Sunday, June 23, 2013

Toffee Top Apple Pie

I associate pie with breakfast most of the time.    If pie was ever served at dinner, the remaining slices went to those who got up earliest the next morning.      I don't make a lot of pie (the only two in recent memory are this one and that one).   So it was a little bit of surprise to find a frozen pie crust hanging out in the freezer.   Taking up valuable real estate at that.  

Time for breakfast pie!

What You Need
I found the basic one crust apple pie filling recipe here, adapted it a little,  and then experimented with the topping.    Experimenting is part of the fun of playing with your food (aka I've made this once and it turned out pretty good).  

Pie crust:
1 frozen 9 inch pie shell

In the pie:
6 medium/large apples, peeled and sliced (I used red delicious)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 

On the pie:
1/3 cup flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter/margarine
1/4 cup oats
2 regular sized Heath Bars coarsely chopped

What You Do
Using a frozen 9 inch single pie shell, take it out of the freezer 10 minutes before you're ready to fill it.   Preheat the oven to 425.  

In a large bowl, combine the apples with the brown sugar (slows the browning a little).    Then toss with the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.    Pile into the pie crust.

In a smaller bowl, cut the flour, brown sugar and butter together.    Stir in the oats and the chopped up Heath Bars.     Sprinkle the topping over the top of the pie.  

Put the filled pie crust on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes.   Keep an eye on the crust, if it starts to get brown, cover the edges with foil until done baking.

Let pie cool and then slice and enjoy.   Store your breakfast leftovers in the fridge.

Do you like pie for breakfast?

Peanut Butter Toblerone Bars

It's finally summer!   Yesterday I was going to a BBQ and knew that dessert and wine would be my contribution.   My friends grilled sliders - perfect for the little kids and for those who wanted to pile their plate with sides (two kinds of fried rice, two kinds of mac and cheese, etc).   Also, it was first time trying iced tea vodka with lemonade...Arnold Palmer for the big kids.

Cheers to a long, hot, fun summer!

What You Need

For the bars:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter/margarine, softened
1/3 cup crunchy peanut always I use crunchy honey nut PB
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Toblerone Bar (3.25oz) coarsely chopped

For the icing:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
2-3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa

What You Do
Preheat the oven to 350.   Line a 13x9 pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.

Cream the butter and sugars.   Then add the PB and the egg with a mixer on medium speed.   Slowly mix  in flour, oats, baking soda and salt.  Then stir in the chopped Toblerone.  

Bake for 17-20 minutes until golden brown.   Cool completely.

To make the peanut butter icing, mix the powdered sugar, peanut butter and milk.    To get the frosting to marble (like in the picture) it needs to be a little on the runny side - add milk as needed.    Take out 1/3 cup of the PB icing.    Add the 3 tablespoons of cocoa to the remaining icing.     Pour the cocoa icing over the cooled bars.     Then drop the peanut butter icing by small spoonful over the chocolate icing.   Use a knife and gently run it back and forth to create the marble effect.   

Ooh, marbling

Chill the bars in the fridge so that the icing will set before using a big bad knife to cut the bars.    Small bars are fine - these are rich.     Two thumbs up from the BBQ crew!

What's your favorite thing about summer BBQs?  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Food-o-Rama: New Mexico

Travel and food go hand in hand.  On our recent trip to New Mexico we ate like we meant it.

This Food-o-Rama includes:

Amazing desserts of all kinds at Chocolate Maven.    We would never have found this place without a personal recommendation.   And GPS.   (Santa Fe)

The "Stuffy":  A chorizo and egg stuffed sopapilla at Charlie's Spic and Span.   A great Yelp find!  (Las Vegas)

More dessert and coffee at The Flying Star  (Bernalillo)

Prickly Pear Margaritas at High Noon  (Old Town Albuquerque)

Blue corn enchiladas with chicken and mole sauce at Casa Chimayo  (Santa Fe)

Green chile cheeseburger at Monroe's  (a quick walk from Old Town Albuquerque)  

Green chile pizza on a blue corn crust at Marble Brewery prepared by Rooftop Pizzeria (Santa Fe)

We also had cocktails (not pictured) on the patio at Luminaria and at the Agave Lounge  (Santa Fe)

Only on vacation can you eat like this every day.   
No wonder I love vacation so much!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Samoa Style Bars

As a girl, the Girl Scout cookies that are now called Samoas were called Caramel Delights.   (Did you know that different parts of the country pronounce caramel differently?   Check out this map to see where it all goes wrong...or right.)
No matter what they are called, they have coconut on them.  Hence they are awesome.  
Last time I went to Hammond's Candies, they were selling "oops" packages of their vanilla and chocolate caramels.    This is when something goes awry and instead of looking perfect, they look less than perfect.    Not something you would give as a hostess gift.   Oops caramels are perfect to to put in your coffee, your mouth or in your baked goods. 
So here we go.   A sugar cookie base with chocolate caramel and toasted coconut on top.   If you want to really take it to the Samoa cookie level, dip the bottom in chocolate or drizzle some on the top.   I thought that the chocolate caramel made it delicious enough.  
What You Need
Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter/margarine softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Caramel Coconut Layer:
12 oz of "oops" chocolate caramels (Denver specific here, but if you don't have Hammond's caramels, other chewy caramels will work)
3 tablespoons milk
3 cups toasted coconut
What You Do
Preheat your oven to 350.   Line a 13x9 baking pan with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl.   Add egg and vanilla.   Add flour and salt.   With floured fingers, press the crust into your pan.  Even as you can.  All the way to the edge.  Bake for 20-25 minutes and then cool. 
Now it's time to toast your coconut since your oven is already on.   Lay sweetened shredded coconut (from the baking section at the grocery store) on a baking sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes, then check the coconut and gently move it around with a spatula.  Bake another 5 - watch it very carefully.  Coconut can go from nice and toasty to burned and black in a second.   Once the coconut turns brown on the edges of the pan, take it out of the oven.
Now it's time to eat melt the caramel.   The oops bag had 16 ounces of caramel and I only needed 12 ounces.   I made a non-scientific measurement and cut off a quarter of the caramel for snacking.     Put the 12 ounces of caramel and 3 tablespoons of milk in a sauce pan.    Warm over low - medium heat, stirring constantly until the caramel is smooth and melted.
Remove caramel from heat, add coconut, and then smooth/press the caramel coconut mixture over your cookie base.  It will be sticky.  Allow caramel to cool.    Use foil to pull bars out of the pan and to cut.  
Today Denver had a record day of heat.   If this is the case, store these bars in the fridge.   Or eat them right away.   That will solve the problem too. 

Recipe adapted from The Recipe Critic

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Nutella and Cookie Butter Fake Crepes

We have a free employee cafeteria at work.    Free food is great for the budget.   I don't have to pay for coffee.   For soda.   For a bagel.  Or lunch.   Now, like any buffet, there are things that you like and things you don't.   Some days you look at the menu and say to yourself, "now what?" 

We become cafeteria creative.   For some it's the salad.  Or the panini grill.  My standby?  Buffalo-ing something.   There is always hot sauce, blue cheese, and sliced chicken.    Pasta?   Buffalo Chicken Pasta.    Bagel?   Buffalo Chicken Bagel. 

One of the recent suggestions for the cafeteria was to offer tortillas every day.  

Last week when going through the line, I saw a jar of Nutella.    We don't have Nutella every day, so this sparked conversation at our table:  What is the best vehicle to get Nutella into your mouth?   A spoon will work.   So will a piece of toast.    And then SB (to protect his innocence) said that at home he grills flour tortillas with Nutella inside.   

Brilliant.   A fake crepe.   You can put Nutella and other accompaniments inside a folded flour tortilla and put it on the griddle.   No mess.  No batter.   Just you and Nutella, less than 3 minutes away from happiness.

What else could I do when I got home from work, but try it myself.    Nutella, Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter (carried over state lines in a red Dodge Avenger), and strawberries.     Spread Nutella on one half of the tortilla.   Spread cookie butter on the other side.   Put sliced strawberries over the Nutella.   Fold the tortilla in half.   Put on the hot griddle until the Nutella and cookie butter start to melt.  Slice and enjoy.

I can only hope that every day tortillas make it into our cafeteria.   Then we can go crazy with Nutella and the panini grill.  

What do you think of the fake crepe?  What's your favorite vehicle to enjoy Nutella?

Reese's Pieces Magic Bars

I can't say with 100% confidence that every 7 layer bar has 7 layers.   And some of the layers are on the same level (like when you mix chocolate chips and butterscotch chips).   But they are pretty darn magical.   Who came up with the phrase "magic cookie bars" anyway?

If these are the only pressing questions I have on a Sunday morning, I'm doing alright.

A few weeks ago on Crazy for Crust, Dorothy posted 31 Seven Layer Magic Bar Recipes.   I knew that I would have to try a few.    It's more than your standard graham cracker crust and sweetened condensed milk.    These food bloggers went all out with creative combinations you wouldn't normally expect.

These Reese's bars primarily follow this recipe from The Domestic Rebel, with a little inspiration from this recipe from Averie Cooks.   Magic all around!

What You Need
1 box devil's food cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter/margarine, melted
1 cup coarsely crushed pretzels (Can I say how much I love dessert recipes that incorporate pretzels?   It's that sweet and salty and crunchy thing.  Yay!)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup Reese's Pieces
1 cup salted roasted peanuts
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk (regular or fat free)

What You Do
Preheat your oven to 350.    Line your 13x9 pan with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the cake mix, the egg and butter.   Then stir in the crushed pretzels.   Spread/press mixture in the bottom of the pan and bake for about 8 minutes.  

Sprinkle the cake base with the chocolate chips, Reese's Pieces, and peanuts.    In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter and the sweetened condensed milk.     Drizzle the milk mixture over the bars and make for another 15 minutes until golden and bubbly.   The center should be set.    Cool and cut into bars.

Note:   The crust baked up over the top of the toppings around the edges.  When I make these again, I may pre-bake the crust a little longer just to see what happens.   
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