Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mini Apple Pies Redux

i had extra apple pie filling, and the mini apple pies were so good, and i made so few of them in the first batch, that i decided to make more! this time, i made a crumble topping, which is sooo yummy. also this time, i found the regular pie crusts (which are by the cookie dough and biscuits) instead of the frozen ones in the pie tins. they were bigger, so i could make more mini pies. yay!

other than that, second verse same as the first. pie crust circles, apples from a can, topping (lots of crumble on the bigger ones, mini lattices on the mini ones). baked and checked every ten minutes. voila!

i sort of shot from the hip with the crumble topping. i started with about a quarter cup white sugar and half a cup flour and a few tablespoons butter... then my mom told me you make crumble topping with brown, not white, sugar. oops. so i threw some of that in there too. i think it ended up being like a cup of sugars and a half a cup of flour and a stick of butter. so, of course, i ended up with too much crumble topping. i really piled it on the regular-muffin-sized ones, and still had some left over... also had some leftover apples... and pie crust scraps... what to do?

apple crumble cobbler something-or-other!

an inside peek into the apple crumble cobbler something-or-other:

ok, so i realize it doesn't look that great, but it tasted like, oh man. it was amazing. in a glass pan, i put in the rest of the canned apples, and some fresh ones with some cinnamon and sugar, and put the pie crust scraps on top, and the rest of the crumble (and some cinnamon on top). bake at 350 for like 20 minutes (the check-every-ten-minutes method). it was so good. sort of like a crumbled up pie.

here's all three apple creations together: mini apple pies, micro apple pies, and apple something-or-other:

and, all three with, what else, whipped cream. talk about yummy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mini Apple Pies

i was inspired by not martha (via bakerella) to make mini apple pies a few weeks back... i know, i'm a lazy blogger. so, i made them in two sizes, in a regular muffin tin and in a mini muffin tin. and, because i'm also a lazy baker, i used all pre-made ingredients- a can of apple pie filling and frozen pie crust. i couldn't find the regular pre-made pie crust, so i had to get the kind that's already in the pie tin. i let the crust thaw, then laid it out on a cutting board and cut circles out of it, like so...

you can see the little crimps where it was in the pie tin. for the regular muffin size, i used a big ol' can of broth (probably like five inches across), and the cap of my cooking spray for the mini muffin size (about two inches across).

for the regular muffin size, i cut a little wedge out of the crust to make it fit better in the muffin tin. it probably could have stood a little more cut out, but it still helped.

next, just put it in the muffin tin, like so...

then i filled it with canned apple pie filling. as i was doing that, i thought how silly that was because apple pie filling is the easiest thing to do yourself- just cut up apples and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar. but, i already had bought two cans of the stuff, so i figured i'd use it. i did have to cut the apple wedges into smaller pieces, though- just sliced them up in the can.

for the tops, i tried to be fancy and make a lattice top. but, i didn't re-roll out the dough (i told you, i'm lazy), so i just used scraps.

here's the unbaked regular muffin tin pies:

and here's the unbaked mini muffin tin pies:

i also didn't use an egg wash to join the lattices to the pie dough cups, nor did i egg wash the tops. all that to say that mine didn't turn out as adorably as bakerella's. but they were still pretty darn adorable (what mini-food isn't?) and were pretty darn delicious.

-preheat oven to 375 degrees. grease muffin tins.
-thaw pie dough, cut circles out of it.
-line muffin tins with dough circles, fill with apple pie filling (canned or your own cut apples sprinkled lightly with cinnamon and sugar).
-use scraps to make lattices, put lattices on pie cups and pinch edges of lattice to pie cup.
-bake for about 20 minutes (i checked mine every ten minutes), covering them with foil for the last ten minutes, until golden brown.

overall assessment: delicious and precious! will be making again in the future.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I've Been Wordled

alright, i admit i wordled myself. so, here it is. the word cloud for my young blog, with the bigger words being the ones used more often. it's so cute! :)

i'll have to do it again at a later date and compare, to see how my blog has changed.

Wordle: And Cookies For All

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Hope My Sweets Never Come Alive...

...but if they do, i hope they crash parties, sing opera, and make life beautiful.

ht: cake wrecks (another blog fave)

Is It Iced Coffee Weather?

one of my favorite blogs (how about orange) recently posted a link to an admittedly novel website, which poses the question, is it iced coffee weather? and then answers it based on your zip code. well, i'll answer the question for you, no zip code necessary. so, here goes:

q: is it iced coffee weather?
a: i don't care. i'll drink iced coffee whenever i damn well please, thank you very much.

i feel about iced coffee the way i do about wine and shoes, and a number of other food and fashion items (yes, including cookies). i'll enjoy them when i feel like it, when i think it's appropriate, not because somebody says so. i'll drink red wine with fish, or wear patent leather in the winter, or even drink iced coffee when it's cold outside. why? because i feel like it, and i have enough style and taste to do what i want and still be awesome.

so there. take that.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Oreo Truffle Cupcake Bites

one of my very good friends from high school recently graduated from rice university in houston. so, i wanted to bake/make something for him. well, i went to michael's, and went a little crazy. in most people's eyes, i made reasonable purchases, but i could hear my mom saying, "meredith! you don't need all of that stuff!" so, what did i get? some squeeze bottles, and a candy cup mold, and some blue candy melts (rice's colors are blue and white). i guess, all things considered, not that overboard.

anywho, i combined two bakerella inventions to make one awesome gift. i made oreo truffles in the shape of cupcake bites. yummy!

ok, down to the practicalities.
first, i crunched up some oreos. i smushed them in a plastic bag, then used a coffee grinder for any big bits that were left. then i mixed them with softened cream cheese. i only used about 1/3 of the cookies (one row from the package's tray) and about 1/3 of the cream cheese.

second, i melted some blue candy melts in one of the squeeze bottles and squeezed (or squoze?) some of the melted blue into the candy molds. then i put a ball of the oreo mixture into each candy mold well. i used the larger end of a melon baller for this- it worked perfectly.

third, i melted some white candy coating (almond bark from wal-mart) in another squeeze bottle. bakerella dipped her cupcake tops in the 2nd color, but i just squeezed/poured it on top. it overflowed a little, but then they looked like little muffins/cupcakes when they came out. and topped off with some blue sugar for flair.

here's the finished product! they tasted great, and looked fabulous!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Birthday Cake Balls

when i couldn't sleep during finals, one of the things i was obsessing about was cake balls and cake pops, and their various incarnations, from bakerella. so, i decided to make some cake balls for my mom for her birthday on may 9 (i know, i'm just now getting around to posting... i'm just lazy. don't really have another excuse). inspired by these cake pops, i decided to make some that had little B medallions on them (my mom's name is beverly). so, i made the B's first- just printed out some script-y B's in reverse, then taped some wax paper on top. then i melted some chocolate and vanilla candy bark (bought at my trusty wal-mart) and used a ziploc bag to pipe out the B design and a free-hand flower around it, then filled in with the opposite color. they turned out so cute! as my mom pointed out, they sort of look like barbie B's. here's a picture of some of them just spread out on a plate (the pics are a little yellow b/c i didn't use a flash, and i didn't feel like photoshopping them to correct the color. but you get the idea- black and white).

so then, i baked a cake. just a mix from a box, and i crumbled the baked cake and mixed it with a can of white frosting. it tasted great, only problem was i used funfetti cake mix... which wasn't so fun. i thought it would be cute with the sprinkles, but after i mixed it up with the frosting, the sprinkles just sort of dissolved and made the cake balls look like oatmeal or something. i thought i had a picture of that rumbling around somewhere, but i can't find it.
oh well, it still tasted good, and it was covered in chocolate so you couldn't even see it until you bit into it, and by that time you were like, dang this tastes so good i don't care what it looks like!

so then, i dipped the balls in chocolate... yum. i'm not very good at dipping things, so they turned out sort of messy. i think i might have made the balls too big, which contributed to the poor dipping (too big to handle, and fish out of the chocolate). not as pretty as bakerella's, but they still tasted goo-ood. and i stuck the little medallions on top, and that took your eyes off of the dipping goofs. here's the finished product:

some of them, you might be able to tell, i dipped in chocolate first and put them on wax paper to dry, then dipped the bottom in white and put them in the little paper cups. that turned out ok- less messy than the whole-chocolate method, but the tops ended up being flat. which was actually ok, because then i had a good platform for the little medallions. i just used a little melted candy coating to stick them on.

you can see the messiness a little closer here.

and here's the cake balls, with a sneak peak for next time... oreo cupcake bites for payton's graduation!

UPDATE: i found the pic of the bitten funfetti cake ball. so, here it is. it actually looks better in the picture than it did in real life. but, like i said, it still tasted good!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Clean-Out-The-Cupboard Cookies II

i had such great success with the first clean-out-the-cupboard cookies that i decided to try to clean out my cupboards some more by making some more cookies. so i made peanut butter oatmeal cookies... which sound like they might be pretty good. well, let's just say they weren't my best work. they were certainly edible, and were pretty good for breakfast (c'mon, they've got oatmeal, and peanut butter for protein! right?), and were ok if you just really needed some cookies, but they just weren't that good.

here's my recipe, based loosely on this one. this original oatmeal cookie recipe is really, really good... but not so much with the peanut butter.

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. peanut butter (crunchy)
2 c. dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. uncooked oatmeal
-cream fats and sugar, mix in rest of wet ingredients. in separate bowl, mix dry ingredients except oatmeal, and add to wet ingredients in about 3 installments (so it doesn't splatter everywhere). then, mix in oatmeal. roll into balls, press slightly and bake about 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

no pictures this time. the cookies weren't worth it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Clean-Out-The-Cupboard Cookies

so, as i was getting to move into my apartment, i was trying to eat all of my food. i didn't want to move it all, but i also was leaving in may for the summer so wouldn't be able to eat it. so, i made some cookies with whatever i had on hand! the recipe was based on a classic, but of course it was different because i was using whatever i had in my cupboard.

Clean-Out-The-Cupboard Cookies
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. white chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped pecans
-cream butter and sugar, add rest of wet ingredients. in separate bowl, mix dry ingredients then add to wet in about three installments. roll into balls, drop onto cookie sheet, bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

these were really good! the brown sugar made it chewy, and the white chocolate chips gave them that extra little sweetness. and the nuts... oh, the nuts... pecans make everything better. i would have preferred more chocolate and nuts in the cookies, but that's all i had in my cupboard (sort of the point of these cookies).

a tip from experience: don't bake the refrigerated dough- let it come to room temperature first. otherwise, it doesn't bake all the way and burns on the bottom... oops.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Irish Cream Sugar Cookies

so, i made the homemade irish cream for the party. but i still had some extra ingredients (like the half-and-half) that i didn't have anything else to do with, so i made some more irish cream, this time with the instant coffee instead of brewed coffee. i recommend the brewed coffee, because the granules didn't really dissolve. anywho, nearing the end of the semester i still had a bunch of the irish cream left over and didn't have anything to do with it... so i made cookies with it! here's the original recipe, but here are my edits:
1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 egg yolk
1 egg
1 c. irish cream
4 c. all purpose flour (i used about half whole wheat and half unbleached white)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
-cream butter and sugars, add dry ingredients. refrigerate, then roll into balls. then, and here comes the fancy part, roll in sugar and put on the cookie sheet. then make indentions in the balls (i used the back of my teaspoon measuring spoon) and put a few drops of irish cream in the divet. just a little- if you put too much, it'll spill and burn on your cookie sheet!

i tried to find a way to make them sweeter and more irish-cream-y. i rolled them in white sugar, i rolled them in brown sugar, i rolled them in irish cream and then in sugar, i topped them with brown sugar. the brown sugar and the irish cream caramelized and burned in like 6 minutes. good thing i had put foil on my pan first!

anywho, i decided rolling them in sugar and putting the little bit of extra cream on it makes the cookies sweeter and a little more irish-cream-ier. still, they're not that sweet and not that irish-cream-y. but they were pretty good, and good enough to give away to my professors at the end of the semester. but i probably won't make them again. too much work for too little payoff, since they didn't taste much like irish cream.

and, here's pictures!

Homemade Irish Cream

i went to a st. patrick's day party a while back (incidentally, on st. patrick's day), and i wanted to bring some irish cream. problem is, i'm poor, and bailey's is expensive. apparently there's some generic brands, but they didn't sell those at the liquor store by where i lived in dc. so, i made some! it was super good, even though i used the cheapest whiskey i could find ($8 for 750ml). i figure, when you mix it, the mixers cover up most of the taste. i used an online recipe, but with these edits:

1 c. fat-free half-and-half (i don't know how they do that, but they do)
1-14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 c. whiskey
2 tbsp strongly brewed coffee (made mine in french press)
2 tbsp chocolate syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
-stir vigorously, chill, serve!

i made mini irish car bombs with this (mini because i can't drink a whole guinness at once, let alone with a shot of bailey's too), but it didn't curdle like irish car bombs usually do. i think because it didn't have the fat of the heavy cream in it like regular irish cream does. but it was goo-ood!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Not all cupcakes are created equal.

i was in houston for my friend's graduation from college this weekend. my mom came with me, ostensibly for a mother/daughter weekend, but i think really because she didn't want me to drive the five hours to houston by myself (turns out, she didn't let me drive at all). anywho, it was her birthday on saturday and mother's day on sunday, so i thought we would go to a gourmet cupcake place in houston to celebrate. we went to crave cupcakes, which was in the ritzy part of town by the galleria (of course- where else would a cupcakery be?). based on my prior gourmet cupcake experience, i was excited and had high hopes.

we got a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting and a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting. they were a little bigger than normal cupcakes, and a little pricer than the ones at hello cupcake in dupont ($3.25 versus $3.00), but they were not nearly as good. the cake was pretty good- a little denser than usual cake, but not like pound cake. however, the frosting was a little on the gritty side. i mean, it wasn't terrible, it just wasn't as smooth as the frosting at hello cupcake. when i "chewed" the frosting, i could feel a little sugary grit.

overall assessment: not that crazy about crave cupcakes, and can't wait to get cupcakes from hello cupcake again.