Saturday, December 13, 2014

Baked Whole Apples

When you want to make your kitchen smell like apple pie without all the fuss, try making baked apples. These Baked Whole Apples are sweet little individual desserts that will please almost anyone. I used Granny Smith apples for mine, but any baking apple will do. The ingredients in the filling can be adjusted to suit your taste. Some like to add raisins to the filling, and ice cream or caramel sauce are optional after baking.





Print Recipe

Baked Whole Apples

4 baking apples
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup apple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Core the apples, but don't cut all the way through. Leave the bottom of the apple intact. Trim away some of the peeling from the top of the apple. Place the apples upright in a small baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts. Carefully spoon mixture into center of apples. Drizzle the melted butter over the brown sugar mixture, dividing the butter among the apples. Pour apple juice in baking dish around the apples. Bake for 35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve with ice cream or caramel sauce, if desired.



Baked Whole Apples before baking




<<<<<>>>>>

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Have You Entered?

*** December 12 *** is the last day to get your name entered in the drawing for one of ten $50 gift cards to the P. Allen Smith eStore. Here's the link for your entry, and you'll also get a 25% off shopping code:



 Some of the fun items I love from the P. Allen Smith eStore:



1. Glass salt canister -- I love the vintage look, not to mention the practical use too.



2. Set of 6 cup cake stands -- as a cake baker, I'm wanting these little gems.



3. Mesh wire basket -- So many uses for this retro basket around the house and garden.



4. Wooden seed box -- Perfect for the gardener on your list or maybe for yourself.



5. Cotton boll wreath -- One of my favorites -- reminds me of my childhood -- I remember when cotton was harvested by hand, not machines.

These few items are just a sampling of the many treasures available from P. Allen Smith. I'd love for you to be the winner of one of the $50 gift cards, so don't forget the deadline!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sweet Sourdough Bread

This sourdough bread is the first I have baked from my newly made Sweet Sourdough Starter. No special talent is required to make bread like this, just the patience to care for a starter and the ability to follow a recipe. Sourdough starter can be used for a variety of baked goods, but probably the most popular is the basic white sourdough bread recipe. I love baking all kinds of bread, not just because home-baked is more delicious, but also because the smell of bread baking equals home and contentment to me.






Basic Sweet Sourdough Bread

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup fed sweet sourdough starter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups all-purpose flour + some additional

In a large bowl, combine sugar, water, and yeast; stir together. Set aside until the yeast bubbles, then add starter, oil, and salt. Stir in flour 1 cup at a time. Turn dough out onto floured surface and fold dough over gently several times, working in additional flour a little at a time as needed until dough is no longer sticky. Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled. Punch down dough and shape into two loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans and let rise again. Bake at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops of loaves with melted butter.







<<<<<>>>>>



Get your

25% off shopping code 

for the P. Allen Smith eStore by going to 


plus you will automatically be entered into a drawing 

for one of ten $50 gift cards. 

Deadline is December 12

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sweet Sourdough Starter

Sourdough bread is one of the best foods ever to come out of an oven. I have baked sourdough for quite some time, but I recently made a new starter for my baking. I was inspired to make this kind of starter after I had some bakery sourdough. That bread was some of the best ever, and I wanted my own sweet sourdough starter. This starter has been around for years, and it is commonly known as the "Herman" starter. It can be used to make sweet sourdough bread, biscuits, pancakes, coffeecake, and lots more. It takes longer to make this starter than any previous starter I have tried, so patience is necessary, but it will be worth the wait. I started this batch way back before Thanksgiving, and finally got to bake my first bread with it today. Yum - o. I've heard sourdough gets better the longer you keep the starter, but I don't know how it can get any better.




Print Recipe

Sweet Sourdough Starter

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup milk, lukewarm
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar

In a two quart glass or ceramic container (do not use metal), combine yeast, milk, flour, and sugar; stir well. Cover with cheesecloth or other loose covering. Let set in a warm place (about 80 degrees F) for 4 days to ferment. Starter should expand and be bubbly. It will develop a slightly sour, yeasty smell.

The starter is now ready to "feed." This is the beginning of the 10 day cycle for the starter.

To feed:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar

Mix flour, milk, and sugar together. Stir mixture into starter, cover loosely, and place in the refrigerator. Stir daily. (If you forget a day, it will do no harm.)

After 5 days, feed again and refrigerate. Continue to stir daily.

After 5 more days (this is the 10th day of the cycle) feed the starter again and let set at room temperature for a couple of hours. The starter is now ready for baking.

After removing desired amount of starter for baking, feed again and refrigerate.





The starter will be all bubbly and will expand after being fed. Be sure not to seal the container tightly.
Also, keep in mind - starter is a living thing and it grows when fed, so if you don't plan to regularly bake with it, give some away to a friend or discard a cup on feeding day. That will prevent -- yikes! -- a mess in the refrigerator.



<<<<<>>>>>



Get your

25% off shopping code 

for the P. Allen Smith eStore by going to 


plus you will automatically be entered into a drawing 

for one of ten $50 gift cards. 

Deadline is December 12

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cranberry Sauce

Today was a great Christmas shopping day for me. It was windy and cold here, but I was cozy and warm shopping on the couch. I do love cyber Monday. Not only is it time to get the shopping done with Christmas only weeks away, it's also time to begin planning the food for the next round of feasting. I barely have all the Thanksgiving leftovers emptied out of the refrigerator, and I'm hurrying on to the next holiday.

Even with all the hurry, I always enjoy preparing a holiday meal. Putting the Thanksgiving meal together was more fun this year because my son Daniel was here to help me with the cooking. He helped out by making Spinach Maria and a Sweet Potato/Carrot slow cooker dish. He also convinced me that we should try making our own cranberry sauce this year. I usually make a blueberry salad the family likes in lieu of cranberry sauce, but I decided to give homemade cranberry sauce a whirl.

The recipe we used was super simple and quick to make, plus it was very tasty. We made it ahead to allow it time to refrigerate in the mold overnight. I love any dish that can be prepared ahead. The original recipe came from Alton Brown.





Print Recipe

Cranberry Sauce

1 pound fresh cranberries (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup 100% cranberry juice (not cranberry juice cocktail)
1 cup honey

Prepare a 3-cup mold with cooking spray. Wash and sort the cranberries, discarding any that are soft. Set aside to drain in a colander. In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice, cranberry juice, and honey. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into prepared mold. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Invert the mold onto a serving dish to remove the cranberry sauce. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired. Slice and serve.



<<<<<>>>>>


Remember you have until December 12 to get your 

25% off shopping code 
for the P. Allen Smith eStore by going to 


plus you will automatically be entered into a drawing 

for one of ten $50 gift cards. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Carrot Cake

The Thanksgiving pies and pumpkin roll are gone, but we won't be without dessert too long at our house. My husband's birthday is a great reason for the next round of baking. Those bygone holiday desserts are being replaced by a Carrot Cake for the occasion.






Carrot Cake is one of his favorite cakes (and possibly one of mine). The cream cheese frosting is luscious, and the recipe makes a big 3-layer cake, enough for a birthday party with lots of friends. The complete directions and recipe can be found here.



<<<<<>>>>>



Remember you have until December 12 to get your 
25% off shopping code 
for the P. Allen Smith eStore by going to 


plus you will automatically be entered into a drawing 
for one of ten $50 gift cards. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pumpkin Roll

I know this is pumpkin season, but I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of the traditional pumpkin pie. I do, however, love a good pumpkin roll. If you're planning to make a pumpkin roll for the holidays, THIS is it. This recipe was inspired from Trisha Yearwood's pumpkin roll, but it has been adapted a bit. The recipe was already great, but my sister thought of adding freshly ground nutmeg and walnuts, and now it is super. But don't take my word for it, I'll let the pumpkin roll speak for itself.






Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2 jellyroll pan with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper. Spray the top of the parchment paper with cooking spray.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and lemon juice until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the batter with the chopped walnuts. Bake in preheated oven for 14 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 5 minutes, then invert cake onto a wire rack. Spread a large tea towel out flat and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Carefully transfer the cake to the towel, folding in the sides of the towel over cake. Beginning on one of the short sides of the cake, roll the cake up in the towel and cool in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes.

Using an electric mixer, beat powdered sugar together with cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Carefully unroll the cake and spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cake. Gently re-roll the cake and refrigerate. Dust with powdered sugar just before slicing and serving.





<<<<<>>>>>




Remember you have until December 12 to get your 
25% off shopping code 
for the P. Allen Smith eStore by going to 


plus you will automatically be entered into a drawing 
for one of ten $50 gift cards. 



<<<<<>>>>>





This recipe has been shared with: