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Caramel Apple Beer Bread

 

Caramel Apple Beer Bread3

I love this bread in spite of how easy it is.

Yes, in spite. In fact, I almost resent it for being so easy, I like a challenge. I like to work for it. I like beer pizza dough that takes 24 hours and I love that it takes all day for me to make raviolis from scratch and even my chocolate chip cookies take 72 hours from start to finish. And then this bread takes about ten minutes, and really it only takes that long because I force you to make caramel sauce to go on top. Which, incidentally, turns all toffee like and beautiful in the oven, making that extra 6 minutes more than worth it.

So damn this bread for being so easy and far more than worth the "effort" it takes. I’ll just have to find another way to slave away in the kitchen.

Caramel Apple Beer Bread

Caramel Apple Beer Bread

Ingredients

    For the caramel sauce
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs water
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • For the Bread
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large granny smith apple, peeled and chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 12 ounces wheat beer
  • 4 tbs melted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a pot over high heat add the sugar, water and butter. Stir until the butter has melted. Allow to boil without stirring for 5 to 6 minutes or until the sugar has turned an amber color.
  3. In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, walnuts, cinnamon, and apple pieces. Pour the beer and butter into the dry ingredients, stir until just combined. Pour into a greased 1.5 qt loaf pan. Pour the caramel over the top of the loaf.
  4. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back clean.
https://domesticfits.com/caramel-apple-beer-bread/

Caramel Apple Beer Bread3

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowls

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowls

Maybe this isn’t Valentinesy in that "Heart Shaped Red Velvet Conversations Heart Aphrodisiac Cheesecake " sort of way,  but it is a fun way to eat ice cream.

And really, who doesn’t need that in their lives? I’m at the very end of writing this book, that’s due to my publisher in just three weeks. I vacillate between sheer panic, absolute gratitude for this opportunity, and utter exhaustion. I’m not sure which I am most looking forward to: sleeping again, being a normal human, or the ability to refer to myself as a publisher author (!!!).

In other news, my husband deserves an award. And a lot of that Valentinesy type wifeish attention that I’ll have more mental capacity for once I’m a normal human again.

We are both looking forward to that.

In the meantime, here is a not-as-bad-for-you ice cream dish. Because when your bowl is half full of fruit, it’s pretty much like health food.

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl

 

3 granny smith apples (granny smith hold their shape the best, other apples will likely get soggy, but still taste great).

Cinnamon & Brown sugar

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1 tbs butter, melted

6 scoops vanilla ice cream

 

Preheat oven to 375.

Cut the apples in half the wrong way (as in, the way that seems to be counter to all of your apple cutting instincts).

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl2

Use a mellon baller to remove most of the center, leaving about 1/2 inch of the walls in tact.

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl3

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray.

Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, rub in. (really, there isn’t a need to measure the amounts but if you are a "I MUST MEASURE!" person, count on about 1/8 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp brown sugar per apple half. But really, just sprinkle, you’ll do fine.)

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl4

Place apples, cut side down, on the baking sheet.

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut into six equal sized squares.

Cover each apples with puff pastry and roll the excess pastry around the apples to resemble a pie crust.

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl5

 

Brush with melted butter and cut two or three small slits with a sharp knife.

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl6

 

Bake at 375 until puff pastry has turned golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Fill with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Now, if you are a civilized human, you can go at this with a knife and fork. But if you’re me, you’ll pick it up and eat it like the ice cream filled Apple Pie Taco is was born to be. (*The second option is way better, but you’ll need napkins)

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl7

 

 

 

Herbivoracious Cookbook Review & Caramelized Apple and Blue Cheese Crostini

At a book release party for Michael Natikin’s Herbivoracious I fill my plate past capacity with the gorgeous spread laid out at a Culver City restaurant, his cookbook’s recipes incarnate. It isn’t until I’m halfway though the incredible tasty bites that I realize that it’s vegetarian. Of course it is, its Herbivoracious. This is how I like my vegetarian food, as a celebration of produce rather than and explanation for missing meat. This is what Michael has managed to do, turn out an entire book of recipes so full and beautiful that the addition of animal protein would be an imposition. Recipes that range from perfectly simple to complex and inspirational.  This isn’t a book for vegetarians, or for accepting meat eaters, it’s a book for everyone who loves food.

Cookbooks, in a real life paper and page form, are even more important to me that ever. As I pull out my Grandmothers copy of The Joy of Cooking, with her notes scrawled in the margins with a soft pencil I can feel a connection with her that would have been lost if eReaders had been invented 50 years ago. I feel her in the pages, and she is still able to teach me what I was never able to learn when she was alive. I want this for my daughter, for my future Grandkids, another piece of me to be found in an old box, when they are ready to receive it. Cookbooks should be the last thing to be digitized, you won’t pass down a kindle, make notes in the blank spaces with a number 2 pencil.

But the main reason to buy cookbooks is simple: recipe testing. Cookbook recipes are tested, over and over, to insure that the unchangeable print is perfect. Bloggers make a recipe once, giving online recipes a much higher rate of flaws, my own included. You are our testers and your feedback gives us insight in how we write the recipes and if we later make changes to what we have already posted. With bloggers cranking out up to 10 recipes a week, you can hardly blame us. But cookbook authors take much more time and care, agonizing over measurements, yields, terms and times, getting hundreds of hours of opinions and feedback because once it prints, that’s it. No updating posts, or responding to comments, the recipe has to be perfect.

That is why you should buy cookbooks.

Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, ESPECIALLY if you aren’t a vegetarian, Michael Natikns book is a must own celebration of produce. Buy it, make notes in the margins, and pass it down to endless generation of food loving humans. 

Caramelized Apple and Blue Cheese Crostini

Recipe from: Michael Natkin, Herbvoracious 
Makes 16 crostini
20 minutes

  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 16 thin slices of crusty baguette
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 small apples such as Pink Lady, cut into 16 wedges
  • Tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (Don’t be afraid of this, it put this dish over the top!)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup blue cheese (such as Blue de Causses or Gorgonzola dolce), at room temperature
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) or large crystal sea salt (such as red Hawaiian salt)
  • (I added a drizzle of raw honey)

1.Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees.

2. Set aside 32 nice looking tarragon leaves. In a mortar and pestle or mini food processor, roughly puree the remaining tarragon with the olive oil.

3. Brush the baguette slices with the tarragon oil, reserving the crushed tarragon. Toast in the oven (on a baking sheet) or toaster oven until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes.

4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the apples on in a single layer, working in batches if needed, until both sides are golden brown and somewhat tender, about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of cayenne pepper and several grinds of black pepper.

5. To serve, arrange two slices of cooked apple on each crostini. Top with ½ teaspoon of the blue cheese, a speck of the crushed tarragon, two whole tarragon leaves, and a few grains of sea salt. (Drizzle with raw honey, if desired)



Miniature Apple Brown Sugar Galettes

I figured out how to pronounce Galette. This was becoming an issue for me. How can I go about baking, and writing about, such an amazing food that I can’t even mention in conversation? So I googled it. I found this lovely little website  that has a charming French man (just trust me on the charming part) who so beautifully pronounces the word Gal-Let. You’re gonna press play over and over just to make sure he really said Gal-Let and not Guh-Lay. Or maybe that’s just me.

Apple Brown Sugar (Gal-Let) Galettes 

For the Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tbs sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 stick butter

1/4 cup ice cold water

For The FIlling:

4 cups granny smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced

2 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 cup brown sugar, packed

3 tbs melted butter.

Make the crust:

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter (ice cold and cut into cubes) and process until combined. Add the remaining flour and process until combined. Move dough to a bowl and add the water with a wooden spoon (don’t add the water with the food processor or your dough will turn into a cracker). If your dough is too dry, or two wet, add a bit of water or flour to achieve the right consistency.

Form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Once your apples and peeled, cored and sliced, add to a bowl with the lemon juice and toss to combine. Add the brown sugar and butter and toss to combine. Let stand at room temp for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400.

Once your dough is chilled, roll out to an even thickness. Cut out 6 inch circles. Use whatever you have that is round and six inches, I used a small plastic bowl. This recipe will make 6-8 mini Galettes.

Arrange the apples in tight circle in the middle of your dough, leaving a one inch boarder around the edges.

Fold the edges over the filling, leaving the center open.

Brush the remaining brown sugar/butter mixture that your apples were sitting in all over the Galettes and the exposed crust.

Bake at 400 for 28-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Caramel Apple Pie

S’mores are great, right? Evoking memories of summer, campfires and near misses with open flames. Those little treats have been popping up in Blog Land all summer. I even had my little fling with a s’mores makeover. Caramel apples are the new s’mores. Really. I swear. As fall gets closer, and apples pop up more and more in stores, farmers markets and bloggers imaginations, the memories of school carnivals and Halloween parties will throw this sugary fruit treat into the baker makeover spot light. Here is my jump start on caramel apple makeover, falls new, hot, must have.

Caramel Apple Pie

Pie Dough:

3 cups of all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbs sugar

10 tbs butter (1 stick, plus 2 tbs), cut into cubes

1/2 cup shortening

1/4 cup vodka

1/4 cup cold water

Apple Filling:

5 cups of granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbs flour

1 tbs cinnamon

1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

2 tbs apple sauce

Caramel Filling:

1 cups brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup of cream

1 tbs butter

1 tbs corn syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

Crust assembly:

1/4 cup melted butter

2 tbs granulated sugar

I’ve done this before and I’m about to do it again. Pie dough lecture. After my years of pie dough research, I feel confident that this recipe is near perfect. I love it. If you are thinking about skipping this step and going with store bought, Stop. Right. There. The food processor method makes your active time about 8 minutes. That’s it. For an investment of only 8 minutes you can make the Worlds Most Amazing Pie Crust and when people ask, "Did you make the crust yourself??" You can sigh, wipe your brow and say, "It was a lot of work, but, yes. I just believe that it is worth all the hard work." They’ll never know.

First, food processors are great at getting the job done as quickly as possible, and as previously mentioned on this blog, the more you mess with dough the tougher it becomes. So break out that food processor and add 2 cups of the flour, salt and sugar and give it a quick pulse until it’s combined.

Add the cubes of butter and the shortening and pulse until combined, about 1 1/2 minutes. A mixture of butter and shortening gives great texture and great flavor.

Add the remaining flour and process until it’s all combined. Move dough to a large bowl, then add the water and the vodka and knead gently until its all combined. Vodka makes your crust flaky. It cooks off completely, unlike water, so you have a great flakiness that will hold up to whatever you put inside of it. Your dough will be very moist, but you can add a bit of flour if it is too moist to hold together. Then split into two evenly sized disks and wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours. If you need to, this can be made up to three days in advance, just store the plastic wrapped disks in a large zip lock bag.

Preheat your oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice and salt, toss to coat.  Let stand at room temp for about 30 minutes, drain. Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, apple sauce and nutmeg and toss to coat.

In a pot over medium heat, add the brown sugar, corn syrup and cream. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and allow to boil, untouched, until it reaches 225. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla, stir to combine and allow to cool.

Roll out one of  your pie dough disks in a circle large enough to fit into your greased pie pan with a bit of over hang. Add the circle to the pie pan and press into shape.  Pour the caramel on the bottom, then the apples on top of that. Roll out the remaining pie dough circle. I like to cut out cute shapes with a cookie cutter and layer them on top, adhering with melted butter. You can do this, or you can make a top crust a round circle with slits cut in the top.  brush the top with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Allow the pie to rest before serving, the caramel needs time to thicken or your will be serving apple pie soup.

Apple Sour Cream Scones

"I asked the maid in dulcet tone

To order me a buttered scone

The silly girl has been and gone

And ordered me a buttered scone."

I had no idea that there were two ways to pronounce the word"scones" until I was in the basement of a youth hostel in Ireland. It was the morning after I’d taken my very first flight across the Atlantic. I was tired and jet lagged, wandering around trying to find the "Free Breakfast" that had been advertised in the price of the room. My budget was too tight to pass up free food, fueling my persistence to locate the illusive no cost sustenance. A long corridor lead me to a bare kitchen, fitted with a small table of baked goods, cereal and coffee that may as well come straight from heaven. As I took the quickest, most direct route to my caffeine siren, I heard a very thick English accent, unlike any I’d heard before. It was hard for my American ears to make out his words, too embarrassed to ask him to repeat himself. The last bit of his introduction was all I was able to catch.

"…..wanna sc-Gone?"

I smiled, sc-Gone? What would that be…

"I’m Jackie." I smiled an apology for not understanding.

"Sc-Gone?"

"Ahh..Hi."

"SC GONE??? SC GONE??!!" He shook a biscuit at me with the fury or a trail weary traveler.

"OH, Scone!"

There were quite a few sentences that came out of his crumb laden mouth, but all I was able to catch was "It’s called ENGLISH, not AMERICAN!"

 Well, yes, I will have a ScGone. I’ll have it with a cup of coffee and I will enjoy my very first morning outside North America, no mater how I pronounce it.

I smiled and sat across from him, "This ScGone is delicious."

He gave me a very detailed stare before hidding his smiled behind his breakfast pastry.

I can’t exactly say that this traveling linguist became my first friend abroad, but he was my first breakfast companion and inadvertent dialect coach.

Apple Sour Cream Scones

1 stick of unsalted butter

2 cups of apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1/3 cup sugar

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/4 cup brown sugar

In a pan over medium heat, add the butter and apples. Cook until the apples are soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool. In a large bowl, add the sugar, flour, baking powder, nutmeg, baking soda and salt, whisk to combine. Add the apples and butter and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the sour cream and buttermilk and stir until combined. On a flowered surface, place the scone dough. Form into a log about 1 foot long, four inches wide and 2 inches high.

With a sharp knife, cut the log in half. Cut each half in half.

Then make a diagonal cut across each of the pieces making triangles.

Place the triangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush egg on to the tops of the scones. Sprinkle each scone with about 1/2 tsp of brown sugar. Place the baking sheet in the fridge and chill for at least an hour. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees and then bake scones for 18-22 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.