Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Apple a Day - Last Recipe! Apple Dippings

It's the seventh and last day of
So, I know this last post isn't really a recipe, but when you have more apples on hand than you do time, think about this "recipe."

And if you DO have time to make more apple recipes, check out these blogs:

Donuts to Delirium - Chai Spiced Applesauce
Susi's Kochen und Backen Adventures - Applesauce-Spice Cupcakes

Apple Dippings
Cut an apple and dip in any desired dip. Seen here: Caramel syrup, peanut butter, Nutella, and marshmallow fluff.

What's your favorite dip for an apple?
Bake well and prosper!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An Apple a Day - Animal Cracker Caramel Apple Cookies

Fun times! I had to improvise on an apple recipe I found for day 6 of
I found another awesome cookie recipe to make this time from Baking Junkie. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to get some of the ingredients so I had to improvise. For instance? Animal crackers instead of graham crackers. Oh, and caramel syrup instead of pieces of caramel. The outcome? Still yummy! Everyone said they loved the texture/consistency of the cookie. (I'll make the recipe the other way NEXT fall.)
Animal Cracker Caramel Apple Cookies (adapted from Graham Cracker Caramel Apple Cookies)

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cup flour
1 cup animal cracker crumbs
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/3 C caramel syrup (add more if desired)
1 medium apple

4 Tbsp melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine butter and sugars. Add in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, animal cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients and mix well. Add caramel to dough. Peel, core and chop apple into smaller pieces and add to dough. Place larger portions of dough into a greased muffin top pan (will make approximately 18), or form dough into small balls and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake approximately 13 minutes, or until tops of cookies are light golden brown. Allow to cool completely before removing from pans. Meanwhile, combine melted butter and vanilla, then powdered sugar. Add milk to thin (until you reach desired consistency).
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, October 25, 2010

An Apple a Day - McIntosh-Oatmeal Cookies

Mmmmm! Welcome to day 5 of
I had to take Sunday off as a rest day and now I'm back with a new recipe! I think this brings my apple count down to 5 apples. Seeing I had 9 pounds of apples when I started, I am making pretty good progress using up my freshly picked apples. This new recipe comes from my Mom's Best Recipe Cookbook. Enjoy!
McIntosh-Oatmeal Cookies (From my Mom's Best Recipes Cookbook)
1 C unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
2 large eggs
2 medium McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and diced (about 2 C) (I used Stayman Winesap because I didn't pick any McIntosh apples. Sorry, Mom!)
3 C oatmeal
1 C raisins
3/4 C walnuts, chopped

In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and eggs; beat until just blended, occasionally scarping bowl with spatula. Stir in apples, oats, raisins, and walnuts.

Drop dough by level 1/4 C, about 3 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 350 degrees until golden, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through. With wide spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Bake well and prosper!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

An Apple a Day - Apple Squares with Maple Glaze

Welcome to the 4th day of
I'm rather tired right now. I made this recipe this morning, I went to the Navy vs Notre Dame game, then I went to an Oktoberfest party, and then I sang at an opera forum. But you know what I'm not tired from? Apples! I'm still loving every recipe and I am sure you'll really love this one I found on Sprinkled with Flour.
Apple Squares with Maple Glaze (adapted from Sprinkled with Flour)
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (you can substitute any oil, like coconut)
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (whole wheat pastry flour would substitute well)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 cups chopped unpeeled apples (Braeburn, Gala, or similar) Erika's Extra: I used a mix of Granny Smith and Stayman Winesap)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Maple Glaze
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tbsp butter, softened
2-3 tablespoons whole milk
1 tbsp pure maple syrup (can use maple extract also)

For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 15x10-inch jelly-roll pan with nonstick baking spray with flour; set aside. Leave the apples unpeeled, but remove core and chop the apples into small pieces.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine eggs and salt. Beat at medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and oil, and beat until blended. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, and beat just until combined.

Fold in the apples, nuts and vanilla. Pour into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Set the pan on a wire rack, let cool.

For the Glaze:
In a medium bowl combine the powdered sugar, butter and enough milk to make a spreadable consistency. This was about 2 tablespoons for me. Mix until smooth. Add the tablespoon of maple syrup/maple extract, and stir. Spread over the mostly cooled cake. Let the frosting set, then cut into bars.
Tip: For baking this cake in ramekins, just fill with batter about 1/2 - 2/3 full. If you fill too high it will spill over the sides. Bake until cake is golden and set, about 30-35 minutes.
Bake well and prosper!

Friday, October 22, 2010

An Apple a Day - Monkey Bread WITH Apples!

Sometimes the best way to use an apple is to add it to a pre-existing recipe. Last night I had risotto with smoked bacon and apple slices at Vespa with my boyfriend. It was heavenly!

So, I took the idea of adding an apple to a dish for the next An Apple a Day Recipe.
***Calling all food bloggers: if you have a recent apple dessert post, send my way. I will be concluding An Apple a Day with a post including links to blogs.***

My much loved Monkey Bread got some apple love.
I used a Granny Smith apple that I picked from Terhune Orchards. I think I only have 8 apples left now...
Monkey Bread (aka Pull Apart Rolls) WITH APPLES (adapted from Mom's Best Recipes cookbook)

2 cans of biscuits (I prefer the extra buttery and fluffy ones)
1 C sugar
2 t cinnamon
1+ chopped apple (I used Granny Smith)
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 C brown sugar
1 t cinnamon

Generously grease tube pan with Crisco. In paper bag, put sugar and 2 t cinnamon. Using 1 can at a time, cut biscuits into quarters. Place in paper bag and shake to coat. Place in tube pan, sprinkling apple pieces over each layer except last one.
(Second Part)
Boil together butter, brown sugar, and 1 t cinnamon. Pour mixture over biscuits. Bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before inverting. Let guests pull apart.
Bake well and prosper!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Apple a Day - Apple "Nacho" Bites

Welcome to Day 2 of
I'm really excited about this recipe. I saw it on Real Mom Kitchen and bought an apple corer that same day. (Laura aka Real Mom was even awesome enough to answer my question of if the apples turn brown too quickly with this recipe. Answer: She left them out for an hour and they didn't brown. Sweet!)

I made this last night and my boyfriend and I loved it! I even brought the ingredients in to work today to make it again for a yummy mid-afternoon snack.

I modified the slices of apple into chunks of apple seeing my upper arm strength is lacking and an apple corer made me sweat!

This is great for an pick me up at work or a go to after school snack!
Apple "Nacho" Bites (adapted from Real Mom's Apple Nachos)
•30 large marshmallows
•1/3 cup butter, cubed
•1/4 cup caramel apple dip
•4 medium tart apples, sliced into bite sized pieces (I used Macintosh apples)
•1/3 cup nut topping (the kind with the ice cram toppings) or chopped dry roasted peanuts
•1/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1.In a large saucepan, melt marshmallows and butter.
2.Arrange apples in small bowls or plates. Place caramel dip into a quart sized zipper bag. Snip off one corner with some scissors and drizzle caramel over the apples.
3.Then drizzle with the marshmallow mixture. Sprinkle with nut topping and chocolate chips. Serve immediately.

Erika's Extra: I halved the recipe. I found that you can also microwave the butter and marshmallows (I used minis) and it yields the same results. Just microwave for 15 seconds, stir, and repeat until the gooey consistancy forms. Be careful though - the microwaved bowl will be hot!
Have you recently blogged about an apple dessert? Send me the link at My last post in my Apple a Day posts will include a list of others' links of apple recipes. (Dessert only please!)Thanks!

 Bake well and prosper!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Apple a Day - Apple Pancake Surprise

Did you just pick a bunch of apples/buy a bunch of apples too?
I went to Terhune Orchards in Princeton, NJ this past Sunday and went hog apple wild with picking!

I LOVE apples. I have apples in my fridge all year round, but everyone knows fall is the best time to get them from local orchards.

So, in an effort to help everyone out with their apple excess, I introduce to you:
For the next couple of days I will be posting apple recipes. First up: a recipe I made up last night.

I recently bought an apple corer and thought to myself how lovely it would be to encase a slice of apple in a pancake. So, without further ado, I bring you:

Erika Beth's Apple Pancake Surprise
One apple (I used a Stayman Winesap)
Pancake mix (I used buttermilk)
(Egg or whatever else your pancake mix calls for)

Core an apple.
Cut apples into very thin slices.
Start heating skillet or pan.
Make pancake mix acording to directions.
Pour a small amount of mix onto pan and firmly press an apple slice onto batter. Cover top of apple with a thin layer of batter.
Let cook on one side for longer than you would a normal pancake and then flip.
Make sure the other side is done well before serving. (If not, the batter by the apple will still be gooey!) If some batter escapes when flipping, feel free to scoop the pancake up after done and roll it on its side on the pan.

Cool slightly and then pick up and eat with hand. It's so delicious, no syrup needed. Sprinkle powdered sugar on it if you must.

Check it out:
These seem like normal pancakes.
Surprise! There's an apple in the middle!
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gluten Free Cookies

I can't always be cutesy wootsey. I don't have kids, a dog, a husband, a huge kitchen, or a perfect life. And I'm sure not going to pretend I have a life all neatly packaged with a bow on top. Quite frankly, I'm tired of seeing that blogged about constantly. I'm not trying to be the next Betty Crocker or on the next cover of Good Housekeeping. Is there a Messy Housekeeping magazine I can be on instead?

Oh, and did I mention I'm in a bad mood today?

Well, I will try to look on the upside. At least I don't have to eat a gluten free diet. That means I couldn't enjoy this, this, or these. But, if you're a celiac like my friend from the opera I was in this past weekend, there's good news! Yummy gluten free cookies!

This is the first gluten free dessert I've made for a gluten-free eater and I was a little scared when the dough smelled like burnt peanuts after blending in a mixer. Do not fear, they turned out amazing!
Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Nutella Thumbprint Cookies (from bell'alimento)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg – beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
9 teaspoons Nutella

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Into your stand mixer add sugar, peanut butter, egg, salt and baking soda. Mix until well combined.
3. Measure approx 1 tablespoon of dough. Roll dough into a ball and place onto cookie sheet. Gently press dough ball down using the palm of your hand. Continue forming balls until dough is gone. Space approx 1″ apart.
4. Bake for approx 8-10 minutes. CAREFULLY remove tray from oven. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, GENTLY make an indentation in the middle of each cookie. Fill each cookie with a dollop of Nutella. Return tray to oven and continue cooking for 2-4 minutes until golden.
5. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool before enjoying.
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Fall, Y'all!

Some of you might not realize that it's fall, but it is! (Some of you = people in southern areas...TX, AZ, southern hemisphere...)

Here in NY the trees in Central Park are having a conference on whether to change colors or just drop. Last year they decided to change colors. I hope they vote on that again.

For my friend's birthday party this past weekend I decided to make some treats, but adjust them slightly to incorporate fall colors.

I took out my humble little food processor that says, "Now you see it (the Oreos)..."
"Now you don't."
Hurray for the Humble Little Food Processor That Could!

Those chopped up Oreos were used in this awesome recipe:
Oreo Cheesecake Pretzel Sandwiches (adapted from Rather Be Baking)
Makes 12 pretzel bites

7 Oreo cookies
1 ounce cream cheese (I used reduced-fat)
24 pretzels (square or tied, it doesn't matter)
Candy coating - melted (your choice of colors. I used red, yellow, and then mixed some red and yellow with orange to make a delightful fall orange.)

Place Oreos into a food processor and process until finely ground. Mix Oreo crumbs and cream cheese until dough forms. (Erika's Extra: I found it easier to mix with hands.) Pinch about half a tablespoon of dough and form into a little square. Place onto pretzel then gently press top pretzel to close. Top with melted candy coating. (Add toppings like white sprinkles or coconut, if desired.) Chill until chocolate has hardened and serve. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer.
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blog Birthday!

A year ago today I decided to not just bake, but capture my baking via a blog. (Oh, and to capture my messes as I baked). (First post: Well, here we are) Looking back, not a lot has changed.

I still make messes.
Flour is my number 1 nemesis with powdered sugar a close second.

I still get the mess all over my hands.
Mmmm...cake batter. Which reminds me...

I still eat cake batter/dough etc.
I still run, sing, and work at a hedge fund. I still live in the same apartment as a year ago. I'm still a total dork.

Things that have changed within the year:
I broke down and bought a fancy schmancy camera. (Post: I'm a Sell Out)

I somewhat learned how to use said fancy schmancy camera. (Still learning, really.)

I got a boyfriend! (Is got the right word? Caught, perhaps?) UPDATE: Threw him back into the sea.

I'm growing my hair out of my pixie cut.

I've added ads to my blog, although no one has seemed to notice.

I've discovered and which has opened up the wonderful world of food blogs and getting to meet (via online) the creators of scrumptious dishes.

I've had more than 10,000 visitors to my site (which might not be a lot for some blogs out there, but means the world to me. Speaking of which - did you know that New Zealanders have a mighty strong sweet tooth?)

So, overall, I've had a lovely year and decided to celebrate by baking a cake from scratch, which I can't remember ever doing. I also made some lavender buttercream frosting. Yum yum yum! Both turned out lovely and were a great way to celebrate.
Chocolate Cake (from
1 cup margarine
1 3/4 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Erika's Extra: I added in Ghiradelli chocolate chips, because it was my blog's birthday and because I could.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
Lavender Buttercream Frosting
1 stick softened butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 Tablespoon + of dried lavender buds.
Red Food Coloring
Blue Food Coloring

In a pan, bring heat milk and lavender until boiling point. Let cool/infuse for 10+ minutes. Strain lavender from milk. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Beat in the sugar. Pour in 2 Tablespoons only of lavender milk. Frosting should be at a good texture, but feel free to add more milk to change the consistency and flavor of the frosting. Mix in 4 drops of each color of food coloring.
Bake well and prosper!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Do you know you can bake with lavender?

I know. *hanging head* It's been 2 weeks since I posted something (and I try so hard to post once a week!) My excuse: preparing an opera role and training for a marathon. Am I forgiven?

Last week, in between singing at church and singing at opera rehearsal, I bought some lavender from the farmers market by the Natural History Museum.
My mission was to emulate a brownie I loved when I worked at Cafe Lalo.

The brownies were easy enough to make. I used the Supernatural Brownie recipe and added about 2 more tablespoons of flour to make the brownies a little less fudge like.

I wanted to make some sort of white chocolate ganache/glaze to put over the brownies, so I started with white chocolate chips.
Then I poured the heavy cream that I had just heated to boiling point over the chocolate.
I whisked until combined and let cool. THEN (drum roll please), I added the lavender.
That's right. I wanted to make a white chocolate lavender topping to put on the brownies.

My topping turned out a little thinner than I expected, so I set it in the fridge overnight which seemed to do the trick.
White Chocolate Lavender Ganache/Glaze
Ingredients needed:
8 oz White chocolate
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon baking lavender

Put 8oz of white chocolate in a large bowl. Bring the heavy cream to boiling and remove from heat. Pour over white chocolate. For a heavier topping, add more white chocolate. Whisk until fully combined and smooth. Let cool. Add lavender. (Add more than a teaspoon for a stronger taste.) Once cooled completely, feel free to put in fridge to make it a little firmer.

Erika's Extra: If you don't want to chomp on the grainy texture of the lavendar, feel free to blend in a food processor with 1/4 cup of sugar and then add that to the mixture.
Bake well and prosper!
Lavender on FoodistaLavender