Your Week-By-Week Thanksgiving Countdown

turkey-1299176_1280

Don’t panic but Thanksgiving will be here before you know it! My helpful November checklist has plenty of planning tips and ideas to help get you ready for the big day! I’ve laid them out week-by-week to help better organize you and get you ready for the holiday. Keep checking back for added tips and information as we get closer and closer to the holiday. Gobble, gobble!!

THREE WEEKS BEFORE THE HOLIDAY

  • Time to plan your guest list and begin reaching out to family and friends in order to get a headcount.
  • Take inventory! Do you have enough paper goods, china, utensils, serving bowls and dishes, glasses, etc? Look over what you have, plan your table settings and go shopping early for items that you might be missing.
  • Stock up! Thanksgiving isn’t without leftovers and if you’re planning on sending your guests home with “doggy bags” make sure you have plenty of food storage containers on hand. You can find lots of different options at restaurant supply stores, warehouse stores such as Costco and party outlet stores. Make sure to have an assortment of sizes and shapes so that everyone has what they need for leftovers.
  • Plan your menu. Start thinking about what appetizers, dishes and desserts you’d like to make OR which ones you’ll need others to bring that day. Also, plan what things you can make ahead of time and freeze so that you have less work to do on the actual holiday.
  • Get your home holiday ready by planning what decorations you’d like to put out and how you’ll fit everyone. Try different configurations for your tables so that every guest is seated comfortably that day.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE HOLIDAY

  • Plan out your table setting and guest seating. Gather dishes, silverware, linens and serving dishes. Make (or buy) guest place cards and fill them out. If possible, set up your table now so it’s one less thing to take care of Thanksgiving week.
  • Begin your grocery shopping early. Purchase non-perishable items such as chicken stock, Gravy Master, soda, wine, beer, canned vegetables, flour and other baking essentials, etc now so that you have less to shop for later.
  • Start making room in your pantry, fridge and freezer. Use up the food you have, organize to make room for more.
  • Plan out your cooking schedule. Make yourself a list outlining what you need to cook, when you need to cook it and for how long. Having a cooking plan in place ensures that your meal comes together perfectly and at the same time on the big day!
  • Cook ahead! Start prepping what you can now to make your cooking flow more easily later. Good ideas to make and freeze are pie crusts, cookie dough, rolls, cranberry sauce, gravy stock, etc.
  • Get your house holiday ready! Start cleaning, especially in areas of the house you aren’t in often such as the formal living and dining room. Put our your Thanksgiving decorations and create a warm, festive place for your guests.
  • Start thinking about serving dishes. Plan out which platters and bowls you will use for each dish. Use sticky notes to label each one so that on Thanksgiving you won’t need to scramble for the right serving vessel, everything will be ready and marked.
  • Plan about your drink menu. Wine, soda and beer are all essential drinks to have on hand but think about adding a specialty cocktail that you can easily make for your guests or even a nice autumn inspired sangria. Hot mulled cider is also another cozy, festive beverage to serve on Thanksgiving.
  • Breathe and take some time for yourself to decompress.

ONE WEEK BEFORE THE HOLIDAY

  • If using a frozen turkey, begin to plan your thawing schedule.

In the Refrigerator (40°F or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days

In Cold Water
Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound
4 to 12 pounds 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours

  • Finish your food shopping however, buy fruit and vegetables as close to the holiday as possible so they are at peak freshness.
  • Chill beverages ahead of time and if possible, have a cooler set out on the big day to keep everything cold without sacrificing fridge space.
  • Confirm your guest list.
  • Finish cleaning your house. Also, if you have not done so already, clean our your refrigerator and make room for all of the ingredients and prepared dishes.
  • Set your table with the linens, dishes and silverware. Put out your labeled serving pieces so they are accessible as you need them.
  • They day or two before Thanksgiving, chop up all of your vegetables so that you can easily grab what you need when cooking.
  • Prepare all of the cold dishes in advance, about a day or two before Thanksgiving. This includes any relishes, dips, cranberry sauce, or cold salads. Also, prep your cold hors d’oeuvres such as cheese platters and crudités.
  • Prep your stuffing the day before so it is ready to be baked the day of Thanksgiving.
  • Assemble nut platters and candy dishes ahead of time so that all you need to do on the big day is place them on the tables.
  • Go over your schedule for cooking times. Make sure you have every dish accounted for and planned out ahead of time.
  • The day before Thanksgiving, prep your bird so that all you have to do in the morning is put it in the oven. Place the turkey on a roasting rack, season, add your aromatics and cover with tin foil.
  • Take a breath! You’re in the home stretch now.

THE DAY OF THANKSGIVING

You made it!! The big day is finally here!! Time to pull everything together and get this feast on the table.

  • First things first, get an early start! The more time you leave yourself to get things ready the more calm you’ll be.
  • Go over your checklist and double check all of the cooking times so that everything will finish cooking in a timely manner and be ready to be served together.
  • Preheat your oven and adjust the racks.
  • Get the turkey in the oven. Try and avoid opening the oven door too much throughout the roasting process. The more you open the door, the more heat you let escape thus increasing the overall cooking time.
  • While the turkey is roasting, prep your app trays. Cover them in plastic wrap and store until ready to serve. Also, prep any remaining side dishes and take anything out of the fridge that needs to be at room temperature before being baked or served.
  • Double check you table settings and put out any last minute chairs, dishes, serving pieces or silverware.
  • Assemble all of your labeled serving bowls, platters and dishes nearby so everything is within reach as the food is ready.
  • Fill ice buckets and set up your bar. Get your cocktail ingredients prepped and ready to go so as guests want a drink you can make them quickly.
  • Make sure your dishwasher is empty as it will make cleanup later much easier.
  • Once the turkey is ready, allow it rest before carving. In the meantime, warm up and/or finish cooking all of the other dishes you will be serving.
  • Make you gravy. Keep it nice and hot over low heat on the stove. Serve it right as dinner is ready.
  • Carve the turkey and arrange slices on a nice platter. I like to separate the dark from the white meat so it’s easier for everyone to take what they like.
  • Don’t forget to allow plenty of time for coffee to percolate later. While the coffee is brewing, take our your desserts and get them ready for serving. If making fresh whipped cream, now is the time to whip that up. Also, soften ice cream for easier serving.

Last but not least…………………….ENJOY!!!! Take your time, enjoy the fruits of your labor and be grateful and thankful for this wonderful day of food, friends and family.

From my house to yours, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Whiskey Glazed Carrots

carrots

These are my favorite way to prepare carrots! It’s not only an easy recipe but also full of delicious flavor which makes these carrots a great side dish to almost any meal. They are perfect with a roast chicken, meatloaf or Thanksgiving dinner! This recipe comes from one of my favorite cooks, Ree Drummond who is better known as, “The Pioneer Woman“. Click here to link to her site.

The recipe calls for Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey® but really any good whiskey will work well. My personal favorite is Tullamore Dew® which is also what I use in my out-of-this-world Whiskey BBQ Cocktail Meatballs . Also, when I am in a rush and don’t have time to peel a bunch of carrots, I have used the small baby carrots instead. Just grab a paring knife and dice them up into small, thick “pennies”.  For an extra kick of flavor, top the finished carrots with chopped chives. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, divided
  • 2-3 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into thick circles
  • 1/2 cup Jack Daniels® or other whiskey
  • 3/4 – 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • chopped chives, optional

Instructions

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add carrots in two batches, cooking for 60-90 seconds each batch. Remove from skillet.

Pour in whiskey and allow to evaporate 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining butter. Once the butter melts, sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Stir together and then add the carrots to skillet. Cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

Remove lid and add salt and pepper. Continue cooking until carrots are done and glaze is thick, about 5 more minutes.

Pour onto a platter and serve immediately. Sprinkle with chopped chives if desired.

 

Autumn Spiced Apples

cinnamon apples

Spiced apples are absolutely one of my most favorite things in the whole world. They are warm, delicious, cozy and remind me of everything autumn which in my opinion is the best time of the year! This is one of those recipes where being accurate and measuring is completely unnecessary, I like to fly by the seat of my pants with this one. I add a “little bit of this” and a “little bit of that” until I stumble upon the perfect amount of spice and flavor. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different spices and apples, you simply cannot go wrong here. Since this is such an easy recipe to master, try letting your kids in the kitchen with you so they can give it a whirl themselves!

My favorite apples to use when I am making this recipe is a combination of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp. The Granny Smith apples add just the right amount of tartness to balance the sweetness and they hold up well when cooking. Honeycrisp apples are the perfect blend of sweet and tart and work really well in cooking as well but are also excellent apples to grab and eat raw. When making spiced cooked apples you can slice them up in nice big wedges or dice them up as I did above. To get nice, even pieces and speed up the cooking process I used my Vidalia Chop Wizard . It’s a great little gadget to quickly chop and dice veggies and fruit and it’s worth the small investment especially for those who aren’t comfortable with their knife skills.

I love to top my pancakes with a huge scoop of warm spiced apples, drizzle them with a little Apple Butter Syrup and then top it off with a nice dusting of confectioners sugar. It is the perfect Sunday morning treat especially on those cool, crisp fall days. They are also delicious stirred into yogurt or as a topping on your vanilla ice cream. Serve alongside pork, top your chicken, spread on toast or even eat them straight! They are so delicious no matter how you eat them and they are the perfect accompaniment to many dishes. Turn on your creativity and whip up a batch today. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 apples, any combination of varieties
  • 1-2 tbs unsalted butter
  • splash of apple cider OR apple juice
  • few sprinkles of granulated sugar
  • few pinches of ground cinnamon, apple pie spice, baking spice, nutmeg OR other spice
  • dash of pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Wash, peel and core the apples then slice or dice them up. In a small saucepan set over medium heat melt the butter. Add the apples, cider or juice, sugar, spices and vanilla extract. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender but not falling apart. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve warm or store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Cranberry Brie Bites

Cranberry Brie Bites

Looking for a quick and easy appetizer to serve at your next holiday get together? You might want to check out these delicious Cranberry Brie Bites. They are perfect for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and are sure to be a hit with all! The original recipe is from the Delish.com website and can be found right here . With just a few simple ingredients you can pull these together in just minutes! If you don’t care for Brie, you can always substitute in a different cheese such as a nice Gruyère which would work wonderful in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 tube Pillsbury® Crescent Dough (I use the sheet instead of the rolls)
  • Nonstick cooking spray, for pan
  • Flour, for rolling out the dough
  • 8 oz. wheel of Brie cheese
  • 1 cup of whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 6 sprigs of rosemary, cut into 1″ pieces.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375° and lightly grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll out crescent dough, and pinch any seams together. Cut into 24 squares. Place squares into muffin tin slots.

Cut the brie into 24 pieces and place one piece inside each of the crescent dough cups. Top with a spoonful of cranberry sauce, some chopped pecans, and one little sprig of rosemary.

Bake until the crescent is golden, about 15 minutes.

Serve warm.

Mom’s Sweet Potato Casserole

sweetpotato

Thanksgiving is only a week away so naturally I am beginning to daydream about all of the delicious food I’ll be gobbling up in just a few short days. One dish that is a staple at our Thanksgiving dinner is my Mom’s Sweet Potato Casserole. It’s hands down the BEST I’ve ever had! I don’t even like sweet potatoes but I could eat this yumminess all day long. The sweet pecan topping is really what makes this dish, it adds just the right amount of crunchy sweetness to the potatoes without being too overpowering. It’s perfect! Consider adding this side dish to your menu, I promise you’ll be the star of Thanksgiving if you serve this casserole at your next holiday feast!

Ingredients

For the sweet potatoes

  • 3 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes (from 2 lbs raw OR two 16oz cans)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs, well beaten
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk

For the pecan topping

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine the mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and milk. Mix well. Spoon into a 2 qt. casserole dish.

Combine the brown sugar, flour, butter, and pecans until well mixed. Sprinkle over the top of the sweet potatoes.

Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through. Makes 8 servings.

**Tip – You can assemble the casserole in advance and bake later. The casserole can be refrigerated uncooked for up to 2 days. Increase the cooking time if baking the casserole directly from the refrigerator**

Apple Brown Betty

apple betty3

Apple pie is the quintessential fall dessert. It evokes memories of jumping in the leaves, cuddling up in a cozy sweater, and stuffing your face at Thanksgiving dinner. Making a delicious homemade apple pie isn’t all that difficult but it can be a little time consuming Instead, when a craving for apple pie hits try making an Apple Brown Betty! It has all of the same delicious flavor as an apple pie minus the hassle.

An Apple Brown Betty is very similar to a crumble or crisp. It’s a traditional American dessert made from apples that are topped with delicious sweetened crumbs. It is unclear of the exact origin of this dessert however, it was first mentioned in a cookbook dating all the way back to 1864! Just like its apple pie counterpart, it pairs really well with a nice, cold scoop of vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

The recipe that I used came from one of my most favorite cookbooks, The New England Orchard Cookbook: Harvesting Dishes & Desserts from the Region’s Bounty . If you love farm fresh fruit such as apples, berries, and peaches this would be a fabulous addition to your cookbook library. It features information on local farms all around the New England region (CT, MA, RI, VT, and NH) as well as a bounty of wonderful and delicious recipes like Streusel Spiced Cider Muffins, Orchard Cake, Apple Stuffing and more!

For this recipe I made a few, very slight changes. In place of the maple syrup that was called for I used pure apple syrup, I prefer the flavor over maple. The instructions said to use cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to taste but I instead tossed the apples with a cinnamon sugar blend and apple pie spice which is a mix of all the flavors that are called for. I also substituted Granny Smith apples for McIntosh. In general you can substitute one baking apple for another in most apple recipes. The top apples for baking are: Granny Smith, Jonagold, Braeburn, Cortland, and Honeycrisp.  

Ingredients

  • 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • Cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 full sleeve of graham crackers
  • 1 stick (1/4 lb) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, combine the apples with the syrup and spices. Toss to coat. Place in a medium casserole dish and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the graham crackers, melted butter, and brown sugar. Using your hands, crumble up the crackers and mix everything together.

Pat the crumb mixture all over the top of the apples. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the apples up bubbling up through the topping and the crust is golden brown.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

**Tip** – You can also use a food processor to turn the graham crackers into crumbs.

apple betty2

 

Autumn Spice Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Squeal!!! Sally McKenny has a brand new cookbook, Sally’s Cookie Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cookie Bars, Shortbread, and More, and to my delight, there was an outstanding recipe for Autumn Spice Oatmeal Cookies. (page 42) There isn’t one word in that title that doesn’t make me happy. Let me repeat: AUTUMN SPICE OATMEAL COOKIES!! What’s better than fall spices, oatmeal, and cookies??!! I’ll tell you, not much!

Due to my high blood sugars, I’ve been hesitant to bake much lately but I really couldn’t resist these cookies so I decided to go ahead and make them. I thought it was good opportunity to try and turn them into a treat that was a touch healthier and lower in sugar so that I could enjoy them too. I followed the recipe as written making only a few substitutions with regards to the ingredients. First, I substituted the granulated sugar with Truvia Baking Blend Natural Sweetener in order to cut down on the calories. Be aware that Truvia® does NOT measure one-to-one with granulated sugar so it’s imperative that you adhere to the conversion chart that is printed on the side of the bag.

I also cut down the molasses from 1 tbs to only 1/2 tbs, I felt that using a little less would still impart the molasses flavor while lessening the overall calorie and sugar count. Instead of sweetened coconut I used unsweetened as it allowed the texture of the cookie to remain the same without adding the extra sugar. In place of ordinary dried cranberries I used  Ocean Spray Reduced Sugar Craisins Dried Cranberries  which again saved on calories and sugar. Lastly, I eliminated the pepitas that were called for (simply because I do not like them) and instead, I added half of a finely diced Granny Smith apple to the cookie dough. I adore apples and I thought it would be a perfect addition to these fall inspired cookies.

The cookies were fabulous and were everything you want a fall cookie to taste like. They were chewy, delicious, and bursting with flavor. The best part was that the substitutions I made resulted in an excellent cookie and I certainly did not miss anything by reducing the sugars where I was able to. Of course, these still need to be enjoyed in moderation but it’s nice to know that when a sweet craving hits, I have something on hand that I can eat with minimal guilt.

**I listed to ORIGINAL recipe below noting my substitutions in the parenthesis.**

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (OR 1/8 cup Truvia Baking Blend)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbs unsulphured or dark molases (OR 1/2 tbs)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut (OR shredded unsweetened coconut)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (OR Craisins Reduced Sugar Dried Cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, finely diced (optional)

Instructions

Whisk the flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat on medium-high until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs, molasses, and vanilla. Beat on high speed until combined, scrape down the sides as needed.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. With the mixer on low, beat in the oats. Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips, coconut, cranberries, and pepitas or apples if using them. The dough will be thick and sticky. Cover and chill the dough in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Scoop balls of dough, about 2 tbs each, onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 2″ apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. The centers will still look a little soft.

Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

**Tip – The cookies will stay fresh for up to a week when stored in an airtight container**

 

 

“How-To” Canning – Fresh Cranberry Jam

cran jellyOne of the best things about this time of year is cranberries!! Fresh cranberries are readily available from now through the holidays and you can make so many delicious things with them from jams to muffins to sweet dips! I really enjoy a good freshly made cranberry jam and this recipe really delivers. It also happens to be one of the simplest recipes I’ve ever made as it does not require any pectin AND if you’re not up for canning, you can just put it into the fridge and use it right away. It makes an excellent topping for toast and cornbread and it’s absolutely delicious spread on a fresh turkey sandwich. I always like to have some on hand in the pantry so I usually double the recipe for canning but if you want just a few jars to use right away, follow the recipe as written.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of Kosher salt

Instructions

Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.

14910441_10209688382199674_7797121707436238592_n.jpg

14908375_10209688382639685_1188551548620077156_n

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the berries pop and the sauce thickens, about 20-25 minutes.

14937418_10209688383079696_622313387371947301_n.jpg

Cool. After cooking, purée, and strain.

14720407_10209688383559708_5844650178700009539_n1.jpg

To can the cranberry jam: (Makes 7 half pint jars)

  • PREPARE boiling water canner and all canning tools. Heat half pint size jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water then place them in hot, not boiling, water until ready to use. Set bands aside.
  • FILL each jar with jelly leaving 1/4″ of headspace. Wipe any excess jam from the rim with a clean cloth.
  • PROCESS the jars for 10 minutes in boiling water. Begin timing AFTER the water comes back to a boil.
  • REMOVE the jars from the water and allow them to cool on the counter.
  • CHECK the lids for a tight seal after 12-24 hours. If properly sealed, the lids will not give at all when pressed. Gently tighten the bands and store in the pantry.

15622297_10210141298562300_3968564764680354174_n

cran-jelly-2.jpg

 

 

Dutch Apple Pie

apple pie 2

Technically it’s still summer, for a few more days anyway, but my heart and my head are already in the fall which also happens to be my most favorite time of year. There is nothing better than cozy sweaters, a crisp breeze on your face, and of course, apples! What better way to herald in the start of apple season than with a homemade, perfectly spiced, warm Dutch Apple Pie. It’s the quintessential fall dessert and it’s perfect to serve at any holiday gathering or just as a weekend treat. Feeling naughty? Top your warm pie with a nice, big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Absolute perfection!

I’ve always been a huge apple lover and although I wouldn’t kick a slice of double crust apple pie to the curb, there is really nothing better than a slice topped with sugary, buttery crumbs. This recipe has become my “go-to” for Dutch Apple Pie and the best part is that it’s really quite easy to pull together. If you’re feeling ambitious, go ahead and make your own pie dough but if you want to keep this super simple, a store-bought crust works just as well. I prefer to use the Pillsbury Pie Crusts that you roll out, they can be found right in the refrigerator section of the supermarket. Also, I like to use a 10″ deep dish pie plate so that I can pile my apples high without risking overflow in the oven.

You can use any type of firm baking apple in this pie such as a Northern Spy, Cortland, or Gala. I prefer to use either all Granny Smith or a combination of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples. Choose whatever apple appeals to your palate, just stay away from soft snack apples such as a Red Delicious, they will become applesauce in the oven. Be sure to let this pie cool down before cutting into it, if you slice into it while it’s still steaming hot your pie will be very runny and it won’t hold it’s shape on the plate. Allow it to come down to almost room temperature before slicing in order to maintain its structural integrity.

Ingredients

For the pie filling

  • 1 pie shell or roll of store-bought  pie dough
  • 5 cups of peeled, cored, and sliced apples (any firm baking variety will do)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter

For the crumb toppping

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly spray a pie plate with cooking spray then lay the pie dough into the plate. Gently press the dough into place.

To make the pie filling – Place the sliced apples in a large bowl and toss with a little lemon juice to prevent browning. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and spices. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples and toss gently to combine.

In a large saucepan over low to medium heat, melt the butter. Cook the apples in the butter for about 8-10 minutes or until very slightly softened. Set aside.

To make the crumb topping – In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, oats, and lemon zest. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or fork, the mixture should become nice and crumbly.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apple filling to the prepared pie plate. Cover the top of the pie with the crumb topping, gently pressing the crumbs into place.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crumb topping is browned and the apples are tender. If the pie is browning too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil until it’s done baking. Cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm and store in the refrigerator.

Dutch Apple Pie

“How-To” Canning – Chunky Cinnamon Apple Pie Jam

applejam1

Since the kids were cooperating today and playing very nicely together I decided I would do a little canning since it’s something I have not done in quite a few months. I was planning on a Mango Pineapple Jam however, I was a little short in the mango department so I decided to switch gears and use up all of the Granny Smith apples that I had in the fridge. I know it’s only July but I thought a nice batch of apple jam would be a great thing to “can” now so in a couple of months when the weather changes back to the cool, crisp days of autumn, I’d have this warm and cozy treat on hand and ready to go.

I came across this recipe on the Taste of Home website, it was listed as a “Caramel Apple Jam” . I changed the recipe slightly because when I read that it called for FIVE CUPS of sugar my jaw almost hit the floor. I adjusted the sugar from three cups of granulated sugar to only one cup and from two cups of brown sugar to only one. Granted, two cups of sugar is still a good amount but it is certainly better than five cups! After tasting the jam, I absolutely made the right call in adjusting the sugar. Had I added five cups I think this batch of jam would’ve been sickeningly sweet and ended up in the trash. I also added a 1/4 tsp of apple pie spice in addition to the spices that were called for and I increased the water from 1/2 cup to one cup. I did cut back on the amount of pectin as well, I felt the jam would be way too gelatinous if I used that much.

Because this is such a chunky jam it really is more like an apple pie filling than a traditional jam. If you prefer a smoother jam, you can always run the cooked apples through a food mill to smooth it out before adding the sugar and going forward with the canning. I actually prefer it chunky because I think it lends itself to many other uses. It’s delicious spread on toast or a muffin but it would also be perfect as a topping for vanilla ice cream, pancakes, as a side to pork dishes, and even as a filling in individual hand pies or the Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut Bread that I posted a few weeks ago. I stirred some right into my vanilla yogurt and it was incredible! It’s an extremely versatile jam so the possible uses are virtually limitless. Feel free to experiment using it on other foods both sweet and savory.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups peeled and finely diced Granny Smith apples (about 5-6 apples)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp apple pie spice
  • 2 tsp fruit pectin and 2 tsp calcium water (I use Pomona Low Sugar Pectin, 1 oz. Box)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

Instructions

Prepare and sterilize five 1/2 pint canning jars. Leave the lids in hot (not boiling) water and the jars in the simmering canning pot. The rims can be left to the side. Click Here For Sterilization Instructions

In a large pot combine the apples, water, butter, and spices. Stir over medium low heat until the apples are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the calcium water and then stir in the pectin. Mix well.

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stir in the sugar, and bring to a boil again. Cook for about a minute. Remove from the heat and skim off any foam.

One jar at a time, ladle the hot mixture in leaving a 1/4″ of headspace. Remove any air bubbles, adjust the headspace if needed. Wipe the rim of the jar, center a lid on top, and screw on a band just until it’s fingertip tight. Do NOT over tighten.

Once all of the jars are filled, place them in the canning pot ensuring they are fully submerged and covered in water. Bring the water back to a full boil and process the cans for 10 minutes. Do NOT start timing the processing until the water is at a full and rolling boil. After 10 minutes, remove the jars and allow them to cool completely, undisturbed, for at least 8-10 hours.

Soon after processing you should hear a “POP” indicating the jar has been properly sealed. Press the top of the lid, it should be tight and sucked into the jar with no give. If after a few hours you can still press up and down on the lid, you will need to process the jam all over again OR place it in the fridge and begin using it right away. Once the jars are completely cooled and properly sealed give the rim a little tightening and store in the pantry for 9-12 months.

**PLEASE NOTE** – The processing time is for elevations under 1,000 feet. For every 1,00 feet of altitude, adjust the processing time by adding an additional minute.

 

applejam2