Apple Cranberry Hand Pies

Fall is the season of pies. There is just something comforting and cozy about smelling butter, discount cinnamon and harvest fruits oozing out of the oven and into the rest of the house.  Although apple and pumpkin are classic fall pies I am trying to experiment with new flavor profiles and combinations this fall. I am looking forward to baking with pears, salve a fruit I don’t give enough credit to for its flavor and versatility and pumpkin, a vegetable that is only used in October and November and therefore does not get enough time to shine.

My first pies of the season were apple cranberry hand pies. Hand pies are a trend I like, but I actually prefer a slice of pie. Hand pies are more convenient to eat but are more time consuming and tedious to make. You also do not get as much filling and cannot easily eat the pie with ice cream.

photoA few weeks ago I picked up this handy hand pie mold from Loblaws for $5.00. I picked it up in the hopes that this mold would ease the process of making hand pies. The one pictured is actually from Williams-Sonoma and therefore probably unnecessarily expensive and not worth it. However, for $5.00 – how can you say no?

I promptly threw out the recipe with the box and had to scour the internet for an alternative recipe, which lead me to Williams-Sonoma’s apple cranberry recipe and photo of the device.

IMG_4578Apple cranberry is a type of pie I had never had before but it is delicious and I recommend everyone try it/make it. The cranberry tartness rounds out the sweetness from the apples and brown sugar. The cranberry works with the spiciness of the cinnamon and nutmeg in a different way than the apple does, bringing together a new type of flavor from the apples and cranberry. It’s a new spin on a classic fall pie.

Recipe below the cut and happy munching!

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Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

Happy birthday to my friend, Rachel!

On October 21st, Rachel celebrated her birthday. I wasn’t able to go out for the delicious dinner that was planned for that evening so we met up with our boyfriends (who are best friends and this is how we met) on the following Tuesday for mini pizzas and cupcakes.

1. I will always make cupcakes for your birthday if a) I love you and/or b) if you ask. Keep that in mind, friends! You can always get baked goods from me. Also, if you don’t want cupcakes but I love you, you will also still get them. This seems like a win-win situation for everyone.

2. I decided to make these cupcakes because I had debated making them for my own birthday. I know that seems slightly selfish but when it was my birthday, I had run the possible cupcake flavours past Rachel and she was intrigued by both the pumpkin and the apple, so I am a good friend, I promise!

3. These cupcakes were sweet, moist and had a warm blend of spices. I would have liked a stronger apple flavour. The recipe used applesauce rather than real apples but still used butter. This is interesting because typically recipes use applesauce so they can be vegan, but this recipe just used it for the flavour. This is valid but I am always on the lookout for a good vegan recipe because I have yet to find one for cupcakes and it is just good to have in your baking arsenal.

4. My favourite part was the icing. It was cream cheese icing but it was made even better by the addition of brown sugar, rather than icing or white sugar. This icing was unbelievable, you don’t even know. With my new mixer I can whip cream cheese and butter into submission and make velvety smooth and light icing. The brown sugar added a spicy, sweetness and it worked perfectly with the cake base. I would never think of adding a sugar that wasn’t icing sugar to an icing but this worked amazing. It piped out perfectly and held its form nicely.

These were a hit and made the birthday girl happy, which in the end, is all the matters on someone’s birthday. Happy birthday, Rachel! Hope it was a great one and that the upcoming year is great!

Recipe is below the cut. Happy munching!

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Apple & Salted Caramel Pops

Apple and caramel are a classic fall combination. Salted caramel is a sophisticated twist on this simple, rich treat. Last week I took this classic combination and made it into a delicious, cool as fall treat: Apple and Salted Caramel pops.

My only complaint with these pops is that they are far too sweet. This recipe calls for both salted caramel and simple syrup which is completely unnecessary. Apples are already sweet and the salted caramel is incredibly sweet on its own. i would suggest not adding simple syrup to these pops.

Recipe is below the cut. Happy munching!

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Brie & Apple Tart

Round II – Cooking at home. I made Martha Stewart’s Brie & Apple Tart from her Pies & Tarts cookbook. This tart is easy to make and delicious too!

1. I bought three spring form pans from Kitchen Stuff Plus for $14.99 – amazing! I know this has very little to do with the recipe and the process of making it but I got very excited and I feel like I need to tell as many people as possible about this deal so they can take advantage of it.

2. This was the first pie crust I ever made! I think this is a major step for me in my baking career. The reason I have never made a proper pie is because my mom makes the best pies ever and I really can’t compete with them so I don’t bother. But I think that might change now. One issue I had with my crust was I didn’t make it high enough so there was a slight egg/cream explosion which luckily happened on a baking sheet.

3. This tart is creamy, fluffy and light but watch out. You will think you can eat more than you probably should and then your belly will be full of dairy goodness. Cream + brie +  milk = yes, please. It might have been particularly creamy because I put 1 cup of cream instead of a 1/2 cup – what can you do? Besides go to the gym… The crust is salty, and flaky and the perfect base for this tart. And the apple! Perfectly browned in the pan first and then placed in the tart. I think next time I might do a twist on this recipe and brown the apples in some brown sugar and cinnamon. How good would that be? Obviously you would omit the thyme.

4. The thyme perfectly complicated the egg, cheese and cream and gave it such a rich, French-inspired taste. I was happy to eat it in my fun, yellow kitchen.

I would make this again. And maybe try not to eat half of it in one sitting..

Recipe below.

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