Brandied Applesauce

After moving earlier this year back up to Silver Spring (a suburb of DC where I lived when I first moved here over 5 years ago), the boyfriend and I made a tradition of Saturday morning trips to the Farmer’s Market. I absolutely love walking through the Market, picking up fresh, locally-grown produce each week. I’ve become especially fond of Three Springs Fruit Farm, not only because their produce is fabulous but because they also do online bulk orders. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen my photos of canned peaches, jams, and jellies, most of which I made with fruits I picked up from Three Springs. While it’s been a challenge to figure out what to do with 50 lbs of peaches, 40 lbs of tomatoes, or 25 lbs of apples, it’s definitely been fun!

After picking up a crate of Golden Delicious apples a few weeks ago, I was left with just a few pounds to use. I decided I wanted to make applesauce, but I was going to make a small batch to freeze and bake with since I’m not a big applesauce eater. Until the boyfriend ordered Pork Chops with Brandied Applesauce at a local restaurant. That’s when the little lightbulb when on in my head. Apples + brandy = yum!

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So I used up the last of the Golden Delicious apples, along with some Honeycrisp left in the fridge, and a few Gala and Macintosh apples I picked up later. (I’ve since picked up another 25-lb crate of apples to use for Thanksgiving!) And the process was super easy. First, you peel, core, and chop the apples in to quarters. If you have a food mill and want a less-chunky sauce, you can omit the peeling and coring and just quarter the apple instead. But I like a good, chunky applesauce with a bit of a bite to it!

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Then you throw the apples in a large pot with some apple cider, brandy, brown sugar, and spices, then cook and mash. Now, I may get some flack about adding things to my applesauce because plain applesauce is perfectly fine. But this recipe isn’t for your ordinary applesauce, and trust me, it’s totally worth it! The applesauce is ahhh-mazing as-is, but you can stir a little bit of honey in if you like it slightly sweeter. Or use it to top pork chops, pancakes, ice cream, or anything else you desire!

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Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel to ask in the comment section below. And check back in next week to see what I make with the applesauce! Enjoy! 🙂

Download the recipe!

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Bacon Popcorn

Thoughts for new recipes and blog posts usually evolve like this:

  1. I’m sitting at my desk at work, possibly craving a snack or just generally thinking about food.
  2. I begin fixating on a very specific thought about something sweet or savory or salty.
  3. I turn to one of my coworkers and ask, “what if I…?”
  4. I jot a note down in my notebook or on a post-it.
  5. I go back to work, and then the A-HA! moment hits me. I feverishly search for the note I made a few minutes or hours ago and scribble out how to make my “what-if” idea a reality.

This week, my “what-if” idea was, “What if I pop popcorn in bacon fat?” I mulled over the idea a bit, randomly poking my head out of my cube to get opinions as the idea evolved. Since my ideas frequently revolve around “what if I add bacon?!”, my coworkers were likely not surprised that I wanted to make bacon popcorn…

Personally, I am a HUGE fan of the salty-sweet combination, so I included some brown sugar in the recipe to resemble a homemade kettle corn. And I remembered seeing smoked salt at a camp-out this Spring, so I went on a search at Whole Foods, where I found one brand of Bourbon Smoked Sea Salt. (The one I originally saw was from Trader Joe’s and was possibly a store brand.)

With all the other elements gathered, I settled on a solid idea and a recipe. Then, I went to Harris Teeter for bacon, ate BLTs for dinner for a few nights, and saved the bacon fat in my fridge till I was ready to do some popping.  I’ve popped popcorn once before on the blog, and this method very closely resembles the one in the Rocky Road Caramel Corn post with a few changes to account for the added sugar in the recipe. The result is a slightly sweet and salty popcorn with a hint of smoke and bacon. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Rocky Road Caramel Corn

Last night, I was again craving something sweet and salty. And after Tuesday’s post about the Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats, I have a dangerous amount of Brown Eyed Baker’s Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce left in my fridge. Instead of just eating the caramel with a spoon, I wanted to think of another way to use it…

Salted caramel hot chocolate was the first thing to pop in to my head, but it’s been 100 degrees outside for the last two days… So a hot drink did not sound like a good idea! And I didn’t want to bake up anything that would lead to the oven heating up my apartment for over an hour. So, I decided to make up some popcorn!!

Rocky Road Popcorn is a tasty mixture of homemade caramel corn, fluffy miniature marshmallows, and chocolate covered almonds.  The mixture is pretty darn hard to resist and even harder to put down once you’ve started nom’ing on it! 🙂

Click below for the recipe!

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Homemade Chips & Fruit Salsa

While I got a little caught up in the Star Wars themed desserts for “May the Fourth Be With You”, I also made a few Mexican-inspired desserts to celebrate Cinco de Mayo last weekend! So last weekend, I decided to combine my love of chips and salsa with my love for all things dessert! My boyfriend and I devour chips and salsa, especially when it’s homemade. Some nights, we’ve sat down before dinner to munch on a few chips, only to discover that we’ve eaten half the bag… It’s quite dangerous, and definitely not healthy!

Using fresh ingredients, I made a fruity dessert salsa that was mostly sweet with a little bit of tart. Like most salsas, it tasted even better the next day after the flavors marinated a little, but I couldn’t resist digging in when it was fresh! It was especially hard to resist when paired with homemade cinnamon-sugar tortilla chips… In middle school Spanish class, I remember frying up tortillas and sprinkling them with cinnamon and sugar for dessert. However, I wanted to keep this dessert light and refreshing, so I decided to toast the chips in the oven instead of fry them. This dessert was quick, easy, and tasted amazing! I hope you enjoy it like I did! 🙂

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