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It happens sometimes. No big deal!
Unless it happens three times in a row. In a row!
The first failure was still edible. Really spicy, but that can be ok.
The second two?
I need to talk about it. Can I vent? Thanks.
Look at how pretty these were! All plump and soft. Sure they looked great, but the flavor? After two days of sitting on the counter uneaten, I threw them in the trash. Something was off. Very, very off.
I didn’t even take pictures of the next failure. I should have, just so you could see what I had done. I was so ashamed!
Have you ever made muffins that totally collapsed on themselves and tasted like a puddle of mushy goo? I hadn’t until last week. Bottoms burnt, insides mush, flavor unpalatable. In. The. Trash.
Man, was I a wreck! I have some thoughts on what went wrong, but I have never thrown that much food away at once. The hippie in me was totally devastated. The baker in me was pissed. And my belly was totally sad.
I had to do some immediate comfort/ego boosting baking. So I made these amazing muffins (and added chocolate chips, naturally) and these:
Don’t worry, that post is coming soon!
So, what about that delicious looking photo at the top? Yeah, that didn’t turn out as expected, but at least it didn’t end up in the trash!
Can I tell you a secret?
Chipotle powder is a great substitute for Ancho chile powder. AS LONG AS YOU REDUCE THE AMOUNT!
I know that now.
I was loosely following this recipe, but clearly I need to work on it a little more before I post it. I’m going to think of my mistakes as public service announcements. The more I learn, the more I can share. And then you won’t end up like me: a sad and hungry hippie baker.
Step six: Ogle the baked brie. It smells like cheese heaven. Then tell everyone again how much a roasted red pepper looks like a flower. Show them the pictures as proof.
Step seven: Serve with homemade baguette. (Or, if you’re not a foodie dork like me, buy a really high quality baguette, slice it up and just tell everyone it’s homemade. When they ask for your recipe, tell them it’s a strictly guarded family secret. Or you could give them my recipe. Either way, your secret’s safe with me.)
Step eight: Bask in the glory that is baked brie. Try not to let it go to your head when everyone raves about how amazing it is.
Friends will be made, and food will be eaten. Done and done!
But see how these are different?
I sure couldn’t. Which explains why I don’t have a picture of these all plated nicely, snuggling with ice cream.
This is why I had leftover dough for that impromptu dinner.
Although this recipe is a little time consuming, it’s no harder than making any sort of real pie.
And taking bites with your eyes closed so you can focus solely on each flavor.
That’s my favorite part.
Please give these a try. They’ll impress your friends for sure. And if you don’t want to share, I won’t tell.
Inspired by Pinterest
1 prepared pie dough, rolled out and sliced into strips
6-8 large apples (really any kind of apple will do)
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling onto the crust
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 or 1/2 tsp cardamom, if desired
1 tsp cornstarch
Juice of a lemon or lime, mixed with 1 cup of water
1 tbsp melted butter
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Core an apple, then use a melon baller or knife to hollow out the apple more, being careful not to go all the way through the skin. Make sure you save all the apple bits! Once the apple is hollow, submerge it briefly in the citrus water to keep it from browning too quickly. Turn the apple over to drain. Repeat this process with all the apples.
Slice the apple bits into smaller bits, and then mix them with the sugars, cinnamon, cardamom (optional) and cornstarch.
Place the hollowed out apples in a muffin tin. This will keep them from tipping during the baking process. Fill each apple with the bit mixture.
Take the long strips of pie dough and cut them into 4 inch strips. Then “weave” the strips together to create the square tops. (See this photo for reference) Place one square over each apple. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle sugar over the top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes (until the dough is fully baked and the apples reach the desired tenderness). Once the apples have cooled, you can use a fork or spoon to remove them from the muffin pan. Serve with ice cream or a drizzle of caramel.
I pulled this dinner out of my brain.
I completely made it up on the fly, and pretended to know what I was doing.
I’ve heard of people making roux, and figured I could pretend to know how to do it too.
This is flour and beef broth. Not a roux. Close enough?
And then I thought, “Shoot! I should have added herbs and spices!” I proceeded to madly throw around spice bottles until finding this one. Then I thought, “Oh sweet, savory.”
What exactly is “Savory” made from? I didn’t have time to care. Stuff was cooking. I threw it on the meat and stirred it around.
I happened to have an extra pie crust, because earlier in the day I figured that if you’re making one pie crust, you might as well make two.
It’s solid logic.
Surprisingly, this was excellent. It got approval from all the men in the house. I was told that I could make it again. Should make it again, even!
At least I have pictures to guide me?
Recipes are for chumps!
I guess it’s back to the kitchen for me.
If I can figure out how I made this, I’ll post a recipe that includes actual quantities of ingredients.
I make exceptions, of course, but I try to make sure that 90% of what I consume is made from whole foods, healthy fats, and quality ingredients.
And then sometimes I take that recipe I’ve modified to be more whole-foods based, less calorically dense, and I add peanut butter chips.
What exceptions do you make in your life?
Healthier Banana Bread
Makes one loaf (about 10 slices)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup oats
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (this part is totally optional!)
1 egg plus 2 egg whites
3 large very ripe bananas
4 tsp applesauce (no sugar added or homemade is best, but use what you have)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan, and use either flour or cinnamon sugar to dust the inside.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Use a fork to make sure everything gets mixed well.
In another bowl, beat the egg and egg whites together. Add the banana and mash with a fork or a potato masher until it reaches a chunky consistency. Add the apple sauce and continue to mash the bananas until it looks like a thick, runny paste. A few chunks of banana are ok!
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes (until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean). Allow the bread to cool for a few minutes, and then remove it from the loaf pan.
You may not know this about me and my family, but we often use terms that are as vague as possible. It’s kind of like a game.
“Can you make me that thing with the stuff?” is way more fun than saying “Can we have stir fry tonight?”
And “Bacon Things” is way easier to say than “Crescent rolls stuffed with bacon, cream cheese, and green onions.”
This is another one of those recipes that isn’t so much a recipe, but it’s definitely worth making if you like bacon.
Inspired from Pinterest
One can of crescent rolls
8 strips of bacon, cooked to desired crispness–use a paper towel to soak up as much grease as possible
8 dollops of whipped cream cheese
1 green onion, sliced
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Unroll the crescent rolls and place them on a baking sheet or stone. Scoop a dollop of the whipped cream cheese onto each roll, and top it with a few slices of green onion. Cut a strip of bacon in half, and then lay it across the cream cheese. Roll up each crescent roll, and then bake for 15 minutes.
More specifically, how about some pie?
Apple? With caramel sauce and ice cream?
Yeah, let’s do it!
I used local Fuji apples, and they were so juicy and delicious! I’m going to do this again, because this was seriously the best apple pie, but I’m going to use Granny Smith, cause that’s what I’ve got. It’s gonna work, don’t worry.
I also didn’t follow a recipe. It was probably the wildest thing I’ve ever done.
Don’t make fun of me. There’s no feeling like the pounding in your heart when you have no guarantee that the pie you’re making could be epic or awful.
I ALSO LEARNED THE COOLEST TRICK!!
Sorry for yelling, but this tip changed my life. For real.
Cinnamon Sugar Pie Crust
Makes two crusts
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
4 tbsp ice water, plus more if needed
Cut butter into small cubes and freeze for 15 minutes. Combine flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, then add the very cold butter and combine with a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse sand. Sprinkle ice water over the mixture and press the dough together with a rubber spatula. Eventually you will be able to pinch the dough together and have it stick to itself.
Divide the dough in half, press into round disks and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, and up to a day.
Cinnamon Apple Pie
3-4 medium apples
Juice from half of a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Slice the apples very thinly, and then add the apple slices and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Make sure all the apple slices get covered in the lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg and cornstarch together. Add the cinnamon chips and stir them in.
Add the sugar mixture to the apple slices, and make sure the apples get coated in the sugar mixture.
Roll out the first pie crust (see above for rolling instructions, or use a well floured surface), and gently put it in a pie pan. Pour the apple filling into it, and then roll out the next crust. Lay the second crust over the apple mixture, and pinch together and trim the edges. Cut vents in the top of the pie, and brush with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. If the edges look like they’re starting to burn, wrap them with foil. Allow the pie to cool for 1-2 hours before serving. If you’re very very hungry for pie, you can put it in the refrigerator for half an hour before serving. Just don’t melt your refrigerator shelf.