Apple Scones with Maple Glaze

 

I never made it apple picking this fall. I know fall isn’t technically over yet, but let’s get real – it’s not happening. And even if it did, sweater-clad families lining the East Coast have already picked the trees clean.

Instead, I’ve lived vicariously through friends and relatives … on Facebook. Scrolling through pics of newly married couples in matching vests posing in a pumpkin patch moved me. Seeing photos of my rosy cheeked nieces and nephews in Ohio chomping down on apples while their parents tried to pull off the elusive family selfie was heart warming.  But what really piqued my interest even more than the apples themselves were the fresh doughnuts my sister-in-law raved about. Fresh, hot apple and maple doughnuts that crowds lined up for. She said the whole family fell silent in the car (not an easy feat with two kids under 5) while they each devoured their doughnuts. Eating doughnuts and apple picking (secondary to the doughnuts, come on) are on my fall bucket list for next year.

In the meantime, here’s a fall baking project for utilizing those glorious fresh picked (or grocery store) apples. Nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice infuse these scones with classic, delightful fall flavoring. Whole wheat flour and oats create a really nice texture and the maple icing is quite simply – on fleek.

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Apple Scones with Maple Glaze

Adapted from Ina Garten

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 pound cold butter, diced

3/4 cup chopped apple (I used half of a medium sized granny smith apple)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup buttermilk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 egg, lightly beaten with a little water for egg wash

Maple glaze:

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp maple extract

2 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In an electric mixer combine flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add in the butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs and add to the flour and butter.  Mix until the dough just comes together.

Place the dough on a floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough about 1 inch thick. Using the bottom of a glass or small bowl, cut the dough into little circles and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Brush the top of the scones with your egg wash. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops are golden. Let the scones cool for about 5 minutes before topping with icing.

For the glaze, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, maple extract and milk. When the scones are done. Drizzle each scone with 1 tablespoon of the glaze. You can sprinkle the top of the scones with a few oats.

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Galette

In need of a supremely easy summer dessert that will impress your guests? Or just yourself? Look no further than the galette.  Not into artfully arranging fruit in a symmetrical pattern? This recipe is a straight mix and dump situation.  Top with vanilla ice cream for sheer perfection.

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Blueberry Galette

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 stick cold butter
1/4 cup ice water
2 tablespoons sugar plus extra for the crust
2 tablespoons milk or almond milk

Filling:

2 cups blueberries
3 to 4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Using two forks, cut in the butter until the mixture becomes course in texture.  Slowly pour in the ice water, a little bit at a time until the dough starts to stick together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and form into a flat round disk. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Mix the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt in a bowl.

Roll out your dough into a 12-inch diameter circle on a piece of parchment paper. Dump the fruit in the center of the dough. Fold the edges toward the center of the galette. Brush edges with egg wash.

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m on a cookie kick. It started last Sunday morning when I woke up to the sound of little girls shouting outside my window. “Girl scout cookies! Girl scout cookies! $4 a box!” It realllly made me want to start my day with a thin mint. But I have more self control than that. I held off until about noon, bought 4 boxes of cookies and then decided to bake some chocolate chip cookies. If you are ready to take your chocolate chip cookie to the next level, you need to add sea salt to the mix. Both in the dough and sprinkled on top  – sea salt delivers on flavor. In a big way. These cookies are also the perfect blend of crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Cookie nirvana. IMG_4353IMG_4352

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Sugar in the Raw
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Heat oven to 360°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well. Beat in sea salt and baking soda until combined, then the flour on a low speed until just mixed. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out cookie dough and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each mound with sea salt. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Let the cookies rest for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Snickerdoodles

I never got on the snickerdoodle bandwagon. Once I learned that the cookies had no actual Snickers in them, I wasn’t interested. Why would someone ever choose a sugar cookie with a little cinnamon on top over a chocolate chip cookie? And furthermore, why hasn’t anyone baked a cookie with actual Snicker bits in it? I’ve got to get on that. I decided to be an equal opportunity cookie lover and baker and give snickerdoodles another shot. As I sampled a warm snickerdoodle straight our of the oven, I honestly felt like someone was giving me a warm hug. Delightful. Buttery. The perfect balance of cinnamon and sugar. I’m not saying it’s better than a chocolate chip cookie- that’s blasphemy. But, snickerdoodles, you won a place at my table and in my heart.

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Snickerdoodles

From Smitten Kitchen

2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks room temperature butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.

In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Form balls of dough with your hands and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about two inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

 

Coconut Brown Butter Cookies

We’re getting closer and closer to that glorious time of the year when diet-monitoring is thrown out the window and calories are consumed with reckless abandon. They don’t call this ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ for nothing. So why not brown an ungodly amount of butter and mix it with sugar, white chocolate chips, sea salt and coconut flakes? These cookies are surprisingly light and crispy and they take on a delightful brown color in the oven. With these in tow at your next holiday bash, you are sure to be deemed ‘cookie goddess’ or ‘brown butter savant’ by your friends. And remember, there’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow  – it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
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Browned butter kind of looks like a nice ale – avoid chugging it.

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Coconut Brown Butter Cookies

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

 

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Sea salt

4 cups dried, unsweetened coconut

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. You want the butter to melt, foam for a bit and then it will suddenly turn a darker amber color. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour butter into a glass measuring cup. Add in two tablespoons of water. Chill browned butter in the freezer or fridge until solid.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scrape chilled browned butter into a mixing bowl. Add both sugars and beat on medium speed for about a minute. Add egg and beat until combined. Scrape the bowl down and add in vanilla. Add flour a little bit at a time and then add in baking soda. Add coconut chips and white chocolate chips and mix to combine.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and arrange on your cookie sheet leaving a lot of room between each cookie. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt. Bake for 11-12 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack.

Apricot Galette

A galette is a rustic free form tart that can be either savory or sweet. She’s pie’s effortlessly chic cousin who jets off to Europe for the weekend. Is she as refined and put together as pie? No. Is she as sweet as pie? Not a chance (only 3 tablespoons of sugar in this whole recipe!). Is she a little flaky? Yes. But, in some ways her simplicity makes her more sophisticated. She’s rough around the edges and gives zero f***’s. Galette, ladies and gentlemen.

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Apricot Galette

From Food52

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 stick cold butter or margarine
1/4 cup ice water
12 apricots, cut into quarters
2 tablespoons sugar plus extra for the crust
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons milk or almond milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a pizza stone in the oven.

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Using two forks, cut in the butter until the mixture becomes course in texture.  Slowly pour in the ice water, a little bit at a time until the dough starts to stick together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and form into a flat round disk. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Mix the apricots in a bowl with the sugar and cornstarch.

Roll out your dough into a 12-inch diameter circle on a piece of parchment paper. Lay the fruit in the center of the dough arranging artfully. Fold the edges toward the center of the galette. Brush edges with milk and sprinkle the sugar on.

Place the galette on the pizza stone and bake for about 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let the galette cool on a rack before slicing.

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Sticky Buns

Sticky buns are one of my favorite breakfast pastries. What’s not to love? Ooey gooey brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon in a delectable bun form. This recipe is like baby babka bun’s floozy cousin – easy, sticky, and fun. Frozen puff pastry sheets make this recipe a cinch to throw together – perfect for a brunch or an impromptu weekend visit with friends. Next up on the bun bucket list: cinnamon buns. It’s going to be a fun winter.

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Sticky Buns

Recipe from Ina Garten. Yields 12 buns

12 tbs butter, at room temperaturephoto 4

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

For the filling:

2 tbs melted butter

2/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

1 cup raisons

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick baking spray. In a mixer, combine 12 tablespoons butter with 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place a tablespoon of the butter/sugar mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup. Sprinkle pecans evenly on top of the butter/sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a cutting board and unfold puff pastry dough with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with melted butter. Sprinkle on 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 cup raisons. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the pastry up, finishing the roll seam side down. Cut the log into sixths. Place each piece, spiral side up, into each muffin cup. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Bake for 30 minutes or until the buns are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then flip over onto a cooling rack. Spoon leftover filling and pecans onto buns with a spoon.

Salted Caramel Bourbon Cheesecake Bites

This decadent dessert is the perfect treat for a New Year’s Eve party. It’s rich, luxurious, and a fabulous last hurrah bite before you kick off your diet. Unlike New Year’s Eve, this cheesecake bite won’t disappoint and leave you barefoot and full of regret. Perfect for a party, these bites can be topped with whatever you like – fruit, chocolate, or even plain they’re great. Happy 2015!

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Salted Bourbon Caramel Cheesecake Bites

Adapted from this recipe

For the crust:

  • 2/3 cup pecans
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the cheesecake:

  • 2 pounds cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt

For the caramel:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For the shortbread:

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in middle. Line an 8-by 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side.

Combine the pecans, butter, flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is looks like a coarse meal. Press the mixture evenly into your baking dish and bake until golden brown on the edges, about 25 minutes.

For the cheesecake:

Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a standing mixer until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the processor then add the eggs and the yolk one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until blended.

Pour the mixture over the crust and bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean and the center of the cheesecake is just set (it will look like custard), about 40 minutes (mine took closer to an hour) Turn off the oven, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the cheesecake cool for 15 minutes.

Remove cheesecake from the oven and set on a rack to cool. Let the cheesecake cool completely, about 1 hour then stick it in the fridge.

For the caramel:

Stir together the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is completely moistened. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Without stirring but swirling the pan occasionally, let the sugar boil for a bit then add the butter. It will turn a nice caramel color, about 5 minutes. Give the pan a few good swirls to make sure it’s evenly cooking, remove from heat, and carefully add the whiskey.  Immediately add the cream, and whisk until the caramel is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, at least out 15 minutes.

Assembly:

Pour the lukewarm caramel over the cooled cheesecake, then place in the refrigerator to chill for a minimum of 2 hours. When ready to serve, cut into slabs or squares using a sharp knife dipped in hot water. Garnish with sea salt and serve. It can be difficult to cut, but try and stay patient and dip your knife in hot water, it really helps.

 

Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

Imagine for a second a hybrid of cornbread and streusel-topped coffee cake. Now, add in summer-ripened blueberries. This cake is all you just imagined and more. I recently made this as a dessert for a Shabbat dinner and it was a big hit. Luckily, I snagged a leftover piece to take home (etiquette be damned) and the next morning I devoured it with my coffee. Although this cake made a fabulous dessert, it was even better as a breakfast treat.  I happened to have some store-bought blueberry muffins around and they paled in comparison to this cake. And I’m no muffin-snob, I love me a good store-bought blueberry muffin. But, next to this cake, the muffin didn’t stand a chance.

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picstitch-23picstitch-24photo-18Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

From the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1 stick of butter, at room temperature

1 cup flourpicstitch-25

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp lemon zest

1/3 cup greek yogurt or sour cream

2 cups blueberries

Streusel

1/2 cup sugar

6 tbsp flour

2 tbsp cornmeal

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 tbs butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper and spray with baking pam. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy for about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and zest. Add a third of the flour mixture, all of the yogurt or sour cream, and another third of the flour, beating until just blended after each addition. Mix the rest of the flour with blueberries and gently fold into the batter. Spread the batter into your pan. In the flour mixture bowl, mix the streusel ingredients together and sprinkle over the cake batter. Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean. I probably ended up baking mine for 45 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then flip it onto a cooling rack.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Every June in Lanesboro, Minnesota (the rhubarb capital of Minnesota and also my dream birthplace) the annual Rhubarb Festival goes down.  While most of my peers are purchasing tents for Bonnaroo, I’m looking up flights from JFK to Fillmore County Airport for the Rhubarb Festival. Music? Rhubarb Festival’s got it. The Rhubarb Sisters have been crooning about rhubarb since 2006. Sport? Run the Rhubarb 5k to build up your appetite for pie. There’s even a Rhubarb Rant Speakers Corner for those who want to pontificate on rhubarb. Enjoy rhubarb chilis, jams, chutneys, cakes, pies and more. It’s basically heaven and hopefully one day I will get to go to the Rhubarb Festival. But until that day comes, I’m going to have my own Rhubarb Festival in Washington Heights. First thing on the to-do list, make this insanely delicious strawberry rhubarb crisp. Next up at the festival— take your photo with Ruby and Ronald Rhubarb (me and Oliver).  This crisp demands to be served hot with a perfect scoop of really good vanilla ice cream (Haagen-Dazs) on top. Your life just got a whole lot better. Make this every day until rhubarb is no longer in season. Mourn the day when it goes out of season.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

From the goddess of fine living, the Barefoot Contessa

4 stalks of rhubarb cut into 1 inch pieces

4 cups of strawberries, halved

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp orange zest

1/2 cup orange juice

1 tbsp corn starch

1 cup flour

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup quick cooking oats (not instant oatmeal)

1 1/2 sticks of cold hearted butter, diced

Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the rhubarb, strawberries, orange zest and 3/4 cup of sugar together in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the orange juice. Add to the fruit mixture. Put the fruit into an 8 x 11 inch baking dish. For the topping, mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, the brown sugar, salt and oatmeal together in a standing mixer. On low speed add the diced butter and mix until the mixture becomes crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit until it covers the fruit completely. I got a little nervous here and didn’t put all the crumb topping on top. Mistake. Load it on because the fruit WILL bubble over, so you want a good solid roof of buttery crumble topping to keep the fruit at bay. Bake for 1 hour until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Thank God you are alive.

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Marry me, you beautiful creature.