Homemade Cherry Pie

Homemade Cherry Pie.

On a recent visit to an awesome new grocery store that opened up near us called Fresh Thyme, I discovered they carried big 2.5 lb bags of red sour pie cherries.  I was so excited!  This is something hard to find where we live.  You can find dark sweet cherries everywhere, and they are delicious for eating, but to make a good old-fashioned homemade cherry pie, you have to have the sour cherries.

I snagged a couple bags and was excited to get to make a cherry pie for hubby for Valentine’s Day last week.

If you are lucky enough to find sour cherries, here is the simple, old-fashioned recipe I use to make a classic cherry pie.

Bake a little love!

Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine cherries, sugar, tapioca, and almond extract.  Mix well, and let sit while preparing pie crust.

Prepare crust and place bottom layer in pie plate.  Fill with cherry mixture.  Top filling with dabs of butter followed by top crust, being sure to cut slits or a shape to allow bubbling and steam to escape.  Spread a small amount of milk or water on top crust, and sprinkle with an additional tablespoon of sugar if desired.

Place pie in oven.  Cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning.  Bake approximately one hour.  Remove foil and continue baking until filling bubbles out of top and crust is beautifully browned.

Allow to cool completely to set.  Serve with scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Homemade Apple Fritters

Homemade Apple Fritters.

Last Sunday, Hubby had to get up very early – really the middle of the night – to work during a winter weather event in our area.

Missing Sunday breakfast, I wanted to make him a special treat for when he returned home.

With some wonderful Misfits Market apples in the crisper, I thought I’d try my hand at homemade apple fritters.

Who can resist a fresh apple fritter??!!

A couple tips from a first-time apple fritter maker:

  • Don’t heat the oil too hot.  Be patient and use a medium heat.  Better to fry them a little longer and get a golden brown than to overcook the outside and undercook the inside with high heat.  (Which, by the way, is what I did with the first batch of three, resulting in us only having three total!)
  • Spread them a little flatter than I did so you get more icing in each bite as the dough itself only contains a small amount of sugar. (This was hubby’s suggestion!)
  • Use a sweeter, less firm apple for best results.  I would not recommend Granny Smith.  The recipe calls for 3 medium apples, but you could really add another apple, which I will do next time.

Let me know if you try and/or if you have made and have any of your own tips.  We sure enjoyed these on a cold, snowy, comfort food, stay-in kind of day.

Here is the recipe I very slightly adapted from I am Baker‘s blog.

Homemade Apple Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil  for frying
  • Glaze
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 4 tsp. water (or enough for best consistency)

Directions:

In a small bowl, drizzle lemon juice over diced apples.  Stir to coat.  Set aside.

In electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs on medium-high speed until combined.  Reduce speed to low, and add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix until combined.  Add milk, and mix until incorporated.  Fold in apples with spatula.

Fill a frying pan halfway full with oil.  Heat over medium heat to 375 degrees F.

Drop three 1/4-1/3 cup portions of batter into the oil.  Let fry for a few minutes until golden brown.  Flip and fry until other side is golden brown.  Test for doneness by inserting a small knife in center.  If uncooked batter remains, fry longer.

Remove fritters from oil with slotted spoon to wire rack layered with paper towels or napkins to drain.  Allow to cool.

Repeat with remaining three portions of batter.

Prepare glaze by combining powdered sugar, vanilla, and water.  Drizzle over cooled fritters on cooling rack.  When glaze has set, turn to coat other side with glaze that dripped through, if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread

Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread.

Calling all bread lovers!

Calling all dill pickle lovers!

Calling all lovers of easy recipes that rock!

My cousin, who I affectionately refer to as “Oh Rob,” recently shared this recipe he made for his pickle-loving grandson.  Oh Rob loves to bake bread, and he loves his grandson even more!  This recipe was a match made in heaven for these two.

The idea really intrigued me and sounded so good. I knew I had to try it.

We are a dill pickle lovin’ family too.

And who doesn’t love bread?!

So I ever so slightly adapted the recipe and made it this past Sunday for dinner to serve along with spaghetti.  We loved it!

Give it a try, and let me know what you think.  Here is how I made it.

Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105-110°F)
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice, warmed (105-110°F)
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. dried dill weed or 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large dill pickles, sliced or chopped
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
Directions:

Combine warm water, warm pickle juice, sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl or measuring cup. Let stand 10 minutes.

Whisk together flour, dill, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add pickle juice mixture and 2 tablespoons of the oil; stir until combined and dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and stretchy.

Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil in the bowl to coat; add dough, and turn to coat. Cover with towel, and let stand in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Punch down dough. Place on a lightly oiled 18- x 13-inch rimmed baking stone sheet. Press and stretch dough to edges of baking sheet. Cover with towel, and let stand in a warm place 15 minutes.

Using the end of a wooden spoon, make indentions evenly over dough. Top evenly with cheese and pickles.  Bake until lightly golden and cooked through,  approximately 20 minutes.

Sprinkle top with sea salt flakes, if desired. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  I will be taking a holiday blogging break until after Christmas and the New Year.  Wishing you all the joy of this festive season!

Fancy Sprinkles

Fancy Sprinkles.

I’ve mentioned before...  I kinda have a “thing” for sprinkles.

Well… what a SWEET surprise I came home to yesterday after an especially long day at the office to find a glittery, sparkly package in the mail pile with a sweet note from my bestie!

She has a knack for always knowing the right timing and just the right thing!

I’ve recently had a couple cookie fails in my attempts to try “something new” for Christmas cookies.

UGH!

Yep – happens to all of us I guess.

One was with a “best ever” sugar cookie recipe a baking blogger claimed to have refined after many attempts to create the absolute best.

Well…. NOT!  At least for me.  I knew when I made the dough, it wasn’t right….

Take it from someone who bakes cookies almost every week.  You get a “feel” for it.

I told hubby the dough felt dry, and I didn’t think they were going to turn out.

I baked a batch, and yep…. DRY!  (Though hubby didn’t seem to mind spreading jam on them like biscuits and enjoying them.

For some reason, I just can’t seem to make sugar cut-out cookies.  Anybody else have a “best ever” recipe I should try?

So even though it was late, I just couldn’t resist whipping up a batch of Sprinkle Cookies from a recipe I knew was yummy with these special Fancy Sprinkles.

I made one batch with the beautiful blue and white “Frostbite” sprinkles that had  hearts and stars and pearls and blue metallic balls and another batch with the adorable red, brown, and white “Peppermint Hot Chocolate” sprinkles – complete with tiny gingerbread men and mini marshmallows!

And, ironically, earlier in the day, a coworker and I laughed about the love her 6-year old son has for sprinkles and how he chose the “sprinkliest” cake he could find for his “second” birthday cake this year.

If you’d like my recipe for Sprinkle Cookies, just click here.  They are fun and festive and delicious!  I added just a smidge less flour to this batch and flattened the dough balls just a bit before baking to make this batch a little chewier.   I like how they turned out.  You can always adjust the amount of flour a bit to make your cookies flatter or thicker.

Thanks for sprinkling me with your friendship and love, Jill!

Happy holiday baking friends!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies.

It’s December, and that means time to start Christmas cookie baking!

These cookies are a wonderful version of pecan pie in a cookie!

They are similar to Pecan Tassies, but a lot easier.

The cookie is buttery and shortbread-like, while the filling is nutty and sticky and sweet and AMAZING!

I had a little bit of extra filling left that I just couldn’t throw away, so I spread it on a sheet of crescent roll dough, rolled it up, and sliced it into 8 easier-than-pie pecan “sticky buns!”

So
worth
it!

Hope you will give these yummy cookies a try for something new on your Christmas cookie baking list.  I do believe these will become a regular in our home!

Here is the recipe I found at  Crazy for Crust, which I only slightly altered.  Thanks for a great recipe, Dorothy!

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

Cookie Batter:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Pecan Pie Filling:

  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse or flaked salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4-5 Tbsp. Half and Half or Heavy Cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Optional:  Powdered sugar for sprinkling on top of cooled cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat brown sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in electric mixer until creamy.   Add in baking powder, salt, and flour, and mix on low speed until well combined.

Shape dough, two tablespoons at a time, into balls, and place the balls two inches apart on a baking stone or cookie sheet.  Indent a hole in center with your thumb.

Prepare filling by stirring pecans, salt, brown sugar, and vanilla with cream until it forms a thick mixture.  Spoon approximately one teaspoonful into thumb indentation of each cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes on stone or cookie sheet before removing to rack to cool completely.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Cookies freeze well for up to a month.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Red Raspberry Dark Chocolate Puff Pastry Tarts

Red Raspberry Dark Chocolate Puff Pastry Tarts.

Phew!  That name is a mouthful….

But it really does say it all!

And I’m betting you would love a mouthful of these simple, but elegant and amazingly delicious treats!

I made these this past weekend for a Sunday family football dinner.

Would you believe me if I told you there are only three ingredients?!?!

Well – four if you count the powdered sugar you sprinkle on top.

Puff Pastry is such a dream to work with!

Keep these ingredients on hand and this recipe up your sleeve when you need a quick, but fabulous dessert or treat.

I’m betting you won’t be sorry. 😉

Red Raspberry Dark Chocolate Puff Pastry Tarts

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out one sheet of puff pastry, and cut into 9 squares approximately 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.  Place a teaspoon of raspberry jam in center of each square.  Top with a piece of dark chocolate.  Pull all four corners to center and pinch to seal.

Bake for 15-18 minutes on baking stone or cookie sheet until puffed and lightly browned.    Remove to cooling rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Serve warm or cold.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies.

It’s that time of year…

Time for baking things with pumpkin and spice and everything nice!

Though I almost always have my “almost-famous” chocolate chip cookies in the freezer,
these cookies just suit this time of year so perfectly.

Our gang loved them!  Hope you will too.

Here is the recipe as I very slightly adapted from the beautiful blog:  A Family Feast:

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • Dash salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar in the Raw Turbinado Cane Sugar

Directions:

Cream butter, sugar, and molasses with electric mixer 3-4 minutes until fluffy.  Add egg, followed by pumpkin, beating until mixed.

Slowly add in salt, baking powder and flour on low speed just until incorporated.

Divide dough into four logs, approximately 8 inches long.  Wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Pour Turbinado cane sugar into a shallow dish or pie plate.

Unwrap one log of dough at a time.

Roll log into sugar to coat.

Cut log into quarters.  Then cut each quarter into thirds.

Put cookie slices in sugar, coating both sides.

Place sugared cookie slices on baking stone or cookie sheet, and bake for approximately 12 minutes.

Remove from oven, and allow cookies to cool on baking stones/cookie sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks to cool completely. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Fresh Red Raspberry Pie

Fresh Red Raspberry Pie.

Before we fully embrace all things pumpkin and apple and cinnamon and spice for Fall, I decided to slide in one  last “Summery” pie for the season a week or so ago when my youngest son and his wife came over for dinner (knowing this is one of his faves).

Fresh red raspberries are such a treat all by themselves, but baked to overflowing  with a bit of tapioca inside a tender flaky pastry crust is pretty close to heaven.

Fresh red raspberries used to be a rare find in our part of the world, but they are quite prolific in the grocery stores year-round now.  Buying enough for a pie can be a bit pricey, but worth it for a treat every once in a while.

Grandma always said the only way to know when a berry pie is done is when it bubbles over into the oven, so that is how I gauge the time too!

Here is my simple, old-fashioned recipe.

Fresh Red Raspberry Pie

Ingredients:

Pie Crust:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • Heaping 2/3 cup Crisco shortening
  • 2 dashes of salt (12 shakes)
  • Approx. 1 cup cold water

Filling:

  • 5 cups fresh red raspberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tbsp tapioca
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 dash salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare filling by blending raspberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl.  Let sit while you prepare crust.

Prepare crust by blending flour, Crisco, and salt in a large bowl with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Add cold water and gently mix just until able to form a ball.  Divide dough in half, and put one half on floured surface to roll out.

IMPORTANT:  Do not overwork the dough.  It is not bread dough that needs kneaded.  The more you “work” pie crust, the tougher it will become.  The less you play with it, the more tender and flaky it will be.

Roll out first half using heavy floured marble rolling pin into a circle large enough to fill 9″ pie pan.  Lift it from the surface to your pie pan by folding it into quarters, then unfold it in the pan letting it hang over edges.

Roll out other half of dough into rectangle and cut into 8 strips to weave into a lattice topping.

Pour filling into bottom crust.  Top with 4 strips going same direction.  Weave by lifting two alternating and place one the opposite direction, the lifting the other two, and repeating.  Pinch top to bottom doughs together all around edges.

A nice finishing tough is to brush crust with some water and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Cover edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil or a pie crust shield (the most GENIUS invention ever in my baking opinion!)

Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 degrees F, and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes more.

Serve warm or cold topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

White Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies.

Last weekend we went to a Hawaiian Lua Party and Pig Roast.

Hubby “signed me up” to bring a dessert.

I had fun searching for a new cookie creation that could tie into the theme.

I found a recipe at Delightfulemade that included coconut and macadamia nuts that I slightly adapted.

Not only did they suit the theme, they were DELISH!

Not wanting to go to the grocery store, I needed to improvise on white chocolate chips.  I happened to have some White Chocolate Cupcake Hershey’s Kisses left over from something, so I chopped them up for the white chocolate chips.  YUM!!!

Next time I make these, I might try toasting the coconut first to step it up even one more notch.  (Let me know if you make and try toasting the coconut first!)

I know coconut is one of those things people typically LOVE or HATE.

Haters can hate, but lovers…. you’re gonna wanna make!

Here is the recipe:

White Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 2 8-oz. blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
  • 2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Directions:

Cream butter and cream cheese with electric mixer.  Add sugars, and beat until fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract mixing until combined.

Add salt and baking soda, followed by flour, mixing until combined.  Add white chocolate, coconut and macadamia nuts to the batter, and mix until incorporated.

Chill dough for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make golfball-sized balls of cookie dough.  Place on baking stone or cookie sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven when beginning to turn golden brown.  Press down on each cookie lightly to flatten.  Cool for 10 minutes on baking stone before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Aloha!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  I am nuts about this adorable kitchen sign my DIL made for our McKinneyX2designs shop!  Such a sweet gift for the bakers in your life!

Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake

Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake.

This is NOT your momma’s zucchini bread recipe!

Are you overloaded with zucchini and looking for new recipes to use up the abundance you have this time of year?

You have to try this amazing cake!  A co-worker made this to share for a recent celebration at work, and I knew I had to make it.

I modified it slightly from the recipe he found at I Am Baker by cutting the frosting in half, and it was absolutely amazing.

Go bake this!

Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • Lemon Buttercream Frosting
    • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
    • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 Tbsp)
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • Dash salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

Shred zucchini and spread out on a clean dish towel.  Roll up and squeeze gently to drain a bit of the excess water.  Set aside 2 cups of shredded zucchini.

Beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, sugar, and lemon zest with electric mixer.  Gently fold in the zucchini.

Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Stir until incorporated.  Gently fold in the blueberries.

Pour half of batter into each cake pan.

Bake approximately 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Prepare lemon butter cream frosting by beating butter, sugar, salt, lemon juice and vanilla with electric mixer until creamy.

Spread on top of each layer, leaving sides “naked.”

Decorate with additional fresh blueberries, lemon zest, zucchini blossoms, and powdered sugar if desired.

Refrigerate.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi