Spiced Apple Butter

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Don’t hate, but I have only recently discovered the wonders of apple butter. As a kid, my experience with apple butter was limited to seeing my mom order it alongside a basket of biscuits at the local Cracker Barrel. (Yes, I lived far enough out in the exurbs of Chicago that we had our very own Cracker Barrel…) In my ignorance, I never quite understood apple butter and instead reached for the packaged grape jelly.

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But my curiosity over apple butter was piqued after seeing the boyfriend order it on all of our Cracker Barrel road-trip pit stops. I quickly learned to remind him to request the side of apple butter when ordering to avoid the inevitable sadface that occurred when he forgot.

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Once I got in to canning last summer, I knew that I needed to cook up some apple butter. But first, I tried out peach butter from some of the 50 pounds of peaches I ordered from the Farmer’s Market. And wow, that was amazing! So next up was apple butter.

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This is the second batch of apple butter I’ve canned, as I had a few over-ripe apples in the fridge and was down to only 1 jar of apple butter left from the first batch. It’s incredibly easy to cook and comes together quite nicely, as long as you have the patience. So make sure you set aside a full day in the kitchen to tend to your apple butter as it will require some careful tending.

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But, trust me, all of that time and effort will be worth it when you can pull out a fresh jar of homemade apple butter! Spread it on hot toast or biscuits, or stir it in to yoghurt (as the boyfriend found out is amazing as well!).

Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! 🙂

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Brandied Applesauce Cake

Remember that Brandied Applesauce I posted about last week? Well, it was so good that I made a double recipe, twice. So my house is FULL of little jars of applesauce, in both the fridge for snacking and the freezer for saving. However, I’ve maxed out the capacity of my freezer, and I don’t want any of the applesauce to go bad and be wasted. I needed to find something to do with a few cups of applesauce.

My first thought was an applesauce cake. But then I realized that Thanksgivukkah is coming up this week, so I wanted to merge my applesauce cake idea with a more traditional Jewish apple cake. (For those of you not aware of Thanksgivukkah, this year’s first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving. This is an extremely rare occurrence that is not projected to sync up again for thousands of years!)

This recipe uses my brandied applesauce, along with a few chopped apples, walnuts, and raisins. The applesauce and small amount of oil also means that you don’t need to wait for butter to soften, it’s low in fat, and (if you use oil to grease your pan and certified brandy) it’s kosher!

Of note, if you don’t want to use the brandied applesauce as a base, you can substitute regular applesauce mixed with a few tablespoons of brandy. You can also omit the brandy altogether, increase the spices, and dust with powdered sugar. It’s an extremely versatile cake!

Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel to ask in the comment section below. 

Download the recipe!

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! 🙂

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Apple Cider Cake

I’m at a loss for words today. I think my brain is still a little fuzzy from the madness of Thanksgiving and the four-day weekend. Or maybe I ate enough turkey that I’m still in a turkey coma! With the 27 pounds of turkey I cooked, I think the latter may be the case. It doesn’t help that the holidays are quickly approaching, and my focus is quickly waning…

I don’t know about anyone else, but I always go a little overboard at Thanksgiving and for holidays and at dinner parties and sometimes on Tuesdays. After getting not one but TWO turkeys ready in their respective oven and slow cooker, I looked around my kitchen and decided I hadn’t done enough dessert prep yet! I spent most of Wednesday night making mushroom and sage stuffing, a cheesecake (yep, I’m an addict!), and fresh cranberry sauce. And my morning prep before the turkeys involved wrapping things in bacon and prepping a batch of Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream. But I needed [at least] one more dessert…

In comes the Apple Cider Cake! I had a gallon of apple cider in my fridge and some apples that were supposed to go in to pie, so I decided to bake an apple cider bundt cake. The cake is sweet and full of apple’y goodness from both the cider and the chopped apples, but the caramel really is the best part! The apple cider caramel is made by reducing cider until the sugar begins to caramelize, and then adding a small amount of butter and salt. And it’s like an apple cider explosion in your mouth!

I hope everyone had a relaxing holiday and/or weekend! I can’t believe that we’re already nearing the end of November… Time to start prepping for the holidays and New Year’s Eve! 😀

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

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More Grilled Cheese, Please!!

As I stated in Tuesday’s post, I had a lot of fun this week celebrating “National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day”! I love the opportunity to create something that you wouldn’t normally expect for dessert, especially something that cooks up quickly and easily (and without needing to turn on the oven during a heat wave!)… So, next time you’re searching for a fast and yummy dessert recipe, how about an Apple and Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese?! 🙂

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