Salted Maple Apple Butter

Photography by Megan Punches

Did November fly by for anyone else?  No? Just me then.  I literally did not post anything in the month of November and for that I am sorry!  I was super busy with starting a new job, getting together with family and friends, and overcoming an amazingly long cold.  But this apple butter totally makes it all better!

This salted maple apple butter is THE perfect thing to have on hand during the Holiday season.  It’s a set it and forget it type of recipe that can also be used for quick and easy desserts.  I love using my crockpot for prep items and this is a huge time saver for this recipe that takes a long, long, long time to finish.  And who wants to stand over the stove for 10 hours stirring?

Salted Maple Apple Butter

1 1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4  Tbsp salt

6 pounds apples, peeled and cored

1 1/2  Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Combine all ingredients in a large crockpot.  I used a combination of golden delicious apples and honeycrisp apples.  Cook on high for 3 hours, then cool on low for 5 hours.  The mixture will darken in color quite a bit.  Blend well using a blender or an immersion blender, and taste.  You want the consistency to be thick, even when hot.  If needed, continue cooking in the crockpot on low, or transfer to a pot on the stove if necessary.  Makes about 5 cups of apple butter.

Enjoy!

Autumn Caramel Apples

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Photography by Allyson Regan

What better way to indulge your sweet tooth than with a sweet treat that also involves some fruit.  I absolutely love caramel apples, especially when they are coated in pecans and chocolate.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Also, these are a great homemade treat for Halloween! This is the easiest caramel apple recipe ever!  All you will need is 2 bags of those Brach’s caramels, the ones that come individually wrapped, and a bit of heavy cream.  Bring a medium pot of water to a simmer and melt the caramels and cream in a glass bowl.  It might take a while, but trust me, it’s so worth it!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Now the caramel will set a bit quickly, so you’ll want to roll it in nuts soon after dipping.  Let it set completely before drizzling on chocolate though, otherwise you’ll have a mess on your hands.  I used the same melting chocolate that I used for these cake pops.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

You can leave them plain too, customize them to whatever you and your family likes!  You can even make some “mummified” versions like the one below!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

How scary does that look???  Either way, make sure to eat them semi-soon after making them.  Also, use pretty sturdy sticks so that you don’t have to worry about them breaking or falling off.  If you need another, more adult, way to celebrate Halloween today, check out this spooky cocktail!  Enjoy!

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Halloween Cake Pops

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Photography by Allyson Regan

You guys!  Look how cute these cake pops are!  They are the perfect Halloween snack because they are bite size, so you can eat more and not feel guilty, and they are super easy!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Okay, that’s enough exclamation points for today.  I’m sure you can find a recipe for cake pops somewhere online, but it’s so simple that you almost don’t need one.  For the cake pops themselves, you’ll need one 9X13 pan of cake.  I used a yellow cake recipe but you can use any box mix that you like.  Once it’s cooled, crumble it into a mixing bowl and add about 1 1/2 cups of your favorite frosting!  Sorry, more exclamation points.  You want the consistency to be pliable, just remember that you are going to freeze these before you decorate so they will firm up.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Once they are frozen, they are ready to decorate which is the best part.  Melt candy melts in the microwave but be sure to follow the directions, especially for the white chocolate ones as they can easily burn.  I used the Ghirardelli candy melts and they are so easy and actually taste good!  Once the candy is melted, you want to work pretty fast.  Dip the cake pops to coat and let the excess candy fall.  Directly after dipping, you want to add sprinkles so that they stick.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

For these adorable mummies, coat all of the pops and attach these cute little candy eyes.  Let set, and then put the remaining white chocolate in a piping bag.  Cut a small tip off the bag, and drizzle onto the cake pops, taking cake to avoid the eyes.  Let set and then watch them disappear like magic.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

These cute sticks can be found here and they are listed as caramel apple sticks.  I personally wouldn’t use them because they aren’t very sturdy and they are quite short.  These cake pops are so cute and they are the perfect make-ahead treat for your tricksters!

 

Breakfast Cookies

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Photography by Allyson Regan

I don’t know who invented breakfast cookies, but I’m so glad they did.  I mean, you just can’t get much better than eating cookies for breakfast!  Especially when they are jam packed with delicious and healthy ingredients like these ones.  Just because they are called breakfast cookies, doesn’t mean that you can’t eat these anytime during the day.  They make a great healthy dessert when packed in a lunch, or a great snack for a road trip because they are quite filling.  Like most of my recipes, feel free to add or remove some of the add-in ingredients, like the nuts or chocolate chips.

Breakfast Cookies

1 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 Tbsp vanilla

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats, old fashioned

1/2 Tbsp baking soda

1 Tbsp ground flax seed

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup dates, chopped

1/4 cup applesauce

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 Tbsp salt

1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

 

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add in the egg and applesauce and mix well.  Add in the remaining ingredients and mix to combine.  Scoop the dough into small balls, and chill before baking.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 12 minutes, rotating the tray after 6 minutes.  I like these cookies a little darker because they get a little more toasty flavor, so I normally cook them for about 14 minutes total.  Cool on a cooling rack, and package in a tupperware container.  These cookies tend to get quite soft after a couple days so you can either bake them throughout the week, or throw a piece of bread into the container to soak up the excess moisture.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

This recipe is sure to become a favorite in your house.  If you meal plan on Sundays, this recipe takes no time at all and can easily be added into your routine.  Like always, I’d love to hear from you!  Comment below if you try this or any other recipe on my blog.  Also, please share the love on social media using the buttons below!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Photography by Allyson Regan

You guys.  These cookies are amazing.  But really.  Seriously.  For real.  No joke.  Okay I think you get it now.  But I’ve been making these cookies for almost a year and I’ve made them so much that I’ve truly perfected the recipe.  While they have peanut butter in them, they really just taste like a jacked up chocolate chip cookie.  The peanut butter helps keep the texture soft and chewy.  I simply adore these cookies because the edges are slightly crisp while the center is just baked and chewy, making them perfect for dunking in ice cold milk.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

These are also a crowd favorite!  This has been the most requested cookie from my husband recently.  I made them over the summer for a camping trip and they made delicious smore’s!  I would recommend storing them in tupperware instead of in a bag though, they tend to get crumbly easily in bags.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Just look at that crumb!  I usually use Ghirardelli bittersweet dark chocolate chips, which are disk shaped and help to form these delightful chocolate layers.  So good!  I almost always have this recipe frozen into small balls so that when I have last minute company, or a bad day, I can whip these cookies up in 12 minutes or less!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar until just combined.  Add in the egg and combine well.  Add in the peanut butter and mix.  Add in the rest of the dry ingredients mixing just until combined. These work best when the dough is chilled slightly before baking.  Scoop into dough balls, I use a scoop that is about a 1/4 cup. Bake for 12 minutes, turning half way through to ensure even baking.  Let cool for a minute or two on the tray and flatten slightly with the back of a spatula.  Remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack.  If the chocolate solidifies, reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds.  This recipe works just as well when you bake them from frozen, you might just need to keep an eye on them and maybe add a couple extra minutes.  I’ve tested this recipe twice doubling the batch and they still work out great!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Be right back, I’m going to find a giant mug of milk and dunk this whole stack in it.  Don’t judge me until you try this recipe. And if you try this recipe, share your pictures on social media and tag me!

Enjoy!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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Strawberry season in Michigan is so fleeting that my tiny apartment-sized freezer is full of the sweet gems.  The great thing about freezing them, is that even if you don’t have time to bake with them when they are in season, you can just pull them out of the freezer when you have time!  One of my favorite ways to enjoy strawberries when they are in season is pairing them with a flaky crust and sour-tart rhubarb, also from Michigan.

Mastering the art of the ideal pie crust can be tricky and frustrating.  As someone who has made a couple of gross pies in her day, I have found a recipe and a couple tried and true tips that work for me.  Some of the expertise comes with experience, and working with your specific flour, altitude, water, etc.  Many experts say that it’s easiest to make your dough in the food processor, however, I’m a firm believer that the blades ruin the flakiness that is key to good crust.

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My go to pie crust recipe can be found in Kate McDermott’s fantastic cookbook, Art of the Pie.  It can be found on page 61 and you’ll only need flour, salt, butter, and water.  Now, you’re your own person, so use any pie crust you feel comfortable with.  If pie makes you uncomfortable, buy this book and use this recipe.  I’m not going to include her recipe on here, because if you are committed to good making good pies, you really should have her book in your cookbook library.  Also, she has so many other great recipes and tips that are very valuable.  I would recommend buying a marble rolling pin.  It helps to keep the dough colder, keeping the butter inside the dough solid until you bake the pie.

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The filling recipe that I use is adapted from Kate’s recipe found on page 250.  I like to keep my fillings simple to let the gorgeous flavor of the just picked fruit shine through.  Just combine the ingredients below and let them cook down inside the pie.  For this pie, I didn’t pre-bake the pie crusts before putting in the filling, like some recipes call for.  It does take a little over an hour for this pie to bake.  I cover the pie with tin foil for the first 20 minutes to help the filling to begin to set.  Uncover for the rest of the baking process.  If you notice that the crust is getting too brown towards the end of baking, just re-cover with foil.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling

4 cups of strawberries, quartered

2 cups of rhubarb, sliced

1 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup flour

Enjoy!

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New Year. More Cake.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake 2018

2018.

 

Guys, we survived 2017.

 

As a whole {country} 2017 was a rough one, but personally, I had a great year. I got married to my best friend and favorite human, I got to travel to NYC and explore some fantastic food, and I got a new job that allows me to spend more time with said favorite human.  While I didn’t go to the gym as often as I wanted, and I didn’t post on my blog very often, sorry guys, and I probably watched too much TV, but I enjoyed this past year spending time with my loved ones and truly lived life.

Which is how I landed at the title for this post as well as my mantra for the year ahead.  Life is all about balance people.  Balance between work and relaxation, balance between exercise and couch time, balance between quinoa and cake.  So while New Years Resolutions can be a great way to motivate ourselves to be better, we need to take some time three days after the new year and eat a piece of cake out of the fridge after our workout.

The recipe for this Flourless Chocolate cake can be found here and while I’m not in love with the result, it did satisfy my sweet tooth.  I added cointreau to the ganache that I spread on top.  For the berries, I tossed them in turbinado sugar, white wine, and cointreau and let them macerate overnight.  Stay tuned for a better recipe.

 

Happy New Year!