Maple Cookies with Apple Cider Glaze

I love fall baking and my husband loves maple and apple, so this is always a very yummy few months for us. Just because I decided to give up gluten, it doesn’t mean my family has. Of course they support my new eating lifestyle, but truth be told, gluten-free baking is a whole world of its own. Ingredients are different, baking times are different, the whole chemistry of it all is different. It intimidates me, so I still bake some “regular” treats for my boys to enjoy, and to keep my confidence up amidst countless gluten-free recipe fails.

I ended up making this recipe up. My husband was in the mood for something maple flavored, and I was anxious to perfect an apple cider glaze. I figured I might as well try to kill two birds with one stone, because, why not?

The result exceeded my expectations. YUM! The cookie wasn’t too sweet, and the glaze gave it a little extra. I’m always afraid glazes will taste to much like powdered sugar, but this one kept the apple flavor and was sweet without tasting just like sugar. Success! The cookie was good without the glaze, but I really think the glaze just made the cookie. I brought some extras to work and they didn’t last long. Give this one a try! It would be great on the Thanksgiving dessert table, too. Enjoy!

Maple Cookies with Apple Cider Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. maple extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and cover cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
  2. Cream shortening and brown sugar until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg, syrup, and extracts until well mixed.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.
  6. Chill the dough for an hour.
  7. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  9. While the cookies are cooling, make the glaze. Bring the cider to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in the butter, cinnamon, salt, and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until well combined. Add remaining powdered sugar to thicken the glaze, if desired.

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Tang Pie Parfait

Tang Pie. What in the heck is that? That was my first question when I heard of this. I went to a Memorial Day party this weekend. This is an annual party that has a different theme each year. This year’s theme was country/hillbilly/white-trash. I always bring a dessert, so I needed to come up with something appropriate. My husband came to the rescue and asked around at work for ideas. Alas, Tang Pie was thrown into the mix.

I didn’t like the idea of bringing a questionable pie to such a large party, so I decided to make individual Tang Pie parfait things. To my surprise, they turned out! It tasted like a less cold version of orange sherbet.

Next time I think I would make them in shooters. This amount was a bit much and a little too rich, but all in all, a pleasantly surprising success!

TangPie

Tang Pie Parfait
Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Tang orange drink powder
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 12 oz. Cool Whip
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 box of Nilla Wafers
  • 1 bag of Orange Slices candy
  • Clear plastic cups

Directions:

  1. Mix together the Tang, sour cream, Cool Whip, and sweetened condensed milk. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Crumble three Nilla Wafers in the bottom of each clear plastic cup.
  3. Fill the cups with the desired amount of the Tang mixture.
  4. Crumble another Nilla Wafer on top of the Tang mixture.
  5. Garnish with an Orange Slice candy.
  6. Keep refrigerated and serve chilled.

Baked Kale Chips

Kale chips. Yes, you read that correctly. I made kale chips. It isn’t something I’d typically choose to make, but I was intrigued. I kept hearing friends and food bloggers rave about these as a great alternative to regular potato chips, so I was interested to see what the hype was all about.

I happened to have some kale left over after testing a recipe for America’s Test Kitchen. My family isn’t real big on leafy green foods, and I didn’t want to waste the kale, so I thought it was the perfect time to attempt kale chips.

First of all, this is probably the easiest recipe I’ve ever followed. Second of all, I was pleasantly surprised by the awesome flavor and texture! I now understand what everyone was raving about!

I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to make these all the time, but I will absolutely make these when I have extra kale laying around. I love how easy it is and how simple it would be to try different seasonings. The health benefits as compared to fried potato chips are undeniable as well. Enjoy!

Baked Kale  Baked Kale chips

Baked Kale Chips

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 bunch of kale
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a non-insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. With a knife or kitchen shears, carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bit sized pieces.
  4. Wash and thoroughly dry kale.
  5. Drizzle kale with olive oil. Make sure all the kale is covered in a thin layer. Sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  6. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt (10-15 minutes)

My Pi Day Pie

Please excuse my mini hiatus. I tend to take the month off to celebrate my birthday. Yes, the whole month. My grandma taught me that 🙂 I’ve entered a new chapter of life (my thirties!) and am fully rejuvenated thanks to a spa day at the Four Seasons that I gifted myself. So, despite the 30°F temps here in Chicagoland, it’s time to come out of hibernation.

I know, Pi Day was  12 days ago, but I wanted to share my nerdy tradition with you. If you’re not familiar with Pi Day, it is exactly what you’d expect it to be: a celebration of the mathematical constant better known as pi (π). Even though PIE Day is January 23rd, I still find it  fun to bake a pie for PI Day and give a little birthday shout out to my man Albert Einstein. Last year I made a peanut butter and jelly pie for my coworkers. It turned out…OK…but I didn’t use any sort of recipe so it didn’t turn out quite right. It was too soft. This year, keeping with the peanut butter idea, I made a peanut butter pie with peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

About a week before Pi Day, I made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. They were a little crispier than we like, and my husband happened to comment that they’d make a good pie crust. And just like that, my Pi Day pie idea was born. It turned out great and I decided not to bring it to work – I just shared it with my boys at home.

 Pi_pie

Peanut Butter Pie with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Crust

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1-1/2 cups crushed peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
4T. butter, melted
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 container (8 ounce) of Cool Whip (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup chocolate chips for decoration

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the crushed peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and the melted butter.
  3. Evenly press the mixture into a 9″ pie plate and top with chocolate chips.
  4. Bake the pie crust for about 10 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, spread the melted chocolate chips around to form a thin layer over the entire crust.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until soft and fluffy.
  6. Beat in sugar and peanut butter.
  7. Slowly pour in milk, beating mixture until smooth
  8. Fold whipped topping into mixture. 
  9. Pour mixture into crust and decorate with chocolate chips if you’d like.
  10. Freeze until firm.
  11. Store any leftovers in freezer.

Mincemeat Pie

I made my very first mincemeat pie over Thanksgiving. I had heard of it before, but never seen, tried, or attempted to make one on my own. One of our Thanksgiving celebrations was with my husband’s dad, stepmom, and grandma. I always make his dad a pecan pie when I see him, but this year I decided to make them each a pie, so I made a mincemeat pie for his stepmom and a chocolate/French silk pie for Grandma Z.

I found out later that they sell mincemeat pie filling in a jar. Really?! Nobody told me. It’s not in true Kim-fashion anyway to use a jarred mix of sorts. So, per usual, I scoured the interwebs in search of what sounded like the best recipe. I ended up adapting this one from Allrecipes.com for the filling. This ended up to be really tasty! I had no idea what to expect, but it was so flavorful and received rave reviews from even the toughest critics.

I should note that this is a sweet pie, not savory as you might expect. It’s definitely for dessert, but I may or may not have eaten the leftovers for lunch. Hey, it has fruit, meat, and carbs in it, so it’s a perfectly suitable meal if you ask me… Enjoy!

Mincemeat Pie

Mincemeat Pie

Ingredients:

For the Filling:

  • 1-1/4 pounds lean ground beef
  • 4-1/2 cups apples – peeled, cored and diced
  • 2-1/4 cups dried fruit (I used dried cherries and cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup and brandy
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/4 cups and 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • orange zest to taste (I used the zest of half a softball sized orange)

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Make the dough for the crusts:
1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water until mixture forms a ball. Divide dough in half, and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Make the filling:
2. Make the filling. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef thoroughly, being sure not to over-brown it.

3. Place chopped apples and the cooked ground beef in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is made up of pea sized chunks.

4. In a non-reactive skillet combine the apple and ground beef mixture with the dried fruit, half of the brandy, the pickle juice, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground nutmeg and the white sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Cool filling to lukewarm and store in covered container in the refrigerator for a week, or freeze. Continue to add brandy to the filling and mix it up every few days.

Assemble your pie:
6. Preheat your oven to 325°F

7. Roll out the dough for the two crusts on a floured surface, making sure not to overwork it.

8. Put one crust in the pie pan. Pour in the filling. Top with the second crust. (I chose to do a lattice top for mine, but you could just cover it and put a few slits in the top if you prefer.)

9. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool and serve!

Old Fashioned Apple Slab

I know, I had no idea what an apple slab was, either.

One of my favorite email subscriptions has to be to King Arthur Flour. I’m obsessed with them – their ingredients, products, recipes, you name it. It is also one of the few paper catalogs that I actually read (and look forward to receiving) every single month.

When I was trying to decide what to make for Thanksgiving dessert, I immediately thought of that KAF email sitting in my inbox. My husband loves all things apple, and I had already decided to make a Pumpkin Roll, so this Old Fashioned Apple Slab recipe was a clear winner. I had all the ingredients except for the buttermilk powder. I did, however, have buttermilk, so I used about 2 Tablespoons of buttermilk in the crust, and cut down on the amount of water I used.

The result was a better version of the best apple pie you’ve ever had. Essentially, an apple slab is an apple pie baked in a 9×13 pan, with a glaze drizzled on top. I don’t know how it can be so much better than an apple pie, but it is. You have to try this for yourself – you can thank me later.

old fashioned apple slab

Pumpkin Cake Roll with Maple Pecan Cream Cheese Filling

Sounds decadent, doesn’t it? This year for Thanksgiving, we tried a few new desserts rather than relying solely on the tried and true pies. When the Brown Eyed  Baker posted this recipe, I knew I had to try it. Not only would I be able to cross something off my Baking Bucket List, but it sounded too good to pass up.

I made a few small changes, mostly to the filling. My husband loves all things maple, so I added maple syrup and extract to the cream cheese filling. A friend of mind also commented on how her family always has this dessert and they add pecans to the filling. So, I tried that as well.

Now, I’m not a huge cake lover, but this turned out pretty good. The cake part was really light and airy, and the filling had a good flavor. Trying to figure out what to do with the leftovers, we decided to try it as french toast. OMG, this made AMAZING french toast! I actually preferred it this way than in its original cake, dessert form. To each his own, I suppose! Whether you try this as a dessert or as a sweet breakfast option, let me know what you think! Enjoy 🙂

Pumpkin Cake Roll with Maple Pecan Cream Cheese Filling
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
⅔ cup canned pure pumpkin

For the Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon maple extract
½ cup chopped pecans

Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Make the Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a jelly roll pan (15×10 or 17×12) and line the pan with parchment paper. Then grease and flour the parchment. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; set aside.

3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar and eggs together until combined and thick, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to fold and mix until no flour is remaining. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.

4. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. While the cake is in the oven, place a piece of parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.

5. When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Turn the cake out onto the prepared piece of parchment paper. Carefully peel off the parchment paper from the top of the cake and discard. Starting with a short end, carefully roll up the cake with the parchment paper. Place the rolled cake on a wire rack seam-side down and allow to cool to room temperature.

Make the Filling: 
6. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the maple syrup. Add the powdered sugar and beat until completely smooth and light. Add the vanilla and maple extracts and mix briefly to combine.

7. Carefully unroll the cake. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the surface of the cake.

8. Sprinkle the filling with the pecans.

9. Re-roll the cake, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

10. When ready to serve, place the pumpkin roll on a serving platter and dust with powdered sugar. Leftovers should be wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container and refrigerated.