Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

This is my first month with the Secret Recipe Swap group, and I am excited! Each month participants are given a blog. From this blog, we get to pick one of their recipes to make and share with our audiences. Now, we have to keep this a secret. I can’t tell (ahead of time) which blog I have been assigned. Then, we all reveal our posts on the same day! A big Thank You goes out to Jutta, from the Hungry Little Girl, who is our recipe swap leader!

This month I was given the blog “Feeding Big“. After going through Cynthia’s blog and drooling over her Best Shrimp Recipe Ever, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, and Best Ever Onion Strings, I decided on her Moist Caramel Apple Cupcakes! You know how fond I am of desserts! I made a few small changes to the recipe: I diced the apples instead of grating them (I was too lazy to get my box grater out) and I topped the cupcakes with a caramel buttercream frosting and a caramel drizzle instead of using melted caramels.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

One Year Ago: Banana Boat Tarts

Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Recipe lightly adapted from Feeding Big via The Recipe Critic
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 Granny Smith or Rome apples, peeled and finely diced

Homemade Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt

Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup homemade caramel sauce
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a cupcake pan with baking liners.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla extract, and the eggs. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until everything comes together. Fold in the diced apples. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin liners. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let cool completely.

To make the caramel sauce (can be made ahead of time):
In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously. Once the mixture is boiling, stop stirring. Continue to boil until the sugar turns an amber color. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the butter and salt (this will bubble, so be careful). Whisk until all the butter has been incorporated, then add in the heavy cream. Again, the mixture will bubble, so whisk this carefully. If the caramel turns hard, put the pan over low heat and stir until the caramel has melted and the mixture is smooth. Strain the caramel sauce through a sieve into a heat-safe container. Refrigerate until needed.

To make the caramel buttercream:
In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and cooled caramel sauce. Add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Slowly add in the heavy cream until you have reached the desired frosting consistency.

Spoon the caramel buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Frost the cooled cupcakes, then drizzle on additional caramel sauce. Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Made with love, not calories!

If you are interested in joining the Secret Recipe Club, please visit Hungry Little Girl!


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King Cake

Mardi Gras is fast approaching (February 12th), so in order to celebrate, I made a King Cake!

“In the United States, Carnival is traditionally observed in the Southeastern region of the country, particularly inNew Orleans, Mobile, AL, other towns and cities of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, on the southeast Texas island of Galveston, and Louisiana. In this region, the king cake is closely associated with Mardi Gras traditions and is served throughout the Carnival season, which lasts from Epiphany Eve to Fat Tuesday.” (Source)

I filled my King Cake with apple pie filling, which isn’t a traditional filling, but what can I say- I’m a rebel! (yeah, right!)

Also, how great of a pastry is this? Purple, green, and gold sugar is sprinkled over the top! Yeah, I like colorful, sparkly things!

King Cake/Bake, Run, Live

Photo courtesy of Nick

I used this recipe from All Recipes.com, and the only thing I did differently was to use apple pie filling instead of the brown sugar-pecan filling the recipe provides.

King Cake/Bake, Run, Live

Made with love, not calories!

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October 31st is National Candy Apple Day!

I’m not a big fan of candy apples, just for the simple reason that they are hard on my teeth. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have fun making them and giving them away! Let others enjoy them (and break their teeth- geez, I hope not!).

Candy apples are easy to make, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First off- this is not a recipe that young kids should be helping with. I’m not trying to be mean. You will be working with a sugar mixture that is 300 degrees. Even once you start dipping the apples and the sugar mixture has stopped boiling, and it looks safe- it isn’t. Also, the cinnamon oil that you use to add flavor, is very strong. You will be adding this once the sugar comes to temperature, and there will be a lot of fumes. If you are standing over the pot (which I highly suggest that you Do Not) you could hurt your sinus cavities from the fumes. Believe me, I learned the hard way years ago when I first started making the sugar mixture for hard candy. If this is your first time making hard sugar candy, having a bowl of ice water nearby would be beneficial in case you get any hot sugar on your skin.

Ok! If I haven’t scared you off, let’s make some candy apples!

Cinnamon Candy Apples

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
Red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon oil (.125 fl. oz.)
8 small apples (I used Gala apples)
8 popsicle sticks

Remove the stems from the apples and insert a popsicle stick. Place the apples on a silpat mat. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Bring this to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously. Clip on a candy thermometer and continue stirring until the temperature reaches 300 degrees. *If you have an exhaust fan over your stove, turn it on now (or open a nearby window)! Remove the pan from the heat and add in the food coloring and cinnamon oil (be careful not to stand over-top the pan), stirring well to combine. Working quickly, tilt the saucepan to pool the sugar mixture, and dip your apples. Let the excess drip off for a few seconds, then place the apples back onto the silpat mat. After all the apples have been dipped, any extra candy can be poured directly onto the siplat mat (on an open spot). The apples will set up very quickly, but wait 30 minutes before eating them. Note: if you had extra candy, once it hardens, break it up and toss it in a little powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

*I purchased my Cinnamon oil at a  local candy supply store, however, I have also seen it at Wal-Mart. Make sure it says oil- extract isn’t strong enough for the recipe.

Made with love, not calories!

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Have you ever made homemade applesauce? No? It’s easy, and Fall is the perfect time to make it. All the wonderful apples that are in season! If you have a farmer’s market or an apple orchard in your area, I highly recommend visiting them and picking up some apples.

That’s what I did the other day! I am lucky to have West Orchard’s in my area. The market has been open since the 60’s (!), and is now run by Todd and his wife Ame. It’s a great place to get fresh fruits and vegetables. Note: maybe I’m a little biased, as I worked there as a teenager, picking strawberries for the market.

Anyways, while I was in there getting apples for pies (Golden Delicious and Jonagold), I picked up a couple zucchini for my dinner, and I wandered over to the bags of “seconds” apples. Seconds are slightly bruised, but in no way inedible. Ame walked by and asked if I had any questions and I told her I wanted to make applesauce- what would she recommend. She told me the Melrose is a sweet apple that is great for eating as-is, but it also holds up well for baking (or applesauce). I took her advice and bought a bag (1/2 peck). I’m glad I asked! I peeled an apple (I can’t eat the peel- of any apple) and really enjoyed the taste. Sweet and juicy!

Making applesauce is very easy. I added sugar to mine (as Nick likes sweet applesauce), however, if you like the sweetness of whatever apples you are using, you can totally do without the sugar. For the liquid, I added apple cider, but you could just add water (or apple juice). One more note, I made mine in a large saucepan on the stove-top, but this would work really well in a slow cooker.

Homemade applesauce
Makes: 13 cups
Prep time: 30 minutes    Cooktime: 1 1/2 – 2 hours

5 pounds peeled, cored, and cubed apples
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups apple cider (can also use apple juice or water), divided
3 tablespoons cinnamon

In a large saucepan, combine apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir till the cinnamon and sugar coat most of the apples. Pour over 2 cups of apple cider. Place pan over medium heat and let cook till the apples get soft- about 1 1/2 hours…stirring every 10-15 minutes. Note: I held back 1/2 cup of the apple cider until the apples started breaking down and then added it in- you might not need the extra 1/2 cup depending on how much liquid your apples give off. Once your apples are soft, you can mash them with a potato masher or an immersion blender, to the consistency you like. Remove from heat and let cool. Portion into containers and enjoy!

Apples, sugar, and cinnamon

Almost there!

All done!

Made with love, not calories!

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Quick Baked Apples

Can I tell you a secret? Just between us, ok?


This isn’t a baked apple at all…you microwave it! How fun and simple! I have been enjoying these as my breakfast this week. I fix it the night before, so all I have to do the next morning is microwave it enough to warm it up, and my breakfast is ready to go. Yummy, warm, and good for you (an apple a day- you know!).

I’m not really going to give you a recipe for these. What I am going to do, is give you a starting point as to what I do, so you have an idea…then I want you to make it your own. Add your own extras, different spices- play with it (yes, you are old enough to be able to play with your food without getting yelled at!).

Here are the building blocks:
An apple
Spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves)
Liquid (like water, honey, coconut oil, pure maple syrup)
Add-ins (like dried fruit, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, dried coconut)

I really like Honey Crisp apples, so that is what I have been using. I peel and cut up the apple into bite-size pieces, and throw them into a microwavable container. Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Then I add spices (I like cinnamon) and a little bit of liquid- I would say between 1/2 and 1 tablespoon, but this will depend on how juicy your apples are. Honey Crisp’s are juicy, so I only add 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil (I like to use coconut oil as it’s a healthy fat, so it makes this dish a little more filling for me). Microwave for another 30-40 seconds. *You are not trying to achieve mushy apples…of course you can do this, then just mash them and you have made applesauce! Another thing to remember- if you are making this the night before, like I do, you have another turn in the microwave- another reason not to take the apples too far.
So, after the 2nd round in the microwave, I stir in my add-ins. Currently, my choice has been about a tablespoon of raisins- but you can add whatever sounds good to you!

The next day, the apples head back into the microwave- one last time. I only heat them for 30 seconds, and then I am ready to dig in!

You should be able to do this with pears also. Maybe one day I’ll try that. For now, I’m liking the apples- as the Honey Crisp (how many times can I tell you I really like these?) seems to have a shorter growing/selling season then some other apples. Hmm, maybe I can get to a local apple orchard this weekend and pick a peck (yes, I typed this on purpose…cause I’m a dork!)!

1 apple- peeled, chopped, and ready for the microwave

The white bits are coconut oil- they will melt when warm

Ready for breakfast tomorrow!

Made with love, not calories!

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