Apple season reminds me of home and Sundays spent apple picking among the fall foliage. Apple season was always celebrated with the Apple Festival and opening of the Old Cider Mill. There’s something quintessential about apples in New England, and sometimes I miss it. Living in Florida, I opt to celebrate the fall and the apple harvest by whipping up my favorite apple crisp. I used to make apple crisp almost every weekend living in Connecticut. Thankfully, I can find a wide variety of apples for my crisp. I love that I can use any apple and usually grab what ever is on sale at the local grocery store. I find the sweeter the apple the better. Granny Smith’ while a decent baking apple, I find them to be a tad too tart.
For this crisp I used 4 Gala’s, cored and sliced and tossed in cinnamon. I then placed them into a baking dish. I set them aside to make the topping. Instead of using all purpose flour, I used oatmeal flour. I made the flour by pulverizing some oats in a food chopper. The flour was then mixed with 1/3 of cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of softened butter. I sprinkled the topping over the apples and then baked at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
You can serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream. It can also be served cold if you prefer.
You will need:
4 apples cored and sliced
1 tablespoon (or to taste) cinnamon
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter.
A baking dish.
Everyone else can have their pumpkin spice whatever, I will take apples, baked, sauced, or crisped any fall day.
It’s National Chocolate Ice Cream Day! The day was likely started by an ice cream manufacturer in an attempt to boost the sale of chocolate ice cream. Interesting fact, the first known chocolate ice cream dates back to 1692 when the Italians froze hot chocolate. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but it gave the world decadent chocolate ice cream to rival vanilla as the most popular flavor.
Now, I don’t need an excuse to make ice cream. I tend to make homemade ice cream all summer long. It reminds me of my childhood summers, when we would venture into the harbor for ice cream. However, if I have a readymade reason to make a batch I will happily take it. So, to celebrate National Chocolate Ice Cream Day I whipped up a batch of the Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream. I took a chocolate base and added chopped chocolate covered cherries to the mix. I must say it came out really well.
The recipe is super easy and eggless, which I prefer. Using eggs in ice cream can be tricky. The eggs are mixed with milk or chream, cooked and then cooled. They make a richer ice cream but adds an extra time consuming step to the process.
To make my Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream start with:
3 cups heavying whipping cream
1-cup whole milk
1 cup Cocoa
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 5oz package of chocolate covered dried cherries- chopped
Mix the dry ingredients and then combine with the cream, milk and vanilla. Add it to an ice cream maker to churn. As it’s churning pour in the chopped cherries. Transfer to a container and freeze for about 4-6 hours.
I use the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and generally keep the two containers frozen, so I can make up ice cream whenever the mood strikes. There’s nothing worse than having to wait for it to freeze before use.
How are you celebrating National Chocolate Ice Cream Day?
If you love chocolate and need an excuse to have chocolate for breakfast, then you will love these chocolate muffins. These muffins are quick and easy to whip up. What I love most about this recipe is that it doesn’t have eggs, allowing you to safely lick the spoon or the bowl. It’s a great recipe to make with the kids and they can fight over the spoon.
I have made these for Kevin’s office and have given them to friends too. These chocolate muffins get rave reviews and most of the time I’m asked for the recipe. I love that they can double as an after dinner treat with a cup of coffee or can be tossed into a lunch bag for a mid morning snack.
Chocolate Muffins – makes six to nine muffins depending on the size of the muffin pan used.
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
scant 1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/8 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 390. Grease and flour muffin tin (I use cocoa). If you opt to use a silicone pan you can skip the grease and flour step. The muffins will easily pop right out of the pan.
Combine dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Stir until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Divide batter equally between muffin cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
My husband found this recipe when he decided to give baking a try. Baking is usually my domain, while he is more comfortable cooking or grilling. When he found this we both agreed they looked to easy and too yummy not to try. Well, they have become my go to muffin recipe especially when we are in the mood for chocolate.
I have a confession to make…. I like gummy bears. I could easily go through an entire bag on my own in one sitting. Lately, I have seen a lot of recipes for gummy bears, including wine gummy bears. Being the curious hostess that goes all out to entertain friends, I thought it might be a fun treat to serve for Girl’s Night In.
Here’s what I learned from the wine gummy recipe experiment, and yes I’m calling it an experiment.
Buy good wine. I bought 2 buck chuck to save money on the trial run. The consensus was they looked pretty but tasted like crap. In hindsight, the recipe only calls for a cup, so buy a bottle you will drink and the gummy bears will taste better too.
Don’t add in the food coloring. It’s gross and does nothing for the flavor. Instead, use a good red wine for the same result.
Make sure you fill the molds to the top. I didn’t do that and had a few with really thin heads when I removed them.
Despite them not being a great success the first time, I wasn’t giving up on the idea. I tried them again using a better wine, instead of the cheap stuff. The results are still pending.
Here’s the recipe for the wine gummy bears:
6 packages of unflavored gelatin
1 cup of wine (or juice)
1/2 cup sugar (omit if using a sugary juice)
In a small stock pot, warm the liquids and whisk in the sugar and gelatin. Stir until they dissolve. Bring mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Using a eye dropper, fill in the gummy bear molds. Place molds in an air tight container or in a baking pan and cover with foil. Chill up to two hours before serving.
When they are ready, gently remove them and serve in fun little vessels. I used square bowls, but you could use crystal or champagne flutes. Another idea is wrap a few into pretty cellophane bags and tie with a bow for favors as friends leave.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a few girlfriends for a quiet evening in. Every event calls for something sweet, but not heavy. I turned to my favorite sugar glitter cookie recipe discovered on Martha’s website. She calls these Glitter Ball Cookies as they are rolled in glittery sanding sugar. I love them because they have just enough buttery sweetness without being over the top and they can be color coordinated for your event. I opted for gold and white for our evening in. Aren’t they pretty?
The recipe calls for:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
They are super easy to make too.
Start by pre-heating your oven to 350. Cream the sugar, butter and salt in a stand mixer on medium-high until pale and fluffy; about 3-4 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and then gradually add in the flour at a low speed. Mix until well combined.
Roll cookies out into 3/4 inch balls, then roll balls in small bowls with sanding sugar to coat. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes.
Martha makes these into sandwich cookies with a ginger cream filling. I opted to skip the filling and honestly, they don’t need it.
I have made these for Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. It’s fun to mix and match sanding sugar colors for any holiday or event. There are so many colors available too. I was surprised to find it in a pretty gold.
The only problem with these is that they are so light and gently sweet that you’ll find it hard to just eat one. I had a tray of them on our coffee table and found all of us enjoying one and then another all evening. I think I may have the most though…. oops. There were a few left over for tea the next day….