All posts filed under: baking

Foolproof Apple Pie

After a fun morning picking apples at Sunset Orchards we are ready to make some delicious apple pie. Precooking the apple filling makes this pie foolproof and fun to make with kids! My 9-year old twins always love to sneak a taste of the filling while it’s cooling down. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 ½ pounds apples, peeled and cored, then cut into thin slices ¼ teaspoon ground allspice ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 1 recipe all-purpose pie dough 1 egg, lightly beaten Melt butter in a large saute pan set over medium-high heat and add apples to the pan. Stir to coat fruit with butter and cook, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk together the spices, salt and .75 cup sugar, and sprinkle this over the pan, stirring to combine. Lower heat and cook until apples have started to soften, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch over the apples and continue …

Spinach Croissants

My son Massimo loves anything made with spinach. These are a blast to make with kids and freeze really well. 1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed 3/4 cup crumbled feta 3 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese 1/4 cup very finely minced onion 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp chopped dill 1 tsp minced garlic 1/2 tsp Kosher salt freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 large eggs 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce package), thawed, rolled out to a 12-inch square, kept chilled Using your hands, squeeze spinach until dry, forcing out as much water as possible (too much water will make for a soggy filling; you should have about 2/3 cup well-drained spinach). Mix spinach and next six ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg to blend; fold into spinach mixture. Cut puff pastry into 3 equal strips. Reserve 1 strip for another use. Cut each remaining strip into 3 squares for a total of 6. Place a square in each muffin cup, pressing into bottom and up sides and leaving corners pointing up. Divide …

Maple-Oatmeal Scones

These scones are simply the best and they can be made & cut out ahead of time – then stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic (up to 2 days) before baking. The recipe is from the first “Barefoot Contessa” book Ina Garten published in 1999. 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup whole-wheat flour 1 cup quick-cooking oats, plus additional for sprinkling 2 tbsp baking powder 2 tbsp sugar 2 tsp kosher salt 1 lb cold, unsalted butter, diced 1/2 cup cold buttermilk 4 extra-large eggs, slightly beaten 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash for glaze 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup maple syrup 1 tsp pure vanilla extract Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Blend the cold butter in at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-size pieces. Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs and add quickly to the flour-and-butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The …

Irish Soda Bread

My kids love Irish soda bread and I make it often (not just on St. Patrick’s day)…this version turns up the volume by adding freshly grated orange zest and a bit more sugar than usual. 4 cups all-purpose flour 6 tbsp sugar 1 tsp baking soda 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken (in a pinch I use 6 tbsp of dried buttermilk powder mixed into dry ingredients and 1 3/4 cups cold water) 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten 1 tbsp freshly grated orange zest 1 1/4 cup cried currants Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour. With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer …

DIY: Homemade Mint Chocolate Milano Cookies

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these delicious cookies! 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp kosher salt 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened 1 1/3 cups sugar 2 whole eggs 1 egg white 2 tsp vanilla extract 8 oz dark chocolate (I prefer Valrhona), chopped 1 1/2 tbsp organic peppermint extract Preheat oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Combine flour and salt together and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add in whole eggs and egg white, then vanilla, and continue to beat on high until light and fluffy. Lower speed and gradually beat in flour mixture until just incorporated. Transfer batter to a ziploc bag with a 1-inch hole snipped in one corner. Pipe batter into 2-inch long strips. Bake for 13–15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just begin to brown. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks. Allow cookies to cool completely. Arrange cookie halves in pairs of similar shape and size. Melt chocolate in a double boiler until smooth, …

Dampfnudeln (my Grandma’s Recipe for Sweet Dumplings from Germany)

I have very fond memories of my Oma Gertrud making these fluffy, sweet dumplings in her kitchen. They are steamed, not baked – have a light, airy top and a crunchy, slightly salty crust on the bottom. Serve with vanilla sauce or stewed fruits, such as plums. This is a traditional recipe from the Black Forest region in Germany. Special thanks to my friend and fellow foodie Michelle Danzer-Gries for asking me about this recipe and sending me on a trip down memory lane… yeast dough 1 tbsp dry yeast 2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 tsp kosher salt 1 cup sugar zest of one lemon, finely grated 6 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft 3/4 cup of warm milk 2 large eggs Place the warm milk, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp flour and yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir to combine and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and work into a smooth dough (start with 2 1/2 cups of flour, but add more if needed). Dough should not stick to the sides …

The Ultimate Birthday Cake

Yesterday was my son Matteo’s birthday and I made this cake based on a recipe from Giada’s kitchen. There are a few steps to this recipe, but they are all lots of fun – like making your own hazelnut crunch brittle (which by itself is a delicious candy and makes a great gift). cake ingredients and instructions 1 box of chocolate cake mix Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans and divide batter evenly between the two pans. Bake as directed on package. When done invert to wire rack and cool. hazelnut crunch and instructions 1 cup hazelnuts (toasted in 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes and rubbed in a towel to remove skins) 2/3 cup sugar 1/3 cup water Place the toasted nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium high heat until golden – about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and wait a few minutes until bubbles subside and …