Post #12: The Best Apple Pie I Have Ever Tasted

I've never been a huge pie fan (unless it's a cream pie, more in the form of a custard or pudding, I can't get enough of those!)  But this pie has turned me around!  I think it's the streusel on top that does it for me - see, instead of a sweet tooth, I have been blessed with that I lovingly call a "fat tooth".  Anything creamy, custardy, buttery...whether it's sweet or salty, I'm going to like it...and that sucks.  I spend a lot of time in the gym to find the balance between a fat tooth and a fat butt.

Anyway, I was searching dessert recipes for a small dinner party I was having, and for some reason, a pie recipe stood out.  I felt that it must be fate if a non-pie lover fell for a pie recipe, so I headed to the store, bought some apples (and a pre-made pie crust...shh!) and the rest is history.

This was quoted as "what an apple pie should be!" 

(I'd love to add a photo, but since this was before my blog, I only have one really crappy cell phone picture!  I'll add one eventually, but for now, just try the recipe, y'all will not be disappointed!)

    For Pie

    • pastry for single-crust pie (home made, or store bought - whatever floats your boat!)
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons flour
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (I have used Fuji and MacIntosh, and both were awesome!)

    Crumb Topping

    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup butter

    Final Topping

    •   Vanilla ice cream
    • caramel ice cream topping
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  1. Prepare pastry for single-crust pie, being careful not to stretch dough too much.
  2. Place in pie plate and trim and crimp the edge.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Add apple slices and gently toss until they are coated well.
  5. Transfer mixture to pie.
  6. FOR CRUMB TOPPING: Stir together brown sugar, flour, and oats
  1. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until topping resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Sprinkle over apple mixture in pie.
  3. To prevent over-browning while baking, cover edge of pie with foil.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
  5. Remove foil and bake 25 to 30 minutes more, or until top is golden.
  6. Remove from oven and serve warm (not hot!).
  7. Put a scoop (or two, or three...) of ice cream on there!
  8. Drizzle top with caramel topping; sprinkle with pecans.


Post #11: Salted Caramel Cupcakes

When I saw this recipe on SprinkleBakes, I just knew I had to try it!  It has everything I love - they're sweet, they're salty, and they are loaded with butter and heavy cream!  Yum!  The recipe is a little time consuming, but it is well worth all the effort.  This buttercream is to die may want to double it, because you'll eat half of it before the cupcakes are me on this one!

Pay special attention when you make the caramel - you don't want to burn the sugar!  Also, resist all childlike urges to lick the wisk/spoon/stirring will burn you.  (Again, trust me!  lol!) 

Warning: you will need to spend a lot of time at the gym after you discover these beauties!

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Makes 15 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with papers. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
Cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated.  Add vanilla.  Mix and scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway full.  Bake for about 25 minutes. When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

Salted Caramel Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons salted butter cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature
Melt the sugar over medium  high heat in a large pot.  Whisk the sugar as it melts and cook until it becomes a deep amber color. Add the butter and stir it in until melted. Pour in the heavy cream (mixture will foam) and whisk until you get a smooth sauce. You may have some lumps but keep stirring until they have melted.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly. 
Cut a small round piece out of the tops of each cooled cupcake and pour in 1 teaspoon of caramel.  Replace the cake piece and set cupcakes aside.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar and water.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color.  Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth.  Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable.
In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar.  Mix until thoroughly combined.
Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel.  Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes).  Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration.  If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny.  If this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.  
Top caramel-filled cupcakes with frosting.


Post #10: My Valentine's Day

When Valentine's rolls around, my sweet man and I make every effort to avoid restaurants, shopping malls, jewelry stores, etc...  We love each other every day, so why single out one day?  I think we're too practical. 

So we stayed in, ate sandwiches, and watched TV...

Then he pulled out a huge sparkly red bag covered in hearts... Needless to say, I am one happy camper!

Is that a set of springform pans!?  WHATTTT!?

Yeah I know...but it's hard to snag a photo AND hold those things up at the same time!  Gimme a break!


Post #9: S'mores Cupcakes

I ran across the recipe on another foodie blog (Macaroni&Cheesecake) a few weeks ago, and they have been on my mind ever since!  I never need a special occasion to bake, but I wanted to make these for what I think is a special day - my hubby's birthday - though he disagrees!  But this is my blog, so I win.  :o) 

Back to the cupcakes!  My sweetie doesn't eat sweets very often, but s'mores, believe it or not, hold a special place in our relationship.  When we were just kiddos back in the day, he used to take me to a park by the lake, where we would walk around the water, talk and laugh, and then go to the fire pits and make about a million s'mores!  In fact, he proposed to me at that very lake.  (Aww!)  

These were delightfully quick to make, the chocolate cupcake is moist (I used applesauce instead of oil, and it is perfect!), and the taste is surprisingly light.  This will be my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe!  With them being so quick to whip together, and with the presentation being so fun, they would be awesome at a party (think tailgate!) and kids would just be tickled to have s'mores inside!  The directions recommend piping the frosting on top, but I globbed it for a more authentic feel - plus, the marshmallowie gooeyness of the frosting is sticky enough in the bowl, I didn't feel like transporting it to a piping bag!  Me = sometimes lazy.  ;)

Oh, and don't worry - these are just as messy as a real s'more!

S'mores Cupcakes

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
Source: Martha Stewart
Makes 24 Cupcakes

3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons canola oil or applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with foil liners or squares of foil for the rustic look; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed. Spoon batter out evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Marshmallow FrostingSource: Things Alauna Makes via Sew Darn Cute
Ingredients:2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
16 oz. tub of marshmallow cream

For Assembly:Crushed Graham Crackers
24 individual hershey chocolates

Directions:In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on high until light and fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, and beat until fluffy each time
Beat in the vanilla until incorporated. Add the marshmallow fluff and beat until creamy

To Assemble the Cupcakes:Pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes. I used a large ziploc bac and snipped off the end...worked perfectly. Top the piped frosting with crushed graham crackers (you can put them in the food processor until they are fine crumbs) and an individual piece of hershey's chocolate.


Post #8: (White) Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookies

 Not sure if you know this, but Texas was just hit with a huge ice storm - Snowmageddon as it likes to be called.  So basically, aside from work, I was stuck indoors and all I could do was bake and watch movies.  a.k.a. Heaven!

Anyway, these cookies are not something I would normally make - I don't purchase a lot of dried fruit, nor do I think it's okay to "ruin" a perfectly good chocolate chip cookie with healthy stuff!  The restaurant I manage is part of a test market.  With this being the case, I get sent home with a ton of weird ingredients that we can't use in the cafe, but make strange additions to our home pantry (you should have seen the looks on our friend's faces when they saw we had 3 or 4 jars of marshmallow fluff in the pantry...).  So, recently I was blessed with roughly 5lbs. of dried cherries.  I'm generally not a huge cherry eater, so I had no idea what to do with them.  Our head of Research and Development pointed me to Martha Stewart's website for the "best chocolate cherry cookies ever!"  Because of the previously mentioned ice storm, I couldn't get to the store to buy oats, so I just replaced them with flour this time, and no chocolate chips (WTF!?) so I used white ones.  Worked out just fine - they were hubby approved - but the original recipe is better, so that is what I am posting!  :o)

Do y'all have any good recipes that use dried cherries?

Also, is my photography getting any better?  We have so little natural light in this place!

 Cherry Chocolate-Chunk Cookies

Makes 20 cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup toffee pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice during mixing. Add the egg, mix on high speed to combine. Add the vanilla; mix to combine. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
  3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix on low speed until well combined. Add oats, cherries, chocolate, and toffee pieces; mix to combine after each addition.
  4. Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets. Repeat, spacing 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake cookies until golden brown 13 to 15 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.