring constantly.  Stir in 1 cup boiling water.  Remove from heat.

Mix in a sauce pan 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Stir in gradually until smooth 1 2/3 cup milk.

Stir in the brown sugar mixture.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until boiling.  Boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir a little into 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten.  Then blend into hot mixture.  Boil 1 minute longer.  Remove from heat and blend in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Cool, stirring occasionally.  Pour into a cooled baked pie shell.  Chill. Top with whipped cream.

*  From the Recipe Box:

Dad preferred a graham cracker crust, so graham cracker it was.  I remembered it being better than this, but happy birthday anyway papa.  If and when I make this again, I will cut down on the flour.  It tasted a little gummy to me.  I think I’ll blame it on my sous chef.

More pictures of brown food.  What’s the deal?  As you can tell, I used whip cream from a can.  Yes, I am embarrassed, but it’s what I had.

and remember:  Stop overthinking.  Be loud about the things that are important to you.  Big kiss, Lynn

Peanut Butter Cowboy Cookies

G and I love cookies with lots of stuff added.  The more add-ins the better in our opinion.  And all you have to do to get me thinking about my dad is to start talking cowboys.  While he wasn’t a cowboy, he honored what they stood for.  Even my quote at the end of the blog is all about my dad.  I remember the first time I saw the Red River in Minnesota; I truly thought I was going to start blubbering like a little baby.  It was only a couple of years after he died and I still missed him daily.
My dad used to sing a song about the Red River all the time.  So, let’s think about cowboy cookies and sing some cowboy songs.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup cocktail peanuts roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the softened butter, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, peanut butter and vanilla. Beat for 3 minutes until smooth, fluffy and light beige in color. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stop to scrape the bowl periodically so all of the ingredients fully combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients gradually while beating on low speed, mixing well between each addition.
  • Repeat until all of the dry ingredients have been added, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • After all of the dry ingredients have been added, increase the speed of the mixer and beat for 1 minute.
  • Use a large non-stick spatula to mix in the quick-cooking oats, peanuts, milk chocolate chips and sweetened flaked coconut by hand. The batter will be stiff.
  • Use a 4 oz ice cream scoop to separate the dough. Place the dough rounds at least 3-inches apart on the baking sheet. Press the centers to flatten slightly for even baking.
  • Bake for 16-20 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

* From the Recipe Box:
A 4 oz ice cream scoop will yield jumbo cookies. If you choose to make these cookies smaller, decrease the baking time accordingly.
This makes about 2 dozen.
and remember what Gene Autry and my dad had to say:  Come and sit by my side if you love me.  Do not hasten to bid me adieu.  But remember the Red River Valley, and the one that has loved you so true.   Big kiss, Lynn

Caramel Pretzel Bark

The same day I found the Earthquake Cake, I found this little beauty.  You know how I like anything resembling bark.  How can you go wrong with only 4 ingredients?  As usual, I did not have the original cast of characters.  I still don’t know what caramel bits are, but we did find Brach’s caramels.  As usual, it took longer to unwrap the candies than anything else I did.

We put a piece of parchment paper down on a 10 x 15 inch rimmed cookie sheet.  Next I measured out 8 ounces of the pretzel twists and layered them out evenly.  I melted the chocolate chips and poured it over the pretzels.  As you can probably tell, I had no instructions, only the ingredients.  I simply saw a picture of the bark and thought how tough can that be.  My famous last words.

Next I put the caramels in the microwave with a tablespoon or so of cream to facilitate melting.  I had a major time getting them smooth.  They never did pour evenly.  I would change my method next time.  After I finally got it spread, I sprinkled my salt.  It needed a half an hour or so in the refrigerator.

  • 1 11 ounce bag Kraft caramel bits
  • 1 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 1 12 ounce package Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 oz Pretzel, mini twists

* From the Recipe Box:

Next time, I would try melting the chips and spreading them over the parchment paper.  While the chocolate was still warm, I would press the pretzels into the chocolate.  This would give me a nice sturdy base for my caramels.  I would melt the caramels in the microwave again, but think of how much easier it would be to spread if the pretzels didn’t move.
These were good, but not great.  I don’t like fussy recipes that I have to putz around with.  I’ll keep you posted if I try it again.
and remember:    Go easy on yourself.  You’re doing great.  This is just really hard.  Big kiss, Lynn

Earthquake Cake

I was exploring the Internet the other day looking for inspiration when I realized I have an issue.  To explain, I have the worst problem with people’s voices.  Go ahead and say it…..voices???  There are several people I used to love when I read their blogs, but once I heard them live on their blogs, OY!  I’m not going to mention any names, because that would be wrong.  Just because I’m weird doesn’t mean everyone should be.   I can’t explain it, this is just my issue.

So to follow up, I was watching this gal and I was just getting ready to move on when she started on her list of ingredients.  I’m not going to say her name because I don’t think I can look and listen ever again, but the cake sounded very interesting and maybe you’ll follow up with her.  See, I’m only hurting myself.  What a maroon I can be.

1 1/2 CUP FLAKED COCONUT

1 TO 1 1/2 CUPS CHOPPED PECANS

1 GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE MIX (PREPARE BATTER AS PER BOX DIRECTIONS)

1 8 OZ. CREAM CHEESE (ROOM TEMPERATURE)

1 STICK BUTTER

2 CUPS POWDERED SUGAR

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare your cake mix and set the batter aside.  Combine the butter, cream cheese and sugar and blend well and set aside.  Spray a 13 x 9 x 2” cake pan well with baking spray (or grease and flour) then sprinkle coconut evenly across the bottom of pan. Now sprinkle the pecans evenly over the coconut. Next pour the prepared cake batter over the coconut and pecans. Then dollop cream cheese mixture over the top of batter using a tablespoon as you would for a marble cake.  Take your spatula and carefully run it through the top of the cake to marble the cream cheese in a little.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50  minutes to an 1 hour!  Take out and enjoy hot or cool.

* From the Recipe Box:

The cake was incredibly moist and flavorful.  G was like “SHUT UP!”  This is the best.

There are nooks and crannies that form like a fault line after an earthquake.  Clever.

and remember:   When disaster strikes the time to prepare has passed.  Big kiss, Lynn

Apple, Pecan Cake

I was watching Ina’s Liquor Store Shortcuts and thought this apple cake looked so nummy.  I love a heavy dense cake, so anything with fruit and nuts is going to be a winner in my book.  It kind of breaks my rule about too many ingredients, but it’s hard to limit when you’re baking.

OK, let’s talk about my “too many ingredients rule”.  By the time I chopped and roasted pecans, cubed 3 pounds of apples (and no, I did not peel them, you know how I feel about that), soaked my raisins in rum, I was pooped.  My sous chef was at the dentist and I had to do it all by myself.  Le sigh.  I’m waiting for the cake to get out of the oven as I write this and all I can say is this had better be an incredible cake.

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup dark rum

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed

3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I didn’t use vanilla.  I used the remaining rum.  Hello!)

2 teaspoons grated orange zest (2 oranges)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and 1/4-inch-diced (3 to 4 apples)

Vanilla ice cream

Caramel sauce, heated

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan.
  2. Place the pecans on a sheet pan and toast them for 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside. Combine the rum and raisins in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 60 seconds. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, and orange zest on medium speed for 3 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, just until combined. Drain the raisins, discarding the liquid. With a rubber spatula, fold the raisins, pecans, and apples into the batter. Spread into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool, cut into squares, and serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of warm caramel sauce.  I added 15 minutes to the bake time.  It’s dense.

* From the Recipe Box:

This is the perfect time of year for an apple cake.  It was a good, but not excellent cake, however it is improving with age.

and remember what Henry Ford said:  Thinking is the hardest work there is; that’s probably why so few people engage in it.   Big kiss, Lynn

Caramel Corn

I was just at the coast.  It’s the first time I’ve been with a large family group in quite awhile.  The last time I was there was with my bro and s-i-l pre-pandemic and some how or other the place caught on fire.  We didn’t do it, I swear.  We used to go every summer with the whole family:  mom, dad, bro, s-i-l, all the kids, spouses, and their kids.  We always had a super great time.  Covid-19 makes everything a little more interesting and challenging.  I have to be honest, I was afraid if I got down there, would I be able to get back home.  I can be such a wuss when I’m not in total control.

Sorry, I’ve gone off on another tangent.  This is about caramel corn.  My mom always made it to bring to the coast.  It was a total tradition.  This is like the original caramel corn from days gone by.  It’s super easy to make, but the hot caramel makes it a little scary to make with little helpers.  I thought the caramel got a little too dark this time before I poured it over the popped corn, but everyone seemed to like it just fine.  Keep an eye on it though.

6 quarts popped corn

1 cup peanuts

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup butter

½ cup light Karo syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Put popped corn and nuts in a large greased baking pan.  Combine sugar, butter, syrup and salt in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in soda.  Gradually, but quickly, pour over popcorn and nuts, tossing to coat.  Bake in a 200 degree oven, stirring every 15 minutes for an hour.  Cool in pan stirring occasionally.

This is truly a bomb-diggity treat and you will love it.  Maybe it will become your tradition.

* From the Recipe Box:

About 1 ¼ cups raw popping corn in an air popper equals 6 quarts

This is the definitive Ocean Shores treat.  Mom always brought this.  I could eat the whole batch, unless Chris got to it first.

and remember what Abraham Lincoln said:  Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.   Big kiss, Lynn

Mini Monkey Bread Muffins

We love having Butterscotch Rolls for Christmas and the 4th of July, but occasionally I’ve been known to forget to start the rise the night before.  My bad.  So, I was ever so glad to see these mini muffins.  My excellent sous chef has been staying here for a few days, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to experiment.

These individual monkey bread servings are perfect hot out of the oven, or 24 hours later. Caramelized bite size pieces of breakfast heaven. Enjoy!  We’re heading to the coast for a few days, Covid virus permitting, and I think this would be a fun treat to take along.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 8 count cans of buttermilk biscuits
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 box butterscotch pudding, not instant

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. pre-heat your oven to 350 F
  2. cut each biscuit into six pieces
  3. Put 2 Cups sugar and 2 Tablespoons cinnamon in a bag and mix, add the biscuit quarters and shake them until all the quarters are fully coated
  4. Place 6 or so biscuit pieces in each muffin cup
  5. Sprinkle with some butterscotch pudding
  6. Melt 2 sticks butter,  and 1/2 Cup brown sugar over low-medium heat, until fully melted and the sugar has dissolved resulting in a gorgeous golden brown, dark caramel color (stir frequently)
  7. Pour the butter mixture over the muffin cups until each is about 3/4 filled
  8. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 25 minutes
  9. Remove from the oven and immediately turn over onto a platter so that all the ooey gooey caramelized butter sugary goodness tips out and covers the monkey bread bites in their caramelized goodness.
  10. If you have some cute little ramekins or serving dishes, place a monkey bread cup into each one and use a spoon to drizzle more caramelized sauce over each cup.
  11. I found several recipes like this on line so I’m not really able to give credit to anyone in particular.

 * From the Recipe Box:

I didn’t tip these out of the muffin pan immediately; I wanted the caramel sauce to firm up a bit so it would stick to the muffins a little better.

We always vote after eating something new and this was voted a winner.

Is there anything better than a tradition?

and remember:    Do something today that your future self will thank you for.  Big kiss, Lynn

Grahamookies

.

The sous chef and I made some really fun little treats and we’re calling them Grahamookies.  I’d ordered chocolate graham crackers for another project and this recipe was on the side of the box.

Lay graham crackers on a piece of parchment on a rimmed half sheet cookie pan.  We were making chocolate so that’s the cracker we used.  Next we melted 2 cups of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of cream in the microwave.  We started out at 30 seconds and then gave it a good stir and did it for an additional 30 seconds, continuing until the ganache was smooth and glossy.

Let the ganache cool a smidgy bit and then spread it on each cracker.  Work in sections so the chocolate doesn’t harden too quickly.  The sous chef took all his aggression out on a cup of pretzels in a zip lock bag to sprinkle on top.  Next we sprinkled on Jimmys, but you can use any kind of sprinkles you like.  Finally we added a few baking sized M&M’s left over from Christmas.

The crackers needed to spend about 30 minutes in the refrigerator to firm up.

The sous chef and I had a good time decorating the grahamookies.  We came up with all sorts of ideas.  On regular graham crackers, you could melt peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips.  The same toppings would be excellent on them.   Or we would probably chop up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on one or Butterfingers.  Anything would work.  Jimmys and sprinkles really have no flavor, so you can have fun without flavor conflict.  Give this a try the next time you have little helpers around.

* From the Recipe Box:

There are so many variations to this recipe.  You can make something with the chocolate graham crackers or with the honey graham crackers.  The kids love to help decorating.

We upped the recipe a bit.  Why wouldn’t we?  The recipe on the box was 8 chocolate grahams, 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and 8 miniature pretzel twists, crushed.  That’s merely a taste.

and remember what Pee Wee Herman said:  I know you are, but what am I?    Big kiss, Lynn