Thursday, September 26, 2013

Apple time is here!

Fall with its bright gold, red, yellow and orange colors set against the BLUE of a North Carolina mountain sky is my favorite time of year! I can't decide whether I'd rather cook or paint. This week, it's cook!

My partner in all things crazy and fun and I went to Blue Ridge, GA (about 45 minutes from home) to Mercier's Orchards and came away with bags of  beautiful, fresh apples! There is absolutely no comparison between grocery store apples and these fresh from the trees. As a matter of fact, I refuse to buy apples in the grocery store anymore. I'm sooooo spoiled to the delicious taste, crisp texture and freshness of these apples. And I am so blessed to live in driving distance to make several trips each fall when different favorite varieties ripen. This was the first trip of the season and our choices this week were Jonathon and Jonagolds. I came home that night and (with a little nudge from DH) baked Apple Crisp. We just happened to have ice cream in the freezer and when the Apple Crisp came out of the oven, we waited for it to cool just long enough not to melt the ice cream! Yes, that was a nano second! The aroma of cinnamon and apples was heavenly! The Apple Crisp perfect! Yes, Fall is HERE!

Here is the recipe for you. When you are choosing apples to cook with, look for those with round bottoms. They are cooking apples. The ones with pointed bottoms are eating apples. I like a crisp apple that will not cook to pieces. The Jonathons were just right.

Apple Crisp
5 or 6 apples, enough to cover the bottom of a 9x13-in pan 2 inches deep, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal (NOT instant)
3/4 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine apples, 1 cup sugar, 1 Tablespoon flour and cinnamon in 9x13-inch baking pan. Pour water over mixture. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Stir with a fork until mixture becomes crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until topping is lightly browned and crunchy. Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream.

Self rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder +1/2 teaspoon salt

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

  • I've not posted in a while because I've been running over the mountain and down the road to Atlanta every Thursday for the past 5 weeks.... to the orthopedics doctor for knee injections! 
  • This is a valiant effort to keep me out of the OR for knee replacement for as long as possible. I know that I will face it one day, but not now.  I really appreciate my doctor and her staff  and thank them in cookies ( and homemade marshmallows in winter). 
  • Mama taught me that " you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar"  and I firmly believe it! In this case, it's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies. The recipe is "stolen" fair and square from the King Arthur Flour website. They are the BEST source for baking recipes. I've had several disasters with cookie recipes from blogger sites found on Pinterest. I'm back to following sites that I know I can trust! 
  • The original recipe calls for mini peanut butter cups. Since I didn't plan far enough ahead to order from King Arthur, I used Reese's mini peanut butter cups ( already unwrapped) from the candy aisle. If you like/love chocolate and peanut butter, these will be a favorite! I expect the staff will be thrilled!  And I will be happy to celebrate the last injection! 


1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
2) In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
3) In another bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
4) Beat in the vanilla, egg, and water, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.
5) Stir in the mini peanut butter cups.
6) Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here. Flatten each cookie to about 1/2" thick.
7) Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they're set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies.