Friday, October 10, 2014

October 10, 2014

There are a couple of family birthdays this Happy Birthday!!!  Wish we could all be together, but we are together in spirit!

In the test kitchen it was a good week for fall treats, but the two new dinner we tried were lackluster at best.  Too bad!  Both had ingredient lists that appeared to be fantastic, but both had the same sort of problem, they were just kind of odd.  Oh well, better luck this next week with dinner recipes.  Maybe we'll try out some new side dishes or veggies.

But back to the keepers!  Miss H's class at middle school made a dessert called Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars.  She was raving about them, and salted caramel anything these days is so trendy, I thought we should give them a try here at home.  Over the weekend she actually made them with her brothers!  I was out doing school stuff, Ryan was home but he just let them do their own thing in the kitchen.  The bars were a huge success...Ryan enjoyed them so much (and as you know he isn't much of a dessert guy) that I made them myself later in the week!  These bars are fantastic, and a cinch to whip together.  You can add the caramel sauce or not, and they are delicious warm or straight out of the fridge (I think that is why we ran out...people were enjoying them out of the fridge without so much as a plate, let alone the sauce!).

The other fall treat that was a hit at bookclub was Snickerdoodle bars.  They were also easy to put together and require ingredients I imagine are in your pantry at this very moment.  No chocolate, just cinnamon sugar yumminess.

Three keepers this week, but hoping for a new dinner or side dish keeper this coming week!  Wish me luck.

Happy Cooking

New Recipes
Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
Salted Caramel Sauce
Snickerdoodle Bars

Salted Caramal Apple Pie Bars

Ingredients for shortbread crust
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 cup AP flour

Ingredients for apple filling
* 2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced and chopped
* 2 tbsp AP flour
* 2 tbsp sugar
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Ingredients for streusel
* 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
* 1/3 cup light brown sugar
* 1/4 tsp cinnamon
* 1/4 cup AP flour
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold, cubed

Optional Salted Caramel Sauce (click here for recipe)

1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.  Line an 8 x8  baking pan with aluminum foil leaving an overhang on all sides.
2. Stir the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt together in a medium bowl.  Add the flour and stir until everything is well combined.  Press the shortbread crust mixture into the the prepared baking pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.
3. Combine the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all the apples are evenly coated.  Set aside.
4. Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour together in a medium bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, two knives, or even your hands.  The mixture should begin to resemble coarse crumbs.
5. When the crust comes out of the oven, turn the oven up to 350 F.
6. Pour the apples over the crust and press them in to fit.  (It may seem like too many but it will work).
7. Sprinkle the streusel over the apples and bake for 30-35 minutes of until the streusel is golden brown.
8. After cooking, let the bars cool in the pan for 20 minutes at room temperature, and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
9. When ready to serve, cut into bars and pour the salted caramel sauce on the bars (if desired). Enjoy!

These bars are fantastic!  Easy to make, and good out of the fridge, or warmed up in the microwave.  The sauce adds a bit of sophistication to the dessert making it company worthy, but they are delicious even without the sauce!  If you are going to the orchard to pick apples, when you are pulling out your apple sauce and apple crisp recipes to use all the apples up add this recipe to the list of the options.  You won't be disappointed!

Snickerdoodle Bars

Ingredients for bars
* 1 cup of butter, softened
* 2 cups packed brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 3 tsp vanilla extract
* 2 2/3 cups AP flour
* 2 tsp baking powder
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp nutmeg
* 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients for topping
* 1 1/2 tsp sugar
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Cream the butter and brown sugar for five minutes. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and mix for another 3 minutes.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the creamed ingredients.
4. Spread the mixture in greased (or parchment or foil lined) 9 x 13 pan.  Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top.  Bake for 25 minutes.   Cool the pan on a wire rack and then cut into bars.

Salted Caramel Sauce

* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 6 tbsp butter, cut up
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 1 tsp salt

1. Heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly.  Eventually the sugar will clump and then liquify.   Keep stirring.
2. Once the sugar is completely melted add in the butter.  The mixture will bubble when you add the butter, but keep stirring.  Stir until the butter is completely melted and incorporated, 2-3minutes.
3. Very slowly add the cream.  Keep stirring!  Again the mixture will bubble.  Once all the cream is mixed in let the mixture boil for one minute, and keep stirring.
4. Remove the pan from the heat.  Add in the salt and mix.  Let the sauce cool before using.
5. When the sauce is cool, if desired, pour it into a mason jar (or other glass container) and cover tightly with a lid.  Store the sauce in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
6. To use cold sauce, reheat it in the microwave, slowly, stirring after every 15 seconds so you do not overheat the sauce.

Yum!!!  Imagine this over vanilla ice cream, brownies, zucchini cake, apple slices.... the possibilities are endless.  It will solidify in the fridge, but it reheats beautifully and is delicious!  Try it out!