Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Spiced Apple Cider Donuts

Donuts. Apple cider. It's like the chocolate/peanut butter combo - so much better together. These little gems would be a perfect breakfast on Thanksgiving morning - or any morning for that matter. They were devoured at our brunch table, and the poor scrambled eggs took a very back seat to these delicious donuts.

Reducing the apple cider on the stove top intensifies the flavor - so don't skimp on that step. After baking the donuts are dipped in melted butter and then cinnamon and sugar (another amazing combination!). The result will be melt in your mouth morsels that will disappear quickly upon serving!

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Melt in Your Mouth, Totally Talented, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Tasty Tuesday, Wake Up, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, What's Cooking #2.

Spiced Apple Cider Donuts

1 cup apple cider
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla

2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer apple cider and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon for 15-20 minutes. Cool slightly in the refrigerator. (You can place in the freezer to accelerate the cooling, or you can reduce the cider the night before and refrigerate until you're ready to bake the donuts!)

Toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a large batter bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, brown sugar and sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of concentrated apple cider.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and very gently mix together with a wooden spoon or rubber scraper until all ingredients are just combined.

Grease a donut pan with nonstick spray, and fill each donut well 3/4 full. Bake the donuts at 350 for 9-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make the topping by mixing the granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Dip the top of the donuts lightly into the melted butter, then dip them into the cinnamon sugar. Makes 12 donuts.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Apple Fritter Bread

The theme for this month's Improv Challenge is apples and cinnamon, one of the best combinations on the planet. There are countless options for those two ingredients, but in the end, I settled in this recipe for apple fritter bread. I love apple fritters, and I love that apple cinnamon bread they have in my local grocery, always tempting me as soon as I walk in the door...

I adapted this recipe slightly to use applesauce in place of some of the butter - since we're baking with apples we might as well increase the apple goodness, and make it easier to indulge in more than one slice!

Apple Fritter Bread

2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup applesauce
4 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
4 apples, cored and chopped, and mixed with 3 Tbsp. sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 Tbsp. milk or cream

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and applesauce until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then mix in vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Add this alternately to the creamed butter mixture with the milk, mixing just until combined.

Spread 1/4 of the batter into a greased loaf pan, and then repeat for a second pan. (You will have used half the batter now.) Layer each pan with 1/4 of the apple mixture and 1/4 of the brown sugar mixture. Carefully add 1/2 the remaining batter to each pan, then top with remaining apples and brown sugar mixture. Use a table knife to gently swirl the topping into the batter.

Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool 15 minutes, then carefully remove from pans.

For the glaze, whisk together the sugar and milk until it is your desired consistency; drizzle over loaves. Let cool completely before slicing.

These loaves freeze well, too.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Balsamic and Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Tenderloin (crock pot)

This month for Secret Recipe Club I was assigned to Veronica's Cornucopia. She has a lot of great recipes and I knew it would be hard to choose one - but as soon as I saw the recipe for balsamic and brown sugar glazed pork tenderloin, I was sold. Not only did this look super delicious and easy to put together, but it used the crock pot, one of the best inventions ever, in my humble opinion.

And I was not disappointed. I love pork tenderloin - it's one of my favorite cuts of meat, and this preparation is absolutely scrumptious. The pork is cooked on low for several hours after being rubbed with the great combination of sage and garlic, and then glazed in the last hour of cooking with the most amazing sauce - your whole house will smell fantastic, and you may be surprised when the neighbors start popping in unexpectedly! I served this with roasted sweet potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts (my favorite fall side dishes!) but I predict that no matter the season, this pork will be making many appearances on my dinner table. I hope you'll try it, too!

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

1 (2 pound) boneless pork tenderloin
1 tsp. rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Whisk well to dissolve the cornstarch, then heat and stir until mixture boils and slightly thickens. Brush roast with glaze several times during the last hour of cooking. Remove the pork to a serving plate and gently shred with two forks. Re-warm glaze and serve with pork.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Chicken Fajita Dip

I'm a huge fan of queso. HUGE. There are nights when I eat it for dinner. With chips of course. After I've had a salad for lunch. (ha!) So when I saw this doctored up version of queso, I knew I had to try it. I made it for a party and it was a big hit - the little crock pot was dipped clean by the end of the night. This is hardly any more complicated than making "regular" queso and while I still have a place in my heart for that, the chicken and peppers really take it up a notch catapulting this dip into the taste stratosphere. Get some tortilla chips and let's get dippin'!

Find more great stuff at Full Plate Thursday, Showcase Your Talent, Foodie Friday, Weekend Bites, Friday Flash, Friday Frenzy.

Chicken Fajita Dip

3 Tbsp. butter
16 oz. processed American cheese (such as Velveeta)
1 - 10 oz. can diced tomatoes and chiles (such as Rotel)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red, orange or green pepper
1 cup chopped cooked chicken

In a small skillet over medium high heat, saute the onion and pepper in olive oil until soft. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium low heat, melt the butter. Cube up the cheese and add it to the saucepan. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Add tomatoes, peppers, onions and chicken and stir well until combined. Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Yes, it's another pumpkin recipe. I promise there's more variety coming (main dishes! appetizers! recipes using apples!) but I couldn't resist one more post using pumpkin. (At least one more for now...) One of my favorite things about fall has always been pumpkin pancakes - but I've only had them at restaurants. This is a GREAT recipe that you can make and enjoy at home, and you won't even have to change out of your pajamas.

The pumpkin adds great flavor and texture - everyone in my family raved about these, and said they really WERE reminiscent of pumpkin pie! Served with warm syrup and a side of sausage links, this makes a great lazy Saturday breakfast during fall, or winter for that matter.

Find more great ideas at Mouthwatering Monday, Inspiration Monday, Mix it up, Totally Talented Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Tasty Tuesday.

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk (plus another 4 tablespoons, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg

In a large batter bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin, oil and egg. Add the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Stir until just combined.

Heat an electric skillet to 350 or a nonstick skillet on the stove over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake onto the skillet; when the batter starts to bubble (about 3 minutes), flip the pancakes and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Remove the pancakes from the skillet and keep warm while repeating with the additional batter. Serve with syrup and enjoy. Makes 10 pancakes.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Crepes of Wrath

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Glazed Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Need a seasonal, delicious treat that both adults and kids will love? These cookies would be perfect - they are delightfully soft and cake-like, with a sweet glaze. Lots of autumn spices and pumpkin put you in an autumnal mood; are there any leaf piles left to jump in at your house? Miraculously, we are having some semi-warm days here in the north, but still chilly enough to fire up the oven and do some baking. This is a great recipe to make with the kids - and eat with them, too!

Find more great stuff at Full Plate, Showcase your Talent, Foodie Friday, Weekend Bites, Friday Frenzy.

Glazed Pumpkin Spice Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 egg
1 - 15 oz. can pureed pumpkin

2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. milk

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cloves. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat melted butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until combined. Add egg, pumpkin and milk and beat on medium until combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture and beat until mixed.

With a large cookie scoop, scoop dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are puffy and edges are JUST starting to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes on the sheet before removing to cooling racks.

Once cookies are cool, whisk together powdered sugar and milk. Dip cookies in glaze and then set on wire racks to dry. Makes about 3 dozen large cookies

Recipe Source: Adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pumpkin Gingerbread

It's that time of year - time to bake with pumpkin! In one Saturday morning, I made two delicious new pumpkin recipes, and this was one. This tasty quickbread only uses 1 stick of butter for two loaves - the pumpkin and molasses provide moisture and wonderful flavor. Perfect with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa, this will become a staple treat or breakfast food quickly! Stay tuned for more pumpkin later this week!

Get more great ideas at Mouthwatering Monday, Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Totally Talented, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Tasty Tuesday, Tickle my Tastebuds.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. ginger
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
2 Tbsp finely minced candied ginger
4 eggs, beaten
6 Tbsp. water

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, melted butter, sugar, molasses, candied ginger, eggs, and water. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, and stir just until incorporated.

Divide the batter between two greased loaf pans and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then gently run a knife around the edge of the loaves and invert them onto a wire rack. Let cool completely on the rack. Makes 2 loaves.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Simply Recipes
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