Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gooey Caramel Apple Bars

Brad and I just tried these last night...I may turn into a baked apple lover yet... ;)

5 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar

10 1/2 cups sliced, peeled tart apples (about 12 medium)
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup butter, cubed
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, water, and vinegar; gradually add to flour mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.
2. Divide dough in half so that one portion is slightly larger than the other; wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
3. Roll out larger portion of dough between two sheets of waxed paper into a 17 x 12 inch rectangle. Transfer to an ungreased 15 x 10 in pan. Press pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan; trim pastry even with top edges of the pan.
4. In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugars, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. (I put those ingredients into a gallon ziploc, and shook until mixed. You would probably have to do half at a time.) Stir in cream. (I just added the cream to the pot before the apple mix went in.)
5. In a dutch oven, melt butter. (I don't have a dutch oven, so I just used a regular pot, left the heat on med-low, kept it covered, and stirred frequently.) Add apple mixture; cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until apples are slightly tender. Stir in walnuts and vanilla. Spoon into crust.
6. Roll out remaining pastry; place over filling. Trim and seal edges. Cut slits in top. Bake at 375 for 35-40 mins or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 2 dozen.

{Kudos to taste of home Halloween book Aug 2010}

My Mom's SO GOOD Snickerdoodles

My mom has been making these for as long as I can remember. While I'm giving you access to the recipe, I'm somewhat doubtful that I can even replicate my mom's cookies. They're amazing!

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs 
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
Mixture of cinnamon and sugar- about 1 cup

In mixing bowl, cream butter or margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well  after each. Blend in milk and vanilla. Thoroughly stir together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt; stir into mixture. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place balls 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Lightly flatten balls with sugared bottom of tumbler. Bake cookies at 375 for about 10-12 minutes.

Yield: About 8 dozen.

{Kudos to my Mom, Barbara, and her Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Cookies Cookbook!!}

Pumpkin Cookies

October and November are the perfect time to make these!

2 cups shortening
2 cups sugar
1 16-oz can pumpkin
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
2 cups raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream shortening and sugar. Add pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour and next 6 ingredients. Add to batter; mix well. If using raisins and nuts, stir them in now. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it is lightly browned on top. Cool on rack. If desired, frost with vanilla frosting.

Yield: 7 dozen.

Lil Smokies

Lit'l Smokies. Bacon. Brown sugar. What's not to like?

1 pkg Lit'l Smokies
1 pkg bacon
1-2 cups brown sugar

Cut bacon strips into thirds. Wrap one piece around each Lit'l Smokie, and hold in place with a toothpick through the Smokie. Cover a cookie sheet in aluminum foil. Line the Lil Smokies closely on the cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 30 mins. Drain grease. Liberally sprinkle brown sugar over the Smokies, and bake for another 30 mins. Enjoy!

{Kudos to my sister-in-law, Melissa F!}

Banana Muffins with a Crunch

This is my favorite banana muffin recipe that I've found (so far...). It has a great texture, and they're a little heartier- more filling. I'm making another batch tomorrow! I did change the recipe some- if pieces of banana, chopped walnuts, or banana chips on top sound good, look up the recipe on

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup melted butter, cooled
3 bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cup granola
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the eggs, milk, vanilla, and butter. Fold in granola and coconut. Scoop into the prepared muffin cups.
3. Bake 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.

Yield: 24.

{Kudos to:}

Caramel Apple Salad

I got this simple, yummy recipe from a friend.

2 3.4 oz boxes Cheesecake Jell-o pudding
4 cups milk
Snickers or Milky Way bars (I used a half package of "Fun-Size)
About 4 medium apples (I usually prefer red apples, but I think green fit better with this recipe.)

Mix pudding according to package directions. Cut candy bars and apples into bite-size pieces, and add to pudding. It's best to wait to add the apples and candy bars until just before you're ready to serve it. It just looks the most appetizing right at the beginning, although once you've tried it, you won't mind if the chocolate is coming apart some! :)

Yield: About 8-10 servings as a side or dessert

{Kudos to: R.M!}