Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Almond-Pecan Piecrust & Apple Crumble Pie

First I'd like to say is my heart goes out to everybody who was affected by Hurricane Sandy.  I live close to NYC and just north of NJ, and had lost power last night for about 10 hours, I'm quite lucky it came back on, considering there will be many people without electricity for a while.  :-(  Growing up in NJ and having gone down the shore every summer with my family while growing up, it's difficult to see how much Sandy destroyed.  :-( 

Since I had off of work yesterday, as did everybody in the Tri-state area, I wanted to bake something since I was very bored, and had time to pass.  So I decided to bake the apple pie I've been wanting to bake since the first time I brought back my half bushel of apples.  I was very apprehensive at first, since the lights were flickering a bit, but the news kept saying the worst would come later.  The slow apple peeler that I am, the pie was in the oven when the power shut off.  My stove top is gas, but not the oven.  :-(  The pie was nearly done, but I waited until this morning to finish it.  It came out alright.  It tastes really good, but it was falling apart and didn't look like a pie once on the plate.  Oh well, maybe next time I use this recipe it'll turn out better looking, oh, and I won't be stupid and think I have enough time to bake a pie while a major storm is going on.  Duh!

 This recipe came from my cookbook, The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking.  I made the crust first out of almond flour and pecan flour.  I had to special order the pecan flour from King Arthur Flour.  I don't think Bob's Red Mill sells pecan, but they do have almond and hazelnut.

Here's what you'll need for the Almond-Pecan Piecrust:

1 cup (4 oz.) almond flour (Bob's Red Mill)
1 cup (4 oz.) pecan flour (King Arthur)
1/4 cup Splenda or Stevia Extract in the Raw (I used Stevia), or 2 tablespoons New Roots Stevia Sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup salted butter or margarine melted
3 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk (I used soy) or other milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Lightly mist a 9" or 10" pie pan with spray oil.  In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, pecan flour, sweetener, and baking powder and whisk until well mixed.
Add the butter, milk, and vanilla and stir with a large spoon for 1 to 2 minutes.  The dough will be stiff and playdough-like.  Put the dough in the prepared pan and lightly mist the top of the dough with spray oil.  Spread the dough with your fingers, pressing it in an even layer to line the pan.  Prick the bottom and sides with a fork to help prevent bubbles (I forgot to do this) and air pockets.  Set aside.

Now, what you'll need for the Apple Filling:
5 cups thinly sliced apples (about 1/4" thick)
1 cup Splenda or Stevia Extract in the Raw, or 1/2 cup New Roots Stevia Sugar
1/4 cup (1 oz.) almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons salted butter or margarine melted
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia

What you'll need for the Crumble Topping:
3/4 cup (3 oz.) almond flour
1/4 cup Splenda, Stevia Extract in the Raw, Truvia, or Zsweet, or 2 tablespoons New Roots Stevia Sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup (2 oz.) salted butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

To make the filling, put the apples in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the Stevia, almond flour, cinnamon, butter, lemon juice, and liquid stevia and stir gently with a large spoon or rubber spatula until thoroughly combined.  Add this mixture to the apples and mix together until all the apples are thoroughly coated.
Then pour the mixture, juices and all, into the unbaked piecrust; the apples will mound up higher than the edges of the pan.
To make the topping, put all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a large spoon or rubber spatula until thoroughly combined.  The mixture should be crumbly and dry.  If it lumps up rather than forming crumbles, refrigerate for about 30 minutes until hardened, and then crumble it with your fingers. 

Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the apples.
Put the pie on a baking sheet and cover the edges of the crust with foil to prevent burning.  Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and bake for about 20 more minutes.  Remove the foil from the edges of the piecrust and bake for about 10 minutes, until the topping and crust are golden brown.

Let the pie cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.  Keep refrigerated.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Penzeys' Apple Bread

 Hey everybody, this recipe comes from one of my Penzeys' catalogs.  It's apple bread, a lot like banana bread, but with apples.  There was also a recipe for brown sugar and cinnamon butter, which I didn't make, but will include in this post.  The apple bread had a topping, which you won't see from my pictures because it didn't turn out the way it was supposed to.  It was supposed to come out as a crumb topping, but I ended up getting one lump instead of many, and tried my best to crumble it up.

  My next post will probably be on apple pie.  I have to find a way to use up all the apples before they all go bad.  I started to find some soft and mushy...not good!

What you'll need for the Bread:
4 cups apples, peeled, cored, and chopped, about 4-5 large apples (I used a variety but the recipe likes using McIntosh.)
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil (I used Smart Balance, but the recipe likes plain canola.)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I used Penzeys.)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar

What you'll need for the Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

What you'll need for the brown sugar and cinnamon butter:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1-foot sheet parchment or waxed paper

For the bread and topping, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease two standard bread loaf pans and set aside.  Peel, core, and slice the apples.  Cut into good-sized chunks, about 1 inch in size.  I didn't do this because I forgot to read all of the directions before peeling, coring, and cutting up the apples.  It still turned out very yummy, so it's a judgement call.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy.
Add the oil and beat until combined.  Add the vanilla extract, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Beat until thoroughly mixed.
Next, add the flour and sugar and mix on low just to blend.  Turn the mixer to high and beat until the mixture is smooth.  The batter will be very thick, almost like cookie dough.
Fold in the chopped apples, mixing by hand with a spoon so the apples do not get broken up.  Divide the mixture between the two pans.

To prepare the topping, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Cut the butter into the mixture with a fork until all the ingredients are moist and crumbly.  Sprinkle equal amounts of topping on each loaf.

Bake for about 1 hour on the center rack of the oven.  The loaf should feel fairly firm when touched in the middle;  if not, bake an extra 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.  Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans.

To make the butter:
Place the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Mix until thoroughly blended.  Place on the edge of the paper and roll tightly.  Twist both ends of the paper and place in the freezer, until firm, about one hour.  After 30 minutes, re-roll the half firm butter in the paper and pop it back in the freezer to get a more perfect shape.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apple Upside-Down Cake

So I was originally going to make this for my friend's birthday but due to the fact that it takes me forever to peel apples, I didn't have enough time.  I made this while at my parents' place on Sunday for Sunday dinner, only this was the dessert.  It was delicious and I'm so glad I got to use more of the apples I picked from the orchard.  It was from my Cooking Light Way to Bake cookbook.  I added some Apple Spice for an extra flavor, you don't have to or you could just use cinnamon. 

Here's what you'll need:

for the topping (or rather bottom of the pan):
Cooking spray
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3 cups (1/4" thick) slices peeled Rome apples (I used whatever apples I had, but the book says 2 large ones should equal 3 cups)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon Penzeys Apple Spice (optional)

5.3 ounces cake flour (about 1 1/3 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
3 large egg whites

First preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9" round cake pan with cooking spray.
To prepare topping, combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring gently as needed to dissolve sugar evenly (about 3 minutes).

Continue cooking 4 minutes or until golden (do not stir).  Immediately pour into prepared cake pan, tipping pan quickly to coat bottom.  Arrange apple slices in concentric circles over warm caramel in pan.  Sprinkle with nuts (and spice); set aside.

To prepare cake, weight or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir with a whisk.
Combine 2/3 cup sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks and vanilla to sugar mixture; beat until combined.
Add flour mixture and milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.
Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl.  Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form using clean, dry beaters.
Gently fold egg whites into batter.  Spread batter over apples.

 Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack.  Loosen cake from sides of pan with a knife; invert cake onto a serving plate.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes (the Babycakes way)

 Hey everybody!  So this past weekend was a friend's birthday and we all went to a local place in Nyack, NY called Casa Del Sol, it's a great restaurant.  It's becoming a favorite of mine, but I think my first favorite is Temptations Cafe in Nyack, NY.  Anyway, it was Michele's birthday and I was going to bake her an apple upside down cake, because I have all these apples, but I didn't give myself enough time to do all the prep work.  So I decided to make her cupcakes instead.  While I was on a gluten-free-vegan diet (it was extremely short lived...lol!) I bought this baking book called Babycakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery by Erin McKenna.  Babycakes is an actual bakery in NYC which first opened in 2005 in the Lower East Side.  The author is the chef and owner of the bakery and has received the Best Cupcake award in 2006 from New York magazine.  The cookbook is full of gluten-free vegan cookies, muffins, scones, cakes, and cupcakes.  I've only made cookies and cupcakes from the book so far.  I've made the double chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and the red velvet cupcakes with the vanilla frosting.

I've made the red velvet cupcakes this past winter for my friends, and Michele was  impressed (mostly because they didn't have any sugar and they were vegan while still having a good taste), and I think her boyfriend even more impressed (he being a vegetarian and all).  So I decided to make her cupcakes for her birthday, but decided to try out the vanilla ones instead.

One thing the author says in the recipe book is to measure EVERYTHING out in dry cups, no pyrex liquid ones, just dry cups.  You'll get a more accurate amount and better taste to your cupcakes.  

Here's what you'll need (you might have to go to a specialty health food store for a lot of the ingredients):

2 Cups Garbanzo-Fava Bean Flour
1 Cup Potato Starch
1/2 Cup Arrowroot*
1 Tbsp. plus 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Xanthan Gum
2 Tsp. Salt
2/3 Cup Coconut Oil
1 1/3 Cups Agave Nectar (light, not dark)
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Homemade Apple Sauce or store bought
3 Tbsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
1 Cup Hot Water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line two standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.  Add the oil (make sure it's melted),  agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla, and lemon zest to the dry ingredients and combine.  Stir in the hot water and mix until the batter is smooth.

Pour 1/3 cup batter into each prepared cup, almost filling it.  Bake the cupcakes on the center rack for 22 minutes, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 15 minutes.

The finished cupcakes will be golden brown and will bounce bake when pressure is applied gently to the center.

Let the cupcakes stand in the tins for 20 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely.  Using a frosting knife, gently spread 1 tablespoon vanilla frosting over each cupcake.  Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Now, what you'll need for the vanilla frosting (once again, measure in dry cups only):

1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Soy or Rice Milk
3/4 Cup Dry Soy or Rice Milk Powder
1 Tbsp. Coconut Flour
1/4 Cup Agave Nectar (light, not dark)
1 Tbsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cups Coconut Oil (melted)
2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

In a blender or a food processor, combine the soy milk, soy powder, coconut flour, agave nectar, and vanilla. Blend the ingredients for 2 minutes.  With the machine running, slowly add the oil and lemon juice, alternating between the two until both are fully incorporated.  Pour the mixture into an airtight container and refridgerate for 6 hours or for up to 1 month.

*I used Corn Starch instead because I didn't want to have to send out my husband to get one more item esp. after he had just come back from grocery shopping.  The cupcakes turned out fine with the Corn Starch.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Applewood Orchards and Winery/No-Sugar Applesauce

  Last year, when I first moved to the beautiful down-state Hudson Valley Region of NY, my two friends who have lived here before me, Corinne and Christine (two college friends), decided to go apple picking at the local orchard in Congers, NY.  Since Corinne was visiting for the weekend (she now lives in VA),we made it into a fun weekend of baking an apple pie and going to Oktoberfest at Bear Mountain as well. 

From what I remember about the Congers orchard, we had to rent a huge lacrosse-looking-like stick to get our apples down, and I think we paid more money than we wanted to just for the apples alone.  It was also very crowded that October weekend (at both the orchard and Bear Mountain), probably because of the unusually warm weather.  They also didn't offer a wide variety of apples.  They had an entire part of the orchard closed off where another type of apple was waiting to be picked.  I guess they wanted every single red apple picked before letting their customers get to the Golden Delicious or whatever they were on the other side.  I didn't like that.  I didn't want to go back to this place, even though it was so close to my new home.

This past Monday was Columbus day, and since my kids at After-School had off, I had off, and since my husband is a federal employee, he had off as well.  I wanted to go apple picking, because it's a fun thing to do in the early fall.  My husband and I had gone to an orchard either in 2010 or 2009 before we were married in NY state to pick apples.  I can't remember the name of the place, but I remember it being far (plus we lived right by Sandy Hook at the Jersey shore, at that time), and not very good.  For one thing, the orchard was on a mountain, and we had to park on a very hilly surface and right next to the trees!  Everybody was parked next to the apple trees.  It was chaotic getting in and out of there.  However we did stop at a great little ice creamery on the way back home which was only a few miles from that orchard. 

This year we looked up different orchards about 45 minutes north of us in Warwick, NY.  I think that's where the chaotic one is too, because there are many orchards in Warwick.  We went to the Applewood Orchards and Winery.  They had the best price for picking apples.  When we got there we had to hop on a tractor to get to where the apples were.  It had rained a lot the night before, so everything was really muddy.  He took us to a spot where we could pick both apples (of many varieties) and pumpkins.  The above picture was taken from my phone of one of the apple trees.  I don't know what kind those are, but if you look at the website here, they break down what kind of apples they grow and when they are good for picking. 

We picked one large bag which is a half bushel of apples.  I filled my entire one crisper in my fridge with 90% of the apples we got, and the other 10% were put in a large freezer bag (also kept in the fridge).  Yeah, that's a lot, so expect a lot of apple recipes here.  They also had some entertainment that day, some body singing and playing music, as well as a puppet show.  They had face painting for kids as well.  The orchard also offered wine tasting in a very small space, which was crowded so Tom and I didn't get to sample anything this time.  They also make their own apple donuts and cider on the premises.  They were both really good, the donut just melts in your mouth. I highly recommend going to this apple orchard if you live in the area.  Oh, and we didn't need a huge stick to  pick the apples.  :-) 

Now for what I was really going to blog about:  Applesauce! I was looking for a recipe on-line for a no-sugar added applesauce.  Google presented me with this recipe from Whipped The Blog

Here's what you'll need:

8-10 medium apples (any kind, make it a variety, that's what I did) peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I didn't use just cinnamon I used Penzeys' Apple Pie Spice, which has 2 kinds of cinnamon in it, as well as nutmeg, mace, and cloves.)
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Peel, core, and cut apples into 1-inch chunks.  Put them in a sauce pan and add the lemon juice.  Stir them around.  Add the water, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir them around again.  Put the pan on high heat with out the cover on until it bowls. 

Lower the heat and cover.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes.  For a smoother applesauce, use a potato masher to mash the large chunks.

Let it cool or have it warm and enjoy! 

I think this recipe made about 6-8 cups of applesauce.  This is a guestimate, since I didn't measure it out.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Baked Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower

I love mac & cheese!  I have always loved my mom's home made mac & cheese when I was a kid and always looked forward to it when she would make it for dinner.  She usually didn't bake it though.  This recipe came from Penzeys, not the catalog this time, but from their store.  When you walk into a Penzeys spice store they usually have recipes around the store for you to peel off and take home with you.  They change the recipes in the store seasonally.  This recipe was one of them from the summer.  It was delicious!  It also can serve from 6-8 people, but between my husband and I we finished it in two days.  :-)

What you'll need:

12 oz. whole wheat or multigrain elbow macaroni
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 eggs
1 12-oz. can evaporated skim milk or 1 1/2 cups non-fat half & half (this keeps the fat content down without sacrificing the creaminess)
1/4 cup butter, melted (1/2 stick)
1 tsp. Regular Mustard Powder
1/2 tsp. Forward! or 33rd & Galena (both only at Penzyes)
1/2 tsp. Penzeys Freshly Ground Pepper
2 tsp. White Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. Granulated Garlic Powder
2 cups shredded low fat Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
2 TB. dry bread crumbs, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the macaroni to "al dente" according to package directions-about a minute less than fully cooked.  Add the cauliflower for the final 3 minutes of cooking.  While the pasta cooks, in a large bowl combine eggs, milk, butter, seasonings, and cheese mix well.

Drain the pasta and cauliflower well so it is nice and dry, and then add to the bowl with the cheese mixture.  Stir to combine.  Pour into a greased 9"x13" pan or 3 quart casserole dish.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Stir.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs if desired and bake for 15 more minutes or until the sauce is bubbly.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving to let the sauce thicken a bit.

Enjoy!  I know it looks weird in the pictures, and not like the cheese was mixed well, but it covered everything and came out the way it's supposed to look.  :-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Iced Apple Cake Squares

Hey all, so today's recipe comes from a book I use a lot of the time on this blog, Chloe's Kitchen.  I made this over the weekend when I was a hosting a very small get together with some of my local friends.  Unfortunately most of them canceled, so it was just me and my good friend Christine.  :-)  So there was more cake for us.  This was very easy to make, and it was moist, and so delicious!  Next time I make it I'm going to double the recipe and put it in a bigger cake pan.

Here's what you'll need for the cake and glaze:

2 cups all-purpose flour (or gluten free flour, which is what I used because I have more gluten free flour than regular flour at the moment, just remember to add 1 teaspoon xanthan gum to it)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar (I used apple)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 Gala or Braeburn apples, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons soy, almond, or rice milk (I used almond)

First preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8 or 9 inch square pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk oil, vanilla, and vinegar.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Gently fold in walnuts and apples.  Fill prepared cake pan with batter.

Bake for about 30 minutes in a 9-inch pan or 45 minutes in an 8-inch pan, or until center is set and the cake is lightly browned on top.

 In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and nondairy milk until smooth.  Ice the cake, let set, and cut into squares.  Ice the cake while warm or let cool to room temperature.