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Apple Recipes

I love apples, all kinds.  I used to eat mostly Granny Smith but now I enjoy Fuji and Gala and Honey Crisp and Braeburn and Jonagold and any others I can get my hands on...I like to eat them just as they, or to spread them with peanut butter.  (I just discovered this peanut butter, wouldn't that make a great snack?).  I like them with cheese, in a sandwich, or a salad.  But this year when I started seeing them at Publix, I wanted to make something sweet with them.  That's where these two recipes came from:

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Rolls

1 cup warm water, 100-110 degrees F
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 teaspoon sugar

Let 5 minutes in bowl of mixer with dough hook.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour

Mix on low to combination, then increase speed and knead for 5 minutes.  Spray bowl and dough with cooking spray, cover and let rise 20-30 minutes. 
While the dough is rising, make the filling.

Mix together
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
large pinch of salt

Peel, core, and chop small 1 medium to large sized apple (1 cup).  Place in bowl and toss with lemon juice.
Place 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans in a bowl

Melt 6 tbsp of butter and set aside.

Punch dough down and let rest 10 minutes.

Roll into large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.  Spread with melted butter, sprinkle evenly with sugar spice mixture, then pecans, then apples.  Carefully roll up tightly.  Slice into 12 rolls.  Place rolls into 2 9-inch cake pans, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge. 

40 to 60 minutes before you want to bake them, take rolls out of fridge and place near stove.  Turn oven to 350 degrees.  Bake rolls 20-22 minutes in preheated oven.

Glaze if desired.  This recipe is easily halved, which is what I made for the two of us.  I also think you could get a few more rolls if you cut slightly smaller slices. 

Buttermilk Apple Spice Cake

I know there are many people out there who turn their noses up at cake mix.  I have never really understood why exactly, basically it is just premeasured flour, spices, seasonings, and leavening.  I am a big fan of the Cake Mix Doctor, and have been known to doctor my own recipes.  This is one I came up with after seeing a scratch recipe in Everyday Food magazine.

Preheat oven to 335 degrees F (Thank you Warren Brown for convincing me to try baking at this temperature--my layer cakes come out flat and even).  Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans.  (This cake will work equally well in a 9x13 pan or Bundt pan.  If you choose the Bundt, I would lower the oven temp to 325 degrees F, and increase the baking time.)

1 box spice recipe cake mix (I think the one I used was Betty Crocker)

Into the dry mix, stir to combine evenly

1 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 medium to large apple, chopped small, about 1 cup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2  tsp cinnamon

Then add and mix well
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oil

Divide evenly between 2 prepared pans, bake 28-31 minutes.  (I can't remember how long mine took...).  Cook on wire rack.  When cool, frost with your favorite vanilla or cream cheese frosting.  Truth?  I was in a hurry and had a can of vanilla frosting from Betty Crocker and it was good, but homemade would have been better.

Am realizing that I will never make it as a food blogger if I don't take pictures of what I cook...oh well.
Made this for dinner with friends last night and had a second helping tonight.  The original recipe calls it crostini, but I think it is much more than that, a cross between a salad and an appetizer, looks beautiful on the plate and tastes as good as it looks if not better.   I couldn't find the multi-color cherry tomatoes at Publix.  (I have seen them at Super Target of all things.)  So I bought a small green, yellow, and red tomato that I seeded and chopped into small pieces.  I also do not have a grill pan or a grill, so I broiled the eggplant and the slices of bread.  The recipe didn't say to peel the eggplant, but it didn't seem like the peel should go in, and the peel slipped off easily once it was cooked.  I didn't use the food processor because I wanted to keep a rough texture to the eggplant mixture.  I chopped the eggplant roughly and then mixed the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl.  I also think the recipe meant the dish to be served at least somewhat warm, but because I needed to use the oven to cook the rest of the meal, I prepared the eggplant and bread in advance, and I think that made the eggplant mixture better because the flavors had a chance to meld.  I am not a fan of mint in most savory dishes, so I substituted fresh basil instead.  While the shaved parmesan cheese is pretty, I wanted more even distribution of the cheese, so I used grated parmesan that I sprinkled evenly over each plate.  Greg and I decided the name of recipe was not descriptive enough, so he came up with a new one.  You can find the original recipe here

Baked Cake Doughnuts

These baked vanilla cake doughnuts appeared on the April I 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine.  There was a chocolate version as well, but I decided to start with the vanilla.  I was intrigued the idea of a baked doughnut, nothing new, but these seemed so simple but with interesting additions, like brown sugar.  I was stuck though, I didn't want to buy a special doughnut pan.  One night when I was talking to my sister, she suggested that I could use my mini tube pans, which I must admit, I had never used for anything else.  They worked perfectly, and the batter was very easy to portion between them using the ziploc bag method described in the recipe. 

There were many choices for toppings/coatings, but I stuck with the glaze and powdered sugar.  As you can see, these look just like cake doughnuts.  Unfortunately, the taste was not the best.  I think the batter needed more flavorings or spices, I did a general search for cake doughuts and found several with nutmeg.  Also, I thought that mixing orange, lemon, and vanilla (as I did in the King Cake) might have been nice as well.  The glaze was not good either, it tasted too much like powdered sugar.  Not stale exactly but strange.  It seems reading other recipes that heating the glaze might help with that, or of course making adjustments, like adding a little butter, cream cheese, or buttermilk. 

If you'd like to try these yourself, the recipe is here.  If, like me, you don't want to buy the special pan, I think there are several options that would work, besides just the tube pans, as long as you don't care if they don't have a doughnut shape.  The batter is thick, so you could make smaller doughnuts in standard muffin tins.  I even think you could make them on a flat baking sheet.  Perhaps I should just move on to the chocolate ones--they'd have to taste like chocolate, right?

Recipe: Momofuku Compost Cookies

I saw this recipe when it made top nine on foodbuzz a few days ago.  I was intrigued.  La Fuji Mama's pictures and description made me want to try this recipe.  In some ways it reminded me of Monster Cookies, which also have a lot of add ins but interestingly enough, no flour.  The "compost" part of the name made me think of Desparation Cookies from Joanne Fluke's Peach Cobbler Murder.  The most interesting part for me though was the chemistry behind this recipe.  After creaming the butter and the sugar, the eggs are beat in for a full ten minutes, which completely changes the nature and texture of the dough.

Momofuku MIlk Bar is a bakery in New York serving all kinds of confections created by Christina Tosi and is part of a series of Momofuku eateries.  Tosi's version includes pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch and chocolate chips.  I followed the recipe on La Fuji Mama's blog, and she in turn had gotten it from the Amateur Gourmet who had found it, of all places, on the Regis and Kelly site

Momofuku Compost Cookies

*the original recipe was to make 15 6 oz cookies.  I used my medium Farberware cookie scoop which makes 1 1/2 inch mounds and got about 60 cookies*

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup *I didn't have light, only dark corn syrup so that's what I used.  Have heard others have omitted this with no problem*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour  *for the first time in years I turned on my mixer after adding the flour and quite a bit jumped out, so I know I didn't have the full amount*
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons Kosher salt *I only used 1 teaspoon, as several of the ingredients I was adding in were salted*
1 1/2 cups Your favorite baking ingredients! (chopped chocolate, mini chocolate chips, Raisinettes, Rolos, Cocoa Krispies, etc.)
*I chose chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chocolate/peanut butter swirl chips
1 1/2 cups Your favorite snack foods (potato chips, pretzels, goldfish crackers, etc.) *I chose crushed pretzels, roughly chopped mixed nuts, and granola

1. In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and corn syrup on medium high speed for 2 – 3 minutes until the mixture is fluffy and pale yellow in color.  Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.

2. On low speed, add the eggs and vanilla and mix until they are incorporated.  then increase the speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes.  During the 10 minutes, the sugar granules will fully dissolve and the mixture will become a pale cream color and double in size.

3. After the 10 minutes, lower the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix for 45 – 60 seconds—just until your dough comes together and the dry ingredients have become incorporated.  DO NOT overmix the dough.  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

4. Continuing on the low speed, add the mix of your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30 – 45 seconds until they are evenly mixed into the dough.  Then finally, add your favorite snack foods last, mixing on low until they are just incorporated.

5. Use a 6-ounce ice cream scoop to scoop out balls of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  When you have scooped out all of the dough, wrap the baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour (or up to 1 week).  DO NOT bake your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.

6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahreneheit.  When the oven has come to temperature, arrange the chilled cookie dough balls on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet 4-inches apart.  Bake the cookies for 9 – 11 minutes.  Check the cookies at 9 minutes.  They should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center.  If not (if they seem pale and dough on the surface), leave them in the oven for the additional 2 minutes.  Cool the cookies completely on the baking sheet before transferring them to a plate or airtight container for storage.

* The cookies will keep fresh at room temperature for 5 days, or in the freezer for 1 month.

I baked the first sheet of cookies at 400 degrees and they seemed to be browning too fast without getting done in the middle, so I lowered the temperature to 375 degrees and they seemed to do better.  The add ins are important to the success of these cookies, as the very last cookies I scooped, scraping the sides of the bowl, spread lot because they didn't anything to hold them together.

The texture of these is incredible, crispy and chewy but not crunchy--a little like a macaroon or candy, almost as if they have no flour.  If you make them, my opinion is not to use butterscotch chips, as Greg and I both thought that's all we could taste.  (Granted, the brown sugar and dark corn syrup probably also added to this flavor.)  I think if I make them again, I will mix the last part by hand, as it seems like the add ins were not evenly distributed.  I took some to work, and people gobbled them up, one person saying they were the best cookies he'd ever eaten. 

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Recipe: King Cake

Here in Florida, there is not a huge Cajun population.  However, I would not be surprised if there were many transplants and seasonal visitors who count Mardi Gras or Carnivale as part of their cultural or religious tradition.   Right before I left to come to Florida, I made a trip to Louisiana and brought back a king cake to take to work.  (Along with a ton of Mardi Gras beads, of course!) 

Just a few years later, thanks to the advice from a friend, I have conquered my fear of all things yeast, and decided to try my hand at making my own king cake.  Searching online, you can find all kinds of pages that talk about the history and tradition of the king cake.  I liked this one because it gave so much of the background and history surrounding the cake.  A friend had made a version of the cake last year, but said it came out very puffy and not quite right.  Although called "cake,"  it is rich dough usually rolled in cinnamon sugar or sometimes filled, a lot like a cinnamon or cream cheese filled pastry.  I read through many recipes from different sources before finding one published online from a local LA bakery, Haydels.  It is less rich than a brioche and very similar to challah.  I did make a few changes changes: substituted butter for the shortening in the dough and the filling for the cake, omitted the butter flavoring, and used a lot less sugar for the colored sugars that I sprinkled on the cake after making a vanilla butter glaze.  (The original recipes called for 3 cups to be sprinkled on before baking.  I don't know where it would all go, honestly.)  You can find the original recipe here.

King Cake


1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

½ cup butter (room temperature)

4 cups all purpose flour

2 lg. eggs
(room temperature)
1 cup milk (room temperature)

2 sm. packs active dry yeast

¼ tsp lemon flavor

¼ tsp orange flavor

¼ tsp vanilla flavor

½ cup butter, melted
½ cup cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup sugar + 1 heaping tsp. cinnamon)

Colored Sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar

purple food color

yellow food color

green food color

Plastic baby to hide in cake

In a mixer at first speed combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar, salt, and butter until well creamed.
Add eggs and continue to cream.
Dissolve the yeast in the milk and add the flavors.
Once dissolved add to creamed mixture and continue to mix. (At this point, my creamed mixture separated out from the liquid, but I knew my kitchen was a bit cool, so I preserved, hoping the flour would even it all out.)
Add flour and mix until dough tightens.
Remove from mixer and knead a few times and shape into a ball.
Coat lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap.
Allow the dough to rest for 1½ hours.  (Because I knew my kitchen was cool, I turned on the oven to preheat at 370 degrees fahrenheit, and left the bowl with the dough near the stove.) 
While the dough is resting mix your colored sugars.
Start by taking 1/4 cup of sugar and your yellow food coloring. 
Mix by hand with a wire whisk in a bowl until the sugar turns yellow.
Pour your yellow sugar into a separate bowl and put off to the side.
Repeat this process mixing green then purple.  (By doing them in that order you only dirty one mixing bowl.  I used icing gel colors.  I didn't have purple so I mixed red and blue.  The color is not as bringht as I would have liked.) 
When dough has rested roll out into an oblong piece.  (The recipe didn't say how big, so I tore off a sheet of parchment paper maybe about 24 inches or so long and rolled the dough to fit.)
Brush on melted butter covering the entire piece.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar liberally over the whole piece.
Once the dough is covered with the cinnamon sugar and oil, fold it in half lengthwise.
Cut into 3 strips and braid the dough. (Here's where I ran into trouble.  I had never braided dough before, and my thoughts were that I didn't understand what to do and perhaps I had made my oblong too long.  I managed to braid the first part but then the dough stretched and wouldn't behave, so I went to the next step.)
Gently roll the dough by starting at one end and working all the way down to the other end.
This will make the dough a nice long piece that can then be shaped into a circle.
Once shaped place on a baking pan covered with piece of parchment.  (My dough and circle were so big, I just lifted the edge of the parchment and slide the sheet underneath.)
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest again until it doubles in size. (Again, I did this near the hot oven.  I think I might have let the dough rise just a little too long, as it got very large.)
If you haven't already, preheat your oven to 370 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake at 370 degrees F for 12-15 minutes until dough is golden brown.  (Mine took the full 15 minutes.)

Vanilla Butter Glaze
3 Tbsp. melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. milk

Mix all together to make smooth glaze.  Glaze will thicken as it cools.

To decorate cake:

Think of the cake as having 4 quarters or sections, each with 3 alternating colors of sugar.  I iced all the green sections first, followed by the purple and then the yellow.  This helps keep the colors separate.  I forgot to add the plastic baby, but figured people would love the cake anyway!

I cut a piece this morning and I thought this recipe was excellent, the texture and the flavor were what I associate with a traditional king cake.  I was a little disappointed in my glaze, it it seemed a little too sweet for the cake. 

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