Our Favorite Cinnamon Apple Cake

Our Favorite Cinnamon Apple Cake

posted in: Desserts, Food | 8 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Thanksgiving week is here! Are you still undecided on what to serve for dessert? We are big fans of the traditional pumpkin pie while others are fans of apple pie or pecan pie. But what do you do choose if you don’t like any of the traditional choices? This terrific cinnamon apple cake might be the perfect solution!

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It is a moist cake since it has both butter and cream cheese in it, plus yummy apples. We love to use Granny Smith apples whenever apples are needed in a recipe, however any type of baking apple will do. If you like Rome or Honeycrisp, use those instead. We have been making cinnamon apple cake for years and have yet to tire of it.


This may be an unconventional tip, but this cake is even more delicious if you eat it cold. Sure it’s good fresh baked and at room temperature, but straight out of the fridge, this cake tastes divine! We feel that if you want to maximize the tastiness of this cake, eat it cold. So if you desire a non-traditional dessert, give this cake a try this week! Now, let’s bake!

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
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Peel, core and thinly slice three Granny Smith apples and place in a medium mixing bowl.
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Mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this mixture for later. Pour the remaining cinnamon sugar over the sliced apples.
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Stir to coat all of the slices.
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In a large bowl cream together 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined.
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Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
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Add the dry mixture.
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Stir in apples, taking care to make sure batter gets between every slice.
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Pour into greased 9 inch springform pan.
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Top with reserved cinnamon sugar.
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Bake at 350°F for 60-65 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
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Let cool in pan for 15 minutes then release outer ring to let cake cool completely. Refrigerate leftovers.
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Serve warm cake with ice cream. Or enjoy a slice straight from the fridge. Delicious!
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Our Favorite Cinnamon Apple Cake

Our Favorite Cinnamon Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3 medium granny smith apples
  • 1 3/4 c granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • Special Equipment: 9 inch springform pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter a 9 inch springform pan.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples and place in a medium mixing bowl.
  5. In a small bowl mix together 1/4 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set 2 tablespoons of this mixture aside for later. Pour the rest of the cinnamon sugar over the sliced apples and mix thoroughly.
  6. In a large bowl cream together 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, butter, vanilla and cream cheese. Mix until completely combined.
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  8. Carefully stir in flour mixture.
  9. Stir in apples. Take your time, making sure to get the batter between the apple slices.
  10. Pour batter into prepared pan. Top with reserved cinnamon sugar.
  11. Bake 60-65 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes in pan then release the outer ring. Cool completely then store in fridge.
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Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

posted in: Food, Side Dishes | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away and if you are like us, you are probably in the beginning stages of assembling your menu. One major part of our Thanksgiving menu is rolls. We are devout carb lovers therefore a holiday dinner is not complete without fluffy dinner rolls.

Fluffy Dinner Rolls

When we were younger, we always bought Pillsbury Flaky Layers Biscuits to consume with our turkey and gravy. While these biscuits are delicious, they just aren’t the same as homemade bread. In a pinch or a nostalgic moment, we still eat these biscuits.

But since Thanksgiving is a great time to try new things on your menu, give these dinner rolls a try. They are simple to make and the end result is delicious.


To start, mix warm water and yeast in stand mixer bowl. Let sit for 10-15 minutes covered with a tea towel, until frothy.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together milk, egg, vegetable oil, sugar and salt.
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Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Add the liquid mix to the yeast mixture. Stir to combine using the dough hook attachment.
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Add all of the flour and mix until a shaggy dough has formed on level 2.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Continue kneading the dough for 8-10 minutes on level 2. Dough will be smooth, slightly tacky and will spring back when poked.
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Spray large mixing bowl and a piece of plastic wrap with oil. Place dough in prepared bowl, then cover with the plastic wrap. Gently press the wrap onto the dough surface so it stays moist.
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Cover bowl with tea towel and let rise 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size.
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Carefully remove plastic wrap and place aside to reuse. Flour a cutting board and dump dough out.
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Cut into 12 pieces. Fold each piece onto itself to form a smooth to then roll into balls. Place into 11×7 pan.
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Cover pan with saved plastic wrap and tea towel. Let rise again about 30 minutes until pillowy and doubled in size.
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Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt tablespoon of butter and gently brush onto tops of the risen rolls.
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Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
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Devour one or three!
Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c warm water (105-110°F)
  • 1 T active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 16 oz all purpose flour
  • 1 T butter
  • Special equipment: Stand mixer with dough hook

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixing bowl, combine warm water and yeast, stir to mix then cover with tea towel. Let sit 10-15 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, egg, vegetable oil, sugar and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture.
  3. Stir a couple of times with the dough hook attachment to incorporate.
  4. Carefully add all of the flour to the mixing bowl. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  5. Then knead on level 2 for 8-10 minutes. Dough will be smooth, slightly tacky and will spring back when poked.
  6. Spray a large mixing bowl and a piece of plastic wrap with oil. Transfer dough to prepared bowl and cover the dough with the plastic wrap, pressing it around the dough. Cover bowl with tea towel and let rise for 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size.
  7. Lightly flour a cutting board. Carefully remove the plastic wrap and set aside to use again.
  8. Dump dough onto cutting board. Cut into 12 pieces, fold the pieces onto themselves and roll into balls. Place in an 11x7 pan.
  9. Cover with the oiled plastic wrap again and cover with tea towel. Let rise for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size and pillowy looking.
  10. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  11. Melt tablespoon of butter and lightly brush onto the risen rolls.
  12. Bake 15-18 minutes until lightly golden.
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Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

posted in: Nonfiction, On the Road, Our Work, Travel, Woof Trekking, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

With the holidays coming up, many of you will be traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. Pet lovers may be taking their precious pups and furry felines on the road with them, perhaps for the first time. If you are new to the ways of Woof Trekking (road tripping with your pets), this may cause some anxiety for both the humans and the pets. But have no fear, we are here to help.
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We have been traveling with our two dogs, Izzy and Nana, and one cat, Billy, for four years. We have gained a lot of knowledge to share with you. If you are new to our blog, you can take a look at our previous woof trekking posts here. We have also written a book about our experience with traveling with our cat and two dogs. You can get your copy on Amazon and Kobo.
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You may be surprised that we travel with our cat, however Billy is a pretty chill cat who does fairly well on the road. If you want to take your cat with you (or a skittish dog for that matter), taking them on short, little trips to see how they handle going in the car is a good idea. We actually have two cats, but Tyra doesn’t travel well and prefers to stay home and be kenneled.

We have previously talked about what to pack for both your dogs and your cats. Some important items include: food, bowls, and kitty litter box.

Safety is very important while traveling with your pets and we have some tips to keep everyone safe. First of all safety in the car is very important, both of our dogs wear car harnesses so they can be buckled in. Billy also wears a harness so he too can be buckled up while riding in a human’s lap. You can read more about car harnesses here.


Some dogs and cats travel really well on the road and have no problems. Nana is one of these dogs. She loves car rides and watching the world pass by. Izzy is the opposite, she loves getting into the car but as soon as it starts moving, she becomes anxious and starts to whine. When we travel, we give her Dramamine, per the recommendation of our vet, and it takes the edge off. (Always talk to your vet before giving your pet medication.) Billy on the other hand gets motion sick in the car. He also gets Dramamine to help him deal with this. You can read more about Anxiety and Motion Sickness here.
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The last point we would like to make is about hotel safety. Some hotels are better than others but all should be inspected before letting your pets loose. We have found some interesting objects hidden under the bed. Our biggest tip is to get down on your hands and knees with a flashlight to clear the floor of any dropped pills and other foreign objects.

Go forth and don’t be afraid to take your pets on the road with you. If you want to read more about our travels, get a copy of our book. Bringing your pets on your travels will make your adventures even more memorable!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

posted in: Desserts, Food | 4 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

These days, it seems that the arrival of fall means the arrival of pumpkin spice flavored everything at the supermarket. Pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin spice cereal, even pumpkin spice lip balm. While some may bemoan this trend, we love pumpkin spice!

However, we’ve noticed that the homemade pumpkin spiced goods seem to taste better than many of the commercial options. This might be because when you make them yourself, you can control how much and which spices are included, tailoring the mixture exactly to your tastes. Commercial options are generally under-spiced for our tastes.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This pumpkin cookie recipe meets all the requirements to be a great cookie. It is moist, well-spiced and still tastes great after a couple of days. The twist to this pumpkin spice cookie is the addition of mini chocolate chips. The small size chips are great in this cookie and are, in our opinion, preferable over regular sized chips. The larger chocolate chips can take away from the pumpkin and spices, which throws off the flavor balance of the cookie.

Try this recipe out this week to celebrate a couple of food holidays: Wednesday, October 26th is National Pumpkin Day and Friday, October 28th is National Chocolate Day!

In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground nutmeg. Mix to combine and set aside.
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In a large bowl, cream together butter and both sugars.
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Add two eggs and mix.
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Stir in pumpkin.
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Carefully add the dry ingredients from step one. Stir until just combined.
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Add the mini chocolate chips.
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Scoop dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.
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Bake 9-10 minutes at 375°F. Pumpkin perfection awaits!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Are you passionate about Pumpkin Spice? Let us know with a comment below!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 2 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • 1 c mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, and ground nutmeg in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter and both sugars.
  4. Add eggs and mix.
  5. Mix in the pumpkin.
  6. Carefully add the flour mixture then stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Use small scoop to portion out dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  8. Bake 9-10 minutes, until lightly golden.
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Thanksgiving Eve 2015

Thanksgiving Eve 2015

posted in: Desserts, Food, Side Dishes | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

 
‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving and all through the kitchen

Flour was flying and cranberry sauce was a-glistenin’

At about 7pm tonight, I printed out Ina’s Perfect Pie Crust recipe and strode meaningfully into the kitchen, ready to take no prisoners.

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Step One: Dice butter, put in fridge. Done!

My delusional thoughts at the time: I’m really good at this. Maybe I should bake pies professionally.

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Step Two: Get three cups of flour. Decided to weigh out the flour rather than just use measuring cup.

128 g per cup x 3 cup = 384 g flour

128 is according to allrecipes. The weight seems to vary depending on who you ask.

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Step Three: Add salt and sugar. That added a few grams.

Unforeseen issue: Food processor blade tipped up as I tried to put the processor bowl onto the mechanical part.

Next time, I will measure the flour in a separate bowl and then put that into food processor.

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Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite unhealthy ingredient… SHORTENING!

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Step Four: Acquire 1/3 cup of shortening.

I store mine in the fridge so it was already super cold, a widely-acknowledged key to pie crust success.

I decided to weigh this also, partially because I think it’s more accurate and partially because I find a plate easier to wipe clean of fat than my 1/3 cup measuring cup.

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Step Five: Deposit cold butter and shortening into the food processor.

Hellooo, gorgeous!

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Step Six: Pulsed 12 times, per Ina’s instructions.

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Step Seven: With food processor running, added a half cup of cold water slowly. Recipe said I didn’t have to use all of it. Just went with my gut.

My thoughts: Confidence took a little wobble there. The show must go on!

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Step Eight: Turn out onto floured surface, cover with plastic wrap, and place in fridge for at least 30 min.

Side note: You can see my new favorite beverage in the background here: Sprite Cranberry Zero. Mmmmm. It’s important to stay hydrated in the kitchen! It’s a delicious, festive, low cal drink.

Side note 2: Check out my sweet plastic wrap dispenser below. I kept seeing it on tv and getting mad jealous. So I got one last year for my birthday and it has absolutely changed my life.

More of my thoughts: This is going swimmingly. I wonder what my pie shop will be named.

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Step Nine: Commence the cranberry sauce!

The first step for the sauce was to oil the mold, which I did with my good friend, PAM.

I chose a metal mold because the sauce will be really hot when I pour it in. Plastic didn’t seem like a good choice.

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Step Ten: Acquire one cup of granulated sugar.

According the allrecipes website, one cup of sugar is 201 grams.

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Step Eleven: Rinse cranberries and pick out any yucky ones. I used one 12 oz package of fresh cranberries.

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Step Twelve: Put one cup of water and one cup of sugar in pan. Add cranberries, too (not pictured in this picture).

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Step Thirteen: BTB.

This is Chef Anne Burrell code for bring to boil.

SOARC

Secrets of a Restaurant Chef

I really like acronyms.

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Step Fourteen: Stir so it doesn’t boil over, but make sure lots of cranberries explode, thereby releasing their magical pectin properties. Boil about two minutes.

Side note: This is my first ever gif made at makeagif.com. You can make free 5 second gifs from video without logging in. Waaay easier than figuring out how to do it in photoshop!!!

Side note 2: Why is there a candy thermometer in my pan? I read that cranberry sauce should reach 217 degrees Fahrenheit in order to get that coveted jellied-ness. But then I realized water boils at 212, so how can it reach 217? At that point, I removed the thermometer, which had been inconveniencing my stirring. Then I stirred some more and decided it was done.

stirring cranberry sauce

Step Fifteen: Pour into pre-oiled mold.

That was easy!

I left it on the dining room table on a trivet to cool for at least an hour before I put it into the fridge.

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Step Sixteen: Return to the pie crusts!

I cut the ball in half and weighed the halves to be approximately even.

My thoughts at the time: Phew. I’m getting a little bit tired. But we must find a way to carry on. We really need to focus on what our pie shop will be called. (I was getting all high and mighty, using the royal we!)

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Step Seventeen: Roll out crust.

Roll onto rolling pin.

Hindsight discussion: So I rolled out my crust to be a little over 12 inches in diameter, despite only having a 9 inch pie pan. My reasoning for doing this was that during previous attempts at pie making, I didn’t roll out the crust enough. So I decided to make it opposite day. As you will see by the end of the post, this did not work out too well for me. In the future, I will roll out to be 10 or 11 inches for a 9 inch crust… That being said, I just discovered this NYT article that says to roll out into 12 in circle. Ay yai yai…

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Step Eighteen: Gingerly place crust onto pie pan.

As you can see, I had lots of excess hanging over. This seemed good at the time, but I don’t think I will do it again. It seemed kind of wasteful.

My delusional thoughts at the time: Damn, gurrrl! I am totally amazing at this. My pie shop will be called Lardy Party. Oh wait, that sounds disgusting. How about: A Pie for a Pie Makes the Whole World Happy. Too long. *shakes head* Branding issues.

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Step Nineteen: Acquire filling.

Today’s special: Kroger cherry pie filling.

I didn’t even see that I got two different kinds until I took this picture, lol!

There really were more cherries in the extra cherry can. Good quality control, Kroger.

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Step Twenty: Dump cans of filling into pie crust.

At this point, I did a taste test of the filling. Results: scrumptious!

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Step Twenty One:

Many things are not pictured here.

  • Put the pie into the fridge. It is sitting on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
  • Roll out the other dough ball.
  • Extract pie from fridge and place second crust on top.
  • Trim excess (and there was a lot of excess!)
  • Hindsight note: I should have trimmed even more!

What is pictured is my crimping technique.

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Here’s an closeup of the crimping. I hoped that the two would merge together in the oven.

Hindsight note: They didn’t! Maybe I didn’t press hard enough? Maybe I should have squished them better. Next time, I will use a fork.

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Step Twenty Two: Add vents to top of pie. Super star!

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Step Twenty Three: Brush on milk.

Hindsight note: Add more milk!

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Step Twenty Four: Sprinkle on granulated sugar.

Hindsight note: Add more sugar!

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Step Twenty Five: Bake for at least forty-five minutes. I ended up baking one hour, the entire time at 400 degrees.

My delusional thoughts as I put the pie in the oven: I should consider entering professional baking competitions. Maybe I could fly to England and be the first American participant in the Great British Bake Off!

Hindsight discussion:

I put the aluminum foil protectors on the edges from the beginning because of previous bad experiences. I ended up taking them off for the last fifteen minutes of baking. I don’t really know which is better. Next time, I will probably bake without aluminum foil for the first ten minutes at 425, then drop down to 375 or 350 for forty more minutes.

I should have been more generous with the toppings (milk and sugar), as you can see from the uneven browning.

Crimping situation! I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but the edge of the crust is drooping because I didn’t trim off enough excess. Also, my crimping did not hold in that one area. I don’t know if that would change if I used a fork. It didn’t start oozing until the last ten minutes.

My realistic thoughts as I removed the pie from the oven: I am a complete newb/noob. Do not quit day job. Postpone pie shop opening indefinitely. Consider culinary school. GBBO definitely out. Would not stand up the cold stares of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.

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I will report back with more information about taste tomorrow.

The cranberry sauce recipe was:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 bag of cranberries (12 oz for mine)

You can find Ina’s pie crust recipe at food network here.

Tomorrow will also feature more side notes and hindsight discussions.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a Good Night!

What are your tips and tricks for pies and cranberry sauce?

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