Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The BEST Apple Cinnamon Bread

On our trip to the mountains in October 2013 {the one I said I'd fill you in on and never got around to...}, we visited and apple orchard. My mom and step-dad raved about the goodies sold at the orchard; the fried pies and apple bread, particularly. Well, I was very unimpressed with both. After tasting the goods, herself, my mom agreed that they weren't very good, and they must have changed things up a bit. Also, that we wouldn't go to that orchard next year {but we did still go to that orchard this year}.

So, I'm sitting in my kitchen, and I cut a slice of the apple bread, very much anticipating the goodness to come. I was just flat out pissed. For starters, this bread was around $5 or $6 a loaf... which is ridiculous if you ask me. But mostly, because there was a built up expectation and this bread, bit the big one. It was not even worth the calories. I ate it anyway... most of it anyway. Then I decided, screw this... even I can make better apple bread than that.

So I did. And it is AWESOME and fairly easy. My mom agreed that mine was dang good, Maybe I should charge for it?  Nah, I'm too lazy for that mess.
{I don't know why it's all yellowy and greeny... I edited it on my phone... that must be why.}

I used the basic bread recipe for Nana's Sunday Bread. {This is my go to bread recipe, I love it... and it's so easy!}

Bread Dough
1 1/3 cup hot water
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
3 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
2 teaspoons salt {I use Sea Salt}
2 cups Bread Flour
2 cups All Purpose Flour

Apple Filling
3-4 Medium to large Granny Smith Apples, Gingergolds are great in this too.
{use 3 if they are large}
2.5 Tsp. Cinnamon
2 Large or Extra Large egg yolks
1/4 C. Sugar

Cinnamon Glaze
1.5 C. Confectioners Sugar
2 TBSP unsalted butter, melted {optional}
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1/4 Tsp. cinnamon {heaping}
2 TBSP Milk {or water} 

Put the water and yeast in the mixing bowl and let it sit for around 5 minutes, or until the yeast froth starts floating. {I'm really not sure if "yeast froth" is accurate terminology... but it is now! See what I just did there?}

Add the oil, honey and 2 cups of bread flour. Mix until combined. 
Cover and let sit for 15-30 min.

Add salt and last 2 cups of All Purpose flour
With the mixer on low, knead for 7 min {or hand knead it, it will be softer that way} 

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (30-45 min)


While the dough is rising, again... mix the filling ingredients in a bowl. Then, peel, core and chop your apples into small pieces. Add them into the bowl and mix the filling in with them. It may seem a little dry or like it isn't liquidy enough{yes, it's a word}, but it will all work out, I promise. The apples will start seeping juice and you'll wonder why you doubted me ;)

When the dough is done rising, shape it into a rectangle, like you would if you were making a regular loaf. Spread the apple filling onto the rectangle {mostly in the center}. It will seem like there are way to many apples {if such a thing exists}. It will work out, I promise. 

Shape into loaf {Press into a rectangle on clean surface approximately the width of pan and 
then roll it into itself}.

Then slice the loaf in small sections {about 1-2 inches} all the way down. Do the same in the other direction. Take your hands and put the contents into two pans lined with parchment paper on the bottom and let rise until it's level or a little over the top of the pan. 

{this was a bit too many apples, I should've used 3 instead of 4} 

 {after filling the loaf pans}

{after letting it rise a bit}

Preheat your oven to 350F.
Bake the loaves on the baking sheet for 30 minutes. Cover the loaves loosely with aluminum foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 210F.

Transfer the loaf pans to a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Take the loaves out of the pans and place on the cooling racks. Make sure you have some parchment paper underneath the racks. Glaze generously! 

For the Glaze: Mix vanilla, milk/water, cinnamon and melted butter together and sift in the confectioners sugar gradually, while whisking. You can easily add more water or sugar to gain the desired consistency.

You're Welcome.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blueberry Glazed Biscuits

{really sorry for the gross green tint on the plate... it was white on my phone!!}

After I got my two oldest off to school one morning this past spring, and the two youngest down for naps, I realized I was hungry and hadn't had breakfast! I was trying to think what I could whip up, and so I thought I'd make some of Gramma Addie's Biscuits. Then I started thinking, mmmmm, I have some blueberries in the freezer. So, I whipped up these babies, and ya know what.... they were AWESOME!  I've tried toying with Gramma's biscuit recipe before... I made some cinnamon sugar biscuits... they were alright... but nothing to write home about, I more recently tried making a pumpkin spice version, that was a big flop! But these are pretty dang good!

These blueberry ones... NAILED IT! So I will shut my mouth, and get on with it.

2 C. Self- Rising Flour
1/3 C. Sugar
3/4-1 C. milk {scant}
1 stick {4 tbsp.} salted butter, cut small
Large handful or so of blueberries {I like a lot in mine}

Small handful of blueberries
~1 to 1 1/2 C. Confectioners sugar {sifted}

Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Mix all ingredients {except blueberries} together until combined and then fold in the blueberries. Scoop into a muffin pan with liners. Bake for about 15-17 minutes.

While those are baking make the glaze. Take a small handful of blueberries and crush them to your desired crush-ed-ness. I left mine fairly big, but you do want to make sure you get at least a couple of tablespoons of juice out, then just add your SIFTED confectioners sugar and whisk to your preferred consistency, and spread over the biscuits while they are warm, let the glaze set for a few minutes and enjoy!

{Note: You don't want to overdo the glaze because of the sugar in the biscuit mix, it will be too much.
Also, I like to put them in muffin cups so they stay fluffy and reserve their shape... they can go flat like a muffin top otherwise.}

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sausage Minestrone Soup

Sorry for the phone pictures. Let's be real... It's a miracle that I'm posting to begin with {on my phone no less!}

As the Arctic Vortex settled into my neck of the woods, I was in the mood for some soup. My go-to's are usually chicken and rice, chicken noodle, or vegetable beef. I was in the mood for something different and needed to clean out my fridge. I tossed this together and it turned out really well. "Legit" to be exact... Were the words of a friend whom I sent some some with. I didn't write things down as I conjured this up, I do apologize for that. This is my best recollection of it. 

4 links Nettles Smoked Sausage, sliced {This is a local sausage brand, I don't know where all it's available}
3 Yellow squash quartered and chopped
2 Zuccini (same)
1 Can diced tomatoes
3 Stalks celery, chopped
5-6 Carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced in to eighths
1/2 a large bag of Kale
1 bag 15 bean soup (toss the seasoning packet in the trash, we don't use it) I got this at Publix, I'm sure anything similar would work just as well.
2-4 qts vegetable broth or stock (SWANSON'S, don't skip the Swanson's) {add more water as needed
1-2 Tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 Tsp Oregano
1/4 Tsp Thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tsp Minced garlic

Pre soak beans over night or boil on high for about an hour or two (read the package instructions).
Saute sausage, onions, garlic and celery until soft and add to pot.
Add broth and some water ( I only had one or two qts of broth on hand). Add all the other veggies and cook on medium to medium high until all veggies are cooked through, about an hour or two.
This makes a huge pot. It fed about 10 people and had leftovers.