Categories
Dessert

‘Oui’ are in love with this French apple tart

French Apple Tart
A French apple tart is a very simple dessert with a lot of wow factor from its pretty appearance.

I said when I bought my tart pans that everyone was just going to have to deal with my experimentation, and here it is again. Don’t worry, though, because this recipe is also tailor made to become a pie.

Some fantastic friends of ours held a fun “Friendsgiving” get together last weekend. We were able to hang out with them along with both old and new friends and share a potluck meal.

I signed up to bring dessert, because I had my eye on a new tart recipe, and of course, as always, my friends needed to be my guinea pigs.

And this tart was definitely a show-stopper. It’s gorgeous and easy at the same time, which makes for the perfect combination.

The recipe I tried comes from https://mandyjackson.com/2018/12/07/french-apple-tart/. I used apple jelly instead of apricot jam in my version, substituted bourbon for rum and added just a sprinkle of cinnamon in my version.

French Apple Tart
Print

French Apple Tart

A French apple tart is a very simple dessert with a lot of wow factor from its pretty appearance.
Course Dessert
Keyword apple, apple butter, apple jelly, apple pie, bourbon, brown sugar, cinnamon, Granny Smith apples

Ingredients

  • 1 nine-inch pie crust
  • 1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter cubed
  • 1/4 cup apple jelly
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or use water
  • a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Roll out the pie dough to about a quarter-inch thick and place into a eight- to 10-inch tart pan, pressing it along the sides so that it fills the crevices. Trim any excess crust, and place the whole pan in the freezer while slicing apples. (If you don’t have a tart pan, use a pie pan or springform pan instead.)
  • Peel the apples, cut them in half, and core them. Slice the apples thinly—about one-quarter inch—and arrange in the prepared crust in a spiral, overlapping the slices a bit as you go. Once you’re finished, use any remaining slices to fill in gaps and make it look nice.
  • Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top of the pie. (It will seem like too much, but it will cook down into the apples; don’t worry.) Dot the top of the tart with the cubed butter.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the tart is lightly browned and the apples are fork tender.
  • Let the tart cool for about 15 minutes or so.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the apple jelly and bourbon, along with a healthy sprinkling of cinnamon. Microwave it for just a few seconds—about 20—to get it just a bit warm, and whisk it well to combine the jelly and liquid.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the mixture over the top of the tart.
  • When it’s cool enough to handle, remove the tart from the pan and serve right away or refrigerate in an airtight container.

We really enjoyed this tart. It was very simple but delicious. Plus, it looked awesome on the dessert table.

The other nice thing about making a tart is if you normally don’t like trying to flute your pie crust to make it pretty, you don’t have to with a tart pan. It takes care of the prettifying for you.

With pie season fully upon us, I’m sure this won’t be close to my last pastry until the end of the year. And I know it won’t be the final time I’ll be around the table with some great folks, having good conversation and sharing delicious foods. That’s what makes this the best time of the year.

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 25, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Don’t let supply chain issues make you snap

This cranberry orange tart is made with fresh fruit and is surrounded by a spicy gingersnap crust. The flavors are perfect for the holidays.

In 1973, late-night host Johnny Carson made a joke about a supposed toilet paper shortage during his opening monologue.

That joke, along with some press releases from a member of Congress, led to an actual toilet paper shortage as people cleaned stores out and the empty shelves reinforced the rumor.

Right now, it seems supply chain problems are causing some of those same issues. I can’t possibly be the only person this year who spent good money on some name-brand pureed pumpkin when the generic brand was out just in case there wasn’t some on the shelves before Thanksgiving.

And another victim of current shortages is one I wouldn’t have been able to predict: gingersnaps.

Now, I have no official data to back up my claim that there’s a shortage of gingersnaps out there, but I can tell you I ended up at four different local stores before I finally found some for this week’s recipe. They’re out there. You just have to do a little sleuthing to find them.

But I will tell you that this week’s recipe is not only a dessert tailor-made for the holidays, but it’s worth driving all around town to find the ingredients.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “All Purpose Flour Child” by Taylor Harbin. You can find her original post at http://www.allpurposeflourchild.com/blog/cranberry-orange-curd-gingersnap-tart. I added extra cinnamon in my version.

Print

Cranberry Orange Gingersnap Tart

This cranberry orange tart is made with fresh fruit and is surrounded by a spicy gingersnap crust. The flavors are perfect for the holidays.
Course Dessert
Keyword Christmas, cinnamon, cranberry, fresh fruit, gingersnaps, orange, tart, Thanksgiving

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • 12 ounces gingersnap cookies
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

Filling Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the gingersnaps in a food processor and process until they are in fine crumbs. Pulse in the cinnamon and salt. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the molasses until it’s smooth, and then add the mixture to the food processor. Pulse until everything is well combined.
  • Dump the crust mixture into a 12-inch tart pan (you can substitute a deep pie pan or a springform pan). Press the mixture with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to spread it evenly, making sure to press it up the sides of the pan.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crust is golden. Set it aside.
  • For the filling, combine the cranberries with 1/4 cup water and the orange juice in a saucepan. Cover the mixture and let it cook for about 15 minutes or until the cranberries are soft.
  • Position a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and drain the cranberries into it, pressing to get the puree into the bowl and leaving the berry skins in the strainer. Once you’re finished, return the puree to the saucepan.
  • In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is a pale yellow.
  • Add a little of the hot cranberry puree into the egg mixture and stir to temper the eggs, and then dump all of it into the saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and orange zest. Continue stirring until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour the filling into the prepared crust and smooth it out. Chill it in the refrigerator until it’s set (30 minutes to an hour), and serve.

This is a gorgeous dessert, and the orange and cranberry are a perfect combination with the warm spices in the crust. The filling has a bit of a tartness to it, which is an especially nice flavor profile when there are tons of sweets around.

And if you’re in a bind, you can totally substitute in some vanilla wafers or graham crackers for this crust—as long as they don’t fall victim to shortages, too.

But at least it’s just cookies we’re having trouble getting ahold of. The last thing we need right before having people over for the holidays is a toilet paper shortage.

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 18, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

‘Choc’ this recipe up to a new pan purchase

A bittersweet chocolate pumpkin tart is a great holiday recipe, along with having deep, rich flavor that makes small pieces the default serving size.

After years of saying I was going to do it, I finally took the plunge last week: I bought a tart pan.

If you remember, I made miniature tarts earlier this year, aided by a cookie cutter and a cupcake tin, and that really pushed me towards making my ultimate purchase.

I’ve been staring at the tart pans in our local kitchen store for months, trying to decide if I really needed one as much as I thought I did.

In the end, I bought two different sizes. Go big or go home, I guess.

So, with my new purchase, it will be no surprise that I made a tart for this week, and not only was it the perfect flavor combination for Thanksgiving, but it was delicious, too.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “Love & Olive Oil” by Lindsay Landis. You can find the original post at https://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2015/11/bittersweet-chocolate-pumpkin-tart.html. I just changed the spices a little bit for my version.

Print

Bittersweet Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

A bittersweet chocolate pumpkin tart is a great holiday recipe, along with having deep, rich flavor that makes small pieces the default serving size.
Course Dessert
Keyword bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, fall, ginger, nutmeg, pecans, pumpkin, tart, Thanksgiving, vanilla wafers

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • 8 ounces vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter melted

Filling Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk I used skim
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • For the crust, add the cookies and pecans into a food processor and process until the mixture is in small crumbs. Add the sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter, and pulse until the butter is evenly distributed.
  • Pour the crust mixture into a nine-inch tart pan and press with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to evenly coat the bottom and up the sides. Make sure the crust mixture is firmly pressed together.
  • Put the pan onto a baking sheet and bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until it’s set. Remove the pan the oven and set it aside to cool.
  • Turn the oven down to 250 degrees.
  • Heat a saucepan over low heat, and add the milk and cream. Stir regularly to keep it from scorching on the bottom, and once the milk just starts to bubble a little around the edges of the pan, remove it from the heat and stir in the chocolate, continuing to stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, and stir until it’s well combined.
  • Add about one-fourth cup of the chocolate mixture into the pumpkin mixture to temper the eggs. Add the rest of the chocolate mixture, stirring well. Finish it out by adding the bourbon or vanilla extract and stirring again.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake on the baking sheet for 30 to 35 minutes or until the tart is just barely jiggly in the middle. Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool completely before serving.
  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

This was intensely rich and not overly sweet. I used a 62 percent cacao chocolate for my version, and I really liked the darker chocolate flavor. The pumpkin is definitely there but not the dominant flavor. I would recommend cutting this in smaller slices. You don’t need a lot of it to feel satisfied.

If you don’t have a tart pan, you could easily substitute in a springform pan or just use a pie pan, too.

I must say, though, I really liked my pretty scalloped edges on my tart. It made me feel like a real baker, despite this being a fairly easy recipe overall.

I’m not sure what kitchen store product will be the next I’ll be pining after, but for now, my friends, family and coworkers better be excited for some new tart experiments.

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 11, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish

This Greek pasta dish ‘itsio’ good, you have to try it

Pastitsio is a pasta dish that incorporates two different kinds of meat in a tomato sauce with warm spices and a delicious bechamel sauce on top.

It’s not often I can stump Joey with a recipe.

He’s the king of the spice cabinet and my go to when I know a recipe needs “something,” but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

So when I managed to completely confuse him this week, I was a little proud of myself. Well, I was actually proud of TV chef Ina Garten, but who’s counting?

The dish I put in front of my husband? A delicious, tomato-y pasta. The secret ingredient? Cinnamon.

Now, I know that sounds insane, but trust me when I say it gave this dish a deep, fall-like flavor profile that made it tough not to want seconds, and it is definitely worth a try, although I will warn you this is not a quick recipe. Be ready to have a couple hours to blow on creating this amazing dish.

While this week’s recipe is Garten’s creation, I found it on the blog “Vodka and Biscuits.” You can find the original post at http://www.vodkaandbiscuits.com/2016/10/07/ina-gartens-pastitsio/. I added extra garlic, oregano and thyme and used pork in my version.

Print

Pastitsio

Pastitsio is a pasta dish that incorporates two different kinds of meat in a tomato sauce with warm spices and a delicious bechamel sauce on top.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Keyword cinnamon, dry red wine, garlic, ground beef, ground pork, oregano, parmesan, thyme, tomatoes, yellow onion

Ingredients

Meat Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound pork
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine I used pinot noir
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 28- ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper

Bechamel Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk I used skim
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan divided
  • 5.3- ounce container plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 pound tubular pasta I used penne

Instructions

  • In a large pot or deep skillet, cook the onion, ground beef and pork (crumbling the meat as you go) until the meat is cooked through and the onions are soft. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
  • Stir in the wine and saute until it is absorbed into the mixture. Add the garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme and cayenne and saute another two minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, along with the salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly and squishing the tomatoes so that they break down into a sauce.
  • After the sauce has been simmering around 15 minutes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • For the bechamel, start by melting the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Once it is melted, stir in the flour and cook for about two minutes. Whisk in the milk and continue stirring constantly, raising the heat to bring the mixture to a low simmer (just below boiling).
  • Continue stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper and 3/4 cup of the grated parmesan. Once the cheese melts, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the Greek yogurt.
  • While your bechamel comes together, boil your pasta according to package directions to al dente. After draining, mix it into the tomato sauce.
  • Now it’s time for assembly. In a deep nine-by-13-inch pan, spread the tomato/pasta mixture evenly. Drizzle the bechamel over the top, and then finish off with the rest of the grated parmesan. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is browned and the mixture is bubbly.
  • Serve with some crusty bread.

This does take quite awhile to come together, but it makes plenty for a big family meal, and it got rave reviews at our table. It also reheated great for leftovers. 

It may have a few surprising ingredients, but it was still a home run for dinner at our house.

Plus, if you have a spices expert, it might be fun to play your own version of “stump the chump.” Even if they lose, they’ll still win with a great meal.

This piece first appeared in print on Sept. 9, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Baking cobbler outdoors can be ‘berry’ satisfying

This cobbler, made from fresh peaches and blueberries, is a perfect summer dessert that can be made in the oven or out on the grill or smoker.

Thanks to the Newton Rotary Club’s annual peach fundraiser and my three-year-old niece insisting that I buy blueberries for our recent fun day, I had quite a bit of fruit in my refrigerator this week.

That, combined with Joey itching to use a cast iron Dutch oven he recently got for his smoker, meant we were going on a new adventure of baking outdoors.

After a fruitless (pun intended) search for a recipe that I liked using both peaches and blueberries, I finally decided to combine two in my search for the perfect smoked cobbler, and the final product definitely did not disappoint.

One recipe I used is from “The Grateful Girl Cooks” (https://www.thegratefulgirlcooks.com/berry-cobbler-traeger-grill-style/), and the other is Steven Raichlen’s “Barbecue Bible” site (https://barbecuebible.com/recipe/smoky-bourbon-peach-cobbler/). I added extra vanilla and cinnamon to my version.

Print

Smoked Blueberry Peach Cobbler

This cobbler, made from fresh peaches and blueberries, is a perfect summer dessert that can be made in the oven or out on the grill or smoker.
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberry, bourbon, brown sugar, cinnamon, cobbler, grilled, peaches, smoker, vanilla

Ingredients

Topping Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter cold
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk I used skim with a dash of vinegar
  • cinnamon for sprinkling

Peach Filling Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6 cups peaches cut into one-inch pieces

Blueberry Filling Ingredients

  • 18 ounces blueberries
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat your grill, smoker or oven to 350 degrees. If you’re using a grill, you’ll want to bake over indirect heat.
  • For the grill or smoker, prepare a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven and for the oven, a 9×13-inch baking dish, by coating the inside with butter and set it aside.
  • For the topping, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a bowl and then cut in the butter with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the buttermilk and set the topping aside.
  • In another bowl, combine all the ingredients for the peach filling, except the peaches. Once they are all incorporated, fold in the peaches.
  • Finally, for the blueberry filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir gently until the blueberries are well coated in the mixture.
  • To assemble the cobbler, start with about half of the peach filling, layer in the blueberries and then finish off with the rest of the peaches. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, drop the topping by the spoonful evenly over the top of the fruit. Don’t worry if there’s still some fruit visible. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of the cobbler.
  • Bake on your smoker/grill/oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean. Ours ended up going quite a bit longer on our smoker, so be ready for the time to vary.

This was absolutely delicious. The topping took on a subtle smoky flavor that was majorly complimented by the cinnamon, syrup and brown sugar, not to mention the bourbon, which added a nice, subtle flavor to the background.

Actually, speaking of the bourbon, if that’s not your cup of tea, you might try adding a combination of water and more vanilla extract instead.

We ate our cobbler with scoops of vanilla ice cream and enjoyed our dessert outdoors until the mosquitos drove us back inside. There are few flavors like peaches and blueberries to really help you enjoy a summer evening, and being able to cook it right on the grill makes it even more special.

This piece first appeared in print on Aug. 26, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Peaches and fresh ginger will help you snap into August

Ginger peach crisp combines the fresh flavor of summer peaches with spicy, fresh ginger to create the ultimate dessert.

If anyone can tell me the trick to pitting a firm peach, I’m all ears.

So far, my strategy includes cutting numerous slits down the sides, grunting and murmuring regrets under my breath while trying to pull the first slice off, and I can tell you that it doesn’t work all that well.

Luckily, the recipe I tried this week included cutting the peaches into bite-sized pieces, so when some of mine ended up looking a bit rough, they still looked gorgeous in the finished dessert.

Joey and I decided to have a Christmas in July get together last weekend. The meal was loosely based around Christmas meals, with pulled pork on Hawaiian rolls, German potato salad, lots of other delicious dishes, and a yuletide-inspired dessert of a fresh ginger peach crisp.

I figured ginger was a good nod to the holidays, and with peaches coming into season, they were an homage to summer.

And, of course, we had to pair it with some great vanilla ice cream. I was able to pick up a couple pints from our local ice cream expert, Salted Creamery. You can find them online at saltedcreamery.com if you want to place an order or find a store where you can buy it. (That’s not a sponsored endorsement; I just really think they do excellent work.)

The recipe I tried this week comes from the blog “Nutmeg Nanny.” You can find the original post at https://www.nutmegnanny.com/ginger-peach-crisp/. I added extra spices and vanilla in my version.

Print

Ginger Peach Crisp

Ginger peach crisp combines the fresh flavor of summer peaches with spicy, fresh ginger to create the ultimate dessert.
Course Dessert
Keyword cinnamon, crisp, ginger, peaches, vanilla

Ingredients

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/3 brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of salt

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh peaches cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray an eight-by-eight-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the topping ingredients until everything is well incorporated. Set it aside.
  • In another bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients, stirring to coat the peaches. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and then sprinkle the topping evenly over the peach mixture.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Serve warm for best results, along with your favorite vanilla ice cream, and refrigerate any leftovers.

The fresh ginger added great flavor to this crisp. It has a nice spiciness that is especially delicious with ice cream. I doubled the recipe for our group, and I didn’t end up with a lot of leftovers.

It also came together quickly. Or, I guess it would have if I knew how to pit a peach properly.

As they really come into season, I’ll have to pick out riper peaches, and if I can’t, I might also need somebody to recommend a good place for me to take up weightlifting.

This piece first appeared in print on Aug. 5, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

Cookies are in the ‘pie’ of the beholder

Blueberry pie cookies are really just mini hand pies, but they are a delicious dessert, regardless.

I remember once reading the story of one fast food worker’s infuriating interaction with a customer.

The customer ordered “a cheeseburger, but hold the cheese.”

The worker paused and asked, “So, a hamburger?”

Instead of sheepishly admitting her mistake, the customer was incredulous.

“No. I said I want a cheeseburger with no cheese. If I wanted a hamburger, I would have asked for a hamburger.”

Despite some back and forth, the worker begrudgingly took the “customer is always right” mantra to heart and charged her for the higher-priced cheeseburger—minus the cheese.

I had a similar moment with Joey recently when I made blueberry pie cookies.

“What makes them cookies and not pie,” he asked after taking the first bite.

I was dumbfounded. It hadn’t really occurred to me until that moment that, really, I’d just made mini hand pies, but just like the woman ordering a hamburger, I’m choosing to pretend I actually made cookies.

This recipe, no matter what you want to call it, comes from the blog “The Kitchen is my Playground.” You can find the original post at https://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/2018/08/blueberry-pie-cookies.html. I added extra cinnamon in my version.

Print

Blueberry Pie Cookies

Blueberry pie cookies are really just mini hand pies, but they are a delicious dessert, regardless.
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberry, cookies, pie

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 pie crusts
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a couple baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  • Over medium-high heat, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 1/4 cup water, blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt, stirring gently to combine.
  • Keep the pot on medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture reaches a very low boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook for one to two minutes or until the mixture is thickened into a pie-filling consistency and remove it from the heat.
  • On a floured work surface, roll out the pie dough to about one-quarter-inch thick, and using a three-inch cookie or biscuit cutter (or the mouth of a large glass or mug), cut out as many circles as you can, placing half of them on the prepared baking sheets and reserving the rest. Keep rolling the dough out and cutting until you have used all of it.
  • Pour a few tablespoons of water in a small dish. Dip your finger in the water and run it around the edge of the dough rounds on the baking sheets to allow you to more easily seal your cookies.
  • In another small dish, beat the egg along with 1/4 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash.
  • Place about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of the blueberry filling in the middle of each dough round, and top them with another, crimping the edges all the way around with a fork for a tight seal.
  • Cut a small X into the top of each cookie with a sharp knife, and brush each with some egg wash.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
  • Let the cookies cool, and then transfer to them to a sealed container, or serve them warm with ice cream.

This pie filling was delicious. Even if you don’t make these cookies with it, it would make a fabulous sauce to go over ice cream or pancakes. 

I also think you could get away with using frozen blueberries. Just thaw them and let them drain well before using them.

And, yeah, sure, if you bake these, you’re really just making mini pies, and maybe somebody will argue with you that they shouldn’t be classified as cookies, but honestly, once they get a taste, they probably won’t care what they’re called, either.

This piece first appeared in print on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Banana dessert can foster sense of warmth for ice cream

Bananas foster is a great, warm dessert, which is easy to make and fun to light on fire.

I believe it was sometime during college that I first got to experience going to one of those Japanese restaurants where the chef makes a big show while cooking in front of you.

If you’ve never been, I recommend it. It’s nice to be entertained and fed at the same time.

One of the tricks they inevitably do is to stack the rings of an onion up to resemble a volcano, dump in some flammable cooking liquid, and then light it on fire. The result is an inferno that shoots straight up for a moment, and it’s a big crowd pleaser.

I’ve always been fascinated by recipes that let chefs light things on fire. It’s just the right amount of danger I need in my life—a very, very low amount—and it satisfies my inner desire to safely play with matches every once in awhile.

So, since I still needed to get rid of lots of bananas this week, I decided to try my hand at one of those fire-lighting recipes: bananas foster.

I will warn you that bananas foster includes the use of alcohol, which you can totally leave out if it’s not your thing, but then you’ll also skip the fire lighting step, too. The recipe I used is on the blog “Baking a Moment.” You can find the original post at https://bakingamoment.com/bananas-foster/. I doubled the cinnamon in my version.

Print

Bananas Foster

Bananas foster is a great, warm dessert, which is easy to make and fun to light on fire.
Course Dessert
Keyword banana, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 bananas
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • vanilla ice cream for serving

Instructions

  • Combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large skillet (you’ll need to fit the bananas in there later, too) over low heat.
  • As the butter melts, keep whisking the ingredients together until they’re smooth and fully combined.
  • Slice the peeled bananas in half lengthwise and crosswise to get four equal pieces out of each banana.
  • Add the bananas to the sauce and gently stir to coat them in the sugar mixture.
  • Let them cook for about five minutes or until the bananas are fully warmed through.
  • Now, you could skip this next step and go straight to the ice cream, but I highly recommend doing it.
  • Remove the bananas from the heat, and drizzle the rum over the top. Using a long match or a wand lighter, light the surface of the liquid on fire (you’ll barely be able to see a flame, and you’ll be able to hear a soft whooshing noise). Let the fire burn until it burns itself out.
  • Serve the bananas over scoops of vanilla ice cream, making sure to drizzle the sugar mixture over top, too.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers to reheat and use later on.

This was nice and warm and perfect for a cold evening while still getting to enjoy a little ice cream. If you’re not a big fan of the taste of rum, what I would describe as the “alcohol taste” burns off, so it really just adds some depth of flavor. It doesn’t taste like you’re taking a shot of liquor.

And, if you have no use for a full bottle of dark rum, I’d recommend buying one of those mini bottles like you’d see in a hotel bar. They are generally about 50 milliliters, and since 1/4 cup is about 59 milliliters, you could get away with just using one little bottle and not have to deal with leftovers. Plus, they’re often about $1, so that’s a pretty cheap, quick investment for a delicious dessert.

Also, in my case, bananas foster gives you a chance to light something on fire, if just for a moment, and that’s just the kind of excitement I need in my life these days.

This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 22, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Breakfast Dessert

Banana cinnamon rolls aren’t monkeying around

Banana cinnamon rolls have great banana flavor, paired with warm cinnamon, walnuts and a delicious cream cheese frosting.

My parents recently gifted me with bananas—a lot of bananas.

So, looking at the bunches lining my countertop, I decided it was time to try every banana recipe on my Pinterest board.

As I perused the large number of recipes I’d set aside, one popped out at me for banana cinnamon rolls. Not only did they look amazing, but there was no yeast to wait for, so I was excited to try it.

Plus, it got rid of a banana.

Yeah, just one banana. But, hey, at least that’s one fewer banana on my countertop, and these rolls were phenomenal.

This comes from the blog “Inside Bru Crew Life.” You can find the original at https://insidebrucrewlife.com/banana-nut-cinnamon-rolls/. I doubled the spices and vanilla in my version.

Print

Banana Cinnamon Rolls

Banana cinnamon rolls have great banana flavor, paired with warm cinnamon, walnuts and a delicious cream cheese frosting.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, quick, walnuts

Ingredients

Filling Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup walnuts finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted

Roll Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 7 tablespoons butter divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or use regular milk with a touch of vinegar

Frosting Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup walnuts finely chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter the inside of an 8-by-8-inch baking pan, and set it aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the filling until well combined, and set it aside.
  • In a separate bowl, for the rolls, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir with a fork to combine. Add the banana, two tablespoons of the butter, melted, and the buttermilk. Mix by hand until the dough comes together.
  • Dump the dough onto a floured workspace and begin kneading with floured hands. Once the dough is together (it will likely still be a bit sticky), spread it out with your hands into about a 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Spread out two more tablespoons of the butter, melted, on the dough. Sprinkle on all of the filling, evenly, leaving about one-half inch empty around the edges.
  • Starting on the long side (so you create a nice, long tube), start rolling the dough. (I had to use a flat, bendy spatula to help mine along, because it was firmly stuck to the counter. It also tore as I went, but don’t worry if that happens. Baking will cover all your sins.)
  • Cut the tube into nine slices and place them, spiral side up, in your prepared pan. Go ahead and crowd them together.
  • Melt the last three tablespoons of butter and drizzle it over the top of the rolls.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops of the rolls look golden brown.
  • While the rolls bake, combine all the frosting ingredients, except the walnuts, until it is smooth. Spread the frosting over the warm rolls and sprinkle the walnuts on top. Serve warm and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Despite only using a solitary banana, the flavor really came through in these rolls. They were soft, gooey and so, so good. If you’re looking for a good fall recipe to get cinnamon in your life, I highly recommend giving this a try. 

And be prepared for some more banana recipes from me over the next few weeks. I have to do something to reclaim my countertop, and unless I get a visit from a troupe of monkeys, it looks like it’s all up to me.

This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 15, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Bread Breakfast Dessert

I ‘concha’ take my eyes off this gorgeous sweet bread

Manteconchas are mini versions of the traditional Mexican sweet bread and are loaded with cinnamon.

Several weeks ago, over at our office, we were gifted something I’d never tried: conchas.

If you’re unfamiliar, like I was, a concha is a Mexican sweet roll. It gets its name from its crispy topping, which looks like a seashell.

Well, I was completely hooked after trying them. It was like getting to have bread and dessert all at once, and what midwesterner can resist such a combination?

I looked up how to make them, and of course, it’s an art form, but since I sometimes like a good challenge, I decided to try an easier version in the form of “manteconchas,” a mini version of the classic dish, and they did not disappoint.

The recipe I tried comes from the company website “Bread Stamps.” You can find the original at https://breadstamps.com/manteconchas. I added extra cinnamon and vanilla in my version and converted the amounts from grams.

Print

Manteconchas

Manteconchas are mini versions of thetraditional Mexican sweet bread and are loaded with cinnamon.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword conchas, manteconchas, sweet bread

Ingredients

Bread Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 drops cinnamon oil flavoring
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Food coloring

Instructions

  • For the bread, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Combine the milk mixture, along with the butter, sugar, salt, egg, vanilla, cinnamon and about half of the flour into a mixer with a dough hook or start by mixing with a wooden spoon. Knead/stir for four to five minutes, and then add the rest of the flour and knead for seven to 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. It will be sticky.
  • Spray a bowl with cooking spray (spray your hands, too, to make handling the dough easier), and transfer the ball of dough into it. Cover it and let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • For the topping, combine all of the ingredients, adding as much food coloring as you like at the end (you can split the mixture into several sections and get multiple colors, if you want). Knead the topping until it is smooth and then flatten it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for about 20 minutes.
  • Once the dough is done resting, line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners and then separate the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball, and place them in the lined cupcake tin.
  • Now split the topping into 12 equal pieces (I rolled mine into a snake to do this, and it was super easy to split evenly). You’ll want to minimize how much you touch the topping, because it will get sticky quickly. I recommend working with it on a piece of waxed paper to make it easier to pick up.
  • Take each piece of topping and roll it into a ball. Using the heel of your hand, flatten the ball out to a disc about the same diameter as the cupcake tin wells.
  • Stamp the piece of topping with a cookie stamp or use another tool to make a shallow design in the top. Do not cut all the way through the disc.
  • Transfer the stamped discs to the tops of the bread, and let the manteconchas rest for another 45 minutes.
  • When the time is almost up, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 13 minutes. The bread that is peeking through the topping should be lightly browned and fully set.
  • Remove the manteconchas from the cupcake tin and let them cool before storing them in an airtight container.

These had a great, warm cinnamon flavor, and they were so pretty, too. The best part about these is that you can choose your color and design for any time of year.

I didn’t have a cookie stamp, so I used my biscuit cutter and just cut partway down to create a bunch of circles or curves. Just be creative with it.

Obviously, this is a bit of a time consuming recipe with having to wait for the dough to rise, but the excitement when you take these out of the oven and the bread has risen through the cracks in the topping is pretty palpable.

And now that I found this recipe, I might just stick to the mini version of conchas. It’s just as delicious but a little kinder to your waistline.

This piece first appeared in print on Sept. 10, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.