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Category Archives: Sweets

Apple Butter

Is there anything better than a large schmear of apple butter on a slice of fresh bread in the morning!? Every fall my family drives to a (relatively) nearby farm and goes apple picking. We come home with great memories…and buckets and buckets of apples!! At least a dozen of these apples are always put aside to become apple butter. We are barely even home from the apple orchard and my kids are already asking me if I’ve made the apple butter yet 😉 There’s very little work involved other than prepping the apples, and if you’re the canning type, you can even water-bath can the fruits of your labor.  (See what I did there? Haha)

Apple ButterIngredients:
1 dozen medium sized Apples, peeled, cored, and cubed.
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Allspice
1 Large Dollop of Honey – roughly 1-2 TBSP

Directions:
1. Prep your apples.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the apples, water, brown sugar, cinnamon, and allspice. Mix them together well to combine.
3. Dump it all in your crockpot and cook on low overnight.
4. In the morning, stir the mixture in the crock. Put the lid back on but prop it open a little with a spoon and turn it on high. Let it cook on high for a few more hours – I like to go for another three hours or so to get the thickness and color I prefer, but it’s really up to what you like.
5. When you’ve tasted the apples and you’re happy with the thickness and flavor, turn off the crock and let the mixture cool a bit. Pour it into the blender (or use an immersion blender if you have one) and add a dollop of honey. Puree until smooth.
6. Pour it all into a mason jar or other air tight container and store in the fridge.
7. Enjoy!!

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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Breakfast, Crock Pot, Easy, Homemade, Kids, Sweets

 

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Apple Pie

Who doesn’t love apple pie? It’s simple, delicious, and great for the holidays. You can bake it to make your house smell amazing or you can bring one to a party as a hostess gift. It’s an all around crowd pleaser and is great served both warm and cold.

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Ingredients:
1 pkg refrigerated Pie Crust
6 medium Apples – pealed and sliced thin
3/4 cup Sugar
2 TBSP Flour
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Nutmeg

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
3. In a large bowl, put in sliced apples and lemon juice. Add the mixed seasonings from the small bowl to the apples and toss thoroughly to mix and coat the apple slices.
4.Grease a pie pan and roll one layer of the pie crust into the bottom. Gently spoon the apple mixture into the crust (this is a case where you do NOT want to over-stuff, if you have too much filling, don’t try to cram it all in there). Top the filling with the second pie crust – or cut into strips to make a pretty design. Seal the edges of the dough and flute it – take a butter knife and make a few small slits in the center and some towards the edges of the pie for the steam to escape from inside the pie.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
6. Let set for 15 minutes.
7. Eat and enjoy!!!

 

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Puppy Chow

I still remember the person who first told me about Puppy Chow. She was an older girl in my high school. We were in an after school activity together and I was the naive freshman. I thought, “Puppy Chow? Dog food? What is this girl talking about!?”. Little did I realize that Puppy Chow would be the mainstay of my high school sleepovers and celebrations. I’ve heard some people call them ‘Muddy Buddies’ and I’m sure there’s other regional names for it too. Basically it’s a chocolate and powdered sugar covered snack that teenage girls go crazy over 🙂  .

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I mean, who knew that four so simple, basic, ingredients could combine to become such and addictive, tasty, and coveted snack!?

This recipe is my version of Puppy Chow. To be honest, I don’t remember the exact recipe that was shared with me. I’ve made my own many, many times since though – and this is how I make it.

Ingredients:
1 cereal box of chex cereal. Rice chex, corn chex, whatever is on sale will work fine.
2 bags of Chocolate Chips (6oz each)
2 large dollups of Creamy Peanut Butter (more about that later….)
2 cups Powdered Sugar. You eyeball it, but it comes to roughly half a 1lb bag.

This is very, very far from being an exact science. This recipe is cooking on a teenage level. Where things are dumped into a bowl and considered “good enough”. I tried to narrow down the exact needs as best as possible, but I have to admit I still revert back to teenage girlie-ness when trying to figure how exactly what was needed.

Directions:
1. First up is the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Dump all of your chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and scoop your two large dollops of peanut butter on top. (If you want to know what a large dollop is, see the picture below.)  Microwave on 30 second increments – stirring at each break – until fully melted. You have to be careful here and not rush things, chocolate can do weird things if microwaved and not stirred properly. In another LARGE bowl, pour your entire box of cereal in and get ready for the melted chocolate mixture. The chocolate will turn hard again if you let it cool, so the idea is to melt it, mix it, and dump it over the cereal as soon as its ready. Now, I know that True Cooks and Chefs will immedietly chastise me for microwaving chocolate….but remember this is a simple, teenager recipe – feel free to pull out the double boiler if it makes you feel better!

DSCF0005(a large dollop of peanut butter)

2. You should have a LARGE bowl of cereal with a melted mixture of chocolate and peanut butter poured over it at this point. Make sure you get a spoon and mix and turn and mix the heck out of the cereal. You are aiming for a decently even coating of the chocolate over all of the cereal. Just keep spooning it up from the bottom of the bowl and over the cereal again and again. Eventually you will get it all over all of the cereal squares – hopefully before the chocolate has cooled and started to harden again and also before you managed to break up and crush too many of the squares 😉
3. After your cereal is well coated in chocolate, start pouring in some powdered sugar, about half a cup at a time, and keep mixing. This time you’re aiming to evenly coat the chocolate cereal with a layer of white powdery sugar. Some of it will be absorbed into the chocolate, that’s ok. And you’ll have some clusters of cereal where several squares want to stick together – break those up into single squares if possible. Just keep adding in sugar and mixing it all up until the batch looks as well coated as you can get.
4. At this point, the LARGE bowl you’ve been doing all the mixing in is probably pretty messy. Your spoon is probably sticky and your fingers are a mess. That is all normal. If you want a prettier presentation, poor the Puppy Chow into another bowl or container for storage (or serving) instead of using the initial mixing bowl. Just make sure it is stored air tight with a lid or foil crimped over the top of the bowl. It should hold for a few days, but don’t worry….you’ll eat it before then!

 
 

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Mini Blueberry Muffins

Muffins are a life saver in my house. We are always running around in the mornings before school and looking for a quick bite to eat – or one of the kids will want a quick and easy snack they can just pop in their mouth.  This is the recipe I use for blueberry muffins, but you can easily swap out the blueberries and substitute in whatever flavor you best enjoy.

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Ingredients:
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Blueberries
1 egg
1/2 cup Milk
4 TBSP Applesauce or Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and blueberries together.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk, applesauce, and vanilla extract together.
4. Pour the wet mixture to the dry mixture and gently fold the two together. Do not over mix. It’s ok if there are lumps, you only want to mix about a half dozen times total.
5. Pour the batter into a lined or greased mini-cupcake tin following the 2/3rds full rule (fill each cup about 2/3 full so there’s room for the muffin to grow without over flowing).
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
7. Enjoy!!

 

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Homemade Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer

I’ve been in the mood to experiment with my homemade coffee creamers lately. Don’t get me wrong, I love my old stand-by French Vanilla Creamer that I make, but with the changing seasons I’ve been in the mood for a richer, creamier taste. After a lot of trial and error and experimentation, I came up with this Salted Caramel flavored creamer and ooooh – on a cool autumn morning, with a steaming cup of coffee – this just absolutely hits the spot!

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As an added bonus, this recipe is extremely similar to my basic French Vanilla Creamer recipe. So you can easily switch back and forth depending on your mood. Also, because nobody in their right mind is going to go through the hassle of pulling out a double boiler, melting down pieces of caramel, adding some cream to keep it loose, and then combining it with their coffee creamer – I found that just adding a few spoonfuls of the store-bought caramel ice cream topping does the trick just fine!

Ingredients:
1/2 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk (save the other half in the fridge for your next batch of creamer!)
4 TBSP Caramel Ice Cream Topping
3/4 tsp Salt
12 oz Milk (1 1/2 cup)

Directions:
1. Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Mix together really well, you don’t want the condensed milk to be a dense sludge on the bottom. Get your whisk out and give yourself a quick workout!
3. Pour it into any sort of container you like and store it in the fridge. It will stay fresh as long as the milk you added hasn’t met its expiration date yet.

 

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Fresh Mint Cocoa Cupcakes

Our family has been tending to a little container garden on our patio this summer. It’s nothing big, but it has been a great way to get some practice in on how to garden and what kind of things we should plant and such. One plant that has WAY exceeded our expectations is our mint plant. It’s in a tiny 10″ diameter bucket, but this little guy just grows and grows and grows! I went out there the other day and actually considered whether this plant could someday take over our house!

Of course a massive harvest/trim job was needed so I got right to work and ended up with several cups of fresh mint and nothing to do with it. I have already stored away a few bottles of mint to turn into Mint Extract, so what was I going to do with all this stuff? Well, BAKE of course!

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Now, if you’ve been with me for a while here, you’ll know that I am much more of a savory style cook than I am a sweets styled baker. So for this cupcake recipe I turned to the experts at Baking Simple for their Chocolate Cake Recipe. I have tried many different cupcake batter recipes lately and this is hands-down The Best. The dough is soo light and fluffy that it almost looks like a mousse as you’re spooning it into the cupcake tin. When they are baked, the cupcakes are airy and delicate and just simply delicious!

Chocolate Cake and/or Cupcake Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup Unsalted Butter at room temperature
3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 cups Milk

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and put your cupcake liners into the cups of your muffin pan.
2. Grab a small bowl and start combining your dry ingredients. Mix together your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and then set it aside for later.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar on medium high for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and your eggs one at a time and continue mixing.
4. Turn your mixer down to low and then slowly add in your flour mixture and your milk to the batter in small portions, alternating each time. (In other words, add some flour, add some milk, add some more flour, add some more milk….) Mix until just combined, do NOT over mix at this step. You want your batter to be light and airy, not overworked.
5. Start scooping your batter into your cupcake cups, following the 2/3rds Rule. (Always fill your cupcakes to approximately 2/3rds full to allow for the cupcake to rise without over flowing.) Bake for approximately 18 minutes for mini cupcakes – make sure you’re checking periodically with a toothpick for doneness the last few minutes and adjust your time accordingly.

Fresh Mint Frosting

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Butter at room temperature
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/4 cup fresh Mint Leaves, chopped very very finely
1 TBSP Vanilla Extract
7 drops Green Food Coloring (optional)

Directions:
1. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter on medium high a few minutes until smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar, a little bit at a time.
2. Increase your speed back to medium and add in the vanilla and mint and continue to mix for several more minutes until well combined.
3. The frosting is finished as-is, but if you are looking for a greener color you can add in the food coloring. While the mixer is still running, slowly drip in your seven drops of green food coloring, allowing time after the final drop for the color to evenly mix throughout the entire batch of frosting.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Easy, Homemade, Kids, Party Foods, Sweets

 

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Peanut Butter Bars

It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the U.S.
This is a holiday that is meant to memorialize all those who have served in our military and given their lives and time for the protection of our nation. Somehow this traditionally translates into back yard barbeques and family parties. I happen to be attending such a party this weekend and I wanted to bring a dish to share but I wasn’t sure what to make. I went and dug into that fantastic new (old) recipe box from my Great-Great-Aunt Tonie and pulled out this delicious recipe for Peanut Butter Bars!

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I am not typically a sweets person, but let me tell you, this dish is beyond addictive! This couldn’t be an easier snack to make. You use one large bowl to both melt and mix the ingredients together, pour it into a dish and refrigerate. Simple simple simple. I guess that makes it a no-bake recipe too! I don’t know how old this recipe is, but truely some of the oldies are the goodies!!

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup Graham Crackers, crushed
3 cups + 2 TBSP Powdered Sugar
1 cup Butter
1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
12 oz Chocolate Chips

Directions:1. In a large bowl, melt your butter and then mix in crushed graham crackers, powdered sugar, and peanut butter.
2. Grease a large 13 x 9 casserole pan and pour your mixture into it. Use the back of a spoon and even the mixture out over the entire bottom of the pan.
3. Back in that original bowl, melt your chocolate chips and then pour them over the top of your peanut butter mixture in the casserole dish. Spread it out so that it is evenly covering the peanut butter. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate overnight.
4. The next morning let the dish set out at room temperature for a little while before cutting the bars into the dish. This recipe makes approximately 40 bars.

 

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