Sweets for the Sweet

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. But who wants to catch flies?

Wild Cooking Woman

Layered Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies

Equipment

  • 10 by 2 in [25 by 5 cm] heart pan (you can also use a 9 by 13 in [23 by 33 cm])

Ingredients

Brownie Base

  • 1 recipe My Favorite Brownies baked and cooled in a heart-shaped pan (or a 9 x 13 [23 by 33 cm] works, too)

Peanut Butter Filling

  • 1 ½ cups [323 g] creamy peanut butter (like Jif or Skippy, not a natural kind)
  • ½ cup [60 g] confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 tablespoons [57 g] unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup [60 g] cacao nibs

Chocolate Ganache

  • 10 oz [283 g] semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
  • 1 cup [240 g] heavy cream

Instructions

  • Bake the brownies according to recipe, in a 10 by 2 in [25 by 5 cm] heart-shaped pan if desired.

For the filling

  • Set aside cacao nibs. In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt, and stir until completely smooth.

For the Ganache

  • Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it is simmering and just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the plastic and whisk until completely smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

To Assemble

  • When the brownie has cooled, remove it from the pan and place it on a wire rack set over a parchment-lined sheet pan. Place the peanut butter filling on top and use an offset spatula to smooth the peanut butter. Sprinkle the cacao nibs evenly over the peanut butter. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the freezer, and pour the room-temperature ganache over the top of the peanut butter. Use an offset spatula to carefully smooth it over the top of the bars if needed. Let the bars sit until the chocolate is set. Cut the brownie into pieces. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

Brownies may take slightly longer to bake in the 10 in heart shaped pan, as there is more batter to pan ratio. 

Hello Dolly Bars

BY CARRIE VASIOS MULLINS Updated January 06, 2023

Ingredients
● 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
● 3 cups (about a 13 1/2 ounce box) graham cracker crumbs
● 2 cups (about 12 ounces) dark or semisweet chocolate chips
● 2 cups (about 8 ounces) pecans, roughly chopped
● 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut flakes
● 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Press evenly into bottom of 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Top crust with chocolate chips, followed by pecans, and finally coconut. Drizzle with condensed milk. Bake until any crust visible is golden brown and the coconut begins to toast, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. To cut easily, let sit in refrigerator for an hour before serving. Cut into 12 bars. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, though especially if your kitchen runs hot, they are safest kept in the fridge.

Supersized, Super-Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

from King Arthur Baking Company – Recipe of the Year 2024!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (426g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 16 tablespoons (226g) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup (113g) milk, whole preferred
  • 2 3/4 cups (330g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, divided
  • 2 large eggs, cold from the refrigerator
  • 1 tablespoon King Arthur Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups (340g) semisweet chocolate, preferably 60% to 65% cocoa content*

*Use chopped wafers or bars for best results; if using chocolate chips, chop them roughly before incorporating. 

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar and salt. Set aside.  
  2. To brown the butter: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. After several minutes, the butter will sizzle and may spatter. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan regularly, for about 5 to 7 minutes, until it’s a dark golden brown color and brown bits start collecting at the bottom of the pan; the butter will have stopped sizzling and may also have a layer of foam on the surface. 
  3. Once the butter is browned, immediately pour it over the sugar mixture (be sure to scrape out the brown bits at the bottom) and whisk vigorously to combine; this helps dissolve the sugar slightly and creates the shiny surface of the baked cookies. (The mixture will stay lumpy and won’t become smooth at this point.) Set the empty saucepan aside to cool slightly. 
  4. To make the tangzhong: In the same saucepan used to brown the butter, combine the milk with 3 tablespoons (23g) of the bread flour and whisk until no lumps remain.  
  5. Place the saucepan over low heat and cook the mixture, stirring regularly with a whisk and then a flexible spatula, until it’s thickened, paste-like, and starts to come together into one mass, about 2 to 3 minutes. 
  6. Remove from the heat and transfer directly to the bowl with the butter and sugar. Whisk until mostly smooth; some lumps of the tangzhong mixture are OK.  
  7. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue whisking until smooth. 
  8. Weigh or measure the remaining 2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (307g) bread flour by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Add the bread flour to the bowl with the butter and sugar, then add the baking powder and baking soda. Using a whisk or flexible spatula, stir until well combined and no dry spots remain. 
  9. Place the bowl, uncovered, in the refrigerator and allow it to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. 
  10. While the batter is cooling, use a serrated knife to roughly chop the chocolate into coarse pieces. Avoid chopping the chocolate too fine, as small pieces will melt when mixed into the dough.  
  11. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and fold in the chopped chocolate. Cover the bowl and return to the refrigerator for 24 to 72 hours to allow the flavors to intensify. 
  12. To bake the cookies: When you’re ready to bake, remove the chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow it to warm up slightly. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. 
  13. Scoop the dough into 85g to 90g portions; a level scone and muffin scoop works well here. If you’re scooping by hand, the mounds of dough should be about 2 1/4″ in diameter. To make smaller cookies (that are still generous in size), scoop the dough into 50g portions using a jumbo cookie scoop
  14. Arrange the scooped cookie dough on parchment-lined baking sheets, them 3″ to 4″ apart. (Five dough balls fit perfectly on a half-sheet pan. The 90g cookies can be arranged in a 2-1-2 pattern; the 50g cookies can be arranged in a slightly staggered 4 x 2 pattern.) For consistently shaped cookies, roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball before baking.
  15. Bake the large (90g) chocolate chip cookies for 18 to 22 minutes or the smaller (50g) cookies for 15 to 18 minutes, until the edges are set and the cookies are browned, rotating the pan halfway through baking to ensure even browning. (For best results, bake one pan of cookies at a time.) Remove the cookies from the oven and let them rest on the baking sheets until cool enough to handle, at least 15 minutes. 
  16. Storage information: Store leftover chocolate chip cookies, covered, for up to 5 days; their slightly crispy edges will soften and the cookies will maintain a soft texture. Freeze baked cookies for longer storage. 

Berry Buttermilk Cake

By Dawn Perry

INGREDIENTS

Yield:1 (9-inch) square or round cake

  • ½ cup/120 milliliters vegetable oil or other neutral oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters buttermilk or milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup/200 grams plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups/190 grams plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1(10-ounce/285-gram) bag frozen berries (about 2 cups), any kind, any combination (large berries quartered)

PREPARATION

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/154037249742795916/
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 9-inch baking dish or pan (square or round is OK) with oil and line with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup oil, buttermilk or milk, eggs, vanilla, and 1 cup sugar. In a separate medium bowl, whisk 1½ cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Whisk wet ingredients into dry until just combined. (Some small lumps are fine.) Toss berries on a plate with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour. Fold into batter and transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 53 to 58 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Cake will keep, loosely wrapped at room temperature, for about 4 days.

My notes: I made this with fresh blackberries, fresh blueberries, and 2 very ripe unpeeled Bartlett pears. I also used Mexican vanilla because I couldn’t find the vanilla paste and I was hungry. I added an extra 1/4 cup flour because pears are juicy. When I mixed the wet and dry ingredients together, I had a really thick batter. I didn’t feel like cutting parchment paper to fit, so I used baking spray, the kind with flour and oil. After I spread the cake in the pan, I covered the top of the cake with raw sugar, the brown crunchy kind. I baked it for an hour. It looked exactly like the photo but tasted so much better.

Apple Danish Braid with Cream Cheese

Author Sarah Kieffer (from The Vanilla Bean Blog. Sarah is the author of three cookbooks and creator of the popular Pan-banging Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. She lives in Minneapolis and loves baking and listening to Ella Fitzgerald.) Be sure and look at her website for pictures. That makes it much easier.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole milk warm (100-110F)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (355g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick | 57g) European style butter, room temperature
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks | 170g) European style butter, cold, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • Apple Jelly or Apple Butter (apple butter tastes better)

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon lemon juice

Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon creme fraiche, optional

Instructions

For the easy Danish dough

  • Grease a large bowl.
  • In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, egg, yolks, and vanilla.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt on low. Add the room-temperature butter and mix on low until it is incorporated into the flour and no pieces are visible. Add the cold butter and mix on low, until it is broken down and smashed a bit, but still in 1/2-inch pieces. Add the milk mixture and mix on low until combined. The dough will be very sticky and there will be visible lumps of butter. Using a spatula, scrape the dough into the prepared bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 3 days.
  • The next morning, transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface. Knead 10-12 times, until the dough forms a ball. Cover the top lightly with flour and cover it with a tea towel, let rest until it comes to room temperature. Pat the dough into a 6-inch square and roll into a 16 by 20-inch rectangle. If the dough sticks at all, sprinkle more flour underneath it. Brush any excess flour off the dough, and, using a bench scraper, fold the short ends of the dough over the middle to make three layers, similar to a business letter. This is the first turn.
  • Flip the dough over (seam side down) and roll into an 8 x 16-inch rectangle. Fold the short ends over the middle, business letter style. Repeat the steps again, for a total of four turns.
  • On the last turn, gently use the rolling pin to compress the layers together slightly. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before using or keep refrigerated for 2 days.

For the cream cheese filling

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sugar, salt, vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and mix on low until completely combined. Taste the filling, and add a little more lemon juice if the flavor is dull. (The filling shouldn’t taste like lemon, but a little bit of lemon juice will add a bright note to the filling. When tasting, look for a bit of a zing in your mouth that doesn’t scream lemon.) Cover the filling and set aside until ready to use.

For the glaze

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla, and salt (if using the creme fraiche, add here, too). Add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin the icing to a preferred consistency. Add 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice, and taste for brightness (add more if needed, but again, you don’t want a lemon flavor here).

To assemble

  • Cut the Danish dough into two equal pieces. Roll the first piece of dough into a 10 x 14-inch rectangle, using enough flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the surface or the rolling pin. Transfer the piece of dough to a piece of parchment paper (this will make moving the braid much easier). Spread half of the cream cheese filling down the center of the dough, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Top the cream cheese with about 3/4 cup of the apple jelly. Carefully cut 1/2-inch thick strips of dough (a pastry cutter works best here), doing your best to make the strips even and equal on both sides. Starting with the top two pieces, gently twist then cross the pieces over the top of the filling. Continue the same motion of twisting the pieces and crossing them all the way down the braid. When you get to the end of the braid, tuck the loose ends underneath the braid (this way they won’t pop out when baking). Repeat with the second piece of dough.
  • Move the braids (on the parchment) to baking sheets, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the Danish braid rise until puffy (similar to a marshmallow when pressed), about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position. Preheat the oven to 350F. (I like to bake mine one at a time, but you could bake them together – adjust oven racks instead to upper and lower middle positions, then rotate sheets to opposite oven racks halfway through baking.
  • Lightly brush the braids with egg wash. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the baking sheets to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Drizzle the braids with the glaze.

Rice Pudding with Leftover Cooked Rice

  • 1 ½ cup cooked white rice
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste

Instructions

  1. Place the cooked rice along with the milk, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir frequently and gently until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the beaten egg, heavy cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and set aside.
  3. Pour the sugar into the rice mixture and stir to combine. 
  4. Stream in the heavy cream mixture, stirring constantly until combined. 
  5. When it is thickened, take the pot off the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. 
  6. Let cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and serve.

Just a note: I hate raisins.

Adapted from The Silly Girl’s Kitchen

Do you make pancakes? If so, be sure to get your pan or griddle hot enough before pouring out that delicious batter. How can you tell? Hold your hand over the pan – don’t touch it – and see if you can feel the heat. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the pan – if they sizzle and disappear, the pan is hot enough. Use an electric griddle or skillet heated to about 375F. Want more pancake advice? Go here or here.

Apple Fritters

I use 3-4 good cooking apples of different kinds, i.e. Granny Smith, Gala, Honey Crisp, and Cameo. I also use either apple cider or apple juice that I’ve cooked down by half instead of sparking apple cider. I like a combination of cinnamon and nutmeg. Twice as much cinnamon as nutmeg is about right. I always keep vanilla paste in case I don’t have a vanilla bean. Substitute 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste for the vanilla bean.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3-4 large apples, peeled and chopped
  • for the glaze: 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 2-3 Tablespoons milk, half and half or cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and melted butter.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  4. Cook the apples in the butter for about 3-5 minutes until they are partially cooked. They should be soft but now browned. Let cool and fold in the apples.
  5. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, drop the batter into the hot oil in small batches.
  7. Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
  8. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  9. Make the glaze and drizzle the glaze over the fritters, or dunk the fritters in the glaze and let drip over a rack sitting on waxed paper.

100-Hour Brownies

Ingredients

Butter mixture:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 coffee ice cube

Batter mixture:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces 75% cacao chocolate, melted
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Chopped chocolate:

  • 3-1/2 ounces chopped milk chocolate
  • 3-1/2 ounces chopped 75% cacao chocolate
  • 6 ounces chopped 75% cacao chocolate, for the topping

Here’s the hard part: You have to wrap that pan and put it in the fridge for three days.

You read that right. These brownies get chilled for 72 hours. If you’re like me your first question is why—why do we have to wait so long?! I asked Taste Of Home Test Kitchen experts to weigh in.

I don’t have enough refrigerator space to use this way for 4 days. Read HERE to find out if these brownies are worth it.

Lemon Custard Cake

Ingredients

  • 4 cold eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
  • Zest and juice of one lemon or 1 teaspoon lemon paste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla paste (optional)

Directions

  1. Line a 2-inch tall 8×8-inch cake pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 325°F. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, egg yolks, melted butter, your choice of lemon , and 1/2 cup of the milk. Whisk to combine and then whisk in the remaining milk.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the egg whites into the liquid mixture, folding in one-third of the egg whites at a time. Be sure the liquid at the bottom of the mixing bowl is fully incorporated each time.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake the cake for 45 minutes until the top is lightly golden and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cake to fully cool in the pan for at least one hour. Remove the cake from the pan, pulling it out using the sides of the parchment paper. Dust the top with powdered sugar before slicing and serving at room temperature or chilled.

Learn how to make the chocolate magic cake here.

Million Dollar Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. (The butter will become a lighter yellow color; this is an important step, as the job of the mixer is to incorporate air into the butter so the cake will rise. It will take 1 to 7 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer.)
  2. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. (Again, the times will vary, and butter will turn to a fluffy white.) Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until the yellow yolk disappears.
  3. Add flour to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. (The batter should be smooth and bits of flour should be well incorporated; to rid the batter of lumps, stir gently with a rubber spatula.) Stir in extracts.
  4. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. (Use vegetable shortening or butter to grease the pan, getting every nook and cranny covered. Sprinkle a light coating of flour over the greased surface.)
  5. Bake at 300°F for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

German Apple Pancake

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
  • 1 large Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady apple
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground or grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar or syrup, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place 3 large eggs and 1/2 cup whole or 2% milk in a medium bowl or blender and let come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  2. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425ºF.
  3. Peel 1 large Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady apple. Halve and core the apple, then thinly slice.
  4. Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the apple, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground or grated nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and lightly caramelized around the edges, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the batter.
  5. If mixing in the bowl, add the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the bowl and whisk to combine, then whisk in 1/2 cup all-purpose flour until smooth. If using a blender, add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth, about 10 seconds.
  6. Remove the skillet from the heat and spread the apples into a single layer. Pour the batter evenly over the apples.
  7. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until set in the center and puffed around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve dusted with powdered sugar or with maple syrup.

Just a thought: sometimes I use pears when they are in season. I buy organic, so I don’t peel the fruit. I also use about twice as much fruit as suggested. I like my puff pancake extra fruity.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Strudel With Fried Apples

Ingredients
6 Honeycrisp apples (or whatever kind you want) cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar or turbinado sugar
1 Tbsp. bacon drippings or butter or vegan butter
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. kosher salt (really just a small pinch)
1 tsp. all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 (17.3-oz.) pkg. frozen puff pastry sheets (such as Pepperidge Farm), thawed
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar or sparkling sugar

Directions

Step 1 Cook apples: Cook apples, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and kosher salt in a large skillet over medium, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and apples soften, about 12 minutes. Add flour to mixture; toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Remove from heat; let cool 20 minutes.

Step 2 Prepare puff pastry: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Roll thawed puff pastry sheet into a 14- x 9-inch rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Combine egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl; set aside.

Step 3 Cut pastry: Using scissors and starting at 1 long edge of pastry sheet, cut 2 1/2-inch-long slits, going from the edge toward the center in 1-inch intervals to yield 14 strips. Repeat process on opposite side. Spoon the cooled apple mixture evenly down the center of the pastry sheet. Lightly brush some of the egg-water mixture over the strips on both sides.

Step 4 Wrap filling: Position the pan so that 1 short edge is facing you. Starting at the short edge farthest from you, fold the top left strip over the apples at a slight angle, slightly toward you. Repeat with right strip, overlapping the left strip. Repeat with remaining strips, going from left to right to enclose the apple filling. Brush with remaining egg-water mixture, and sprinkle with granulated sugar or sparkling sugar.

Step 5 Bake strudel: Bake in preheated oven until pastry is crisp and golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Note: I don’t eat bacon so I use vegan butter. I use cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice; twice as much cinnamon as nutmeg, and twice as much nutmeg as allspice. I don’t peel my apples; I use organic, pesticide-free apples.

The (Almost) Best Fudge Brownies 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup 8oz/240g unsalted butter, melted and cooled (Use the highest fat butter you can find)
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups (9oz/260g) white sugar
  • 1 cup (7oz/200g) packed light brown sugar
  • 4 (2oz/57g each) large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (3.5oz/130g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (3.5oz/100g) good quality, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 7 oz (200g) roughly chopped chocolate or large chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 175°C | 350°F.
  • Lightly grease an 8×12-inch baking pan* with cooking oil spray. Line with parchment paper (or baking paper); set aside.
  • Combine melted butter, oil, and sugars together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk well to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until lighter in color (another minute).
  • Sift in flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined (do NOT overbeat as doing so will affect the texture of your brownies).
  • Fold in 3/4 of the chocolate pieces.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top out evenly, and top with remaining chocolate pieces.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes for just under-done brownies (fudgier texture) or until the centre of the brownies no longer jiggles and is JUST set to the touch.OR 35-40 minutes if you like your brownies well set and firm.NOTE: Brownies will continue baking and set in the hot pan out of the oven. If testing with a toothpick, the toothpick should come out dirty for fudge-textured brownies.
  • After 15-20 minutes, carefully remove them from the pan and allow them to cool to room temperature before slicing them into 16 brownies. They set while they cool. ENJOY!

OPTIONAL ADD-INS:

  • Crushed walnuts, peanuts (not for me), almonds, pecans, etc. Chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, shredded coconut, dried fruit [I like chocolate chips or chunks and/or toasted, chopped pecans, nothing else]

STORING:

  • Store at room temperature for 3 days, or refrigerator for up to 5 days. These brownies can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving OR reheat in the microwave.

Notes

*For thicker brownies, bake in a 7×11-inch pan for 40-45 minutes. For thinner brownies, bake in a 9×13-inch pan for 18-20 minutes.

PLEASE NOTE: An 8×12-inch pan bakes the most perfect brownies — thickness and texture.

TIPS AND TRICKS:

  1. Do NOT overbeat your batter once the flour and cocoa powder are added. That creates air pockets in the batter which will give you cake-like textured brownies.
  2. Please try not to overbake them. Set a timer if you need to. I like mine at exactly 23 minutes in an 8×12-inch pan. You can go a little bit over if you like them set a bit more, but I don’t recommend it if you’re looking for the fudgiest brownies in the world. Remember, they will continue to bake slightly in the hot pan once pulled out of the oven,
  3. I bake my brownies on the top shelf in the oven. I find the middle shelf cooks them a lot faster, slightly burns them on the top, and dries them out.

Apple Slab Pie

When I was a kid, I used to stop at a little bakery at the foot of the stairs leading up to the train that would take me downtown to the library. I saved my money just to buy a piece of this delish pie every Saturday. When I got older and began traveling, one of the joys of going to Germany was to stop at Kamp’s bakery at the airport or train station and buy a piece or two of this same pie! This is the bomb!

Ingredients

For the Pastry:
5 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups cold unsalted butter, cubed
3 large egg yolks, beaten
1 ¼ cup water

For the Filling:
12-14 apples (14 cups peeled, cored and sliced)
1 cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
Dash of kosher salt
2 teaspoons nutmeg, divided
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

For the Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 ½ Tablespoons milk (more to thin if necessary)
Dash kosher salt
½ teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add cubed
    butter and combine with a pastry blender until the dough begins to form
    crumbs. Using your hands, continue to work the dough until it begins to hold
    together when squeezed.
  2. Add beaten egg yolks and water and combine with a spoon or spatula until
    the dough comes together in a ball. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. While the pastry dough is chilling, make the filling by peeling, coring, and thinly
    slicing apples into an extra-large mixing bowl.
  4. Combine the sugar, flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, and salt in
    a small bowl and sprinkle over the sliced apples, tossing to coat.
  5. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon nutmeg in a small
    dish and set aside.
  6. After dough is done chilling, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  7. Divide the dough into 2 equal halves, one for the bottom crust and one for the
    top. Roll out the dough for the bottom crust on a lightly floured surface or silpat
    so that it’s just slightly larger than the jelly roll pan (10-inch x 15-inch x 1-inch
    pan). This will allow for the extra that you will need to crimp the crust edge
    closed.
  8. To easily transfer the crust to the jelly roll pan, use the rolling pin and roll the
    crust back onto it.
  9. Unroll the crust off the rolling pin and onto the jelly roll pan, allowing the extra
    to drape over the sides and ends. If needed, press the crust into the corners.
  10. Using a slotted spoon, add and evenly spread the apple filling into the
    crust. There will be a lot of filling and the apples will seem like they’re piled
    quite high, but they will cook down during baking.
  11. Sprinkle the additional cinnamon nutmeg mixture over the apple filling. Dot the
    top of the filling with butter.
  12. Roll out the second half of the dough in the same manner as the first half,
    making sure to make the top crust big enough to cover the piled apple
    filling. Transfer the top crust using the rolling pin method.
  13. Pinch the edges of the crust together by rolling it and tucking it so that it is on
    the inside edge of the jelly roll pan. Using the tines of a fork, press the 2 crusts
    together and seal the edge all the way around. Prick the top of the crust with a
    fork to allow the filling to vent during baking.
  14. Place foil or a larger cookie sheet on the rack underneath the jelly roll pan to
    catch any drips that may occur during baking.
  15. Bake at 425℉ for 20 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350℉
    and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Cool completely before adding the icing.
  16. For the icing, stir all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle
    over the top.

A few thoughts: You can use Pillsbury’s ready-to-use pie crusts from the grocery store refrigerator case instead of making the crust. I use two packages, using one crust for the bottom and 2 for the top. (I have some crust lovers who eat at my table.) I use a variety of apples, like Gala, Honey Crisp, and Granny Smith, and I always make about 50% more icing, because I love icing, even though it doesn’t love me. I don’t drizzle the icing, I cover the entire pie in icing.

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