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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #33 and Apple Crumb Pie Baked Apples

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So you like pie but you don’t like making the crust. It’s time-consuming and doesn’t always turn out right. Plus it’s full of fat grams and calories and not much nutrition (like maybe zero–or negative nutrition, if there is such a thing). You can use a pre-made crust but you still have the calories and who wants to use something pre-made if you don’t have to?

Reading and Recipes to the rescue! (Can you see our cape with the red R&R on the back?) This week we have a pie recipe with no crust! Well, actually there is a crust–nature’s very own crust: the skin and outer layers of the apple! Just remove the core and most of the inside of the apple, add the filling, finish with the crumb topping, and bake!

And you will have two single-serving apple pies ready to eat, with none of the time or trouble or fat grams of a traditional pie crust–just nature’s own crust made a little better.

(Personal confession time: I love pie crust, probably because it’s full of fat grams and calories–the more buttery and flaky, the better. But I have to admit, these Apple Crumb Pie Baked Apples are a whole lot easier, quicker, fun to eat, and healthy. Can’t do much better than that!)

apple crumb pie baked apples

Apple Crumb Pie Baked Apples

3 large apples*

Apple pie filling:

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 Tablespoon warm water

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Streusel topping:

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

pinch of cinnamon

1/2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

apple pie baked apple

Make the apple pie filling by combining the cornstarch and warm water in a small bowl. Whisk the cornstarch and water together until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Peel, core, and dice ONE of the apples. Into a saucepan, add the cornstarch mixture, diced apple pieces, cinnamon, and granulated sugar. Heat this mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Once the mixture begins to simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow this mixture to cool for 15 minutes.

While the mixture is cooling, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prep the two remaining apples by slicing off the top of each apple. Using a spoon, scoop out the core, careful not to puncture the side or bottom of the apple. Spoon the apple pie filling into the cored-out apples. (You may have some filling leftover; cover and store in the refrigerator for later use.)

Make the streusel topping by combining all of the ingredients until mixed and crumbly. Divide the streusel and sprinkle over top of each apple.

Place the apples in a 5×7 inch baking pan. Bake the apples for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Remove the apples from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Makes 2 baked apples.

*Firm apples work best. I used Honeycrisp apples, but any firm variety will be fine.

baked apples

{Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #33 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #33, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #33, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #32 and Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

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Growing up, I never heard of, let alone ate, a snickerdoodle cookie. I don’t know if this delicious variation on the basic sugar cookie was a regional favorite somewhere other than where I grew up, or if it was a recipe that only recently came into favor. In any case, it’s a relatively new and much enjoyed treat for me.

But its rise in popularity and availability has been rapid. Now snickerdoodle cookies are almost as common as the old standbys chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin. And with this rise in popularity, we’re beginning to see lots of creative and seasonal modifications in the basic snickerdoodle recipe.

So we’re going to jump on that bandwagon and give you an autumnal (don’t you love that word?) variation with this week’s Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies. The core recipe is similar to your standard snickerdoodle, but we’ve added pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice to give the cookie a special seasonal flavor. This makes them a great addition to a Halloween treat bag or an Oktoberfest buffet.

And keep them in mind for the Thanksgiving dessert table, if you want to branch out beyond the traditional pumpkin and pecan pies. Cookies are a whole lot easier to eat, and store, than those pies; and when the kids drop them on the floor–well, they’ll just pick them up and eat them (if they beat the dog to it).

pumpkin snickerdoddles Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the coating:

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pumpkin snickerdoodle

Add the flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice to a mixing bowl and whisk the ingredients together.

To a separate bowl, beat together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter for a minute or until combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract until all ingredients are well mixed. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until dough just comes together. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper, and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the coating ingredients. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Roll the cookie dough ball into the coating, and then place on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. You should get 11-12 cookies.

Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes, or until just set. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 cookies.

pumpkin cookies

{Adapted from Cooking Classy}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #32 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #32, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #32, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #31 and One-Bowl Apple Cake

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So it’s the season of apples, at long last. They’re plentiful and delicious and healthy and not very expensive if you buy them in quantity at the roadside produce stands or the farmers’ markets.

But if you buy in quantity (say, a bushel), the question is–What do I do with all these apples? You could eat one for lunch every day, but it might take you about ten years to finish the whole box (and they might not be as tasty ten years from now). We like to turn large quantities of apples into homemade applesauce–just quarter and simmer till soft then run them through a food mill. Mmmm-mmmm good!

But how about apple desserts? The traditional apple pie is great, but a lot of work making and rolling out the bottom then the top crusts. An apple-crumb pie, with a cinnamon and brown sugar top crust, is a little simpler but still a lot of effort (and a lot to eat).

So this week we’re offering a small size, very easy One-bowl Apple Cake as a simple way to have a fresh apple dessert in a manageable quantity (three or four generous servings) made in a short amount of time. That way you can make a fresh apple dessert every night till that bushel of apples is gone!

Or maybe not. Do it for a week then turn the rest into applesauce. Applesauce freezes well and you’ll be glad for the yummy treat in the dead of winter or next spring.

apple cake

One-Bowl Apple Cake

1 egg

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 large apple, peeled and thinly sliced*

one-bowl apple cake

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 5×7 pan with cooking spray, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, cinnamon, and vegetable oil. Slowly mix in the flour and baking soda until combined, careful not to over mix the batter. Fold the apple slices into the mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Cover and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 small cake.

*Gala, Fuji, Honey Crisp, or other similar varieties of apple work best.

one bowl apple cake

{Adapted from My Recipes}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #31 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #31, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #31, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #30 and Maple Cinnamon-Roll Muffins

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Little nip of fall in the air where you are? Or, for our Southern Hemisphere viewers, a touch of spring? Either way, this time of year it’s probably good to layer your clothes before leaving the house in the morning, because what you need to have on in the chill of the morning probably will be way too hot in the warmth of the afternoon.

Now what the heck does that have to do with a cooking blog?

Got your interest, didn’t I?

This week we are doing a layered-on dessert–Maple Cinnamon-Roll Muffins!

You start out with the core maple muffin, made with maple syrup for sweetness and buttermilk for richness and moisture. And if you feel that’s good enough for you, or you only have those ingredients, then you can stop at layer one and bake a delicious maple muffin.

But if you want to make the maple muffin extra special, mix together the streusel accent and sprinkle it onto the uncooked muffin batter–the “cinnamon roll” component, or layer two.

Finally, if you want a really tasty and rich dessert treat, mix together the cream cheese frosting and drizzle it over the cooked and cool maple streusel muffin–layer number three.

And there you have it–Maple Cinnamon-Roll Muffins! Kind of like the t-shirt/flannel shirt/sweater combo you have on as you head out the door into the chilly morning. Layering, only at Reading and Recipes.

maple cinnamon muffin

Maple Cinnamon-Roll Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the streusel:

2 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

maple cinnamon muffins

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with six paper liners, and set aside.

To a mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt together. Make sure there are no lumps.

In another mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, maple syrup, melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk until all of the ingredients are combined and no lumps remain.

To make the streusel, combine all of the streusel ingredients and mix together with a fork until fully incorporated. The streusel should be about the size of peas.

Divide the batter between the six paper liners, filling about 3/4 full. Depending on the size of your muffin pan, you may get 7 muffins. Sprinkle the streusel on top of each muffin. Bake muffins in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool.

If you want to frost the muffins, combine 1 ounce of softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon of milk until well combined. Pipe over top of cooled muffins. Store muffins in an air tight container at room temperature.

Makes 6-7 muffins.

maple cinnamon roll muffins

{Adapted from Bakeaholic Mama}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #30 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #30, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #30, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #29 and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

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Hey, want a sandwich?

(Ho-hum. Yawn-yawn.) Yeah, sure, I guess.

How about a special sandwich?

That caught your attention, a little bit. You’re thinking what would a special sandwich on a dessert blog be? Maybe an oatmeal creme sandwich? An ice-cream sandwich?

How special?

Really special.

What the heck? Quit the teasing and just tell me!

Well, duh. It’s in the title–a chocolate sandwich!

A Chocolate Sandwich Cookie?

Yes, a chocolate sandwich, with cookies for the bread and chocolate buttercream frosting for the filling.

Sounds like a fairy tale.

Like Hansel and Gretel’s house of cake and candy.

Doesn’t end like that fairy tale, does it?

No. These chocolate sandwiches have a happier ending. We promise. Just give them a try.

double chocolate sandwich cookie

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

For the cookies:

1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2 Tablespoons vegetable shortening or margarine, room temperature

3/4-1 cup confectioners sugar

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder*

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

chocolate cookie

Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients together until no lumps remain.

To another mixing bowl, add the butter and granulated sugar and beat using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix in until fully incorporated. Fold the dry ingredients into the batter until just mixed, careful not to over mix. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper, and set aside.

Roll cookie dough into small balls. You should get 20 total. Place 12 cookie dough balls onto your cookie sheet. Gently flatten each ball with your fingers. Bake the cookies for 6-8 minutes, or until just set. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat steps and bake remaining cookie dough balls while the first batch cools. Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting.

While cookies are cooling, make the filling by adding the butter and shortening to a mixing bowl and beating until well combined. Slowly add 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar to the mixer. Once the confectioners sugar is almost all incorporated, add the cocoa powder and vanilla extract and beat the ingredients on high until light and fluffy. If you want a slightly thicker filling, add the remaining 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar and beat on high until fully incorporated.

Spread filling onto 10 cookies. Sandwich the filling with another cookie. Store cookies covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Makes 10 sandwich cookies.

*If you want to make a vanilla filling, simply leave out the cocoa powder.

chocolate sandwich cookie

{Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #29 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #29, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #29, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!