Honeycrisp Dutch Apple Pie

A mournful thick rain is pelting my office classroom playroom window tonight as I sit typing with a belly that is full and happy. Full because it’s stuffed with layers of perfectly spiced apple, buttery flaky crust and crunchy crumble topping. Happy basking in the glow of warm friendship and thankfulness. My girlfriend Rachel brought me a 15 pound box of honeycrisp apples this week fresh from the orchards of Eastern Washington – because she’s amazing and knows I love to bake with them. Just a day later, my “I-want-to-be-just-like-her” friend Jen popped by with a basket full of honeycrisps, caramels and a note of encouragement. Seriously, I completely fail in the doing-nice-things-just-because portion of friendship. These gals are rock stars who I’m incredibly blessed to know. Of course, as always happens, Jen came by as we were doing school in our PJs and I still hadn’t managed a shower. It’s good to have friends who love you in spite of your flaws. [Read more…]

Oven Baked Apple Chips

First of all, my apologies for being away so long. Bad Tonya. Bad bad. I have allowed my life to become too full. Actually, I thought with both my children heading to school this fall, my schedule would free up substantially. Apparently having more time is the great lie of having school age children. Why didn’t anyone tell me that I was about to become the Tonya Taxi Service? I feel like my life is spent in my van driving round in a 2 mile loop. Ok, enough complaining. I have resolved to suck it up and find time to share with you all. You deserve it. Regardless of how harried I feel on a daily (hourly) basis these days. Deliciousness still needs to be made. Women have successfully managed school, children, meals, housecleaning and jobs for decades – it’s the least I can do to get some recipes typed up! Starting with these dee-licious apple chips. No dehydrator needed!

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Glazed Caramel Apple Bread

This recipe comes to you courtesy of Crisco. Funny story. Last week I was enjoying the cooling evening breeze wafting thru my open window with a beverage in my hand and my love by my side when I heard frantic calls of “Tonya! Tonya!” coming from over the fence. My adorable neighbor (and her daughter) were beckoning me to come over. “Quick! Baking emergency! Come over!” they hollered and then disappeared back into their house. So, off I darted to the house next door to see what was up. I’m embarrassed to say that I brought my drink with me. It was hot out, the drink was fresh and far be it from me to let a perfectly cold cocktail go to waste. “Baking emergency” could mean anything from a massive grease fire in the oven, to salt being used liberally as a seasoning in a batch of cookies. I had no idea what I was walking in to…but, with my beverage in hand I was ready for anything.

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Apple Cheddar Penne Pie

Or as I’ve decided to call it: Fancy Pants Mac n’ Cheese. I love everything about this dinner. First of all, anything that I get to eat as a main dish with “pie” in the title is awesome in my book. I’ve always heard how great cheese is on top of apple pie (but never been daring enough to try it myself). This cheesy pasta has apple chunks mixed in so it works off that same pairing. And it is incredible. Finally, I like using all my kitchen pans. I hate to think  any of them are lonely in the cupboards. My springform pan is generally relegated to cheesecakes, but got to participate in dinner tonight. Chalk one up for the little-used pan!

The tart apples balance out the rich creamy goodness of two kinds of cheese in this dish. I used an extra sharp cheddar to make sure there was enough bite to go along with the lush cream cheese. Yummy!!

Just look at that. Mmmm. Gorgeous. The crunch of the panko around the edges is just perfect.

Yum. Yummy. Enjoy!

Apple Cheddar Penne Pie
from BHG “Make and Take” cookbook

2 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
3 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme
12 ounces dried penne pasta (3 1/2 cups)
2 cups chopped, peeled tart cooking apples (3 medium)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion, such as Walla Walla
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup apple cider
6 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut up
1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon of the softened butter. Sprinkle sides of pan with 1/3 cup of the panko to coat; set aside. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon softened butter. Stir the remaining 1/3 cup panko and 1 teaspoon of the thyme into melted butter; set aside.
2. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than directed by package directions; drain. Return pasta to pan; set aside.
3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cook apples and onion in the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until tender. Add flour, salt, and pepper to saucepan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in milk and apple cider. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Add cheeses and the remaining 2 teaspoons of thyme; stir until cheese melts.
4. Add sauce mixture to pasta; stir to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with reserved panko mixture.
5. Bake, uncovered about 40 minutes or until edges are bubbly. Let stand on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Using a serated knife, cut pie into eight wedges. If desired, top with fresh thyme sprigs. Makes 8 servings.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies With Brown Butter Frosting

I’m pretty conflicted about sharing this recipe. On the one hand, the cookies taste delicious. They are kind of like an apple crisp cookie. They have chewy oats and sweet apples with a hint of cinnamon. Delightful. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure the recipe was missing a key step. Chilling the dough. My cookies spread all over the pan and were very flat. I recently got a new (giant) baking sheet, and fit all but about three cookies in one batch. So I got a bunch of flat flat cookies.

When they came out of the oven I got pretty irritated. I had to smoosh the cookies back towards the middle after removing them from the oven to get them mildly presentable. I don’t really want to admit this recipe failed, and blogging it means that I have to fess up. I hate with a passion when a recipe does not turn out. I feel like I’ve wasted my time, energy and ingredients. Rgh. Annoying. I’m sure you’ve all had this experience. Which is why I’m sharing. Sometimes, baking doesn’t produce what you are expecting. At times like these, you shouldn’t throw your pans out and start claiming you are “not a baker”. No. Just blame the recipe. Seriously. Many times, you are just missing a step. Like in this case, I think the dough should have been chilled. The taste was excellent so I’ll try making these again, this time with some fridge time for the dough. The resulting things on my pan just were not really very appetizing without some chilling. This is after I’d smooshed them back in.

Here’s the tricky thing. Because these cookies have a brown butter frosting (which is amazing), I can pretty well cover the shortcomings of this recipe. Just slap some frosting on and everything looks great. I suppose I could have just shared the photo below and told you these turned out great.

Brown butter frosting covers a multitude of sins. In addition to tasting incredible, it turned these lumps of misshapen cookie dough into beautiful(ish) looking delights. See? I could have just showed you this, and you’d never have been the wiser.

But that wouldn’t be very nice. Then when your cookies spread (just like mine did) you might think you’d done something wrong. I’m just keepin’ it real here. You will never get a recipe from me that looks good but secretly didn’t actually turn out. Everyone has baking failures. All of us. It happens. So, I’m not going to pretend they don’t. Go ahead and make these cookies, but be sure you chill your dough before scooping it onto the pan. Otherwise, you’ll have to spend a whole lot of time reforming them as they are cooling to get anything close to resembling this.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting
from Lauren’s Latest

1/2 cup butter, softened
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup peeled, diced apple

for the frosting:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon milk {approximately}
cinnamon, for garnish if desired

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Stir in egg and vanilla. Slowly incorporate all dry ingredients. Stir in oats and apples.  Chill for 30 minutes.

Scoop onto prepared sheet (I used a melon baller) and bake 10-12  minutes or until the edges are golden.

While cookies are baking, place 1/4 cup butter into small saucepan. With heat on medium, melt and brown the butter. Once the butter is a medium brown/amber color remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Beat in powdered sugar and enough milk to get a spreadable consistency.

Frost warm cookies and sprinkle with more cinnamon, if desired. Serve.

Apple Pancake Rings

My kids love pancakes. I love pancakes. But I also want to give a little more nutrition at breakfast than what is essentially all doughy bready goodness…dipped in sugar. So when I saw this recipe, I thought I’d give it a try. My kids picked the cinnamon pancake from around the apples. Epic Mommy fail. Guess I’ll have to stick to making pancakes with applesauce mixed into the batter. My husband (and I) loved these though. They were a welcome change from the same ol’ same ol’ Saturday morning pancake breakfast. The apple cider syrup that goes along with them is delicious too. Perfectly tart/sweet. Mmmm.

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Honeyed Apple Peanut Butter Tart

Let’s face it. My kids have more access to treats and sweet delights than most little munchkins do. I’m always baking something and although my daughter (in general) has her father’s sweet tooth – or lack thereof – my son LOVES everything I make. He would eat baked goods all day every day if I let him. I love creating delicious food too much to really care about frequency of snacks, so I went in search of a healthier option for an after nap treat. This tart seemed perfect. Apples and peanut butter. Sweetened with a little honey. Oh yum! It comes together very quickly too, which makes it the perfect thing to throw in the oven after the kids head down for their afternoon snooze. Since their siesta is the only me time I have all day, I don’t want to spend all of it baking. At least not every day. [Read more…]

Apple Carrot Bran Muffins

We are having an aerobics session at tomorrow’s MOPS. And, my table is on tap for breakfast foods. I figured I should bring something that’s not laden with sugar, butter and cheese. Drat. These muffins totally fit the bill. They are chock full of fruits and veggies – and almost no fat! They are moist, delicious and practically guilt free! Seriously. These are absolutely fantastic. Yippee! Bring on the workout! I’m ready. I hope tomorrow’s  exercise session is something like the included video. That would make me so happy. And probably would also make me fall on my face…but I’d be happy! [Read more…]

Apple Strudel Muffins

Yesterday, my power was out the entire morning and most of the afternoon. It was very frustrating. I realized how completely addicted I am to my computer. When the power came back on, my monitor got fried and now won’t display anything. Computers are pretty worthless without a screen to show you what it’s doing. So, I’m typing on my little pink laptop – and having to stoop to non-RAW/unedited photos because this computer doesn’t have a program on it that can read RAW file format. Sigh. Woe is me.

None of these issues however, can stop me from baking. And, amazingly enough, these muffins taste just as good without the fancy-pants photo. The shredded apple gives moisture and flavor to the entire muffin while the apple chunks add that extra “Oh! I’m eating an apple muffin!”. This recipe makes 12 normal sized muffins, or 6 jumbo/bakery style muffins.

 

Apple Strudel Muffins

 

 

Apple Strudel Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons applesauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup peeled and chopped apples*
1 cup peeled and shredded apples* (use the biggest holes on your grater)
*Total, you’ll need about to large apples

Strudel Topping

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or use paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugars, applesauce and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Stir in apples, and gradually blend in the flour mixture. Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan. Batter will be thick like a cookie dough.
4. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan. Depending on how much sweetness you like, you’ll either use about half the mixture (like me) or more to your taste.
5. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack.

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