Baked Apple Turnovers

I made these turnovers last week as I had a bag of frozen apple slices that wanted using, as well as a puff pastry dough that had been sitting in the fridge a couple days while I decided what to do with it.  These turned out delicious, and well worth keeping the recipe on hand for the next time – and so I share it here!  I found several recipes online, but most call for deep-frying; I don’t do grease.  Baking them is healthier, ecologically as well as medically, and they come out tasting like the apple pie pockets from a well-known fast-food chain restaurant – except I know exactly what goes into these, no chemicals or unpronounceable ingredients involved. They only take about 10 minutes to prepare and would be a great dessert for guests, or a quick toss-together when you’ve got withering apples to use up.

For a real treat, serve these warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.  Enjoy!

Apple Turnovers

Baked Apple Turnovers

3-4 apples, peeled, cored and finely diced

4 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry

A bit of milk or cream for brushing

Prepare the apples as instructed; then toss together with the sugar and spices.

Roll out the pastry dough, and score with a knife to cut into 6 squares.

Spoon a bit of the mixture into the centre (off just a bit, as you’ll fold it at the centre), keeping it away from the edges.  Fold over corner-to-corner into a triangle, and press the open edges together with the tines of a fork.  Repeat until all are done, spreading them evenly on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Brush the tops with a bit of milk or cream (or egg wash).

Bake at 180°C (350°F) for ~30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 6 turnovers.

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Swiss Apple Tiramisu

I posted this originally in 2012, and wanted to share it with those new to the blog!  I’ll be making this tonight as a dessert to Swiss cheese fondue; despite the cream layer, it will make a light and refreshing contrast to the heavier main meal.  Over a decade ago, I got this recipe from a Swiss friend; I’ve made it dozens of times, and it always gets rave reviews and requests for the recipe!  Unlike other tiramisu, this has no raw eggs, or coffee.

 

lady finger cookies

Lady Fingers Cookies

Swiss Apple Tiramisu

 

750 gr. apples

Peel them, chop into large chunks, and blitz them with a chopper (or knife if you’re a purist) into a coarse apple puree.  Add:

1 Tbs. vanilla sugar

½ lemon’s juice

1 C. apple juice

a dash of Amaretto or almond extract

Mix it all together into an apple sauce.  Next, in a separate bowl, mix the cream layer:

500 gr. mascarpone

5 dl. whipped cream

2 Tbs. apple schnapps (Calvados)

Beat til foamy.  You’ll also need:

3 pkgs. Lady Finger cookies (approx. 18 per 2 layers = 36)

In a casserole dish, layer as follows: A bit of applesauce, then rows of biscuits, and whipped topping; repeat once more.

Make this at least an hour before serving, and chill it until time to serve.  I stab toothpicks around the edge and a few down the centre to keep the plastic foil from touching a nicely-smoothed surface.

Coconut Macaroons with Cranberries

Coconut Macaroons with CranberriesThese are my husband’s favourite winter cookies, and he’s not a big sweets-eater so that means something!  I make these with slightly less sugar, but adjust it according to your own tastes.  The cranberries add a lovely tart counter-taste to the coconut.

Coconut Macaroons with Cranberries

4 egg whites

1+ 1/2 C. sugar

4 C. flaked coconut

1 C. finely chopped dried cranberries

More sugar for rolling

Beat the eggs until they form soft peaks when you lift the beater. You should save the egg yolk for later use.  Next add the sugar slowly, beating every time. Then mix in the coconut.  Sprinkle some sugar on your palms. Then take a small piece of dough & roll it into a ball ~ 1″ diameter. Continue doing that until there is no more dough left.  Or, as I do when I want even and neat macaroons, use a small melon baller.  Arrange the balls on the baking sheets. Bake @ 160°C (320°F) ~ 16 – 18 minutes on papered trays until they are light brown. The cookies should be soft on the inside so don’t over–bake them.  Cool on a wire rack.

Easy Decorative Mints

Easy Wedding MintsThese mints are known as “wedding mints” in America, but they are decorative, and if kept in the refridgerator can last a LONG time.  LONG. TIME.  That is, if you don’t eat them first.  Just a word of warning:  Go easy on any liquid you add, whether flavouring extract or food colouring; a few drops will exponentially multiply the amount of powdered sugar required to make the dough stiff enough to form balls to press into the mold.  I speak from experience on this… unless you don’t mind nipping down to the grocery store every so often for MORE powdered sugar…  I usually make this around Christmas, and have an assortment of mint molds that I’ve ordered online.  But if you don’t have any molds , or can’t get them delivered to your address overseas, you can simply roll them into balls and press slightly flat, as shown in the photo, or use a fork to press a tine pattern onto their tops.

Easy Decorative Mints

8 oz. (225 gr.) cream cheese

1-2 tsp. Flavouring (mint, almond, butter, etc.)

Powdered sugar – enough to make a “STIFF” dough (about 4 x the cream cheese!!)

 

Easy Wedding Mints 2Mix well, then form into small balls; roll the balls in granulated sugar (you’ll get the feel for how much of the mixture fits into the molds as you experiment with it.) and press into the mint molds.  If the mold is new, you might want to put a little powdered sugar in it before adding the cream cheese mixture so it doesn’t stick.  Immediately pop out onto wax paper to dry & harden (doesn’t take long).  Store in a cool, airtight container.

No-Brainer Nutella Chocolate Sauce

Chocolate SauceAmounts depend on two things:  How much you want to make, and how thick you like your sauce; so I won’t give amounts, but I can guarantee that if you have half a brain in the kitchen you can’t go wrong.  This is a sauce that requires no cooking, no preparing, and can be made as needed (it literally takes 2 minutes).  I have a recipe for a copycat Hershey’s chocolate sauce, but I had run out and decided to improvise one night.  I’ll never make the more complicated sauces again!

QUICK & EASY NUTELLA CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Nutella or other chocolate spread of choice

milk or cream of your choice

 

Scoop out your Nutella into whatever container you prefer.  Start off with minimal milk, and stir it in gradually and thoroughly until you arrive at the consistency you want.  That’s it!  I promise!

The Best Cookies You’ll Ever Make

Grandma Herring's CookiesThat may seem like a presumptuous title; after all, everyone thinks their cookies are the best, right?  But I have yet to come across another recipe that evokes the responses this one does:  I made them this week, and after one bite a guest asked if I would give his wife the recipe!  I’ve had people groaning with pleasure after the first bite, and they’re seriously addictive, as light as air, and melt-on-your-tongue delicious.

But what makes these cookies so special to me personally is the story behind them:  My paternal grandmother, Mary Mae Herring-Higbee, was a Kansas farmer’s wife; she crossed the prairies with her parents in a covered wagon around 1902 as a baby, and they settled in the wild prairies of Kansas, where she met my grandfather and set up house.  She lost seven or eight children before my father came along when she was 40, and he remained an only child.  She was a no-nonsense pioneer, a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in a town so small that if you were driving through it at 10 miles an hour and sneezed, you’d miss it (really).  These were her cookies.  When she was baking these even the air was edible they smelled so good, and I burnt my tongue on several occasions because I couldn’t wait for them to cool to take the first one.

Being the simple farmer’s wife she was however, she figured everyone knew how to make these so she never wrote the recipe down, and took it to the grave with her.  One day as a teenager I determined to figure out the recipe before it faded from my memory, and spent all day trying to find the secret ingredient and combination that makes them melt on the tongue.  I was at the end of my rope, batches of failed (but very good) cookies up to my eyeballs, when in walked my brother, hands stuffed into his pockets.  “Watchyadoin’?” When I told him, he casually tasted a cookie and said, “You don’t have any applesauce in ’em” and walked to his room.  I didn’t know whether to strangle him or hug him.

So without further ado:

Kansan Farmer’s Cookies

1 tsp. baking soda + 2 Tbs. hot water; disolve soda in water

1 tsp. baking powder

1 C. melted butter (or oil of choice)

¾ C. brown sugar

¾ C. white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. each of vanilla & almond extracts

2 C. + flour*

1 C. raisins (light or dark)*

~1 C. chocolate chips*

3/4 can (average size) apple sauce – should be added until it lightens the dough colour  & texture; not drippy, but light and viscous.

Drop onto a baking sheet by the spoonful, far enough apart (they will spread a bit while baking).  Bake @ 190°C for 10 minutes, or until glazed light brown.  While they’re still hot remove to a cooling rack with a spatula that’s large enough for the cookie – they’re especially soft while warm.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen palm-sized cookies.

* If you toss the raisins and chocolate chips in the flour before adding to the liquid ingredients, it prevents them from sinking to the bottom during the baking process.