October 23, 2009

YEAST BREAD


The smell of homemade fresh baked Bread is intoxicating.  Eating fresh baked Bread still warm from the oven with butter melting into it is one of life's true pleasures.  Making delicious Yeast Bread is easier than you can imagine.  This is a recipe that I created that works by hand kneading or by using your Bread machine to do the kneading for you and then you bake it off in your oven.   Yeast Bread dough is so versatile that with the master recipe you can make your own Dinner Rolls, Cinnamon Rolls, Pizza Crust, Doughnuts, Dumplings, Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns, Garlic Bread,  and Cheese Bread.  Remember Grandma's Yeast Rolls at Thanksgiving dinner?  Now you can be Cooking The Amazing and make Grandma proud.

If you have a bread machine sitting in the back of your cabinet collecting dust, bring it out and put it back in use.  I never liked the consistency or flavor of bread machine breads.  They are dense and heavy  and not very good.  Most bread machines have a DOUGH cycle on them.  On the DOUGH cycle, the bread machine mixes and kneads then allows your dough to go through the first rise.  All you do is dump in the ingredients and push the start button.  After the first rise, you remove the dough, punch it down, then hand knead for 1 minute and shape your dough into rolls (or whatever you are making).  Then allow it to rise again until double in size in a warm area and bake in your oven. Follow your bread machine instructions for making "dough only" using my easy recipe.  This recipe works for both hand kneading and the bread machine.  Do NOT use "bread machine yeast" or "rapid rise yeast".  NOTE: This recipe is for large capacity bread machines 1 1/2 to 2 lb loaf pan size not the 1 lb size which would be too small.  Most bread machines are the large capacity size.


Here is the recipe.



YEAST BREAD MASTER RECIPE

  • 2  Pkgs Active Dry Yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 c  Sugar
  • 1 1/4 c  Whole Milk
  • 4 1/2 c  All Purpose Flour
  • 1 t  Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 5 Tbls  Butter, unsalted, softened
  • 1/2 c   All Purpose Flour for the board
  • Non Stick Cooking Spray (like Pam)
  • 1 Tbls  Vegetable Oil (for hand kneading only)
  • (Total prep and cooking time approx. 3 hrs)

TIP:  Substitute 1/3 the AP Flour with Whole Wheat Flour for wheat bread.
  1. Place all the Active Dry Yeast and the Sugar into the bread machine pan or if hand kneading, into a large bowl and mix well.  The yeast should be room temperature when starting.  (Some people refrigerate yeast to extend it's life).  Check the expiration date on yeast package.
  2. Microwave the Whole Milk for 50-60 secs until medium hot (approx 110-115 degrees).  Yeast will die if the milk is too hot.  Test with your finger and it should be very warm but not too hot that you can not keep your finger in it.  It would feel too hot to feed a baby at the right temperature but not so hot that you can't leave your finger in it.
  3. Pour the milk over the yeast and sugar.  The sugar feeds the yeast and allows it to "proof" or "bloom" meaning activating the yeast to make your bread rise.  Stir hot milk into the yeast and sugar and close the lid of your bread machine or cover your bowl with a towel for 7-10 mins, until the yeast begins to bubble and get foamy (proof or bloom)  See picture below.   If after 10 minutes nothing happens and it just looks like milk with yeast grains floating in it, you need to start again.   The yeast is dead.
  4. Dump 4 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour on top of the proofed yeast in your bread machine pan or bowl if hand kneading.  The flour should NOT be sifted.  Use a leveled measuring cup for exact measurement.  Do not pack flour into measuring cup.
  5. Sprinkle Salt on top of flour.
  6. In a bowl, whisk eggs until well mixed then pour on top of flour.
  7. Cut the room temperature softened butter into 1/2 inch chunks and dump onto the flour and eggs.
  8. For Bread Machine method: Close bread machine lid and push start while on the DOUGH cycle. 
  9. Allow the DOUGH cycle to mix and knead the dough and go through the first rising in the bread machine.  (approx. 1 1/2 hrs.) The machine stops and will not bake the bread on this cycle.
  10. For Hand Kneading method: If hand kneading, mix the ingredients well with a large spoon until too stiff to mix.  Then using your hands, dump out dough onto a floured surface and hand knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and an indentation made with your finger springs back.  Or use your KitchenAid with a dough hook as directed by the KitchenAid instructions.  Don't over knead.  If the bread is sticky and too soft, add 1/4 c All Purpose Flour and knead for 1 min until smooth and elastic.  Place the dough ball into an oiled (vegetable oil) bowl and roll the dough ball around to oil the dough ball surface.  Cover bowl with a towel and place in a warm place for approx 1 hr.  The dough should double in size when ready.  If your kitchen is cool this may take up to 2 hrs. 
  11. For Both Methods:  Once your bread has risen, punch it down with your hand in the pan or bowl and deflate it.  Pull it out with your hands and place it on a floured surface and hand knead it for 1 minute.
  12. Now you will shape your dough into the shape you want to bake it as.  For dinner rolls you would pinch off egg sized chunks and roll into a ball space 2 inches apart on an oil sprayed baking pan and place in a warm place and alow to rise, doubling in size, approx. 45-60 mins.  Then bake 350 degrees for 12-15 mins. For loafs of bread you would divide dough into 3rds and shape by hand into 3 smooth large oval dough balls that will fit your bread pan.  Allow to rise in a warm spot for 45-60 mins or until double in size.  Bake 350 degrees for 12-15 mins or until browned.  Large loaves may need up to 18 mins.   Always spray your bread pans with non stick cooking spray because this bread will stick even in non stick pans.  Use dark pans for the best results for an even cooked brown crust.
  13. Dough shaping specifics for rolls, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, buns, etc will follow.
  14. SECOND RISING BASICS: Place your shaped dough in a warm area (I heat my oven to 200 degrees then turn it off for 15 minutes and place my dough in my closed oven.  I preheat my oven just before I punch down my dough then allow it to cool as I knead and shape.  You want the oven barely warm, NOT hot.)  Allow dough to rise a second time for approx 45-60 mins until double in size.  Do NOT allow to over rise or for too long or your bread will fall when baking later.
  15. BAKING BASICS: Bake for 12-15 mins in a 350 degree oven until the tops are brown.  Allow to cool in the pan 5 mins before removing from pan.  You can serve immediately or cool completely on a wire rack then once room temp. store in air tight plastic wrap or storage bag.
 TIP:  Use heavy dark metal pans for the best baked breads and for an even brown exterior.


RECIPE IN PICTURES


This is what "proofed" yeast will look like.  The yeast is "bloomed" and ready to use.








Kneading the dough is easy.  Push with the palms of your hands away from you then stretch and pull the dough back to you.  Rotate the dough a quarter turn and repeat stretching the dough out and pulling it back using your palms.      


Here is the dough ball ready after first rise and punched down and kneaded for 1 minute ready to be shaped.


                                                         Baked Yeast Bread Rolls




 VARIATIONS




PIZZA DOUGH: For pizza dough, make dough as above but after the first rising shape your dough on a floured surface, using your hands to stretch the dough and a rolling pin, make 2 large round flat crusts big enough to fit your pizza pan.  Spray your pizza pan to help release it after baking.  Do not allow dough to go through the second rising step.  Top the stretched dough with pizza sauce and your choice of toppings and bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 mins until crust is browned and cheese bubbly.  This makes a thick bread like crust, not a thin and crispy one.


  CINNAMON ROLLS:  To make Cinnamon Rolls go to the recipe page click here.




HAMBURGER or HOT DOG BUNS:  Make dough as above and after first rise and kneading for 1 minute, cut off balls of dough about the size of a large tangerine (3 inch round ball approx).  Shape with your hands into a round disk and flatten with your palm for hamburger buns.  Roll into a 1 1/2 inch wide log about 4 inches long for hot dog buns and place about 3 inches apart on an oil sprayed cookie sheet.  Let rise for 45-60 mins or until double in size then bake 350 degrees for 10-15 mins or until browned on top.  Allow to cool on pan 5 mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.


DUMPLINGS:   To make dumplings, as in chicken and dumplings, make dough as above through to the the first rise and knead 1 minute.  On a floured surface roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut 2 inch thick strips of dough.  Cut the strips of dough into 1 inch squares and toss them into a bowl of 1 cup of flour, coating each square well.  Shake off excess flour and toss, one at a time, into simmering well seasoned chicken stock or broth with chunks of cooked chicken.  Dumplings will rise to top.  Stir frequently.  Dumplings take about 10-15 mins to cook through.  The flour from the dumplings will thicken the stock.


CHEESE BREAD:  Make dough as above through the shaping step after first rising.  After kneading for 1 min.  add in 2 cups of 1 inch cubed cheese and 1 T of dried herbs like oregano or thyme.  The best is a mixture of cheddar and Gruy√®re or use 1 c of grated Parmesan cheese.
Knead by hand until cheese is mixed in well for about 2 mins.  Shape into rolls or 3 loaves of bread and place in an oil sprayed baking pan and allow to rise in a warm place 45-60 mins until double in size.  Bake 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until browned on top.  Let sit 5 mins in pan before removing.


DOUGHNUTS:  Make dough through the shaping step as above.  Roll dough out into a rectangle and using a round cookie cutter about 3 inches across or a clean opened can, cut out rings of dough.  Use a small 1/2 inch cookie cutter or small lid from a spice jar and cut a hole in the middle.  Place rings on an oil sprayed cookie sheet and let rise 45-60 mins in a warm place until double in size.  After second rise, drop dough nuts into a large deep pot of Crisco heated to 350 degrees.  Allow to fry until browned on one side then flip with a chop stick or long spoon carefully to other side and allow to brown.  Place cooked dough nuts onto paper towels to drain.  After draining and still warm, toss in a sugar and cinnamon mixture or in powdered sugar and allow to cool on a wire rack.




GARLIC BREAD:  Prepare dough as above and make rolls or loaves of bread as directed above.  Spread the following on the baked bread after cutting in half and wrap in foil and re-bake for 15 mins in 350 degree oven.
Garlic Spread:

4-6 cloves of Garlic, crushed
1 stick of Butter, melted
1 tsp of Olive Oil
1/2 tsp salt
1Tbsp Italian Seasoning Herbs

Mix well in a bowl and brush onto bread halves.  For crispy garlic bread, leave bread out of foil and cut side up under a broiler 5 inches away for 4-7 mins until bubble and brown.  Watch it close.  It will burn very quick!   Option:  sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.






COPYRIGHT (c) 2009

October 7, 2009

PERFECT WHIPPED CREAM


Whipped Cream can make a bad dessert good and a good dessert amazing.    Sure, using a pressurized spray can is easy, but it doesn't take much work to get a better tasting homemade Whipped Cream.  There are some simple steps to help ensure your Whipped Cream will have optimum results.   By using very cold beaters and a very cold mixing bowl, whipping the cream will be easier and with more stable peaks.   Use billowy sweet mounds of Whipped Cream to make Cream Puffs or top your favorite Pie and you will be Cooking The Amazing.



Here is the recipe.


  WHIPPED CREAM
  • 1 c  Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 T  Powdered Sugar
  • 1 t  Vanilla Extract


  1. Place your hand mixer's beaters, a deep bowl (metal works best), and the carton of Heavy Whipping Cream into your freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the Heavy Whipping Cream into the cold bowl and start beating on high moving the beaters in fast circles.
  3. After 3 mins. of beating, add the Powdered Sugar and beat for 1 more minute.
  4. Add the Vanilla Extract during the 4th minute of beating.
  5. Beat until you double the volume of the cream into semi-stiff peaks.
  6. Serve immediately.


Click here for my delicious Cream Puff recipe.


COPYRIGHT (c) 2009

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE




You know it is autumn when the local farms are selling pumpkins and bushels of apples at their stands.  The air is crisp and cool and the last of the tomatoes have been picked from my garden.  This time of year has pumpkin desserts on every one's wish list for fall comfort foods.  Recently, I have been baking Pumpkin Cheesecakes at home and all of the wonderful things that I love about pumpkin desserts can be found in my easy recipe for it.  Warm spice and rich creamy pumpkin blend in this delicious dessert that tastes like a combination of my amazing Pumpkin Pie and classic NYC cheesecake.  The crunchy graham cracker crust is buttery with the nutty flavor of pecans.  At your next family gathering, when everyone is expecting the same old boring pumpkin pie, serve them this incredible Pumpkin Cheesecake, because you are Cooking The Amazing.





Here is the recipe.



                GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST

  • 20 whole Squares of Graham Crackers, Honey Flavor (about 2 1/2 c  crushed)
  • 2 T Sugar
  • 2 T Brown Sugar
  • 10 T Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • Pinch of Salt (omit salt if you only have salted butter)
  • 1/2 c  Pecans, Chopped



TIP:  Use 2 1/2 c of finely crushed ginger snaps in place of the graham crackers as another tasty option for the crust.



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  You may use a 9 inch spring form pan, a 9 X 13 baking dish or 2 nine inch deep dish pie plates for this recipe.
  2. Place graham crackers in a large zip lock bag and close tight with all air out.  Using a rolling pin or large heavy can, roll over the bag of graham crackers crushing them.  Flip the bag over several times and crush until finely crushed and there are no large pieces.
  3. Pour crushed crackers into a medium bowl.  Remove any big pieces you missed while crushing.
  4. Add pecans, sugars and salt and mix well with a fork until combined.
  5. Microwave butter in a small bowl until melted, about 45 secs.
  6. Pour the melted butter over the graham cracker mixture and with a fork combined, mixing well but keep it crumbly.
  7. This makes a little extra for the  9 inch spring form pan version.  You may use about 3/4 of the mixture depending on your spring form pan.  Pour the graham cracker butter mixture into an 9 inch spring form pan and using your fingers, press it into the bottom of the pan going about 2 1/2-3  inches up the sides of the pan.  Pack it firm against the pan.
  8. If you do not have a spring form pan, you can use a  buttered 9 X 13 baking dish and serve it from that pan when fully prepared.  Use the same method and press the graham cracker mixture into the buttered glass baking dish, packing it firm.  You will have a less thick cheesecake when fully baked, but still delicious.  Or use two 9 inch deep dish Pie pans.  There will be enough Cheese Cake batter for two 9 inch deep dish Pies.
  9. Bake crust in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes or until browned.  Remove and cool on the counter while you prepare filling.


                    PUMPKIN FILLING

    • 3  8 oz. Packages of Cream Cheese, Softened
    • 1 c  Sugar
    • 1/4 c  Light Brown Sugar
    • Pinch of Salt
    • 1 1/2 t  Vanilla Extract
    • 1 c  Pumpkin, From a Can of  Pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie mix)
    • 3  Large Eggs
    • 1 1/2 t  Cinnamon
    • 1/4 t  Nutmeg
    • 1/8 t  Ground Clove or Ground Allspice (or both if you like spice)
    • 1/4 t  Ground Ginger


    1. Keep oven heated at 350 degrees.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, add softened cream cheese, sugar, brown sugar, salt and vanilla and blend with hand mixer until smooth.
    3. Add 1 cup of pumpkin from a can of pumpkin, eggs and all spices and mix until well blended.  You can freeze the left over canned pumpkin not used in a zip lock bag.
    4. Pour pumpkin mixture on top of baked cooled graham cracker crust and spread even with a rubber spatula.  If using two 9 inch deep dish Pie pans, divide evenly.
    5. Place pan or dish on a cookie sheet for easy transfer and place in the center of the oven on the center rack.  There is no need to use a water bath in this recipe.  But the purist can if desired.
    6. Bake  350 degrees in center of your oven.  For 9 inch spring form pan bake for 60-70 minutes.  For 9 X 13 pan bake for 55-60 mins.  For two 9 inch deep dish Pie pans bake 45-50 mins.  Bake to these times or until the top is slightly browned and the center jiggles a little.  The cheesecake will puff and top will turn brown in places.   It will still be slightly jiggly in the middle when done.  Ovens vary so check the Cheese Cake for these signs when done.  It may be sooner or longer for your oven.
    7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.  The cheesecake will deflate from the puffy state it was in when you took it from the oven. 
    8. Once it has cooled to room temperature, place uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours.  This is an important step to get the right consistency.  This is the hard part of this recipe... the waiting!  But it will be worth it.
    9. Once well chilled, release from the spring form pan or if using a baking dish, cut and serve.



      TIP:  Serve with a big spoonful of whipped cream dusted with cinnamon on top.

    CLASSIC VINAIGRETTE


    The simplest of salad dressings to make is a vinaigrette.  With just good oil and vinegar you can have an amazing vinaigrette that beats any bottled salad dressing.  The best oil to use is an extra virgin olive oil.  Extra virgin olive oil has a deep flavor that when blended with the vinegar creates the perfect emulsion that coats lettuce in a salad with ease.  Of course, there are many combinations of oil types and vinegars you can use and with the additions of herbs and garlic and whatever else you choose, a vinaigrette recipe you create can become your own.  Modern vinaigrettes are whatever you want them to be.  The key is to taste it and adjust it before you serve it.
    Vinaigrettes are not limited to a tossed salad of radicchio lettuce.  Use a vinaigrette to marinate chicken or shrimp before grilling for a moist and flavorful change, mix 1/4 cup into your favorite potato salad recipe to give it some zing, or drizzle it over roasted asparagus, potatoes, or green beans.  My favorite way to use it is on thick sliced garden tomatoes.  Drizzle them with vinaigrette and torn fresh basil and fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt.  A Vinaigrette is a simple and easy way to be Cooking The Amazing.


    Here is the recipe.


    VINAIGRETTE MASTER RECIPE


    • 1 c  Good Quality Oil
    • 1/2 c  Good Quality Vinegar (or another acid)
    • 1 t  Salt
    • 1 t  Fresh Ground Pepper
    • 1 T  Dijon Mustard (optional)

    1. Pour the vinegar into a bowl and add mustard, salt and pepper and whisk well.
    2. Slowly drizzle in the oil in one hand while you whisk rapidly with the other until an emulsion is created.
    3. Another way is to add all ingredients to a jar with a tight lid and shake vigorously until an emulsion is created.  You can also use this to store your vinaigrette in the refrigerator.
    4. Serve immediately.
    5. You can refrigerate most vinaigrettes for 2 weeks and it will stay fresh tasting.


    Using this basic recipe you can build upon it to create your own vinaigrette.
    1. Pick an oil type:  Olive, Walnut, Canola, Grape Seed, etc.
    2. Pick a vinegar type:  White Wine, Apple Cider, Balsamic, Red Wine, etc.
    3. In place of the vinegar you can use Lemon, Orange or Lime juice for the acid or 1/2 Lemon juice and 1/2 vinegar.
    4. Pick your add ins:  1 T Dijon Mustard, 1-2 T finely minced Shallot, 1-2 Cloves of finely minced Garlic, 1 T of drained Capers, 1-2 T chopped Chives, Grated Citrus Peel (Lemon, Lime, or Orange).
    5. Pick your herbs:  1-2 T of fresh or dried finely chopped: Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Italian Parsley, Dill, Cilantro, Tarragon, Rosemary, etc.
    6. Now create your own vinaigrette by picking your favorite flavors.

    Use this method to make your Vinaigrette:
    1. Pour your vinegar or citrus juice into a bowl.
    2. Add salt and pepper. 
    3. Add garlic or shallot if using and allow to sit in the salt, pepper and vinegar for 5 mins to dissolve the salt and infuse the garlic oils and pepper into the vinegar for a more rounded flavor.
    4. Then add all ingredients you wish to use and whisk to combine.
    5. Drizzle the oil you choose in slowly until an emulsion is created or use the sealed shaking jar method.
    6. Taste and adjust to suit your taste by adding what you feel it is missing and taste again correcting if needed.


    Here are some creative Vinaigrettes to try.


    LEMON VINAIGRETTE

    • 1/2 c  Fresh Lemon Juice
    • 1 c   Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 T  Dijon Mustard
    • 1 T  Fresh or Dried Thyme
    • 1 Clove of Finely Minced Garlic
    • 1/2 t  Fresh Grated Lemon Peel
    • 1 t  Salt
    • 1 t  Fresh Ground Pepper

    Try this Vinaigrette as a basting sauce for chicken as it roasts, basting every 15 mins as it roasts.  Or serve this drizzled over fresh grilled fish with steamed white rice.



    RED WINE CAPER VINAIGRETTE

    • 1/2 c  Red Wine Vinegar
    • 1/4 c  Walnut Oil
    • 3/4 c  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 T  Dijon Mustard
    • 1 T  Capers, drained and rinsed
    • 1 t  Salt
    • 1 t Ground Pepper
    • 1 Clove Finely Minced Garlic

    Try this Vinaigrette by mixing 4 T into mashed potatoes.




    CLASSIC ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE

    • 1/2 c  White Wine Vinegar
    • 1 c  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 T Dijon Mustard
    • 2 Cloves Finely Minced Garlic
    • 1 t  Fresh Chopped Oregano
    • 1 t  Fresh Chopped Basil
    • 1 t  Fresh Chopped Italian Parsley
    • 1 t  Fresh Chopped Thyme
    • 1 t Salt
    • 1 t Fresh Ground Pepper
    • 2 T  Grated Parmesan Cheese
    Use this Vinaigrette in potato salad by adding 1/4 c to your favorite recipe.
    Or drizzle over oven roasted Yukon gold potatoes. 



    ORANGE THYME VINAIGRETTE

    • 1/2 c Orange Juice, Fresh Squeezed
    • 1 c  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 T  Shallots, Finely Minced
    • 2 T  Fresh Chopped Thyme
    • 1 t  Salt
    • 1/2 t  Fresh Ground Pepper
    • 1 t  Grated Orange Peel
    Try this Vinaigrette in a salad of orange segments tossed with grilled chicken slices, red onion slices, red bell pepper chopped and chopped romaine lettuce.

    October 3, 2009

    APPLE CRISP






    APPLE  CRISP

    Autumn is Apple season and many of us are fortunate to have Apple orchards not far from where we live.  If you find yourself with a bushel of fresh picked Apples and thought about making the usual apple pie, try this easy and delicious recipe for Apple Crisp and you may never want to bake a plain Apple pie again.  The Apple layer is full of sweet, juicy Apples with  just the right amount of Cinnamon and Nutmeg.  And the crisp topping is a buttery rich layer that tastes like the perfect Oatmeal Cookie.  The aroma from your kitchen when the Apple Crisp bakes, fills your house with the amazing smell of autumn and spices.  Serve this warm with cold Vanilla Ice Cream or top it with fresh Whipped Cream.   Everything tastes delicious when you are Cooking The Amazing.


    TIP:  Prepare the caramel recipe from the previous blog and drizzle it over the baked Apple Crisp for an over the top dessert.



    Here is the recipe.




     
          STEP 1:  Apple Spice Layer
    • 8 to 9  Medium Granny Smith Apples or Cortland
    • 2 T   Sugar
    • 3 T  Dark Brown Sugar
    • 1  T  Cinnamon
    • 1/4 t  Nutmeg
    • Pinch of Salt, Fine Grain Sea Salt is best
    • 1 t  Vanilla Extract
    • 1 T  Melted Butter

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Place a 9 X 9, or so, baking dish on top of a cookie sheet to make oven transfer easier later and to catch any over flow while it bakes.
    3. In a medium bowl, mix spices, salt, vanilla, and sugars well into a paste.  Do not add butter at this point. 

    4. Peel apples then cut them in half and remove stem and seeds.  Cut the apples halves into 1/4th inch thick half moon slices.
    5. As you cut each apple, toss apple slices into the spice and sugar paste and, using a large spoon, gently fold them to cover with the mixture to prevent browning.

    6. After all of the apples have been sliced and are completely coated in the spice and sugar paste, place them in the baking dish with any juices they have made. 

    7.  Microwave 1 Tbs of butter for 30-45 secs. until melted then drizzle over the apples in the baking dish.

     8Allow the apples to rest and develop their own juices while you prepare the crisp topping below.  ***A delicious variation is to add 1 cup of fresh blueberries or 1 cup of dried cranberries to the apples in the resting stage now.

       STEP 2:  Crisp Topping

    • 3/4 c  All Purpose Flour
    • 3/4 c  Quick Cook Oats
    • 1/2 c  Dark Brown Sugar
    • 1/2 c  Sugar
    • Pinch of Salt
    • 1 t  Cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Softened  (Yes, 1 1/2 sticks!)
    • 1/2 t  Vanilla Extract
    • 1/2 c  Pecans, toasted (optional)
    • Total Prep and Cooking Time:  Approx. 65-75 mins.



    TIP:  The addition of pecans to this recipe only makes it better.  To toast pecans, place pecans, that you roughly chop into big pieces, into a dry skillet over  medium-low heat (number 4 on most stoves).  Toss them frequently until they start to brown and toast.  Watch them closely because they burn easily.  This usually takes 3-5 minutes.  Do not add oil or butter to pan when toasting the pecans.

    1.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, oats, sugars, salt, cinnamon,  vanilla extract, chopped toasted pecans (if you are using them) until well blended. 

    2. Cut softened butter into chunks about 1 inch square or so and dump them on top of the flour and oats mixture.

    3. Using your hands, knead and squeeze the butter into the mixture until uniform and well mixed into a large ball of dough.  This takes about 2 mins.

    Pinch off small pieces of the dough and layer them on top of the apples in the baking dish until the apples are covered, leaving a few areas of apple exposed to allow steam to vent as the apples cook. 


    4. Place the cookie sheet with the baking dish in the center of the oven and bake for 45-55 mins at 375 degrees, until the apples are bubbly and the crisp topping is browned. 

    5. Allow the apple crisp to sit for at least 30 minutes before eating so it can set up. 


    TIP:  The longer the Apple Crisp sits the thicker the apple layer will become.  If you can last that long, allow it to sit for 2-4 hours at room temperature for the best consistency. 



    TIP:  This recipe makes a tart tasting apple crisp.  If you prefer a sweeter apple crisp, use half golden delicious or cortland apples and half the granny smith apples.
     



    COPYRIGHT (c) 2009