dessert

Classic Apple Galette

Apple Galette

If you like apple pie,  you should like apple galette. A galette is made by rolling out your crust, adding filling and folding up the edges. No pie pan involved.

I actually find a galette easier to make than pie. You don’t have to try to roll out your dough to fit into the pie pan. Nor does you dough have to be rolled into a perfect circle.

That takes a lot of pressure off, if rolling a perfect circle of dough is not your best talent. I must confess to liking its rustic charm. I make my own crust, but you can used purchased crusts, if you prefer.

You can serve your galette with ice cream, whipped cream or dusted with powdered sugar. You can make it with other fruits, as well. Any fruit pie can become a galette.

 

 

Apple Galette

Flaky Pie Crust

2 c. flour

1 t. salt

3/4 c. butter, chilled

1 T. cider vinegar

4-5 T. cold water

Combine flour and salt and cut in butter. Toss in vinegar and water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough holds together. Use a fork to toss the ingredients together and as soon as the mixture holds together stop adding water. Makes 2. Chill well before using.

Filling:

5-6 medium apples- I used Jonathan, Gala and Macintosh

2/3 c. sugar- plus extra for sprinkling

3 T. cornstarch

1 T. cinnamon

1 T. Lemon juice, plus extra for treating the apples

1 t. nutmeg

1 t. vanilla

1/2 t. salt

Prepare dough. Roll half the dough into a 10-inch circle- repeat with remaining dough. Keep covered with plastic wrap until ready to use. Peel and core apples and slice thin. Place apples in water with lemon juice added to prevent browning. Drain apple slices well and place in a bowl. Toss with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and seasonings. Place one of the crusts on a baking sheet. Pile half of the prepared apples on the center of the crust. You should have about a 2-inch circle of dough around the edges that is uncovered. Fold edges of the crust up over the apples pressing lightly to hold in place. Sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Repeat with the remaining crust and apples. You will have a little liquid in the bowl from the apple mixture- save that for now. Place the galettes in a preheated 425 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down heat to 350 and bake for another 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. While galettes are baking take the liquid left from the apples and cook in a small saucepan until thickened- it will take a minute or two. This will be used to glaze the galettes. When galettes come out of the oven brush the apples with the thickened  glaze.  Cool on wire rack. Makes 2.

Apple Crumb Cake

Apple Crumb Cake

I love apple season. I will go to local farm markets and orchards several times, picking out different varieties.

Several of my favorite varieties won’t be around until October, but there is a great selection already.

I eat plenty of apples fresh, but I  also cook with them. This is one of my favorite apple recipes.

The tender cake and crunchy topping seem like the perfect combination. Most days I would rather have a crumb topping on a cake than frosting.

This recipe hits all the right notes. Sweet with apple chunks throughout, a nice touch of cinnamon and that crunchy topping that I love.

 

Apple Crumb Cake

For cake batter:

2 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

½ t. salt

½ stick (¼ cup) butter, softened

¾ c. sugar

1 egg

½ c. milk

2 c. chopped peeled, cored apples

For topping:

½ c. sugar

¼ c. flour

2 t. cinnamon

½ stick (¼ c. butter, chilled and cut into bits)

 

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. In mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and milk. Add flour mixture gradually until just mixed in. Fold in apples. Grease and flour an 8 or 9-inch pan and add prepared batter. Combine topping ingredients until they resemble coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the batter in pan and bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 35-45 minutes. Use toothpick to test.

Note: I used a 9-inch square pan and it worked fine.

 

Mini Cheesecakes

Mini Cheesecakes with Raspberries

These miniature cheesecakes are a wonderful dessert.  The recipe just makes 6, so you can make cheesecake anytime. No need for a party or special occasion. Also, no need for a springform pan. These are baked in muffin tins.

The recipe is very simple. The little cheesecakes are baked in less than half and hour. Once baked and cooled, you can top them with all sorts of fruits, jams, chocolate sauce or whipped cream.

I used some raspberries for this batch. The creamy filling works so well with the tart/sweet berries. I brushed a little raspberry jam over the top, but you could also sprinkle the berries with a little sugar, if you prefer.

You can use a mix of berries and seasonal fruit. Raspberries and blueberries would make a great combination. I like fresh peaches with berries, too.   They bake quickly and can be frozen. I freeze them plain, then top with fruit or jam when ready to serve.

Mini Cheesecakes

6 vanilla wafers

Filling

1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cream cheese, softened

1/4 c. sugar

1 t. vanilla

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 6 muffin tins with paper or foil liners and place a vanilla wafer in each cup. Beat the cream cheese with the sugar until well blended. Beat in vanilla, then egg. Spoon the cheese mixture into the muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes, or until set. They will be pretty full and will puff up while baking. They will also settle when cooling. Once cooled, arrange fruit on the top of each little cheesecake.Makes 6.

For the raspberry topping, I used about a cup of raspberries and 1/2 c. of raspberry jam. I placed a few berries on each cheesecake. Then I warmed the raspberry jam and brushed it gently over the tops. Chill before serving.

 

Lemon Tea Cake

Lemon Tea Cake

This is one of my favorite cakes of all time. It is a simple cake, enhanced with the flavor of lemon juice and lemon zest. Once out of the oven, you poke the hot cake with a large fork or a skewer, and pour a lemon syrup over it.

Moist, tangy and fragrant, it is a perfect addition to afternoon tea.

Great all on its own, this cake is also wonderful served with fresh berries and whipped cream for a light dessert. On a hot day, I have been known to top it with a scoop of ice cream.

Before you ask, the measurements are correct- only 3/4 cup of flour.  The cake does not rise a whole bunch, but the texture is still very nice. The denseness of the cake helps it to stand up to the lemon syrup.

 

I hope you will give it a try.

Lemon Tea Cake

 2 lemons

3 T. sugar for topping

½ c. butter, softened

¾ c. sugar

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 c. flour

6 T. milk or half and half

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8- inch loaf pan and line with wax or parchment paper. Grate the lemon rinds and set aside. Combine the juice of 1 of the lemons with the 3 tablespoons of sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Set aside.

Cream together the butter with the rest of the sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time until well mixed. Stir in the flour and lemon peel and beat well. Add the milk and beat well. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at least an hour. The cake should spring back when touched lightly. As soon as you remove the cake from the oven pierce it all over with a long-tined fork or a skewer. Pour over the reserved lemon juice mixture. Cool cake in pan before serving. Cake will be moist and tangy.

Giant Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

Let me be clear. The bread is normal size- the zucchini are giant. Even the most diligent of gardeners will have a few zucchini get away from them.

Zucchini seem to go from too small to gigantic in the blink of an eye. A friend just brought me a bag of really big zucchini.

This time of year I get a lot of questions about overgrown zucchini.  People seem to think there is nothing you can do with them. That’s not true. Even older squash can be eaten in all sorts of ways.

You can determine if the skin is too tough to eat by trying to pierce it with a fingernail. If you can easily poke the skin- it is tender enough to eat. If it isn’t, just peel before using.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and look at the seed cavity. If the middle looks spongy, hollow or if the seeds are developing scoop out the middle and discard. The remaining zucchini can be cubed or sliced and added to stews, soups, stir fries and all sorts of dishes.

One of my favorite things to make with the bigger zucchini, is zucchini bread. I shred up a whole zucchini and portion it out in amounts I will need for my bread. I freeze what I won’t be using that day. It is really nice in the dead of winter to be able to make zucchini bread. Here is the recipe I use. It is a favorite and makes 2 loaves, which is a bonus.

Zucchini Bread

3 c. flour

3 eggs

2 c. sugar, I use less

2 c. shredded zucchini

1 c. oil

1 c. chopped nuts or raisins, optional

½ c. sour cream or Greek yogurt

1 t. each vanilla, cinnamon, salt and baking soda

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 (9×5 inch) loaf pans. Set aside. Place flour in large bowl. Beat eggs and add with remaining ingredients to flour, mixing well and scraping bowl. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 1 hour , or until browned and toothpick in center emerges clean. Cool in pans on wire rack. Freezes well. Makes 2 .

Spiced Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Spiced Chococlate Zucchini Cupcakes

It’s that time of year. Zucchini time. Maybe I should call it, “What do I do with all my zucchini time?” Zucchini and other summer squash are in abundance right now. This recipe is another, tasty way, to use them.

These are wonderfully spiced, moist cupcakes. Instead of frosting them, I decided to top them with melted butter and cinnamon sugar.  It’s something I’ve done with muffins, in the past. I didn’t see why I couldn’t do the same thing with cupcakes.

It was a really good idea. The cupcakes were baked for a picnic, and in the heat, frosting would have melted. Besides, not everyone likes frosting.

As an added bonus- it is a another recipe using zucchini, and that is never a bad thing.

 

Spiced Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
¼ c. unsweetened cocoa
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup olive oil
1½ c. sugar
2 eggs
½ c. buttermilk
1½ t. vanilla
2½ c. grated zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips
Topping:
½ c. butter, melted
½ c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 24 muffin cups or use paper liners. Mix together the dry ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, olive oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture, just until incorporated. Stir in the grated zucchini and chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top of the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in pans over a wire rack for at least 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Dip top of cupcakes in melted butter, then dip in the cinnamon sugar. Place on rack to finish cooling off. Makes 24.

Blueberry Cupcakes

Blueberry Cupcakes

I wanted to make dessert for a lunch I had planned with friends. Since they both love blueberries, I thought I might try making blueberry cupcakes. I started by making my classic vanilla cupcakes, then topping them with blueberries just before baking. The berries fell into the batter during baking, just as I had hoped.

The result was moist, tender cupcakes with a pop of fresh blueberries. I also used a simple vanilla buttercream and dressed them up with a few berries on top. I was really pleased at how they came out. My guests were, too.

 

Blueberry Cupcakes

 

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup milk

About 1 cup of blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 12paper liners. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan. Top each cupcake with 5 blueberries. Fewer if the berries are really big. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cupcakes are done when they springs back to the touch.  Cool before frosting. Frost with the buttercream- recipe follows-  and top with a few extra fresh blueberries. Makes 12.

 

Vanilla Butter Cream

½ c. butter

4 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 T. vanilla extract

In a bowl beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in the vanilla. Slowly beat in remaining sugar. Beat in a little  milk, if needed, to make of spreading consistency. Tint with food color, if desired.

Fresh out of the oven

Peaches and Cream Crepes

Peaches and Cream Crepes

Peaches are such a natural addition to any summer dessert. I decided to use some of my fresh peaches in crepes. Crepes are a nice dessert any time of the year. I think especially nice in summer, using fresh, seasonal fruit.

 

The crepes were filled with peeled, sliced peaches that had been tossed with sugar ahead of time. The sugar softens the peaches a little.  I also added some sweetened cream cheese and a little strawberry jam to the filling. We loved them.

 

They can be assembled ahead of time, and just kept chilled until ready to serve.  Serve as is, with a dusting of powdered sugar or even a vanilla caramel drizzle- recipe follows.

 

Peaches and Cream Crepes

1 recipe basic crepes- recipe follows
2-3 peaches, pitted and sliced thin
¼ c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ c. powdered sugar
Strawberry jam, optional

Make a batch of basic crepes and set aside until ready to use. Place sliced peaches in a bowl with sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and stir until sugar is dissolved. Best to do this at least a couple of hours before you want to use them. This softens the peaches and allows juices to come out of the peaches. You need the juices for the cream cheese. You can do this the day before, then just finish the cream cheese and assemble.
Place cream cheese in a bowl and start beating with an electric mixer. Drain juices off the peaches and add the juice to the cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar, too. Beat until cream cheese is fluffy.

To assemble the crepes: Place a crepe on work surface. Spread with some of the cream cheese. Along one side of the crepe place a small amount of strawberry jam, like a stripe. Place several slices of peach in a row, on top of the strawberry jam. Starting on the side of the crepe with the peaches gently roll up the crepe. Repeat with remaining ingredients. You will have 12. Serve as is, or you can top with powdered sugar, peach slices, warm jam, whipped or caramel sauce – recipe follows.

Basic Crepes

3/4 c. flour
1/8 t. salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 T. melted butter
3/4 c. milk, approximately
Butter or oil for pan

Beat together flour, salt and eggs until smooth. Stir in melted butter and then stir in milk until batter consistency is that of cream. Let stand for 30 minutes before using, or can be refrigerated, covered, overnight. Beat again, just before using.
Heat 6 or 7 inch skillet. Brush with butter or oil and pour in about 2 teaspoons of batter, tipping pan to cover bottom of pan completely with batter. Cook until edges start to brown, turn over and cook until lightly browned (about 2 minutes per side.)
Crepes can be made day ahead or even frozen between sheets of waxed paper and frozen. Makes 12.

 

Vanilla Caramel

I made a light caramel sauce for the crepes. I just put 1/4 cup of water in a small saucepan with a cup of sugar. Boiled it all together for about 3 minutes. Removed from the heat and added a teaspoon of vanilla, 4 tablespoons of butter and a 1/4 cup of half and half. Stirred until smooth, then added a pinch of salt, for extra flavor.

Crepes with a vanilla caramel drizzle

Peanut Butter Coconut Shortbread – Vegan!

Peanut Butter Coconut Shortbread

I knew I was going to be spending some time with my Goddaughter and I wanted to bake something for her. I actually made her great grandmother’s shortbread recipe. She always loved them. Did I mention that Gwen is vegan?  So the pound of butter normally used in them was out.

I needed to change them, to make them work for her.  Rather than using butter, I used a combination of crunchy peanut butter and coconut oil.

They came out just right, with the crumbly, dry texture of a traditional shortbread and the added flavor of the peanut butter, coconut and vanilla.

I used crunchy peanut butter- it was what I had. I like the bits of peanuts in the cookies. I could see adding a few more chopped peanuts the next time I make these cookies

 

Peanut Butter-Coconut Shortbread

1 c. sugar, plus 1/4 cup extra for sprinkling

1 c. peanut butter

1 c. coconut oil

4 c. flour

2 t. vanilla

Cream together sugar, peanut butter, coconut oil and vanilla. Stir in flour until mixture forms into a dough. Press into 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle extra sugar over the cookies dough, and cut into squares. Bake in a 300 degree oven for an hour or until light brown around edges. Re-cut while warm. Makes 4 dozen.

Vanilla Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

Vanilla Cupcake with White Chocolate Frosting

Tomorrow is another camp day- and another day of making cupcakes with kids. I am really looking forward to it. The kids always have a great time and get very creative.

I must admit to being a sucker for the classics. This cupcake is certainly a classic.

I normally top them with a vanilla buttercream, but decided to make a white chocolate frosting instead. Yes, I know white “chocolate” is not really chocolate. But when I say white chocolate, everyone knows what I am talking about.

I used a white chocolate bar- and broke it into pieces, before melting, but you could you use white chocolate chips instead. The frosting has a really nice flavor and fluffy texture, without being too sweet. These cupcakes are always a hit.

Classic White (Vanilla)  Cupcakes

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 12paper liners. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cupcakes are done when they springs back to the touch. Makes12

White Chocolate Frosting

6 oz. white chocolate – if using bars, chop before melting
1 stick (4 oz.) cold butter, cut into cubes
1-2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Melt chocolate. I just melt mine in a microwave safe dish, but you can use a double boiler. Let chocolate cool down a little. Beat butter into the melted chocolate. Beat until smooth and then beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip until frosting is smooth and fluffy. I normally beat for 5 minutes or longer. If too thick, add a few drops of water or milk.