Monday, October 24, 2011

M&M's Candy Corn Macadamia Nut Cookies

I love M&M's. I also love how they are always coming out with new color and flavor combinations. When I first saw that they released a white chocolate candy corn version, I was super excited and immediately started searching all of our stores in hopes that someone might carry them in our small town. I didn't have any luck though. Since hurricane Irene devastated our area and flooded 90% of our shopping plazas, causing most of the stores to close indefinitely, our store options have been extremely limited.
But thanks to a couple of good friends of mine that happen to live near stores that do carry the candy corn M&M's, I was soon supplied with multiple bags and I was very happy!

I came across this recipe right after my search for the M&M's started. These cookies are really good. My husband and kids loved them. I'm not the biggest fan of white chocolate, but I also loved the cookies. They are super cute for fall or Halloween. I highly recommend making this recipe if you can find the candy corn M&M's!

M&M's Candy Corn Macadamia Nut Cookies
(recipe adapted from Mom Endeavors)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 full cup M&M's Candy Corn white chocolate candies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Then stir in the vanilla.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Fold in the macadamia nuts and M&M's.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden on the edges. Let cool and the enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Apple Hand Pies

I know, I'm obsessed with apples right now, but I can't help it. We picked a LOT this year and I'm scrambling to find ways to use them up!

We love apple pie in our house. I make a few different versions of it for my family throughout the fall. This version is one of our favorites because it's so fun to eat. My kids think it's so cool that they each get their own little pie for dessert. I personally like to eat mine with a nice scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a little drizzle of caramel sauce :)

Apple Hand Pies
(The filling is a Jen original and the pie crust recipe is from King Arthur Flour)

For the pie crusts (recipe makes 2- 9 inch pie crusts):*

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup cold shortening
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

For the filling:

4-5 baking apples, cored and diced (I like to use gala apples)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar (scant)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 T flour

Egg wash
Cinnamon/sugar (1/4 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon)

To begin, first make the pie crusts. Whisk together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening, using forks or a pastry cutter. Then, once the shortening is incorporated, cut in all of the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time and mix using a fork. Continue to add water until the dough is moistened and just sticks together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half and flatten the balls into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
* You can skip this step and used store bought pie crusts if you prefer

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make the filling: Peel, core, and dice the apples into very small pieces. Place into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Mix well using a spatula. Set aside.

Remove one pie dough disc from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about a 1/6 inch thickness. Using a 5 inch diameter round cookie/biscuit cutter, cup, or bowl, (whatever you can find--can be slightly smaller too) cut circles out of the dough. Then continue to re-roll out the dough until you use it up.
Transfer the circles to a parchment lined baking sheet. I recommend placing the dough circles back into the fridge for about 5-10 minutes so the dough doesn't get too warm. Repeat with the remaining pie dough disc.
You should get 10-15 total dough circles.

Remove the dough circles from the fridge and let sit for a couple of minutes on the counter to warm up a bit. Then place a small scoop of apple filling (about a tablespoon or so) onto one half of each of the pie dough circles. Lightly brush around the edges of the circle with water. Then fold the dough over the top of the apples to create a half-moon shape. Using a fork, press around the edges to seal.

Repeat until all of the hand pies are assembled. Place back into the fridge for about 10 minutes (can skip this step, especially if using store bought pie dough).

Remove pies and lightly brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown and smell heavenly :)
Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jen's Apple Crisp

Apple crisp comes in many different forms. This is my perfected version. It's my families favorite fall dessert and I think you will love it too.

Here's the recipe:

Jen's Apple Crisp

For the filling:

6 baking apples, peeled and sliced  (I like to use a mixture of Gala and Honeycrisp)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 T granulated sugar
1-2 T water

For the topping:

1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine, slightly softened

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To begin, make the topping: Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. Using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your hands, cut the butter into the mixture until we incorporated and mixture resembles coarse, pea-sized crumbs. Place mixture in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

For the filling: Peel and slice apples and place directly into a 9x9 baking dish. Sprinkle the apples with the sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and water. Stir to combine.

Scatter the topping over the entire top of the apples. Do not pack it down.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the apples are tender and bubbling, and the topping is golden brown. Best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top or homemade whipped cream. Enjoy!