Apple Fritters

Apple Fritters1

Hi everyone. It’s been a little bit since my last post and Thanksgiving has come and gone. If you were in America and were celebrating, then I hope everyone was able to cook and eat lots of delicious food with even more delicious leftovers. I was responsible for the bulk of our family’s meal, as I have been for the past few years. This year though, we got to gather at my twin sister’s and brother in law’s new house. This was awesome for two crucial reasons: first of all, her kitchen is GORGEOUS and has nearly TRIPLE the counter space that my tiny apartment kitchen does. Anyone who loves to cook knows how much this was appreciated by yours truly. Second, unlike the previous years where I end up doing most of the prep and meal cooking myself, this time I had Jas right next to me to help, and she made an awesome sous chef.

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Every year, no matter what I always get the same anxiety about the turkey.  I just do. Since it is technically the “main dish”, I feel the pressure not to mess it up.Turkey can so easily go from a great entree to a dry, chewy disaster. In the past I’ve done both a dry brine and last year, a traditional brine. This year though, I did something that was completely new and different to me:

An overnight turkey. You read that right. A turkey that cooks overnight so that by the time you wake up early on Thanksgiving morning, the WHOLE THING is already finished.

I know, I know. You’re skeptical. So was I. But just hear me out: I actually got this recipe from my grandmother, who informed me that before I took over the responsibility of cooking the bird for the family, THIS was the method she used to cook the 20-24 lb turkeys for our entire family. And judging that those birds were all absolutely delicious, I decided to go ahead and take her word for it and try it out on the turkey this year myself.

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Basically, all you have to do, is season the turkey all over with melted butter and a flavorful spice rub. Then, stuff the cavity with celery, apples, onion, chicken bouillon cubes, sage and marjoram. 4 cups of boiling water get poured into the bottom of one of those giant roasting pans, then you make sure the lid to the pan is closed tightly. The turkey is roasted at 475 degrees for one hour, then you shut the oven off and DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR FOR ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING.

That’s it. Seriously. That’s all you have to do.

I took the pan out at 9:00 a.m. Thanksgiving morning and looked inside. The whole thing was not only done, it was still moist, and the skin outside had a decently browning on it. Oh yeah, and it was delicious too. I just couldn’t believe it. It was like…magic.

I’m so impressed with it that I’m seriously considering roasting ANOTHER turkey using this method and sharing the recipe on the blog so that you guys can get in on this. Plus, with both our and my brother in law’s families over for dinner, we weren’t left with hardly any leftovers and I already miss that turkey, so another one would actually not be unwelcome here.

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What does any of that have to do with today’s post? Oh, nothing at all. In fact, I’ve had this post in my folder for a while now, but I just haven’t gotten around to sharing it yet. I made these little babies the same weekend that I made the absolutely heavenly Deep Dish Apple Pie from my last post with the rest of the apples we picked from the apple orchard. Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good doughnut. Probably the only thing I love more than a good doughnut is a good apple fritter. When it’s done right, it’s just SO good.

And these are more than good guys. Trust me on that. They’re everything that an apple fritter should be: the glaze is sweet and just thick enough to form those lovely crevices in the fritter, which is soft and perfumed with the fresh apple on the inside. Don’t let the lengthy recipe scare you- they’re really not that hard to make. It does get a little messy in cutting off the apple filled dough into portions to fry, and you do have to make sure that the apples stay stuffed in. But even if you lose a few, that’s still totally fine. Just do what I did and fry off the spare apple chunks by themselves; they taste just as good as the apples.

Guess what? I’ve already started on the 12 Days of Christmas series that I do here on the blog every year and I am SUPER excited to share the first two recipes I’ve got done for you guys. They’re probably two of my new favorite Christmas treats I’ve made- and considering how many Christmas treats I’ve cranked out in my life, that’s really saynig something. I’m thinking on actually starting before we get to the point where it’s twelve days before Christmas. In the first place,I’m just that excited to share the recipes with you guys, and in the second, it will give me a little more leeway and less pressure to have twelve recipes and posts ready to post in twelve straight days. Regardless, Day 1 is coming soon, so stay tuned for that. 🙂

(I doubt anyone’s still there, but I’m also linking this post up to Fiesta Friday #96)

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Apple Fritters


Recipe Courtesy of Chow.com

Ingredients

  • 1 Recipe for Basic Yeast Donuts (see below)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 sweet-tart baking apples, such as Honeycrisp or Pink Lady, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • Flour, for dusting

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, also known as confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Warm water, as needed
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For Basic Yeast Donuts

  • 2 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed to 105°F to 115°F
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions

For Basic Yeast Donuts

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt. Add the warm milk, vanilla, and egg yolks. Mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour and the butter and mix until incorporated. Continue to mix on medium speed until the dough is soft and smooth (it will be slightly sticky). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free place to rise for 1 hour, or refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

To form Apple Fritters

Mix the dough and let it rise according to directions for Basic Yeast Donuts. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the apples to the pan and sprinkle with the sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until tender and the liquid becomes a syrupy glaze, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

Roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness.

Spread the apple mixture onto half of the dough, then fold the other half over the apples.

Using a bench scraper or a large knife, cut the dough into 1/2-inch strips, then cut the strips into 1/2-inch pieces in a cross pattern.

Scoop up the pieces and rearrange, cutting them again in a cross pattern. Make sure the apples are well dispersed throughout the dough.

Flour your hands really well and form the dough into a log measuring 12 inches long and about 3 inches wide

Sprinkle the log with flour and slice it crosswise into 12 pieces. Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with flour. Transfer the uncooked apple fritters to the baking sheets, smashing the pieces of dough and apple together. Tuck in any apples that stray, and press each fritter into a flat round. (Make sure you really press the pieces together and flatten before you let them rise, or the fritters will come apart during frying.) Let the fritters rise until puffy, about 20 minutes.

To make glaze: Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the maple syrup and vanilla and stir until smooth. Add enough water to form a loose glaze. Set aside and cover with plastic wrap until you need it.

Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with at least 2 inches of oil (the oil should not come more than halfway up the pan). Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 350°F. Using a spatula, carefully and gently lower 1 or 2 fritters into the oil. Don’t crowd them.

Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side, turning a few times, until the fritters are light golden brown and cooked through.Remove with a spider or slotted spoon, drain on a wire rack over a paper towel, and let cool slightly before glazing.

Repeat with the remaining fritters. Be sure to keep the oil temperature consistent while frying. While the fritters are warm, dip the rounded side into the maple glaze, letting the excess drain back into bowl. Place back on rack to set. 

Deep Dish Apple Pie

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A few weeks ago I drove out to an Apple orchard with my family on a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon much like this one. My two year old niece had never been before and it’s actually been several years since I visited one myself. They’re really nice places to go to in the fall, especially if they’re the ones that let you pick your own apples for a small fee. This orchard was huge; it had varieties/flavors of apples that I had never even heard of before. And considering I once had an apple obsession (eating two a day, practically religiously) I found that pleasantly surprising.

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The usual suspects that I personally love were present: Honey Crisp, Pink Lady, Macintosh, Jonagold, Ida Red, Jazz, Cortlands. They also had varieties that I steadfastly avoid at all times, like Golden Delicious and Red Delicious. Then there were ones like Empire (GINORMOUS apples btw), Spy, and Mutsu that I wouldn’t know from Adam or Eve.

Pun kinda intended.

Long story short, we came outta there with a crap load of apples. Before we even got home, I knew what I wanted to do with them (I mean, besides just eat them raw. I’ve definitely been doing that too.)

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I was definitely gonna make an apple pie. There was just no way around it.

You’d think that because this was my first time making an apple pie, I’d try to play it safe and go with something…normal.

But I didn’t want to make one that was ‘ordinary’. I had too many apples for that. Plus, I had just bought myself a deep dish pie plate on clearance that I really wanted a chance to break in.

So, this happened.

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I’ll tell you guys. The smell of apple pie….a fresh, packed-to-the-brim, good, old fashioned deep dish, lattice crust apple pie really is one of the THE best aromas that could ever be in your house. Believe me when I say that.

The smell that filled not only my place, but the lobby and hallways of my apartment building are what I’m preeeeetty sure Heaven smells like.

Actually, I’m more than pretty sure. I’m positive. Heaven smells like a deep dish lattice crust apple pie.

Remember, you heard it first from here.

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Do I honestly need to continue?

Is it really necessary for me to extol and sing the praises of this pie to convince you guys how friggin marvelous it tastes? Should I tell you how flaky and buttery the crust is and describe the slightly sweet crunch that the sprinkling of sugar on top just before baking gives to it? Should I describe the way the apples form a soft, tender, slightly gooey filling, and the small hint of cinnamon your taste buds get just after the tang of that initial tartness?

Or should I REALLY drop the bomb on you and try to give an accurate description of how this baby tastes piping hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle of caramel syrup on top?

I think not. That would just be cruel.

You’ve all got eyes. And kitchens. So, I suggest you get in em and crank this pie out for you and your loved ones. I guarantee it would make the top of someone’s list of Things to be Thankful for come Thanksgiving 😉

(I’m linking this post to this week’s Fiesta Friday #94, co-hosted by Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Stef @ The Kiwi Fruit.)

Deep Dish Apple Pie


Recipe Courtesy of The Complete America’ Test Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients

For Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or butter flavored shortening, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water

special equipment (HIGHLY recommended): a box grater

For Filling:

  • Unbleached, all purpose flour, for the work surface
  • 2 1/2 pounds firm tart apples (about 5 large), peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 1/2 pounds firm sweet apples (about 5 large), peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) plus 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest plus 1 tbsp. juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg white, beaten

Directions

For Pie Crust: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt with a fork and set aside.  Rub the pieces of shortening into the flour mixture either with your hands or a fork, mixing just until it looks like coarse bread crumbs. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the butter directly into the flour mixture. Stir a few times with a fork , then make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour in the ice water, using a stiff rubber spatula/fork to make the dough come together. If it’s still too dry, you may add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it holds together. Divide the dough in half, then wrap each half in plastic wrap. Allow it to rest in the fridge for at least one hour, but preferably overnight.

Roll one disk of dough into a 12-inch circle on a floured surface, then fit into a 9-inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over the edge; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll the other disk of dough into a 12-inch circle on a floured surface, then transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap ans refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Toss apples, 1/2 cup of granulates sugar, the brown sugar, zest, salt and cinnamon together in a Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until apples are tender when pierced with a fork but still hold their shape. Transfer apples and juices to a rimmed baking sheet and cool to room temp, about 30 minutes.

Adjust an oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Drain cooled apples thoroughly through colander, reserving 1/4 cup of the juice. Stir lemon juice into the reserved cup of apple juice.

Spread apples into the dough lined pie plate, and pour the lemon juice mixture over them. Loosely roll out 2nd piece of dough onto a floured surface, and cut into strips. Arrange the strips over the top of pie in a criss-cross lattice design. Trim, fold and crimp the edges. Brush the dough with the egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp of sugar.

Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, rotate baking sheet and continue to bake until the juices in pie are bubbling and crust is a deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes linger. Cool the pie on a wire rack until the filling has set, about two hours. (I let my pies sit overnight then serve them at room temp, or microwaved, just to make sure the filling isn’t runny, but that’s just my personal preference)

Honey Yeast Rolls

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And just like that, October is over.

2015 is less than two months away from being completely over and I really can’t believe it. This has been one heck of a year. It seems like just yesterday we all were pooling together out summer recipes and now it’s getting to be about that time when we turn our thoughts to Thanksgiving and all the wonderful things we’re going to cook and eat.

As much of a self-proclaimed Christmas fiend as I am, I gotta say that I love cooking for Thanksgiving the most. There are just a set menu of dishes that me and my family ALWAYS eat on that day that we don’t usually do on other holidays when we get together to eat and I really do look forward to the tradition of it every year.

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Today’s recipe I think, would be a more than welcome addition to any Thanksgiving table.

Is it ‘easier’ to buy the commercial brands in the bread aisles? Sure, but I don’t think that they taste as good.

Plus, if you’re anything like me, you’d much rather be able to plop a tray of these babies on the table with a pleased-tad-bit-smug grin on your face as everyone oohs and aahs over them with questions of “Omg, did you actually MAKE these?!”

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Seeing the pleasure someone gets out of bread that I made myself almost always trumps the convenience of me buying it in the store. It just does. Plus, it really is cheaper.

(And to be honest, any cook/baker who tells you they don’t love flattery of their food is lying. Trust me on that. We love it when people praise our stuff. LOVE it.)

But to be fair, this recipe is one that I doubt anyone would be able to resist flattering someone for serving. I’ve made A LOT of yeast breads since i became serious about practicing my baking skills and sometimes the dinner roll recipes I try do have a tendency to blur together and in some instances, taste good but also pretty much the same.

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But let me tell you guys, this recipe DEFINITELY isn’t one of them. It stands out for a number of reasons, the taste being the most crucial.

These rolls are GOOD. Really good. The flavor of the honey really makes itself known, being in both the dough, and a friggin marvelous spread of honey butter that gets slathered on top as soon as they come out of the oven piping hot.

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And did I mention that they puff up to a ginormous size? Cause mine sure did.

Not that I’m complaining about that, though. The bigger the better.

(…that’s what she said ;-))

Happy Fiesta Friday #93 to all of our guests and of course to our lovely co-hosts  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Kaila @ GF LIfe 24/7!

Enjoy my rolls guys 🙂

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Honey Yeast Rolls


Courtesy of  “Southern Living: 1001 Ways to Cook Southern”

Print

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
  • 1 (1/4 oz.) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey

Directions

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl and let stand 10 minutes or until mixture bubbles

Meanwhile, heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until 100° to 110°.

Stir together warm milk, eggs and next 3 ingredients in a bowl of a heavy duty electric stand mixer, blending well. Add yeast mixture, stirring to combine. Gradually add 5 cups flour, beating at medium speed, using paddle attachment. Beat 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 1 hour.

Uncover dough, and add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, beating at medium speed 5 minutes. (Dough will be sticky.) Transfer to a lightly greased large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts , 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down. Turn dough out on a well-floured surface and roll into 28 ( 2 1/2 inch) balls (about 1/4 cup dough per ball.) Place balls in  2 lightly greased muffin tins. Cover and let rise in a warm place, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 400°. Stir together 1/2 cup softened butter and 1/4 cup honey.

Bake rolls at 400° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with honey butter. Serve with remaining honey butter.