Homemade Slow Cooker Apple Cider

Those of you who have been faithful followers of my blog (and how I love each and every one of you!!) can probably already guess that my favorite season is autumn. I love everything about it from pumpkins, bonfires, and the beautiful changing of leaves to the slightly cooler temps, crisp air, and all the festivities that take place during this wonderous time of the year. And we certainly can’t forget that this fall I have something special to look forward to and that’s the arrival of my third little lady or that it will be mine and my husband’s fourth year of marriage and my (soon-to-be) middle daughter’s third birthday. So many good things happen in my favorite season. Who couldn’t love it?

It’s not quite autumn, yet, but as soon as we enter the month of August, my fall-senses kick in and I automatically welcome the idea of bringing back comfort foods that make your insides all warm and fuzzy. Since the month began, I’ve already made big, steaming pots of white chicken chili, Chicken Noodle soup, beef stew, and (my husband’s personal fave) Broccoli Cheese Soup (I know, I know. Recipes will follow when I get my measurements down 😉 ) . I don’t even care that we’ve been in a heat wave for the past week. Pssh. 95 degrees? Who cares? You can always make time for some good ol’fashioned comfort food.

Want to know one thing that can’t be beaten in the cooler months to come? The sweet, spicy aroma of Fresh Homemade Apple Cider permeating throughout your home. There’s nothing better than being able to leave your house for a few hours with the cider simmering in the crock pot and returning to a house that smells like it skipped summer and went straight to fall. In less than half a day you can enjoy a fresh, warm glass of homemade cider that beats store bought, any day. What I love best about making my own is it calls for very minimal effort, it’s pretty much a Fix it & Forget it drink, and if made right, it doubles as a homemade apple sauce.

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Here’s how I make it. Enjoy!

Homemade Apple Cider

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5-6 Red delicious Apples (or your favorite sweet, red apple)
  • 5-6  Granny Smith apples
  • 1-2 Oranges (I used two because the oranges I had were somewhat small)
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 4 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tbs. whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 1 tsp. Cardamom
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg (optional)
  • 10-12 cups of water (enough to cover an inch above apples when pushed down with spoon)


DIRECTIONS:

  1. (See notes below on how to double recipe as apple sauce before beginning) Leaving skins and stems on, quarter apples and oranges; put in the slow cooker.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker as well. Give apples a quick stir. Turn cooker on low and let simmer for about 3-4 hours.
  3. After cooking time has passed, mash apples as much as possible using a potato masher. Cook for another 1-3 hours until the desired flavor is reached.
  4. Strain apples and liquid in a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth to remove any fine apple pieces.
  5.  Serve immediately if you like your cider warm or allow to chill for a few hours if you like it cool.
  6. Pour cider into an airtight container and store in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for later use.
  7. Enjoy this sweet, flavor punch to mouth! 😉

Notes

  • If you want to double this recipe as cider and applesauce, be sure to remove stems, cores, and seeds as well as peeling the apples. I would also suggest putting your whole spices and cinnamon sticks in a cheesecloth in the form of a sachet so that when you mash the apples, these can be easily removed without having to dig through. Before mashing apples, remove orange slices then mash away. Strain cider and put mashed apples in another container. At this point the cider and applesauce are ready, however, if you want to add the spice sachet back to the cider to simmer for more flavor, you can. Just be sure to remove it before serving.

You can guarantee I’ll be making this all season long and plan to serve it at my baby shower and my daughter’s Fall Festival themed birthday where I am sure it will be a hit. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did making it. Please don’t be intimidated to try this super simple recipe. It’s one I’m sure you will be glad you tried.

What’s your favorite thing about Autumn? Let me know in the comments.

Don’t forget to give my blog a quick follow for new recipes and updates in my crazy life.  ❤

 

 

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Creamy Peach Cobbler Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a staple in my house. My kids go crazy over those little individual packets of their favorite flavored instant oats. Almost every morning, before my husband and I even have the chance to open our eyes, starts with the request for “Oats!”.

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It’s rare that I ever have the energy to get up early and put together a warm breakfast that takes a bit more effort than just ripping off the top of the little, brown, paper packet, dumping the oats in a bowl and finally stirring in the piping, hot water. Hey! I said it’s rare, not impossible. It does happen… sometimes. 😉  Like the other day when I didn’t have anything to fix and the girls had finished up their supply of cereal, eggs, and instant oatmeal.

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Normally, when this happens, I like to fix a quick Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Oatmeal. Talk about a flavor punch to the tastebuds! (This recipe will come later 😉 )

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 Having a few peaches in my fridge that needed to be used before they outgrow their use, I thought it would be fun to come up with my own version of the Peaches & Cream Flavored Instant Oatmeal. With the addition of brown sugar and spices, my version had more of a Peach Cobbler taste rather than Peaches and Cream. I added some chopped pecans and cream cheese to give this recipe it’s velvety texture and a little crunch in each bite.

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It was so super easy, more filling than the store-bought oats, and it really hit the spot in the tiny tummies of my littles. My husband loved this version so much that he actually had to get seconds (another rarity in this house)! Best part of this whole recipe? It’s a scrumptious breakfast that can be made in 15 minutes or less. No more of those impatient toddler demands!

Creamy Peach Cobbler Oatmeal

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or milk)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2 large peaches, chopped with skin on
  • 3-4 tbs. brown sugar
  • 3 tbs. Granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 6 oz cream cheese, cubed

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring  water, milk, and salt to a boil.
  2. While water is coming to a boil, in a large mixing bowl, add in chopped peaches, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the sugars. Stir to cover peaches.
  3. When water comes to a boil, add in oats. Cook about 3-4 minutes or until the oatmeal starts to thicken. Add in peach mixture and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Stir in cream cheese just until melted and combined. Stir in pecans.
  5. Serve immediately! Dig in and enjoy 🙂

NOTES:

  • My husband likes his on the thicker side but I like mine a little thinner. If this is your preference as well, you can do like me and add a splash of cold milk to yours!
  • When using the cream cheese in this recipe, I found that it adds a nice tanginess to the oats while also adding a little more of a creamy texture. The amount of creaminess is totally up to you. I had some chunks of cream cheese that hadn’t completely melted to mix in but it I actually liked getting a few bites of it. If you don’t like this you can certainly mix it a little more.
  • I went a step further than just serving our oats. I simply spooned the oats into individual ramekins and sprinkled them with more brown sugar and chopped pecans. I then placed them in a 350° oven and let them bake until the sugar had caramelized a little and the pecans toasted. This created a nice sugary crust on the top!

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I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I enjoyed making it. I’m sure there are other versions of this recipe out there but I was really happy with the turnout of mine! It quickly became a recipe that my whole family adores!

If you need another fruity breakfast idea that also doubles as dessert, try my Blueberry Lemon Bread Pudding.

Don’t forget to give my blog a quick follow for new recipes and updates in my crazy life.  ❤

 

Blueberry Lemon Bread Pudding

Hello, Foodies!

I have never had bread pudding until working in the commercial kitchen at my culinary school. I’ve always heard of bread pudding and it seemed to be something chefs on food network loved to make. And Oh how they made it look so dang delish! I knew it was something I wanted to taste but never had the opportunity and my fear of making custards scared me out of trying to make it all together. Something about bread and pudding threw me off a little, too. So you could imagine why I was too intimidated to make it. I’d rather taste it first so I knew what I was working with.

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Little did I know that making a bread pudding is probably one of the easiest things in the world to put together, well so are custards for that matter!

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Still being summer, I wanted to incorporate some flavors of the season and utilize what I already had in my refrigerator from my last shopping trip. I narrowed it down to blueberries, lemons, and peaches- all fruits that pair magically together! I’ve only ever had bread pudding in school and we typically made it with more of a brown sugary, rum, and caramelly flavor. Chef Rob really knew how to make a good one. It was one of my favorite desserts that we served.

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Bread pudding is pretty much a play on french toast. You can add almost anything to it for flavor and deliciousness and it can be served for breakfast, brunch, and dessert. The first time I tried making it at home, I had planned on using a loaf of french bread I had originally bought for spaghetti but of course, my luck would have it that it would go bad the day I was to use it. My mind was in a frenzy at that point because I had already made up the custard and my girls had their little hearts set on it. All I had left was a partially squished loaf of wheat bread (thanks, girls). Yea-um-no! This did not work as I had planned. The wheat bread was too tough and savory for my liking and didn’t really go well with lemon. Oddly enough, my girls loved and devoured it. I was not so impressed.

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Time for round two with a fresher french bread and a little more sugar and eggs added to the custard mix. I let it hang out longer in my fridge (yanno, so all the blueberries and lemons can get to know each other) and everything worked out perfect! I loved the tanginess of this dish and the way the warm blueberries burst in your mouth. That’s why I am uber excited to share this recipe with all of you. I hope that you don’t make the same mistake as I did and get discouraged from making it at home.

Blueberry Lemon Bread Pudding

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Loaf of french bread, cut into 1″ cubesIMG_0100 copy
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice from half of a lemon
  • 1 pint of blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add bread cubes and blueberries to a large bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of cream, the milk, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the cream mixture to the bread cubes and stir to combine.
  3. Wrap with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator 1- 24 hours. (The longer it sits, the better).
  4. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish or ramekins. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup of cream and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake until the center is set- about 1 hour.
  7. Let cool for about 10 minutes and dust with powdered sugar.
  8. Dig in and Enjoy!

 

I hope you liked my recipe for bread pudding. It didn’t take much to win the hearts of the picky eaters I have running rabid in my home and it will be a recipe I make over and over!

Got a different variation of bread pudding that you like best? Share it with me. I would love to give it a try!

Don’t forget to give my blog a quick follow for new recipes and updates in my crazy life.  ❤

 

Momma’s Hearty Pasta Salad

Any cookout I am invited to, I am quick to scour the buffet table of edible goodness until my eyes are fixed on the beautiful selection of salads- potato, macaroni, fruit and my favorite… Pasta salad! All just waiting to be devoured. And who better to put away a big plate of pasta salad than me? I think of it as my duty to help rid the world of dreaded leftovers that just hang out in the fridge after being forgotten. That’s acceptable, right?

If I’m asked to bring a dish or if I have a cookout of my own, you can guarantee that I am the one who brings the pasta salad. It’s always been a tradition of my mom and mine to make it for big events and it’s highly requested. Momma is a believer that a good pasta salad should be hearty and have just the right amount of dressing that is neither too wet or too dry.

Hearty Pasta Salad

After many years of making it, we found that a good pasta salad starts with a quality dressing and is best the next day as the flavors have time to really infuse into the noodles and veggies. If, after 24 hours, the salad is dry, we can simply add more dressing in as needed. Of course, you don’t have to wait a whole day to dig in but it’s like a good chicken noodle soup- always better the longer it sits.

I’m sure that there are plenty of versions similar to this, and maybe even identical, but this is how we make ours and it’s a favorite to anyone who has tried it. So, if you need something to bring to your next gathering, give this recipe a try!

Momma’s Hearty Pasta Salad

INGREDIENTS:Hearty Pasta2

  • 1 lb. Rainbow (tri-colored) Rotini noodles
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 package of sliced pepperoni
  • 1 can of black olives, drained and sliced or halved
  • 1/2 block of pepper jack cheese, diced or small crumbles
  • 1/2 block of Colby Jack cheese, diced or small crumbles
  • 1- 16oz. bottle of Italian Dressing (our favorite is wishbone)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook rotini noodles according to package. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking of the noodles. Add to large bowl with lid.
  2. Dice tomatoes (saving the juice that comes out), onions, cucumber and peppers. Toss everything in with bowl of noodles.
  3. Slice pepperoni’s into half circles, separate and add to the pasta salad mix.
  4. Add olives, pepper jack and colby jack cheeses.
  5. Toss in half the bottle of dressing and the 1/3 cup parmesan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours (or over night).
  6. Right before serving, add remainder of dressing (more or less as desired).

NOTES:

  • Don’t have tomatoes on hand? No problem. Just use a can of diced tomatoes and be sure to add the juice from the can as well.
  • Halved cherry tomatoes are also a great substitute for the whole tomatoes.
  • Every now and then I will switch out or add different ingredients to my pasta. I have been known to use: Broccoli florets; carrots (thinly julienned); green olives; yellow onions; summer sausage (thinly sliced and halved)

I hope you like this recipe for Momma’s Hearty Pasta Salad. You really can’t go wrong with it. Your results all depend on what you like best so don’t be afraid to play around with different variations, dressings or noodles. This just just how we like to make ours and it’s never failed us.

Got a different variation of pasta salad that you like best? Share it with me. I would love to give it a try for my next cookout.

Don’t forget to give my blog a quick follow for new recipes and a updates in my crazy life.  ❤

Garlic and Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Hello foodies!

We all have that one go-to meal we’ve made time and time again that never fails, whether it be to entertain guests or just something quick and easy that you can whip up and 2.7 seconds. Mine happens to be the Pork Tenderloin.

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This is one cut of meat that, when I first started cooking, was always intimidated by it because let’s face it… You can either be really awesome at making it juicy and tender or really bad at making it choke-ya dry and tough! Trust me when I say, me and the ol’loin had a few go’rounds before I got it right (thank goodness for ServSafe and thermometers to make my life easier 😉 )

I love how versatile this meal can be. I have made it in a variety of ways and flavors, like cutting the loin in pork steaks (or medallions) and throwing them on the grill, roasting them in the oven surrounded by my favorite hearty veggies, and trying new flavor ideas with marinades, seasonings and sauces to enhance the flavor of the pork!

One of my all-time favorite ways to fix this bad boy is with… wait for it… Garlic (told ya, it’s in everything) and a blend of herbs. This Pork loin is so aromatic and succulent that it pairs with almost anything.

Here’s how I make it:

Garlic & Herb Roasted Pork Loin

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INGREDIENTS:

  • Pork Tenderloin
  • 3 Cloves of fresh garlic, cut into slices (I was able to get about 4-6 slices from each)
  • 3 tsp. Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 tps. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 1/2 tsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mustard

 


DIRECTIONS:

  1. Take a sharp knife and make 5 slits in both sides of tenderloin and two slits on the ends.
  2. Stuff each slit with a slice of garlic. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the rest of ingredients.
  4. Rub an even amount of herb mix all over the tenderloin. Let sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  5. When oven is preheated, place the loin in the oven (on an oven proof dish big enough to hold the loin- I used my cast iron pan).
  6. Allow to cook for roughly an hour and a half to two hours or until a thermometer reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145º when inserted in the thickest part of the meat. (Using a thermometer is the most accurate way of determining its doneness, so I strongly recommend investing in one 😉 ). Take the loin out of the oven and set aside.
  7. Allow to rest for ATLEAST 10 minutes. The meat will continue to cook and retain its juices.
  8. Cut it as desired and enjoy 😀

 

I hope you like my take on the ol’tenderloin! If you are like I was when I first started this, do not let it intimidate you. You can really bring a meal to life by stepping up your game and getting out of your comfort zone. Preparing this meal is one way to do it.

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ptloin

 

 

 

Asian Chicken Lo Mien & Honey, Ginger Sauce

Hello beautiful Foodies!

As many of you all already know, my culinary class will be proudly crossing the stage in the next couple months (Wow! That is so weird for me to even say. I DO NOT feel like it’s already time to be graduating.)

Today, my classmates and I were approached by Chef Rob about an idea he had swimming in his head for a last “Hoo-Rah” before our time in Culinary school has ended. Of course we were all intrigued to find out more. That’s when he went on to ask if we would be interested in participating in our own little version of Chopped. Do I really have to tell you our answers? One hint… the vote was unanimous!

Not going to lie- I am super, super excited about throwing down The Hungary Pollock style but I am nervous as crap to be under pressure! Sure, most likely we won’t be using ingredients as off-the-wall as Food Network’s Chopped but the whole idea of coming up with something that will blow whatever judges Chef Rob has recruited out of the water is a little nerve wracking.

Since finding out, I have been wrapping my brain around all kinds of flavor possibilities, thinking “this could go well with this ” and “that would be awesome with that”(and obviously planning for a worst case scenario with mystery food items). While details are still in the air, it’s our understanding that we will have access to everything in the kitchen and, like Chopped, we will be required to use EVERYTHING in our Mystery baskets. I’ve even jumped right in to studying my Flavor Bible (if you do not have this book- GET IT! I’ll be making a post about this wonderful find another day!).

One recipe I’ve came up with brings the flavors of Asia right to your table. Ok -confession- I actually made this a few days before learning about the Chopped Competition but still… it falls in the same category, right?

The other day I was in the mood for something Asian inspired so I whipped together a Honey, Ginger sauce; cut and fried up some chicken and threw in some julienned veggies. Oh! And let’s not forget the stir fry rice noodles! In no way would I consider myself an Asian food connoisseur, but the flavors this sauce was packin’ had me feelin’ pretty dang good about this dish!

Here’s how I make it:

Asian Chicken Lo Mien with Honey, Ginger Sauce

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For the Sauce:

  • 1/3 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2/3 Cup Honey
  • 1 Tbs. +1 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. Ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp. crushed Red Pepper (optional if you do not like heat)

For the Chicken Lo Mien:

  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
  • 2 Tbs. Sesame Oil
  • 3-4 Carrots, julienned
  • 3 Celery stalks, julienned
  • 2 Green Peppers, julienned
  • 5 oz. Stir-fry Rice noodles, prepared according to box
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced on a bias

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
  2. Add chicken to another bowl and coat with 1/4 cup of the Honey Ginger Sauce. Let marinate in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. In a wok (or in my case- a large skillet), heat Sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and stir fry until cooked through.
  4. Add carrots and celery. Stir fry for about two minutes before adding in the green peppers.
  5. Add rice noodles, Honey Ginger Sauce and green onions; stir fry 3-4 minutes or until noodles are tender.
  6. Place noodle mix on a serving platter, sprinkle with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.
  7. Grab your chopsticks and dig in! 😀

Notes

  • If you’re not afraid of a little heat, you can add as much red pepper as you like to give it that extra oomph! I, personally, love to have my Sriracha Sauce close by for those moments when I need a little extra soul warming.
  • If you do not use your noodles immediately after softening, cover noodles with plastic wrap or let them soak in cold water until ready to use. If they become sticky, rinse gently with warm water to separate!

I hope you enjoy my version of this flavorsome meal as much as I did making (and eating) it. I am always having fun in the kitchen so when I put this one together and it didn’t taste like something you just found in the trash, I just had to share with all of you.

Got another Asian inspired dish? Tell me all about it! I’m always looking for new ways to spice up my dinner options so I would LOVE to try some suggestions!

 

 

Angry Orchard Cupcakes

Hello Foodies! I am so excited to tell you about these awesome cupcakes! If you like apples and you like hard cider you will love these Angry Orchard Cupcakes!

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Angry orchard Cupcakes with my Fireball Caramel Sauce

My husband and I don’t drink often, but when we do our go-to drink (next to my Moscato) is an ice, cold hard cider. We’ve tried a handful of ciders and we’ve narrowed our favorites down to Strongbow and Angry Orchard.

I made these cupcakes a little over a year ago for my classmates. They were a hit. I actually adapted the recipe from the blog, Brown Sugar but I wanted to see if I could come up with a recipe of my own.

To get these deliciously moist cupcakes, I simply found a basic cake recipe, combined Angry Orchard Hard Cider (Crisp Apple), Green Apples, and a few spices to top off this apple perfection. I find the hard cider enhances flavor of the apples so it’s imperative you do not leave the cider out. If you don’t like the idea of adding alcohol to your cupcakes, no worries, the alcohol actually cooks out leaving behind its crisp flavor!_MG_0543 copy

Top these bad boys off with a Caramel Buttercream frosting and a drizzle of my Fireball Caramel Sauce and they are sure to please!

Here’s how I make them:

Angry Orchard Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 green apples, cored and peeledAngryOrchardCupcakes2
  • 2 Sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp.
  • 2 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Crisp Apple+ 1/4 cup, set aside

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare cupcake pan by lining them with your choice of paper cupcake liners.
  2. Start by cutting your peeled apples into small dices. Add them to a bowl and pour in 1/4 Cup of the hard cider. Set aside until the end of the mixing process.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat together softened butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar; until light and fluffy. Scrap bowl down.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Working in thirds, add to butter mix. The mix may look separated but that’s ok.
  5. In a separate bowl mix in flour, baking powder, salt and spices until evenly distributed.
  6. With mixer on low, slowly add in dry ingredients. Careful not to over mix.
  7. When dry ingredients are incorporated, add vanilla; Add in the remaining Angry Orchard while still mixing.
  8. Remove mixing bowl from stand mixer. Fold in diced apples and the cider it has been marinating in.
  9. Using a portion (ice-cream) scoop,  fill the cupcake liners up about almost to the top (this is an airy batter so it will not do a lot of rising)
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
  11. Top with my Buttercream frosting and drizzle with my Fireball Caramel Sauce. Enjoy the awesomeness!
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Fireball Caramel sauce drizzled over my Angry orchard Cupcakes

I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I enjoyed creating it! If you like a super moist cake, these cupcakes are for you! I find that the more tart the apple, the better the bite!

Got a recipe you wanna share? Send them to me in the comments. I am always on the look out for new things to try.

Wanna be Blogger-Buddies? Contact me and let’s chat! 🙂

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Homemade Caramel Sauce

The other day I gave you my recipe for Caramel Buttercream Frosting  (Along with my version of caramel buttercream, inside) for my Angry Orchard Cupcakes. Today I want to give you the recipe for my Homemade Caramel Sauce. After many trial and errors, I finally developed a recipe that I am sure you all will love as much as I do!

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I LOVE caramel!! I’ve never been able to turn down a soft, chewy piece of caramel candy or a warm drizzle of velvety caramel sauce over a cold scoop of vanilla ice-cream. In fact, when Mason (my hubby) and I make a random stop to Starbucks (these stops seem to be more frequent, lately), he always orders the Salted Caramel Cake Pops. That is, until they stopped selling them. Boo. (Insert Sad face…here).

This past Christmas, my husband asked me to make a cheesecake for his best friend and his wife (I still haven’t perfected my cheesecake recipe-boo! Sorry, Holly.). He told me that she, too, is a big fan of caramel and that’s about the only dessert she will eat. So, with that in mind, I decided I wanted to give the whole “make-your-own” caramel sauce a try. I love trying to go above and beyond when I get into baking. I guess that’s me trying to impress people, I don’t know, but being in culinary school I should be stepping up my game somewhere.

When I started, I kept in mind that the caramel is going to get its amber color and nutty flavor from the cooking down of the sugar (caramelization). I just didn’t know the best method to start with, so I tried it two ways. The first way, the very unsuccessful way, I added about 2 cups of sugar with a few tablespoons of water and cooked it in a large pot over medium heat. It started out great with very little color changes. After a few more minutes, it started crystallizing. Big nope. I tried adding a little more water to thin it and rid it of the crystals but it only worked for so long. I decided straight away that this wasn’t the approach I wanted to stick with so I remembered what Chef Rob told me about Gordon Ramsey’s method. For a simple caramel, Ramsey adds a layer of sugar in a pan over heat and lets the sugar melt down. He swirls the pan making sure the excess sugar gets melted as well. He adds butter and Viola! Caramel!

Sure enough, this way worked best for me! Ofcourse, I added a few more things to make it more of a silky-smooth sauce. This caramel has a deep amber color and is very rich in flavor that reminds me of Creme Brulee.

Here is how I make mine:

Homemade Rich, Velvety Caramel Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Tbs. Butter
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 tbs. Heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat a large pot over medium to medium high heat.
  2. Add 1 cup of sugar to pot and swirl to make an even layer over the bottom.
  3. Wait for sugar to start melting then swirl pot occasionally to finish melting the rest of sugar in pot. (bring off heat every now and then if you think it’s cooking too fast).
  4. Once all the sugar is melted and has an amber color, remove from heat and whisk in butter.
  5. Once butter is incorporated, gradually whisk in the cream. Do this step slowly to keep the caramel from getting sugar clumps.
  6. If the caramel sauce seems like it is too thick in the bend of the pot, place it back on the heat and whisk constantly until it is easily incorporated back in. (As soon as you return it to the heat it will bubble up so be sure to whisk quickly).
  7. Remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before using diving into this velvety smooth, rich decadent sauce!

This recipe may be a little complicated at first, but with practice and patience it will come easily after you get the caramelization of the sugar down pat. If you would like to see how Gordon Ramsey does it click here.

I hope you give this recipe a try and let me know how it worked for you. What would you use this sauce on?

Got a recipe you wanna share? Send it to me and I will give it a try and even feature it on my blog. Wanna be Blogger-Buddies? Contact me and let’s chat! 🙂

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Buttercream Frosting

 

Hello lovelies!

Raise your hand if you love cake. I’m juuust gonna slowly raise my hand and answer my own question because I LOVE cake. Chocolate. Fruity. Cheesecake. You name it.  I even love them molten, just oozing with chocolaty goodness. I love it in tiers; I love them in sheets. I love them all. But what I love more than cake is the frosting.

AngryOrchardCupcakesblog

There are those who will scrape it off and eat the cake plain… it’s safe to say- I am not one of those people. Sometimes I will only get a piece of cake for that heaping mound on the edges. I could eat it by the spoonfuls. (#guilty #dontjudgeme)
My favorite kind is a good ol’fashioned buttercream! I love its buttery flavor, the fluffy texture and I love how you can work with different consistencies for decorating.

Yesterday, I created a recipe for Angry Orchard Cupcakes (I am dying to post the recipe but I figure I better get the other components first 😉 ). Everything was homemade from the cakes to Fireball Caramel Sauce. No, I was not the first to come up with the idea of adding hard cider to an apple cake batter, but this version of the recipe is completely mine.

When I came up with the idea of recreating my own recipe for the cupcakes, I had caramel apples on my mind. I needed a frosting to top it so I created a Caramel Buttercream. I’m sure there are other bloggers who have made a buttercream recipe that’s the same as mine- it’s kinda hard to come up with an original recipe these days- but this recipe is so good I had to share my version with my foodies.

Honest to goodness- this is the BEST recipe for a basic Buttercream Frosting! You need to try this, like… now! And because I love you all so well, I threw in directions for my awesome Caramel Buttercream, too.

Here’s how I make mine:

Basic Buttercream Frosting

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened_MG_0543 copy
  • 2 lbs. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs. vanilla extract
  • Heavy whipping cream

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl, with a hand or stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter on low speed. Mix until well blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for desired spreading/piping consistency.

3. Scoop into a piping bag and pipe decoratively onto cupcakes, or spread onto cupcakes as desired.

Caramel Buttercream

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Buttercream recipe from above
  • 1 cup of Caramel Sauce, cooled (store bought or HOMEMADE)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix ingredients as you would for the Basic Buttercream, omitting the cream until after adding the caramel. 
  2. Add in the Caramel sauce and mix on medium speed. 
  3. If needed, add cream for desired consistency. 
  4. Scoop into piping bag and pipe decoratively onto cupcakes, or spread as desired. 

NOTES
  • This recipe is very versatile. You can change the flavor by adding in desired flavored extracts and flavorings. You can also double and triple this recipe with ease.
  • Do not skimp on the butter- it’s a must! If you use shortening or margarine, you are drastically altering it’s flavor and consistency. Trust me, I’ve been there and nothing compares to the good stuff!
  • If you add in color, I suggest using gel coloring. The liquid color may thin your frosting too much by the time you get your desired color.
  • If you have too much frosting, freeze it 😉 Put the leftover buttercream in an airtight box and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months. If frozen then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

See? Simple. Delicious. Versatile. I hope this recipe is enough to make you wanna bake a cake and whip up a batch of frosting! Or maybe skip the cake altogether and just grab some spoons and go to town. I know that’s what I’ll be doing.

Got a recipe you wanna share? Send it to me and I will give it a try and even feature it on my blog. Wanna be Blogger-Buddies? Shoot me a message and let’s chat!

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Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon Rolls

Ah… snow days. With each falling snowflake, I feel all motivation to do anything productive slipping from my body. I was supposed to have class today but thanks to the 3 or more inches of snow coming to Eastern Kentucky and Rasputia- my ’93 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (What? Don’t tell my you’ve never named your vehicle), I’m taking it easy at home with my ladyloves. On my way to school yesterday, she decided she was going to break down on me. As old as my jeep is, she’s been faithful to me for going on 5 years, so I can’t be too upset. Just glad I hadn’t made it too far into my destination. That could have been bad! 

What does a student and momma of two do on a snow day? Catch up on homework while my girls flip back and forth between these crazy Baby Alive and Suprise Egg youtube videos! How the crap my kids found these videos and why they’ve taken such a strong interest in them is beyond me, but they drive me CRAZY. 

I feel I must confess… I’m not really doing my homework. I’m supposed to be and I do have everything pulled up for Interpersonal Communications, but I just can’t bring myself to focus on anything other than Cinnamon rolls. Yea, I said it. I’m thinking of a piping hot, big, ol’fat, Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon roll just oozing with a sticky glaze! _MG_0450 copy

I got that lazy girl status going on today and the only thing I want to do is whip up a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls, cuddle up with my ladies underneath no less than 3 layers of blankets and binge watch Harry Potter movies in honor of Professor Snape (so sad to learn on Alan Rickman’s passing).  Is that too much for a girl to ask? 

 It’s no secret, I’ve got a sweet tooth. What better way to calm it down than to make cinnamon rolls? When I was younger I wasn’t brave enough to try making them homemade. Anything with yeast intimidated me.  That all changed when I took an interest in bread making and our class went over the Yeast Bread section in our On Cooking textbook. The recipe we used was so simple with perfect results. Since then, I keep a jar of yeast on hand at all times and I try to bake bread any chance I get. _MG_0464 copy

Some time after making them in the test kitchens, I lost my recipe. A sad day that was when I finally realized it.  I looked everywhere. Eventually I gave up and tried a handful I found on Pinterest. Some were fails while others were good but they just didn’t hold up to the recipe we used. Sometime later I randomly found the one we used hiding in my old backpack. (Boy was I thrilled). This recipe gives Cinnabun a run for it’s money. 

I have no doubt that once you try this recipe you’ll never go back to store bought again. Here is how I make them…

 

Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon Rolls

INGREDIENTS:

For the Rolls:_MG_0428 copy

  • 3 1/2 -4 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 4 1/2 Tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 C. milk
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1 egg

For the Filling:

  • 3/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 5 Tbs. butter melted
  • 1/3 C. finely chopped pecans, optional but encouraged 😉 

For the Glaze:

  • 1 C. powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • 2 Tbs. butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbs. milk

DIRECTIONS: 

For the rolls and filling:

  1. In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. 
  2. In a quart sized sauce pan, heat milk over low heat until very warm or a thermometer reads 120-125ºF. Add the warm milk, butter and egg to flour mixture. 
  3. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, stopping frequently to scrap the sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Do this until flour mixture is moistened. 
  4. Crank mixer to medium speed and beat for an additional minute. Lower speed and add in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time just until dough is soft, pulls away from the bowl and is easy enough to handle. ( You may not use all 4 cups of flour. Do not force it) Once flour is incorporated, crank speed to medium and let mix for 1 minute. 
  5. Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn the dough out. Knead for about 5 minutes until dough is smooth and springy. If dough starts to stick, sprinkle extra flour as needed but be careful not to incorporate too much as the dough will be be tough. 
  6. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, spray a little more cooking spray over top and cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in warm, draft free place for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  7. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Grease  or add parchment paper to a sheet pan. When dough is ready, sprinkle work surface with flour. Punch dough down and turn out onto floured surface. With a rolling pin (or your hands) roll dough to about 15×10 inch rectangle. 
  8. Spread melted butter over dough to 1/2 inch from edges. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar mixture and nuts. 
  9. Beginning at the longest side, roll the dough tightly. Using a sharp/serrated knife, cut into 15- 1 inch slices (or 12- 1 1/2 inch slices for colossal sized rolls). Place slightly apart on prepared sheet pan; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place and addition 30 minutes or until rolls have doubled in size.
  10. Remove plastic wrap and brush rolls with melted butter. Bake in preheated over for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before adding glaze.

For the Glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, mix in all the glaze ingredients until smooth; adding enough milk so glaze is thing enough to drizzle. 

Notes

  • I know this seems like a lot of steps, but please don’t let that discourage you from trying it out. I promise- It’s worth the extra work!!! You really can’t mess this up unless you kill your yeast. 
  • It is very important that you do not scald your milk. Yeast are live organisms. When you add milk that is too hot, it will kill them. You need the yeast to get a good height and texture. I like to use a thermometer so if you do the same, keep the temperature between 110-125. A nice happy medium 🙂 
  • I must mention, the icing on the rolls in my pictures have a cream cheese icing. I like to flip flop between the two but they are equally delicious!

 

_MG_0440 copy 

I really hope you liked this recipe for Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon Rolls as much as I do. Be warned that once you make them for friends or family, someone is going to start expecting them at every meeting. Take it from me- I can’t go to my mother in-laws house without bringing her a batch all to herself. 

If you give this recipe a try, let me know how it turned out. I’d love to hear all about it! 

_MG_0464 CR.jpg

 

 

Early American Pumpkin Pie

Yesterday, I gave you my recipe for a Golden, Flaky Pie Dough, but what’s a pie dough without its filling? One thing my momma would always let me bake for our holiday dinners was a pumpkin pie. I’ve tried many pumpkin pie recipes in my day but none could hold up to the one I found in the “America’s Favorite Brand Name Baking” book. I’m oober happy to share this one with all of you, lovelies. It’s a keeper and one I plan to pass along to my little ladies.

I really love how this recipe has an old fashioned taste and brings back warm memories of family gatherings the moment this spiced, pumpkiny custard hits my mouth. It has all the flavors of fall in one, round dessert.

If you love pumpkin flavored desserts as much as I do, you must give this recipe for Pumpkin Pie a try. I’ve tweaked it up a little to my liking (like, um, adding a little vanilla… and I think I added a touch of maple syrup, once) and the flavor is amazing! Here’s how I make it:

 

Early American Pumpkin Pie

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-9″ unbaked pie shell
  • 1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 c. milk
    Pumpkin Pie
    Please excuse the cell phone pic, this was all I had handy. I’ll post better soon 😉 

    1 c. sugar

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbs. butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425° F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except pie shell in a large bowl; blend well.
  3. Poor into pie shell.
  4. Bake 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted into filling comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool completely before cutting into.
  6. Serve with a pumpkin spiced Creme Chantilly (whipped cream) and enjoy the wonderful flavors of fall! 🙂

I hope you liked this recipe for Early American Pumpkin Pie. I’m sure it will win favorite with your guests
. We love it here!

Oh, and because I love pumpkin so much, here are a few Fun Facts about Pumpkin Pie:

  • Pumpkin pie was not served at the first Thanksgiving, though pumpkins were used in other recipes at the time.
  • The American colonists used pumpkin in pie crusts, but not in the filling.
  • In 1929, Libby’s canned pumpkin was introduced to America. Libby’s is not actually pumpkin but another kind of squash called a Dickinson that also has orange flesh. (I feel like I’ve been living a lie when I found this one out!!)
  • The world’s largest pumpkin pie weighed over 350 pounds and was made with 80 pounds of pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, and 144 eggs
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites. (ok, it’s not about the pie but it is about the pumpkin)

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Golden, Flaky Pie Dough

Ahh. The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is about four days away and I can already smell the turkey being pulled from the oven! Thanksgiving is my absolute, all-time favorite holiday (Halloween being a close second). It’s the only holiday that folks don’t “expect”gifts or fancy things. This holiday’s only requirement is good food and good fun with the people you love.

Every year,  my sweet husband and myself host a Turkey Dinner- with all the fixings of a traditional thanksgiving dinner- the Saturday directly following Thanksgiving. This year makes our fifth dinner (wow!) and each year we have a great turn out. I don’t dare host it on the actual holiday. It’s too much on everyone between all the competition of family time. If you’re like my husband and I, you probably do a lot of bouncing around between family dinners on each side of your families (Stressful, isn’t it?).

To start the holiday off right (this year) I decided I wasn’t going to slave away the night before and day of my dinner. I figured a little planning ahead and pre-prepping food that can be made ahead would save so much time and I MIGHT actually get to get myself ready in time for guests to arrive. So far it’s working out perfectly. I managed to make and freeze my pie dough, an apple pie, punch and today I’m going to make a pumpkin roll (recipes to follow).

What’s a thanksgiving dinner without pie?  And what’s a pie without pie dough? We all have our favorite pie dough recipes, some that may have even got passed down through the years from a beloved family member. Me? I never really found a dough recipe that stood the test of time (at least, not yet). However, last year in the test kitchens we were introduced to a dough recipe that they used all the time and still use to this day! It’s a great dough that delivers a beautiful golden, flaky crust when baked. Oh, and best of all… this dough can be used for savory meals like pot pies, too! 😉

So here is how we make it 🙂

Flaky Pie Dough

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 c. Flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 5-6 tbs. Cold Water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Sift flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. With a pastry blender or fork, cut shortening into the flour until particles are about the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add in a couple tablespoons of water at a time until the flour mixture is moist enough come together. (Do not add too much water or dough will be sticky).
  4. Divide dough into 2 balls.
  5. Lightly dust board or cleaned table with flour and roll dough into about 1/8″ thickness about 2″ larger than your pie plate.

NOTES:

  • Follow your pie recipe for further instructions on baking your dough. Some recipes, like cream pies,  may require you to dock (prick your dough with a fork) and blind bake (adding some form of weight, like a layer of parchment paper with dried beans, to your dough to keep the dough from bubbling up) before adding the filling. Other recipes, like custard pies, require a raw dough before baking.
  • When preparing your dough, be careful not to over work it. Overworking will cause your dough to be tough and hard to work with.
  • This dough actually freezes really well, so if you’re like me and can use all the extra time you’re thrown, make a double batch of dough ahead of time, separate into individual balls, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for about 2 months.

Like my recipe for a Flaky Pie Dough? Let me know in the comments. If you have a favorite dough recipe you would like to share, send it to me and I’ll give it a try!

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Lasagna Roll-ups- a fun way to eat lasagna

It was Italian dinner night at the Holbrook Homestead yesterday. For a while now, I’ve been craving lasagna but I cringe at the thought of putting it together. The time it takes to assemble each layer of noodles, filling, and sauce (that I make completely from scratch) is almost time consuming when you really just want to dig right in. Let’s not forget the bake time. We’ve all been there, right? No? Maybe it’s just me. However, those thoughts quickly cease when I pull the heavy, piping hot dish from the oven. The slightly browned cheese bubbling on the surface and the savory aroma of Italian herbs dancing around my nostrils is mouthwatering. I know my efforts are well rewarded when my husband takes his first bite and there is silence the rest of our dinner time.

Last night, I found an unopened container of ricotta cheese just hanging out on the refrigerator door. It was nearing it’s expiration so I knew that I needed to just give in to my laziness. I wanted to try a new way of putting together my lasagna. I remembered seeing all kinds of pins and posts about “rolling” your lasagna noodles with the ricotta filling and then pouring the sauce over top of that. Seems simple enough. Right?  Well, I am here to tell you it was that simple. The best part of all…it was perfectly portioned and it kept it’s shape, unlike cutting into and trying to plate those of the layered recipes.

Here is how I make mine. Enjoy 🙂

Lasagna Roll-Ups

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 c. prepared Sam’s Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
  • 12 Lasagna Noodles, cooked 
  • 1- 30 oz. Container of Ricotta cheese
  • 14 oz. feta cheese crumbles (yes, feta cheese. It’s amazing in this)
  • 1 c. fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. Basil
  • 2 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Rosemary
  • 1 tsp. Thyme 
  • 1 tsp. Fennel seed
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set the first 2 ingredients (noodles and sauce) aside. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the next 10 ingredients. 
  3. Starting with one noodle at a time, spread an even layer of the ricotta filling over the top of the noodle. Take one end and begin to roll to the other end. 
  4. Place rolls neatly in the pan and ladle sauce evenly smother the top of noodles with the sauce. 
  5. Sprinkle Mozzarella evenly over the top and place (uncovered) in the oven. 
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the cheese just begins to brown and is melted all over. 
  7. Grab a plate, a fork and get ready to dig in to some of the best lasagna ya ever tasted!

NOTES:

  • Although I would rather you used mine, you can use your own favorite spaghetti sauce. Mine had meat in it so if you like your protein like me, you will have to add about 1/2 lb (or more) of meat to your sauce. (if you want the recipe for my sauce click HERE)
  • I also added some fennel seeds to my sauce this time. I haven’t added it before, but after using it last night, It was a good addition. 
  • When making the roll-ups, I had enough filling for 12 decent sized rolls. I was also able to comfortably fit 12 in the pan. If you wanted to spread the filling out a little more, you will need to make more noodles. 

I hope you are brave enough to give this recipe a go. It was a big hit in my home. So much that I had to fight my husband off to get seconds. Wow your guests with this yum-diddly dinner!

Like this recipe for Lasagna Roll-ups? Tell me all about it in the comments. Have a favorite Italian dish or way to make your lasagna? Share the recipe with me and I will give it a try.

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Fresh Apple Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

Fresh Apple Cake
Please overlook the crappy cell phone shot. I took this at school before digging in and devouring every crumb!

Autumn is here and apple season is in full swing. I could go on and on about all the sweet and savory meals you can make with these delicious fruits but there’s just not enough time in the day. Not to mention, all of the mouthwatering drink options you can concoct (like my apple cider sangria I made the other day)!

This semester at school, we were assigned three reports on other international cuisines- Jamaica, China and Germany! The week each report was due, we would make a full meal (packed with tons of flavor) in honor of the selected report to serve the whole cafeteria. This past week it was Germany (my favorite of the three). I learned so much about this country and its cuisine (like, asparagus was once part of a woman’s dowry…weird, huh?).

So, what was on our menu? Chef Rob (our head chef) and Chef Jason (Rob’s assistant chef) came up with Pork Schnitzel with a homemade smokey gravy, Au gratin Potatoes, Sauteed Green and White Asparagus, Rolls, and Fresh Apple Cake. Buddy, this meal was one of the best we served, so far. If you were on campus that day, you did not want to miss out on it.

The way our kitchen runs, we are assigned a station (bread, grill, salad and dessert) for a two week rotation. Rotating positions helps us to learn different things that go on in a kitchen. You eventually realize that you may go into that kitchen thinking that the savory side is your strong suit, but when you’re put on the bakery side, you find that you actually love and enjoy it better. That’s just what happens. I happen to be on bread (one of my favorites) so I was in charge of making over 100 rolls.

Chef Rob is big on doing pre-prep the day before, which is great because it helps us speed up production for the next day. He asked me to make four Fresh Apple Cakes for our German inspired dinner. I have never made this cake before Wednesday, so I was surprised at how thick the batter was. I was almost doubtful it would be a moist cake. Actually, I think I was more bothered by the fact that it didn’t call for vanilla (like, why the crap not? Vanilla is everything!). My fellow classmate and one of my best friends, Sarah, finished out the cake by making a buttermilk sauce to pour over the top of it. This cake was Amaze-balls! The fresh apples in the cake made up for the moisture and the buttermilk sauce oozing down the sides was enough to make your mouth water just looking at it.

Got tons of apples you need to use up before they go bad? Try this recipe out, you don’t want to pass this one up!

Fresh Apple Cake

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • 2 sticks of margarine
  • 2 c sugarred-apples
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups chopped apples

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cream the margarine and sugar together.
  2. Add eggs and mix well.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the creamed mixture.
  4. Add buttermilk and blend.
  5. Add apples.
  6. Pour into greased 9×13 pan. Bake approximately 1 hour (or until cake pulls away from sides and toothpick comes out clean) at 350°F.

Buttermilk Glaze 

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ C. sugar
  • ½ c. margarine
  • ¼ c. buttermilk
  • 1 tbs. light corn syrup
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Blend sugar and margarine together.
  2. Add buttermilk and corn syrup.
  3. Cook to a rolling boil.
  4. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over cake while hot.
  5. Grab a big slice of Fresh Apple Cake, sit back and enjoy 🙂 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe for Fresh Apple Cake with a Buttermilk Glaze! If you give this one a try, post about it in the comments! Got an apple recipe you wanna share? Share them with me and I’ll give it a shot. 

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Chocolate Chip Cookies- So good, it makes ya wanna slap ya momma!


Chocolate Chip CookiesThe holidays are fast approaching and my “baking season” has already began. Growing up, one of my all time favorite things to do was to bake cookies with my mom and brothers (or whoever wanted to bake with me). With each drop of the cookie dough, my anticipation became harder to contain. Only minutes would stand between me and that piping hot, chewy delight. That delicious fresh-baked aroma that wafted throughout the house was intoxicating to my soul and made the wait seem like hours. I never really grew out of my love of baking. It’s only intensified, especially now that my daughter is taking an interest in cooking with mommy.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is my oldest, enjoying the rewards of her hard work and patience.

When I look at her, I see a lot of myself in her. Not only because she’s a spitting image of me, but because we share the same interests. I feel we bond best in our kitchen. I always knew when becoming a parent that I would try to pass down a little of my cooking skills to my children. When she was two, we gave the mommy-daughter cooking a try. Even sewed her an apron of her own so she could be just like mommy. Yea, anyone who’s ever been around toddlers can probably understand my struggles there. It worked for as long as her attention span would allow or when she decided she wanted to listen to mommy (which was almost never). Being the spirited little four-year old she is now, she seems to have taken a better interest in the kitchen.

Today, she begged me to make some cookies (more specifically, chocolate chip). Excited and filled with the memories of my childhood, I gladly searched for the recipe we use in school. No joke, this recipe is for the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had (and I’m not one for that kind, always been an oatmeal raisin kinda gal) and I got to share it with my little lady. Hopefully, with time, I can teach her to do great things.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
My youngest dipping her cookie into a cold glass of milk

The first time I’ve made this cookie was last year in the test kitchens. I was really surprised when I found the secret ingredient to this recipe (and it really makes all the difference) was chopped pecans. The pecans add a subtle nutty flavor to the cookies without overpowering the chocolate chips. It instantly became a favorite, especially when I seen how thick they were after they came out of the oven. They are so good, it makes you wanna slap your Momma (ok, well maybe not really slap your momma, but well… you get the picture)!

Allergic to nuts or just don’t like pecans but still want to try this out? Don’t worry. You can omit the pecans or substitute for a nut you do like. Here is my (well, the culinary class’) Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 oz. unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. granulated sugar
  • 6 oz. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 10 oz. All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 oz. pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1 lb. (16 oz. )Chocolate Chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease your pan. 
  2. Cream the butter and the sugars in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until light, approximately 5 minutes at medium speed.
  3. Add the eggs to the creamed mixture, one at a time.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Stir the salt, flour and baking soda together and add to the creamed mixture.
  6. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips
  7. Portion dough using #20 ice-cream scoop onto a prepared sheet pan and bake until the cookies are golden brown and cooked through (around 10-15 minutes, depending on how big your cookie is).
  8. Once out of the oven, let cookies rest on sheet pan for about 2 minutes to continue carryover cooking. Once rested, let cool on cooling rack.
  9. Grab a cold glass of milk; a soft, warm, chewy cookie and experience the delicious feel of chocolate slowly melting in your mouth. Enjoy 🙂

Continue reading “Chocolate Chip Cookies- So good, it makes ya wanna slap ya momma!”