Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fabulous Apple Crisp

I love Autumn! All the beautiful leaves changing color, the smells of baking apples, cinnamon, pumpkin...YUM. One of my favorites is Apple Crisp. It is so simple to make and so delicious. This recipe makes one very large 9x13 pan!

Apple Crisp

5-6 apples peeled, cored and sliced (enough to fill a 9x13 pan)
1 cup flour (can use whole wheat)
1 cup oats
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cubes butter (3/4 cup) softened
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1. Peel, core and slice apples. I recommend the Back to Basics Apple Peeler it has a really cool suction  ottom that adheres anywhere on the counter so you don't have to try and secure it to the edge (works much better than my pampered chef one). Sprinkle chopped pecans over apples.

2. Combine butter, flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle evenly over apples.

3. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Variations:
Caramel Apple Crisp: Smother warm apple crisp with caramel syrup topping
Blueberry Apple Crisp: Mix with the apples fresh or frozen blueberries and use walnuts instead of pecans


Step 1: Fill 9x13" pan with peeled, sliced apples and chopped pecans

Step 2: Combine dry ingredients until crumbly

Step 3: Sprinkle evenly over apples and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or caramel sauce, Enjoy!
 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Best Ever Bread

There is nothing better than a good slice of homemade bread. I usually don't let myself indluge in white bread very often, but oh is it heavenly! And you can get the same heavenly taste and lightness by doing part wheat flour (and then you don't have to feel as guilty ;)


King Arthur Flour truly is the master of all things bread. This is their recipe that I use as the bread of all bread recipes and if you've never made bread before or want to have an absolutely perfect loaf, follow this recipe.

Below that recipe I will give you my modified version that makes about 4 loaves (or breadsticks, rolls, pizza, etc... and doesn't use butter or milk, but tastes just as great) and is a bit healthier for your family. If I am going to make breadsticks I'll make my large version below and use the left over dough for bread for the week. My family gets this so rarely that they usually gobble through the entire batch within two days.

White Sandwich Bread- King Arthur


3 cups white flour
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup warm water
2-4 teaspoons butter melted or oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Add milk, butter and salt. Add flour one cup at a time until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (should be soft, not sticky). Knead for 10 minutes.

Cover and let rise 1 hour. Shape into loaf, cover and rise one hour or until double in size.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.

Makes 1 loaf.

 
Almost White Bread (pictured above)
 
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar or honey (optional but helps rise quicker)
4 cups warm water
1/2 cup oil (if you're going to eat it right away, then cut back to 1/4 cup but if you want it to be soft and moist the next day too then go for more oil)
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons dough enhancer (optional but I think it makes a difference- could also use 2 eggs)
4 cups whole wheat flour
5+ cups white flour (keep adding until the dough is pulls away from the bowl)
 
Let yeast, water and sugar/honey proof until bubbly. Stir in oil and salt. Mix in whole wheat flour, dough enhancer and white flour one cup at a time until the dough starts to pull away from the side of the bowl.

Continue adding white flour one cup at a time until the dough is soft but not sticky. Knead for 10 minutes adding additional flour as needed. Cover and let rise until double, 20 to 30 minutes.
 
Form into loaves, breadsticks or rolls and let rise until double.
 
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.
 
*Makes about 4 loaves of bread

Monday, October 17, 2011

Soft Sugar Cookies

This is my favorite sugar cookie recipe. I've tried quite a few and have heard people swear by the sour cream kind, but I always come back to this one because it never fails and the texture is perfect, soft but not too crumbly. They taste similar to the store bought kind except sooo much better. I think they are best with cream cheese frosting. We make these cookies every Halloween and the boys have so much fun helping me decorate them.


Soft Sugar Cookies

2 cubes butter (or margarine), softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Mix in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate 45 minutes (I don't always do this, but makes rolling out much easier). Roll dough on floured surface and cut with cookie cutters.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 7-8 minutes.

*This recipe makes a couple dozen cookies but you'll be surprised how fast they disappear!


Cream Cheese Frosting
8oz cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
lemon juice (I like a whole lemon)
milk to thin (1 to 2 Tablespoons)

Prepare cream cheese frosting by whipping softened cream cheese with butter and vanilla until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar until smooth. Add lemon juice to taste. Stir in milk to thin frosting to desired consistency.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Heavenly Cinnamon Rolls


Cinnamon rolls are a treat I only let myself indulge in once or twice a year (like at conference time). These rolls are amazing with cream cheese frosting! You will not be disappointed!

Cinnamon Roll Dough

1 tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/3 cup powdered milk (or can use warm milk instead of water)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 cups white flour (approximate, always pour one cup at a time- the dough should be soft but not sticky. You can make these whole wheat, but they won't be light and airy the next day- I recommend only using 1/2 wheat if you choose to)

Filling

1/2 cup melted butter
sugar (can use brown sugar for caramelized rolls)
cinnamon
raisins (optional)
pecans (optional)
*dental floss for slicing

Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz cream cheese, softened

5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
lemon juice (I like to juice a whole lemon)
milk to thin (1 to 2 Tablespoons)

Step 1: Dissolve yeast in warm water until frothy. Stir in powdered milk, sugar, eggs and salt. Add flour one cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is soft but not sticky. Let rise 25 minutes in a warm place until double in size.

Step 2: Roll dough into large rectangle. Coat the bottom of a large 9x13 baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Using a pastry brush, generously spread butter over entire dough rectangle. Sprinkle sugar on top of butter (I used about 1/4 cup), sprinkle a generous layer of cinnamon over top. Add raisins and nuts if desired.


Step 3: Starting at the long end of the rectangle, roll dough to form a long tube. Pinch dough on end to seal so it won't come unwrapped when you slice it.


Step 4: Using a long string of dental floss, slide under the dough and slice a piece off by bringing the two pieces across one another (you could also use a sharp knife, but this works the best). Place in baking dish and brush tops with remaining butter. (This makes 12-16 rolls).



Step 5: Set pan in warm place to rise. They should look like this when they're ready:

Step 6: Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or just until golden on top. While baking prepare cream cheese icing by whipping softened cream cheese with butter and vanilla until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar until smooth. Add lemon juice to taste. Stir in milk to thin frosting. You can use more milk for thinner frosting to lightly drizzle over the rolls...OR


...if you're like me, leave it a little thicker and completely smother them with frosting! Serve warm & enjoy!

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