Homemade Chunky Applesauce

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I am a HUGE fan of apples and I love to eat them every which way from Sunday. Raw, sliced on a ham sandwich, cooked alongside pork or chicken, on top of a fall salad, in cakes and cookies and as good old-fashioned applesauce. Apples are such a delicious and versatile fruit, the possibilities for using them up are simply endless. This is my favorite recipe for homemade applesauce because it’s not only scrumptious but it’s SO easy to prepare, it practically makes itself! It’s so easy that even your kids can help you make it!

I love to use a variety of different apples so that I get a more complex and interesting flavor. Some of my favorites are Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Pink Lady , McIntosh, and Lemonade apples. Of course you can use just one variety but don’t be afraid to try out different combinations as well. Traditionally applesauce has a smooth consistency however, I really love to bite into and taste the fresh apples so I like to keep my applesauce chunky. A simple potato masher is perfect for making chunky applesauce as it allows you to control the consistency to your liking. If you prefer a smooth applesauce, simply run the cooked apples through a food mill or blend using an immersion blender or countertop blender.

Last note, feel free to adjust how much sugar you use in this recipe. You can increase, decrease or eliminate it entirely depending on the level of sweetness you prefer. You can also adjust the spices as well. I tend to go light on the ginger because it can be an overpowering, bold flavor but if you prefer to use more, go for it! You can even substitute the ginger for apple pie spice, baking spice or any other warm fall spices that you may have handy. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 12 medium-sized apples, any baking variety such as Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, McIntosh, etc.
  • 3 tbs apple cider or apple juice
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Instructions

Peel, core and dice the apples into large chunks.

Place the apples, cider, butter, brown sugar and spices into a large pot. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes or until apples are tender.

For a smooth applesauce – Blend using either a food mill, blender or immersion blender to desired consistency.

For a chunky texture – Use a handheld potato masher to mash the apples to desired consistency.

Brown Butter Sugar Cookie Peach Cobbler

peach cobbler

What is better than crunchy, buttery sugar cookies and warm spiced fruit? How about when you put those two things together to make a delicious cobbler! This super simple dessert is made mostly from ingredients that you have around the house in addition to a pouch of sugar cookie mix and frozen fruit, which is always good to keep stocked in the freezer. This is such an easy and delicious dessert to make when last minute company shows up, they will think you were baking for hours when in reality this recipe takes just a few minutes to pull together. Be sure not to skip browning the butter, it takes just a few minutes but will impart layers of warm, nutty flavor to the cookie topping.

The recipe was adapted from the site, tablespoon.com and you can find the original recipe right here . Although the recipe calls for peaches, you can easily substitute in any fruit that you desire. With fall upon us, warm cinnamon apples would make for a perfect cozy, cool weather dessert but berries, nectarines or even pears would also make for a yummy dish as well. Cinnamon is called for however, apple pie spice, baking spice, nutmeg or any other warm, fall spice would be equally delicious too. Experiment with the fruit and spices until you find something that you love. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the fruit base

  • 2 12 oz. bags of frozen sliced peaches, thawed
  • 2 tbs granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbs fresh lemon juice, about 1 medium-sized lemon
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the cookie topping

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker™ sugar cookie mix
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tbs coarse sparkling sugar

Instructions

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray a 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray. Scatter peach slices evenly in pan. Sprinkle granulated sugar, cornstarch, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and the lemon juice evenly over top, stir to combine. Top evenly with 3 tablespoons cubed butter.
In a small saucepan, heat the 1/2 cup butter over medium heat and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown, stir frequently. Pour into large bowl. Add to the bowl the cookie mix, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and the egg and stir until a soft dough forms. Spoon the dough evenly over the top of the peach mixture. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cookies are golden brown and edges of fruit filling are bubbly. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
**Tip – This dessert is best served warm and topped with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream**

 

Coffee Cake Muffins

coffeecakemuffins

I have been on the hunt for a good, moist muffin recipe for what seems like forever. I’ve tried so many different recipes and I’ve even played around with the flour using sifted, unsifted, cake, all-purpose, etc. all in attempt to create a muffin that is soft and moist like the ones you find in bakeries. Time after time my muffins would still come out too dense, too dry, or too crumbly. I hated the idea of using box mix muffins but truthfully, they were just so much better than any from scratch recipe that I came across. Yesterday, that all changed!

Just recently I made a Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut Bread and it was without a doubt the most moist and delicious dessert bread I’ve ever had. I realized that there was no reason to just stick to a loaf for this recipe so I decided to turn it into muffins instead. After years of searching, I finally have a muffin that is everything I’ve been looking for! They came out so light, fluffy, and moist and they were absolutely delicious. For the tops, I made a batch of yummy cinnamon crumbs which were the same crumbs that I used for the Rainbow Cookie Cake with Crumbs .

I was able to get a full dozen muffins out of this recipe. The crumbs yielded more than I needed so I placed the leftovers in a plastic bag and stored them in the fridge for later use. Serve the muffins slightly warm or at room temperature.

To keep the muffins fresher tasting for longer, store them on a wire cooling rack and gently cover them with a clean dish towel. Avoid storing them in a tightly sealed plastic container, doing so traps the moisture inside and you will end up with wet, mushy muffins. Nobody likes a mushy muffin! Keeping them on the wire rack allows the air to circulate around them and the dish towel keeps them from drying out.

Ingredients

For the muffins

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp molasses

For the crumbs

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper baking cups, set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the oil, butter, and sugar until well combined. Stir in the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk and continue to mix until a smooth, uniform batter has formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure no lumps are present.

Remove 1/2 cup of the batter and place into a smaller, separate bowl. Add to it the cinnamon and molasses, stir to combine.

To make the crumbs, mix the flour, sugars, salt and cinnamon together. Add in the butter and work the mixture together with your fingers (or a pastry blender) until large clumps form.

Fill each muffin cup about 1/3 of the way up. Place a nice size dollop of the cinnamon batter in each muffin cup making sure to use it all up. Equally spoon the remaining batter over each muffin. Using a toothpick, gently swirl the batter. Cover each muffin with the crumbs, gently pressing them into the batter.

Bake for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

**Tip** – This recipe is a great basic muffin base which means you can easily turn these into chocolate chip muffins, blueberry muffins, or a variety of other flavors. Feel free to play around with this recipe to create your own muffin creations! 

Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut Bread

cinnswirldoughbrd

I love cinnamon sugar anything!! It’s such a warm, cozy flavor that reminds me of cool, crisp autumn nights. Cinnamon sugar breads are not only a yummy dessert but also a great (not so healthy) breakfast treat that is perfect with a nice hot cup of coffee or tea. To make this bread extra decadent and delicious, simply drizzle a light sugar glaze over the top.

I stumbled upon this recipe on FB, it was posted by Preppy Kitchen however, the original recipe can be found here, Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut Bread , on “Lauren’s Latest” blog. This bread came out amazing!! It was moist and soft with just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar. I followed the recipe as is, making no adjustments to it whatsoever. You can also turn this recipe into fantastic Coffee Cake Muffins which are perfect for a cozy Sunday morning breakfast. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the bread

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp molasses

For the outside coating

  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

*If you do not have buttermilk mix together 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 tsp white vinegar. Let sit for 3 minutes and then add to recipe.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a lightly colored loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the oil, butter, and sugar until well combined. Stir in the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk and continue to mix until a smooth, uniform batter has formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure no lumps are present.

Remove 1/2 cup of the batter and place into a smaller, separate bowl. Add to it the cinnamon and molasses, stir to combine.

Pour half of the prepared batter into the loaf pan. Spoon half of the cinnamon batter in small dollops all over the batter. Pour the remaining batter in the pan and dot the top with the remaining cinnamon batter. Using a butter knife, swirl the two batters together.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove.

Towards the last 10-15 minutes of baking, get the outside coating ready. Pour melted butter into a large shallow dish. Stir the cinnamon and sugars together in a separate shallow dish.

Dip each side of the loaf and the top into the melted butter and fully coat it. Transfer the buttery loaf to the cinnamon sugar mixture and press each side and the top into the mixture until fully coated.

Slice into pieces and serve warm or at room temperature.

Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

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There is almost nothing better than a warm, fresh, ooey gooey, cinnamon roll dripping with vanilla glaze. Literally nothing better!! Cinnamon rolls are a classic sweet and are just as awesome on a cozy Sunday morning as they are for Christmas breakfast. I’ve tried many different recipes for these rolls and some were decent but I found that many of them yielded a rather dense, almost dry roll. I was looking for light, fluffy, soft roll and I found that in the cinnamon roll recipe from The Pioneer Woman . These were AMAZING!

The only adjustment that I made to this recipe was to substitute a vanilla glaze for the maple glaze that she suggests. I do not care for maple flavor in any of my baked goods, I reserve that for pancakes and waffles only. As per The Pioneer Woman, you can also make other substitutions to this recipe such as adding chopped pecans to the rolls or by making an orange glaze in place of the maple one. I am a cinnamon roll purist so for me I like to keep it pretty straightforward with a basic roll loaded with nothing but butter and cinnamon sugar and then covered in warm vanilla glaze. That is absolute perfection in my eyes.

This recipe will yield A LOT of cinnamon rolls so if you don’t feel like halving the recipe, you can actually make the full batch and freeze individual pans of rolls.  Just place the rolls in a pan and BEFORE they rise, cover them tightly with foil, and freeze. When you’re ready to make them simply thaw the pan, allow the rolls to rise, and then bake them off as you would if they were freshly made. Alternatively, you can also freeze the baked, iced rolls as well. Just pull them out of the freezer and warm them up in a 250 degree oven for about 15 minutes and then serve. Making big batches of these heavenly treats is a great idea around the holidays so that you’ll always have a homemade dessert on hand to serve any unexpected guest that drop by!

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1 qt whole milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 packages (4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 9 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1 scant tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbs salt

For the filling

  • 2 cups melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, plus more as needed

For the vanilla glaze

  • 1 heaping cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 tbs milk

Instructions

For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a pan over medium heat, do not allow the mixture to boil. Set aside and cool to lukewarm.

Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.

Add 8 cups of the flour and stir until just combined. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set is aside in a warm, draft free area (or use the proofing function in your oven if you have it) and allow them to rise for 1 hour.

Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining flour. Stir thoroughly to combine.

To assemble the rolls, remove half of the dough. On a floured surface, roll the dough to about 30X10 inches.

To make the filling, pour 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Using your fingers, spread it evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar all over the butter. Add a little more butter or sugar as needed.

Beginning at the end of the dough farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands, work slowly, and keep the roll tight. It’s okay if some of the filling begins to ooze out.

When you reach the end, pinch the seams together. Transfer to a cutting board and with a very sharp knife, make 1 1/2″ slices. One log will make about 20-25 rolls.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of melted butter into a round tin pan or other desired baking dish. Swirl to coat. Place the rolls in the pan, be sure to not overcrowd them as they need room to “grow”. Repeat this process with remaining dough. Cover the pans with a kitchen towel and allow them to rise again for at least 20-25 minutes.

While they are rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the rolls for 13-17 minutes or until they are golden brown. Do not over bake them and allow them to get too browned on top. While the rolls are baking, make the vanilla icing.

To make the icing, add the sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream to a bowl, Stir to combine and add the milk, 1 tbs at a time, until the icing is well combined and smooth.

Remove the rolls from the oven and while they are still warm, pour the vanilla icing over them, spread evenly across the pan using an offset spatula. As the rolls sit and cool, they will absorb all of that yummy vanilla glaze goodness. Serve warm. Enjoy!