Apple Hand Pies

The holidays are quickly approaching which means lots of friends, family and good food. For every holiday gathering, there are the traditional standby dishes that you have each year. This year I would suggest adding in a new fav- these mini, hand-held pies. They are the perfect portion for one person, are less messy than a slice of pie, and they travel and store well.

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Now making crusts has never been my strong suit so I “cheated” and used store bought crust. It speeds up the recipe but if you are a crust master, go for it! Also if apples aren’t your thing, you could use your favorite filling. Enjoy!

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Apple Hand Pies

Makes: 12-14 hand pies

Ingredients for Pies:wp-1479140050830.jpg

  • 1 box of refrigerated pie crust or your favorite recipe for 2 pie crusts
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and diced apples (about 2 large apples)
  • 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg, beaten

Ingredients for Icing:wp-1479079564887.jpg

  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Directions:

1.) Peel, core and dice apples into small pieces. Combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon wp-1479517617613.jpgand nutmeg in a bowl. Set aside apples and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.) Roll out pie crust on floured surface. Using a 4 inch, round cookie cutter, cut out circles of pie crust. You will need to combine the dough scraps together and roll them out to get a few more circles.

3.) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place one circle of dough on the pan. Place a wp-1479080462485.jpgspoonful of apples in the center of the dough and fold in half. Seal edges together with a fork or fingers. Poke tops of pies with a fork to avoid explosions. Lastly, brush tops of pies with beaten egg.

4.) Bake pies at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

5.) While pies are baking, whisk together milk and powdered sugar in a bowl until glaze is runny.wp-1479079566014.jpg

6.) When pies are done baking, remove from oven and dip each hand pie into the glaze. You can use a spoon to help fully coat each pie in sweet glaze. Place pies on cooling rack or parchment paper to cool for 10 minutes. Pies can be stored loosely covered in wax paper.

Notes and Tips:

  • If you are not a fan of apples, you could fill the pies with cherries, rhubarb, or blueberries. Let you taste buds make the decision!
  • Do not overfill the pies with filling. I was tempted to fill each pie to the brim but it made it hard to seal the edges of the dough.
  • Be sure to seal the edges of the pies well so the insides don’t spill out while they are bakin’.
  • You can cut fun designs out of the pie dough scraps to adorn the tops of the pies. I used small cookie cutters to cut out shapes but you could free hand leaves or other shapes as well.

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Pumpkin Bars

With Thanksgiving coming fast and furious, it’s time to prep your pies and other goodies for the big feast. I’m not a pumpkin pie person myself, which leaves me in a bit of a conundrum for the holiday. I thought by finding a spin on the typical pumpkin pie ingredients, that I could redeem myself.

These Pumpkin Bars were very easy to create and make enough for the whole family. The fluffy cream cheese frosting is just sweet enough to compliment the light, pumpkin layer. Give them a shot for a pumpkin pie alternative this Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yields: 20 bars

Ingredients for Bars:wpid-20151101_161822.jpg

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for Frosting:wpid-20151101_180437.jpg

  • 6 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 6 tablespoons butter (at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Directions for Bars:wpid-20151101_162421.jpg

1.) Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream sugar and eggs together until well mixed. Next add oil and pumpkin until well incorporated.

2.) Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon and mix until smooth.wpid-20151101_163627.jpg

3.) Pour into 10 1/2 X 15 1/2 inch baking pan. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Directions for Frosting:

1.) Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth and wpid-20151101_181724.jpgcreamy.

2.) Next alternate adding the powdered sugar and milk until well incorporated and frosting has a light and fluffy consistency.

3.) Once bars are cool, spread frosting over the top.

Notes and Tips:

  • It’s best to have the butter and cream cheese at room temperature for the frosting.
  • Bars can be stored covered in the refrigerator for a few days or you can freeze the pan and cut off pieces as needed. The bars have a richer flavor when served cold.

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Apple Roses

Once again Fall has moved into the Midwest and I found myself in the middle of apple picking season. After a few bouts of picking, the overabundance of apples had me searching for fun, new apple recipes. My brother sent me a video of these Apple Roses being created and I decided to give them a try!

The Apple Roses look complicated to make, but the recipe is very simple and the results are stunning. They would make a great addition to any party or an alternative to apple pie at Thanksgiving. Because they are so beautiful, you may be hesitant to take a bite. But don’t be shy- dig right in! They taste like a delicious, mini apple pie. Give them a try, enjoy!

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Apple Roses

Yields: 10 Roses

Recipe adapted from: http://thelovenerds.com/2015/05/apple-rose-pastries-recipe.html

Ingredients: 

  • 3 medium appleswpid-20151010_180616.jpg
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Caramel
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions: wpid-20151010_181442.jpg

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the apples in half and remove the core and seeds. Using a mandolin or knife, slice apples into very thin slices.

2.) Place apple slices in a microwave safe bowl with the water and lemon juice. The lemon juice will help to keep the apples from browning. Microwave the apples for 4 minutes, or until slightly soft and pliable. You don’t want the apples to be too crisp when you roll them into the roses, or the slices will crack and break.

3.) Drain the water from the apple slices and let cool.

4.) Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the thawed puff pastry. Cut pastry into 4 to 5 strips (depending on the size of your apples) withwpid-20151010_190723.jpg a pizza cutter. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. For each pastry strip, sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar and a smear of caramel.

5.) Place apple slices on the top half of the strip of puff pastry and overlap each slice. Be sure that some of the apple slice is sticking up over the top of the pastry. Fill the whole strip of puff pastry with apple slices and then fold up the bottom half of the pastry over the apples.wpid-20151010_191453.jpg

6.) Starting at one end, tightly roll up the pastry to create the rose and then seal the end of the pastry. Lightly grease a muffin tin and place each rose in the tin.

7.) Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until pastry is lightly brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes. Then remove roses from pan and cool on a rack. To serve, sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar and/or powdered sugar.

Notes and Tips:

  • Use a mandolin to slice apples very thinly or take your time to do it by hand. I was quick to slice the apples and they came out a little thick.
  • Feel free to get creative with the ingredients that you add to the inside of the puff pastry. You could add nutmeg as another spice or use apple butter, caramel, butterscotch…
  • Store completed Apples Roses in a covered container.

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Caramel Apple Crisp

Continuing with my Fall baking extravaganza… After two rounds of apple picking I had enough apples for a small army so started to use them up! I searched for a recipe that called for a lot of apples and came across this apple crisp recipe. I followed the traditional recipe and upped the ante by adding lots of gooey caramel and doubled the usual amount of topping. I used half a dozen apples for this recipe but I still have plenty more to go! Try out this slight twist on a classic apple dessert. Enjoy!

crisp and ice cream

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Apple Fritter Bread

Fall is here! This is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love the weather, the leaves, and most of all, the apples. I’ve come to realize that those of us who love Fall are either “apple people” or “pumpkin people”. Well I am definitely an “apple person”, although I can still show a little love to the pumpkins (see Great Pumpkin Cookie post). This year, in an effort to fully embrace the apple season, I went apple picking! I may have been a little over zealous because I went for the 1/2 bushel of apples, which didn’t seem like a large amount at the time. Then I got home and realized I needed to do some quick research on apple recipes to use up all the delicious apples!

apples

Then I came across this gem, and had to try it. Overall, it was an applicious treat! The light, fluffy texture of the bread, combined with the apple cinnamon layer and glazed top had me going back for a second piece. Unfortunately, this recipe only ended up using two, of my many, apples so watch for more postings! Enjoy!

finished bread

 

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Cinnamon Ice Cream

Recently I was chatting with my co-workers about their favorite ice cream flavors. Now to me, picking a favorite ice cream flavor is like picking a favorite child- you love them all equally but they have their own quirks that make them special. During the conversation someone mentioned cinnamon ice cream and I was instantly inspired! I hadn’t eaten cinnamon ice cream since I was a kid. I decided I couldn’t rest until I made some.

This recipe definitely did not let me down! It was the perfect combination of creamy-sweetness with a little spice from the cinnamon. Hope this post inspires you to make something yummy from the past- Enjoy!

ice cream

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Apple Pie

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving last week! When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of turkey, mashed potatoes, candied carrots, and, of course, pie. And what’s the most American kind of pie? That’s right-apple! Admittedly, I’ve always been hesitant to tackle this holy grail of desserts. I’ve made certain parts of a pie from scratch before, but never the whole sch bang. So this Thanksgiving was the year to give it a shot. Overall I think it turned out well! If you are afraid to tackle a pie from scratch, don’t be too hesitant. It does present some challenges, but nothing you can’t handle. See the notes and tips section at the end of the post to learn from my mishaps and read on to learn more about my experience!

pie close upI was initially attracted to this recipe because it had “caramel” in the title. As it turns out, it wasn’t all that caramely but the sauce did keep the pie filling deliciously moist, so I could live with that. As it turned out, it was a delicious, more classic apple pie with a great filling. When making the pie, I tried to use as few “specialty tools” as possible but there were a few things that I would suggest. One would be a pastry cutter to help make the pie dough. I attempted to purchase one to make this pie crust but the store was all sold out. So my makeshift tools were a large fork and my hands. Second, I would recommend slicing the apples on a mandolin slicer. It’s a little extra work but the thin layers of apple really made the pie hearty. Do set aside about 2 hours to make this pie-it’s well worth it! Enjoy!

baked pieThe Ultimate “Caramel” Apple Pie

Recipe adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/the-ultimate-caramel-apple-pie-recipe/index.html

Serves: 8-10 servings

Ingredients for Crust:crust

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
  • 1 egg separated (yolk for pastry and whites for glaze)
  • 10 tablespoons of ice water, plus more if needed

Ingredients for Caramel Apples:

  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/4 for the topapple pie ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 8 apples (recommended granny smith, gala, or honey crisp)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

Directions:crust pieces

1.) To make the crust, combine the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the chunks of cold butter with a pastry cutter, a little at a time until well incorporate. The dough should resemble coarse cornmeal. Next add the egg yolk and the ice water and mix until the dough comes together. You know it will be ready if you pinch some of the dough and it holds together. Be careful not to overwork the dough or it will get tough. You should be able to see some marbling of butter and flour in the dough. This marbling will make the dough flaky. Note: for this step you may use more or less than the 10 tablespoons of water.

2.) Separate the pastry dough into 2 round discs and wrap tightly pie doughin plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator while you work on the apples.

3.) To make the caramel sauce, put the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and place on medium-low heat. Stir only a few times until the sugar has melted and is caramelized, about 10 minutes.

4.) Once the sugar has turned an amber color, remove from the heat and slowly add the caramel saucered wine and heavy cream. The sugar mixture will be hot so when you add the cream and wine it may spit. When the sauce has calmed down, return it to the burner and add the vanilla extract. Heat the sauce until the wine and caramel are smooth and continue to cook until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and let cool until thickened.

5.) While the sauce is cooling, fill a large bowl with cold water and squeeze the lemon soaking appleshalves into the bowl. Peel and core the apples and place in the lemon water to prevent browning. Slice the apples very thinly using a knife or mandolin. Toss the sliced apples with flour and cinnamon.

6.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take one disc of dough doughout of the refrigerator. Let the dough sit for a few minutes to warm up so it will be pliable enough to roll out. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface into a 12 inch circle. Fold dough around the rolling pin and lay it inside a 10 inch, glass pin pan. Lightly press dough into pan so it fits.

7.) Cover the bottom of the pastry with a thin layer of apples, overlapping them and apples and butterensuring there are no gaps or air pockets. (Tip: If the apples are thinly sliced, when the pie bakes, the apples will collapse on top of each other and that will make a dense pie). Ladle about 2 ounces of the cooled caramel wine sauce over the apples. Repeat layers of the sliced apples and sauce until the pie pan is slightly overfilled (the apples will shrink down as the pie bakes). Top the apples with small chunks of the butter.

8.) Take out the remaining disc of pastry dough and roll out with a rolling pin. Brush the raw piebottom pastry crust with a little beaten egg while to help form a good seal. Place the other pastry on time of the pie. Seal the top and bottom crust together with a fork or any other fancy seal, if you’d like. Trim off any extra pastry that is handing over the edge of the pan with a knife or kitchen shears. Cut a few slits in the top pastry to allow steam to escape while baking. Place the pie on a baking sheet and place pieces of aluminum foil around the crust so it does not burn.

9.) Bake the pie for 25 minutes on the middle rack. In a small bowl combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Remove the foil from around the crust and brush the pie top with a pastry brush and egg white. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar mixture and bake for 25 more minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the pie is golden brown and bubbling slightly. Let the pie cool for at least 1 hour to let it set before you cut into it.

Notes and Tips:

  • For the apples, I used 6 granny smith and 2 honey crisp to add a little dimension to the flavor and texture of the pie. I found the apples still had good texture to them after cooked.
  • Slicing the apples on a mandolin slicer is one of the best moves to make for this pie! The thin slices really stack up and make for a meaty, tasty pie.
  • When making the caramel wine sauce for the apples, be sure to cook the sauce on medium-low heat. I ended up overheating the first batch of my sauce and it burned and turned into hard candy in the pot. Just be sure to watch the sugar closely at it caramelizes and stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  • As far as the crust goes, I was always most nervous about making it. Overall just make sure you have a pastry cutter or food processor to help bring the dough together. And don’t over mix-that can make the crust tough.
  • The pie can be stored at room temperature, covered, for 2 days. If you still haven’t eaten the pie after two days (shame on you), you can store it in the refrigerator, covered for an additional two days.

pie slice