Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Apple Muffins

Another delicious apple recipe...well, it is that time of year. I haven't tasted these yet but they smell delicious and who doesn't love a streusel topping?

Apple Muffins

Streusel Topping:

1/4 c flour
1/4 brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbls firm butter


1 c plus 2 Tbls flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 large egg
1/2 milk
5 Tbls butter, melted
1 large apple (such as jonathan, granny smith, golden delicious, red delicious) peeled, cored, and diced

Preheat oven to 400F. Place muffin or cupcake liners in a 12 cup muffin pan or grease the bottoms only of a muffin pan.

For Streusel Topping:

In a medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly, using a pastry blender or pulling 2 table knives through the ingredients in opposite directions. Set aside.

For Muffins:

Sift together, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, beat the egg, milk and the melted butter. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in the chopped apple. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle each with about 1 Tbls. streusel topping. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 12 muffins.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Caramel Sauce

If I had known making caramel sauce was this easy I would be 5 times heavier. This tasted great with vanilla ice cream served over apple cake. It got reallr firm when it cooled on the ice cream, but was so good to bite into and it stuck in your teeth. You have to work quick and have the ingredients on hand so that they are ready to go.

Caramel Sauce
1 c sugar
6 Tbls butter (I used salted)
1/2 c heavy whipping cream

In a 2 or 3 quart saucepan, heat the sugar on high. It will start to look like it is getting dry and crumbly. Continue to whisk until it is all melted and is amber in color. Be careful, this is really hot.
Add the butter and stir until melted. This will bubble up alot and needs to be stirred briskly. Note:It is necessary to use a 2 or 3 quart saucepan so it will not bubble out of the pan.

Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream. Again, it will bubble. Stir until smooth.

Let cool in the pan for about 15 min. Pour into a glass container and cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

This may be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Warm before serving.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Apple Cake

I love apple desserts; apple pie, apple crisp, apple cobbler, baked apples, and apple cake. The weather has been turning more fall like and this seemed like the perfect thing to bake. It has been awhile since I have baked with nutmeg because it just seems to go along with fall and winter. When I was little we used to go to Apple Hill in northern California and buy apples and apple sweets and celebrate the fall season. The smell of this apple cake brought back all of those memories and now I am anxiously awaiting for when fall will begin and we get to wear sweaters, jackets, and jeans...what am I talking about? You don't need a sweater in Bakersfield until January.

I don't really know if this is really a cake or more like an apple brownie. The top of it forms a crisp crust and the inside is very moist from all of the apples. The batter is super thick, but as it bakes the juices from the apples are released and creates this incredibly moist cake. It is great served with ice cream and topped with a little homemade caramel sauce.
Apple Cake
2 c sugar
1/2 c oil (I used canola)
2 eggs
4 medium apples, peeled and diced (Granny Smith are best)
2 c flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp soda

Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine the sugar, oil, and egg. Beat until well incorporated. Add the diced apples.
In a medium bowl mis the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and soda. Add to the apple mixture.
Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 1 hour. Cool before slicing.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

This is one of the easiest loaves of bread to make and it is so super tasty that you might just eat the entire loaf in one sitting. The bread flour gives it a great chew. I have a hard time making bread entirely out of whole wheat four. I just find it too dense for me. I like a combination of whole wheat and white flours better so that it is a little more fluffy. I made this loaf last week, but I'm making it again today because we are ready for more.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

1 Tbls active dry yeast
1 c warm water (110F)
1 Tbls butter, melted
3 Tbls honey
1 c bread flour (all purpose is ok)
1 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt

In a large bowl, stir together the yeast and the warm water. Let it stand ofr 5-10 minutes, until foamy. Stir in the melted butter, honey, and flours. Add a bit more flour at a time if the dough is still sticky. Mine was and I added flour until it could be handled and was slightly sticky. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a smooth ball, about 2 minutes.

Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubles, 1-1 1/2 hours.

Remove dough and gently deflate. Grease a loaf pan. Roll dough into a 12 inch by 14 inch rectangle. Roll up dough and pinch seams and turn edges under so that it will fit into the loaf pan.

Cover with a dishtowel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. Bake for 25 minutes at 4ooF. Let loaf cool before slicing.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Blondies with Toffee Bits and Chocolate Chips

I like bar cookies because I can just put all the dough in one pan and then is goes right into the oven where it is not touched until it comes out resulting in less eating of the dough. Whenever I make cookies I am tempted to eat all of the dough while putting the cookies on the cookie sheet. It goes something like this. A mound for the pan, a mound in my mouth, a mound on the pan, a mound in my mouth.

Blondies are the alter ego of a brownie. They are similar in that they are both bar cookies. I guess that is really it. Blondies don't have any chocolate and taste more like chocolate chip cookie dough without the chocolate chips. These are so good and ultra chewy. I usually prefer a brownie over a blondie, but I am starting to like blondies more and more. I topped these with toffee bits and chocolate chips before baking them just because I had some. The toffee melted all over the top and made them even more deliciously chewy and also very rich. I only tasted a little corner before they were whisked away to a History Club meeting. This is a great basic recipe that you could add anything to: pecans, walnuts, reeses pieces, peanut butter chips...you get the idea. Personally, I like them plain with ice cream and a little chocolate syrup.
Blondies with Toffee Bits and Chocolate Chips
1 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 egg-slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c toffee bits*
1/2 c chocolate chips*
*substitute other mix-ins if desired. Instead of sprinkling, you could mix them into the batter.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt, whisk.
Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add brown sugar and mix well. Cool slightly.
Add egg and vanilla. Blend well. Add flour mixture a little at a time and mix well.
Grease a 9x9x2" pan. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle with toffee bits and chocolate chips.
Bake 20-25 minutes.