Steel Cut Oats with Apples and Raisins

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I know these past few weeks I haven’t been posting as regularly as I normally have been and I’ve been feeling really guilty about it. The truth is I’ve been feeling so short on spare time lately and a little uninspired. I’m also going to be away on spring break in a few days so I probably won’t be able to get a post in for another week or so, but hopefully when I return I’ll have lots of great pictures and stories and recipes to share with you!

When it comes to my marathon training, I usually do my long runs on the weekends when I naturally have more time and daylight. I try to go first thing in the morning, and since I know I’ll be out running for at least 2 hours I really make an effort to get a filling and nutritious breakfast in beforehand. Enter these steel cut oats! I’ve never had steel cut oats before but have been hearing great things about them for a while. In short, steel cut oats are less processed than your regular oats and therefore retain more of their nutritional value. They also take longer to digest and therefore make you feel fuller for longer. Steel cut oats have a chewier texture than regular oats which I actually really enjoyed. I loved the combination of apples, cinnamon and raisins and have already made it twice in the past couple of weeks, which is really saying something! ūüôā

Steel Cut Oats with Apples and Raisins

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
3 cups water
1 cup (2% or 1%) milk
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
¬ľ tsp. salt
¬ľ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
1/3 cup raisins
¬ľ cup maple syrup

Directions:
Combine the water and milk in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the oats and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Stir the toasted oats into the simmering liquid.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the mixture is very thick, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the salt, cinnamon, apple, raisins and maple syrup.  Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the oatmeal is creamy, about 10 minutes more.  Remove from the heat and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

—SOURCE—
Annie’s Eats, from¬†The America‚Äôs Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

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Honey Mustard, Broccoli and Apple Salad

IMG_4479I felt kind of bad sharing so many sweets with you so early in the new year, especially if you have made it a resolution to cut down on the baked goods, so here is a salad for you and proof that I actually do eat healthy once in a while! I’ve never really liked salads as a main dish because they never seem to fill me up. Sure, it looks like theres a mound of leafy greens on the plate but the reality is a salad always leaves me wanting more and resorting to a bag of chips afterwards, which of course totally defeats the purpose of the salad in the first place. This salad is different! Broccoli and apple slices make this salad really filling, sunflower seeds add a nice crunch, and a honey mustard vinegraitte whips up quickly to pack a lot of flavour into each bite. A simple recipe that makes you feel so good about yourself!

Honey Mustard, Broccoli & Apple Salad

Yields: 2 large or 4 small portions

Ingredients:
For the Salad:
2 bunches (about 1 pound total) broccoli with stems
1/2 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds (seeds not seeds in shells)
1 Fuji apple, cored and sliced thin
heaping 1/4 cup baby spinach

For the Dressing:
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons vinegar (white wine, apple cider, red wine, or coconut)
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to tast

Directions:
Place a large pot with about 1 inch of water over a medium-high heat.  Insert a steamer into the pot and bring the water to a low boil.

Cut broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces.  Thinly slice broccoli stems and add both the florets and the stems to the steamer.  Cover and allow to steam for about 2 minutes, or until the hard raw crunch is cooked from the broccoli.  Remove from the steamer and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine mustard, honey, olive oil, vinegar, and a few pinches of salt and better.  Whisk vigorously until thoroughly combined.  Add broccoli, sunflower seeds, sliced apple, and arugula to the bowl.  Toss until every piece is coated in dressing.

Chill for about 30 minutes.  Serve cold.  This salad is best served the day it is made.

‚ÄĒSOURCE‚ÄĒ
Joy the Baker, adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen

Mini Cheesecakes with Apple Cinnamon Compote

IMG_4323I apologize for all of the sweet treats I’ve been sharing with you lately, I know my thighs aren’t loving it but I promise there will be more savoury recipes to come in the near future! In the meantime, I want to share with you these adorable mini cheesecakes. I recently had a friend over for dinner and I knew I wanted to have a great dessert to end our meal, but I didn’t want to make an entire cheesecake because there was no way we would finish it all! So I found these cute mini cheesecakes online and halved the recipe. I ended up using a standard sized muffin tin to bake these in and made about 9 mini cheesecakes with a half batch. This was the perfect dessert to end a nice meal! The cheesecake itself is lovely and rich with a hint of lemon flavour, and the apple cinnamon compote on top adds a nice colour and flavour to perfectly complement the cheesecake base. I know I will be making this again in the future and can’t wait to experiment with different toppings and flavours.

Mini Cheesecakes with Apple Cinnamon Compote
Yields: about 18 mini cheesecakes

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tbsp. zest of lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt

For the topping:
1 granny smith apple, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
splash of apple juice or cider

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Combine crust ingredients in a mixing bowl. Press 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture into each bottom of 18 greased mini cheesecake pans or standard sized muffin tins.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar or 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer running, add eggs and yolk, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix in the flour, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt until just combined and smooth. Pour filling into crusts and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the centers have set.

Let the cheesecakes cool completely and then chill thoroughly before removing from pan.

To make the apple cinnamon compote, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. add the brown sugar, cinnamon and apple juice, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. (if mixture seems too thick or clumpy add another splash of cider.) Add the apples and cook until soft. Remove from heat. Mixture will thicken as it cools.

Top each cheesecake with 2 teaspoons of apple compote and serve. (both cheesecakes and compote can be make ahead of time and assembled just before serving.)

—SOURCE—
adapted from The Baker Chick, from Tiny Food Party

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

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I’m a huge fan of slow cookers recipes because really, what‚Äôs not to love about a recipe that requires minimal hands-on cooking time? This slow cooker apple butter made my apartment smell fantastic and tastes like fresh cinnamon apple goodness. I love mine slathered on whole grain toast or bagels for breakfast or a quick snack. A perfect fall treat!

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Slow Cooker Apple Butter 
Ingredients:
5 lbs. apples (I used Gala), peeled, cored and cut into quarters
1 cup maple syrup or agave syrup
1/2 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:
Place all the above ingredients into a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker set on low covered with the lid. Cook for 4 to 5 hours. Stir occasionally during the last two hours of cooking to break up the apples (they should fall apart fairly easily and form a fairly smooth butter-like consistency).

Continue to cook for 30 additional minutes without the lid, stirring frequently, to achieve the consistency you desire.

Transfer butter into canning jars. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

‚ÄĒSOURCE‚ÄĒ
Espresso and Cream

 

 

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

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When I think of Fall, I think of apples and pumpkins. Apples first and pumpkins a bit later, but when baked, both usually have the same thing in common: warm, nutty spices and aromas that somehow help you to accept and perhaps even welcome the colder drafts of air and the changing colours of the leaves. These apple cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting seemed to be the perfect Fall-appropriate treat to bake. The process might seem a bit daunting at first, but I promise that these are quite straightforward to bake provided that you have a bit of time and patience. Once your kitchen starts to smell like a Cinnabon factory and you accidentally spoil your supper by having 2 or 3 of these instead, you will know that you have officially said goodbye to summer and can therefore commence your online shopping hunt for the perfect pair of fall boots.

I may have stopped making sense after the second sentence of that last paragraph, so I’ll just go ahead and take you through the cinnamon roll making process!  After you have combined all of the ingredients for the dough and it has almost finished rising, start to prepare your apple filling. Apples, butter and sugar will start to almost caramelize when heated to make a delicious, gooey filling.

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Once you’ve rolled out your dough and sprinkled on more brown sugar, spread out your apple filling as evenly as you can.

img_3750Roll up the entire thing (making sure to pinch the seam to seal) and slice into 12 rolls. If you do the math, that means that you can have….well quite a few rolls to yourself and I guess you can share a few as well.

img_3754Carefully arrange in a 9″ pan. I used my favourite 9″ springform pan, which definitely made it a lot easier to serve since the sides of the pan popped off quite effortlessly.

img_3757Bake, and try not to eat any before you have covered it all with cream cheese frosting.

img_3760Spread cream cheese frosting generously over the rolls, and serve!!  That was easy!

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Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields: 12 rolls

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract (or the scrapings from 1 vanilla pod)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 cups flour (20 oz), plus more for dusting surface
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
1 tsp salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray

For the Filling:
4 Tbsp butter
2 apples (I used Braeburn), peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt

For the Icing:
2.5 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:
Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, beat the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, vanilla, buttermilk and half the flour together until well combined. Add yeast, salt, and the next 1 1/4 cup flour (leaving about 3/4 cup remaining) and knead on low for 5 minutes.

Add additional flour by the spoonful if necessary ‚Äď you want the dough soft and moist but not overly sticky. Knead another 5 minutes until the dough clears the sides of the bowl (but might still stick to the bottom a bit).

Transfer dough to a lightly greased, large bowl and let double, 2-2.5 hours.

Just before the dough is finished, make the filling. Melt the butter in a large saute pan and add the diced apple. Crumble 1/2 cup of brown sugar over top and stir in the cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside to cool.

Spray or butter a 9-inch pan. Turn out the dough onto your lightly floured work surface. Stretch and roll the dough into a ~12√ó18 rectangle with the long edge nearest to you.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar over the dough, leaving the top 1-inch bare. Spread the cooled apple mixture over the dough.

Starting with the edge of the dough closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch the the seam to seal. Gently press, squeeze, and stretch the roll to get an even thickness.

Cut the roll into 1 1/2-inch slices and place in the baking dish (you’ll get 12 rolls). Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Place the rolls in the oven with the heat off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3 full of boiling water and place it on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven and let the rolls rise for ~30 minutes.

Remove the water pan and rolls from the oven and preheat the oven to 350.

Bake rolls on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

While the rolls are cooling, beat the cream cheese, milk, and powdered sugar together until smooth. Drizzle over the rolls and serve.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered. Rewarm in the microwave for best results.

‚ÄĒSOURCE‚ÄĒ
Confections of a Foodie Bride

Apple Pie Cupcakes

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I made these cupcakes for a dear friend of mine on his birthday, and after I had finished baking all of the individual components, I had a mild panic attack. I tasted the apple filling, and the Granny Smith apples tasted so bitter. I used a basic vanilla butercream recipe that I just googled, and it tasted somewhat bland. I was so worried that these cupcakes would just be disastrous and I wouldn’t have time to bake anything else, although at that point I was seriously considering just tossing everything out. Instead, I stuck with the recipe, assembled the cupcakes, and prayed for a miracle. I should not have been worried at all!!!!!! All of the individual components came together so well! The cupcake base was light and perfect, the sweetness of the vanilla buttercream balanced out any bitterness in the apple filling, and the buttercream flavour didn’t overwhelm the apple filling at all. I think these cupcakes were one of my favourites, not to mention the fact that they are absolutely adorable to look at!

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Apple Pie Cupcakes 

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
¬Ĺ tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 ¬Ĺ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 tbsp. sugar
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
vanilla buttercream (I used ¬ĺ of a batch)

Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350¬į. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine. Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3-3/4 full. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the apple filling, heat the butter a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute, until the mixture begins to bubble. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the apples. Mix well. Cook until the apples are somewhat tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

While the apple mixture is cooling, use the cone method to remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake, making sure to leave a rim around the top of the cupcake. Fill the holes with the cooled apple mixture. To decorate, top each cupcake with a swirl of vanilla buttercream.

‚ÄĒSOURCE‚ÄĒ
Annie’s Eats, adapted from Fatty Fat Fats

Apple Pie Cookies

Hi! I know it’s been a while…please excuse my absence from this blog for the last couple of months. I promise I haven’t forgotten about you guys! I have been keeping really busy with school, work, and my personal life, but I’ve also been trying out¬†lots of new recipes in the kitchen that I can’t wait to share with you! ¬†I will do my best to update this blog as often as I can ūüôā

Can I tell you something about these apple pie cookies?

They are¬†amazing. The “crust” is so flaky and buttery, and the apple slice filling is just genius. These really do taste like mini apple pies! I think they are best when they are fresh out of the oven and still warm, but they still taste amazing at room temperature.

These cookies definitely are more time-consuming to make then other cookies, but trust me, it’s well worth it!

I think for me, the hardest part was finding substitute circular objects to use in place of the 2 cookie cutters required. I didn’t have 1.5 inch and 2.5 inch round cookie cutters, so I started looking around the house for objects of similar size. I ended up using the cap of a bottle of hairspray to cut the apples into rounds, and a circular lid originally for a tin of tea to cut the dough into rounds. If you don’t have round cutters either, look around the house and be creative!

The longer the dough is left out at room temperature, the softer and stickier it will get, making it a pain to try to work with. I found it best to keep half of the dough rounds in the fridge, and therefore work with half a batch at a time. If the dough still becomes soft, then let it chill in the freezer for 2 minutes until it firms up again.

I know these aren’t really cookies, but they are definitely one of my favourite cookies ever!

Use the tines of a fork to create a decorative, crimped “crust”.

Brush the top of the cookie with the egg wash, and they’re ready to pop in the oven!

A perfectly delicious apple pie cookie. Sooo good!

Apple Pie Cookies

Yield: about 20 cookies

Ingredients:

For the dough:
2¬Ĺ cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 tsp. (4 grams) salt
2 sticks (8 oz. or 1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
¬Ĺ cup very cold water

To assemble: 
2-3 medium apples, whatever variety you prefer for baking
Squeeze of lemon juice
1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
1 tsp. (2 grams) ground cinnamon
Dash of grated nutmeg
Water
1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of water

 Directions:

To make the pie dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to blend. Using a pastry cutter (or your preferred method), cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is coarse and the largest pieces of butter are no bigger than small peas. Stir in the water and mix gently just until the dough has come together in a a cohesive ball and all of the dry ingredients have been moistened. Form the dough into a disc and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour.

When you are ready to make your cookies, preheat the oven to 350ňö F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Peel the apples and cut off the sides in four large chunks, removing and discarding the cores. With each large piece of apple, further slice into thin slices (somewhere between 1/8- and ¬ľ-inch thick.) Use a small round cookie or biscuit cutter (about 1.5 inches in diameter) to cut round discs out of the apple slices. Place the apple rounds in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. In another small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and whisk to blend.

To assemble the cookies, transfer half of the chilled pie dough to a lightly floured work surface (keep the remaining half chilled). Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out very thin, about 1/8 to ¬ľ-inch thick. Use a larger round biscuit or cookie cutter (about 2¬Ĺ to 2¬ĺ inches in diameter) to cut out rounds of the pie dough. Transfer half of the rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the rounds lightly with water (this will help the pies seal). Take a few apple slices at a time and coat them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place each on top of a round of pie dough. Layer a second round of dough on top of each apple slice and gently press the edges to help seal. Repeat this process with the remaining dough and apple slices. Crimp and seal the edges of the mini pies with the tines of a fork, dipping in flour if needed to prevent sticking. Lightly brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash. Use a small paring knife to cut tiny slits in the top of each cookie. Sprinkle with additional sugar, if desired.

Bake for 25-28 minutes or until light golden brown.

Source:¬†from Annie’s Eats, from¬†Smitten Kitchen

Spiced Apple Cream Cheese Danish Braid

I’ve had this particular recipe bookmarked for quite some time now, but I never got around to trying it out. I absolutely adore danishes, and if there were any way for me to have a danish for breakfast every day without becoming morbidly obese, I probably would. This was actually the first thing I made when I got back from camp and was able to make use of my kitchen again.

Looking at this recipe, it might seem a little daunting to make this spiced apple cream cheese danish braid at first. If you have tried making croissants before, you will notice that the process for making the pastry dough for this danish is pretty much  the exact same as that for making the croissants. 

Like the croissants, this is a more time-consuming recipe, but it is well worth it. The result is a buttery, flaky crust with a delicious apple and cream cheese filling. Yum!

I made the dough and the fillings the day before and kept it refrigerated overnight. It was pretty easy to assemble in the morning and made for a pretty impressive breakfast ūüôā

 

The most important thing that comes to mind when making this is that you can never have too much flour on your work surface when you are working with the dough!!!! ¬†I didn’t end up taking pictures of the process, but I promise you, you will not regret having too much flour on your counter/mat. Remember, you can always shake any excess flour off of the dough, but if you don’t have enough flour, the dough will stick to the counter/mat and make it very difficult to peel off/work with.

Spiced Apple Cream Cheese Danish Braid

Ingredients:

For the Danish dough:
1¬Ĺ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1¬Ĺ tsp. instant yeast*
¬ľ cup sugar
¬ĺ tsp. salt
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the butter square:
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

For the cream cheese filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
¬ľ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. sugar

For the apple filling:
1 tbsp. butter
2 medium apples, peeled and sliced thin (I used Granny Smith)
2 tbsp. sugar
¬ľ tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

For the glaze:
1¬Ĺ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 tsp. milk, plus more as needed

For the drizzle:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp. milk, plus more as needed

*Instant yeast = rapid rise yeast = bread machine yeast

Directions:
To make the dough, combine 1¬ľ cups of the flour in a bowl with the yeast, sugar, and salt. ¬†Place the milk and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. ¬†With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and knead until a smooth ball of dough forms, about 7-8 minutes. ¬†(The dough should be sticky but if more dough sticks to the bowl than the dough hook, add the remaining ¬ľ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.) ¬†Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the butter square, toss together the butter pieces and flour on a clean work surface.  Smear the butter back and forth using a bench scraper against the work surface until they have combined into a smooth homogenous mixture.  Wrap the butter mixture in plastic wrap and use the edges of the plastic to form it into a 5-inch square.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour.  Lay the chilled dough on the work surface and roll into a 9-inch square.  Place the butter square diagonally on top the dough and remove the plastic wrap.  Fold the corners of dough over the butter so that they meet in the middle of the butter square.  Pinch the ends of the dough together to seal.  Using a rolling pin , tap the dough from the center outward until the butter begins to soften and become malleable.  Gently roll the dough into an 11-inch square, re-flouring the work surface as necessary to prevent sticking.  Fold the outside edges of the dough in toward the center in thirds, one overlapping the other, like a business letter.  Repeat this process folding the other direction to make a square.  (This completes two turns.)  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Roll the dough into an 11-inch square once more and repeat the two turns as before (business letter, then square).  Wrap in plastic wrap again and chill once more for at least 4 hours.  (At this point the dough can be refrigerated overnight).

To make the cream cheese filling, combine the cream cheese, lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl.  Mix well until smooth and blended.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the apple filling, melt the butter in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat.  Combine the apple slices, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss well to combine.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the apples are tender, about 15-18 minutes.  Let cool before using.

When you are ready to shape and bake the danish, preheat the oven to 400ňö F. ¬†On a large, very well floured sheet of parchment paper roll the chilled dough into a 14-inch square. ¬†Spread the cream cheese filling evenly down the middle third of the dough. ¬†Lay the apples over the top of the cream cheese mixture. ¬†Using a pizza cutter or a paring knife, cut the outer thirds of dough into ¬ĺ-inch strips so that the cuts are diagonal to the filling. ¬†Alternating sides, fold the strips of dough over the filling, crisscrossing the strips over the center, until the entire Danish is braided. ¬†Transfer the braid, still on the parchment, to a baking sheet. ¬†Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rise at room temperature until slightly puffy (it will not double), about 30 minutes.

Bake until the braid is golden brown, 22-26 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. ¬†To make the glaze, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. ¬†Add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time as needed to thin the glaze. ¬†Transfer to a cooking rack and brush with the glaze while still hot. ¬†Cool to room temperature. ¬†To make the drizzle, combine the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. ¬†Add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time as needed to make it a drizzle-able consistency. ¬†Drizzle over the finished braid. ¬†Slice crosswise and serve.

Source: Annie’s Eats, from¬†Baking Illustrated

Caramel Apple Crumb Bars (and I won!!!!!)

I’m on cloud nine. Almost.

I’m definitely experiencing a very exciting moment, if anything!

Last week, Geni from Sweet and Crumby (one of the blogs that I check almost daily) announced that she would be hosting a McCormick giveaway! ¬†Now I’m not usually the type of person to enter a lot of giveaways because I have never won anything significant in my life before, but I figured what the heck, I may as well try for this one.

And this morning, as I was eating my morning toast getting ready for another long day of studying for my final exams, I checked my email and saw an email from Geni herself (!!!) telling me I had won!!!

I was so excited. I still am very excited. And I’m really sorry if I sound like I am bragging or shoving this in anyways face, because I’m really not!! The only thing I can ever remember winning is a puzzle from a birthday party in grade 5. And I don’t even like puzzles.

Anyways, now that I am finished my happy dance (for now anyways, there will probably be several throughout the day), I’m going to share a recipe with you from Sweet and Crumby ūüôā

Geni posted this recipe for caramel apple crumb bars about two weeks ago, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try it out. These bars were not hard to make, and were absolutely delicious. They tasted amazing straight out of the oven, and my housemates found that microwaving the remaining bars in the following days made them taste almost as if they had come out of the oven. Yum!

Caramel Apple Crumb Bars

Ingredients:
For the Crumb Mixture:
2 2/3 cup all-purpose white flour
1 2/3 cup quick-cooking oats (not instant oats)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith or other tart apples (4 medium or 2 large)

For the caramel sauce:
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup all purpose white flour
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
For the crumb mixture:  Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray coat a 9×13 pan, preferably glass, on the bottom and sides.  Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt and butter with a rubber spatula or best yet, with your hands.  The mixture should end up as course crumbles.

Press 1/2 of the crumbly mixture firmly in the bottom of your prepared pan.  Bake for 10 minutes and then set on a wire rack.

While the crumb mixture is baking, make your caramel sauce: In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  DO NOT LEAVE THE POT! Adjust the heat so the mixture boils mildly briskly.  It should boil about 6-8 minutes, until it reaches 244 degrees F. on a candy thermometer.  Immediately, remove the pot from the heat when it reaches the desired temperature.  Stir in the flour and mix until evenly combined.  Stir in the vanilla.

Peel and chop your apples into a 1/2 inch or so dice.  Sprinkle your apples evenly over the pan and then pour the caramel sauce over the apples, trying to disperse the caramel in equal amounts.  Top the apples with the last half of the crumb mixture.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the edges turn a little darker than the center.  Transfer to a wire rack and carefully run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the caramel from around the sides.  Let stand until completely cooled and then cut into bars.

Source: Sweet and Crumby, from Nancy Baggett’s All-American Cookbook

Apple Almond Chicken Salad

I made you a yummy chicken salad sandwich.

I hope you’ll stay for a bit.

I also made the most delicious chocolate peanut butter torte for my friend’s birthday today.

I will hopefully be sharing that recipe with you soon!

In the meantime, have a sandwich ūüôā

Apple Almond Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup slivered blanched almonds
2 whole boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled, and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 ‚Äď 3/4 cup mayo
Salt
Black pepper

 

Directions:

Toast the almonds: Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast 7-9 minutes. Let cool.

Make the chicken salad: In a large bowl, stir together the chicken, apple, celery, onions, and parsley, and just enough mayo to bind the chicken salad. Salt and pepper to taste. If serving, add the almonds. If making ahead of time, wait to add the almonds until just before assembling the sandwiches.

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

 

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