I wanted ice cream so bad the other night. SO BAD. The problem was that I’d already showered so my hair was a hot mess, my eyebrows weren’t done, and I had yoga pants on. I know what you’re thinking: “Why didn’t you just cruise through the Dairy Queen drive-thru, Amanda?!” and I will tell you why.
I am cursed.
We live on Fort Carson which means whenever I leave the post, I have to go through an ID check to get back on. And they do random searches. And I am randomly chosen every time I leave the house looking like a disaster. Can’t even be chosen when I look cute and actually have my hair brushed. And let me tell you, there is nothing more embarrassing than having to stand out in the cold in your husband’s workout shorts while your 12 Target bags (when you only went for diapers of course) are poked through by military police. Cursed, I tell you.
So I have a new rule that I only leave post when I have my hair at least straightened.
Back to the original problem: I needed ice cream in my life but I couldn’t leave.
I had all the ingredients for this dip and while it wasn’t ice cream, it was cool and creamy and the little crunchy toffee bits mixed in made it almost feel like a B&Js flavor. My kids dug it and even though it’s not healthy at all, both kids ate their weight in apples over the next few days.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese, brown sugar, and powdered sugar until combined. Beat in vanilla. Remove from mixer; use a rubber spatula to fold in the toffee bits.
I hit the jackpot with my secret blog this month: Kristine’s Kitchen. Kristine has healthy food, naughty food, and everything in between. After sorting through her blog, I tweeted:
I got a bunch of replies telling me to let the husband choose and decided to pick the one I knew he would want: apple pie. Because if pie is an option, he’s going for it.
I was intrigued by this recipe because for one, it includes raisins. I have a very recent love for raisins so I knew I would love this. The recipe also calls for you to put the raw apples right into the pie crust instead of cooking them first, which is something I’ve never done when making a pie.
The pie turned out fantastic! And so easy since you literally just toss the ingredients together and throw them in the crust! My husband declared it the best apple pie ever to which I said, “Umm… you said that about the last apple pie I made“. He decided that they are equally good but this one is more of a seasonal apple pie because of the raisins. Men…
Secret Recipe Club – Cinnamon Apple Pie with Raisins and Crumb Topping
1 refrigerated pie dough
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 3/4 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 6 medium), peeled, cored, cut into chunks
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Crumb Topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
For the crust, roll out pie dough to a 14-inch circle. Transfer to a pie dish by gently wrapping the dough around a rolling pin and then carefully unrolling it. Gently press dough down into pie dish and trim excess dough around edges, leaving about a 1-inch overhang. Fold the edges under and crimp to make a decorative edge. Chill unbaked crust in freezer for 20 minutes.
To make the filling:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Mix brown sugar, flour, lemon peel, and cinnamon in large bowl. Add apple chunks, raisins, and vanilla; toss until well coated. Transfer filling to unbaked crust, mounding filling slightly in center. Bake pie until apples begin to soften, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare crumb topping:
Whisk flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in small bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture begins to clump together.
Sprinkle topping evenly over hot pie. Continue to bake pie until apples are tender and topping is browned and crisp, tenting pie with sheet of foil if browning too quickly, about 50 minutes. Cool pie on rack at least 2 hours.
I hate to admit this, but I don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving. I don’t. I’m not a turkey person. I would rather load up on stuffing and green beans and mushrooms and oh my goodness, the gravy.
I set out to make a turkey that I couldn’t resist and resist this turkey I could not. You start with a turkey breast (which btw, I expected to be small. The smallest breast I could find was 7 pounds! Seven!) and you brine it in a mixture made from cider, brown sugar, and sage. Then when you cook it, you baste it with butter, more cider, and more sage. I cannot begin to explain to you how good my house smelled as this bird was cooking.
The best part, of course, was the gravy! It was sweet from the cider and the sage just put it over the top. I think I am officially obsessed with sage.
I couldn’t stop taking little pieces every time I walked past the kitchen. It was fantastic and I’m hoping my husband will let me cook one of his turkeys using this method for the big day.
¼ cup chopped fresh sage or 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1 bone-in whole turkey breast (5 to 6 lb), thawed if frozen
For the basting sauce and gravy:
¼ cup butteror margarine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
Reserve 1 cup apple cider for basting; cover and refrigerate.
In 6-quart bowl or stockpot, stir remaining cider, the brown sugar, kosher salt, ¼ cup fresh sage and the peppercorns until salt is dissolved. Add turkey breast. Cover; refrigerate at least 12 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
Heat oven to 325F. Remove turkey from brine; rinse thoroughly under cool running water, and pat dry. Discard brine.
Place turkey, skin side up, on rack in large shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is in the thickest part of breast and does not touch bone. Roast uncovered 1 hour.
In 1-quart saucepan, heat reserved apple cider, the butter, 1 tablespoon fresh sage and the garlic over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is hot.
Roast turkey about 1 hour longer or until thermometer reads 165F and juice of turkey is clear when center of thickest part is cut, basting turkey generously with apple cider mixture and pan juices every 15 minutes. Remove turkey from oven, and let stand 15 minutes for easier carving.
Meanwhile, pour pan drippings and scrapings into measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes. Skim fat from top of drippings, and place in 2-quart saucepan; skim and discard any remaining fat. Add enough water to remaining drippings to measure 2 cups; set aside.
Stir ¼ cup flour into fat in saucepan, using wire whisk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Gradually stir in reserved 2 cups drippings and the salt. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir about 1 minute or until gravy thickens.
I’m not sure what possessed me to make this cake. It’s fruit, fruit, and then oh yeah, more fruit which is definitely not the kind of dessert that I’m usually drawn to. But the moment I saw this recipe, I knew I needed it.
Maybe it was the brandy. Maybe it was the brown sugar sauce. I don’t know what it was but oh my goodness, I am so happy that I decided to make it! It’s sticky and chewy and the raisins just burst in your mouth with brandy flavor. The sauce? I will pour it on everything I eat for the rest of my life.
I thought I had burnt the cake when it pulled it out because it was so dark but don’t fret if I make it, it’s supposed to look that way. It’s caramel-y and delicious and pretty much perfection in (fruity) cake form. I’m already dying to make it again!
2 medium-sized tart apples, such as Northern Spy or Rome Beauty, cut into ½”" inch pieces
For the brown sugar sauce:
⅓ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅔ cup heavy cream
2-1/2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
To make the cake:
In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the brandy for 45 minutes. Add the dried apple pieces and macerate for a further 15 minutes. Do not drain!
Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan and line the bottom and up the two long sides with a sheet of parchment paper, letting the paper hang over the edges by an inch or so. Lightly butter the paper.
In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
In a large bowl with a hand held electric mixer or whisk, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend both sugars. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed until thickened and pale, about 2 minutes with a machine, 4 to 5 minutes by hand. Add the cooled melted butter and mix to blend. Fold in the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just enough to moisten most but not all of the flour. Add the dried fruit and brandy mixture and diced fresh apple, then fold them into the batter with long, deep strokes. Don’t fret about the ratio of fruit to batter — there is a remarkable amount of fruit but it bakes into a wonderfully chewy cake.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and set in the center of the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the center springs back when lightly touched, a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Serve warm with the brown sugar sauce.
To make the sauce:
Combine the butter, sugars and cream in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir this mixture over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a very gentle boil, stirring all the while. Cook 5 more minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the brandy, if using. Serve immediately, or cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. To rewarm, either microwave the uncovered sauce on low power or transfer the cold caramel to a saucepan and stir over low heat until warm.