The Ridiculously Delicious Cinnamon-Apple Cake

A year later… I’m back!

It’s fall, which means buckets of apples are available, so some friends and I had a baking extravaganza last weekend and baked up an apple pie, an apple cake, two pans of apple crisp, and some apple sauce.

I thought I would share with you the apple cake we made because it was so delicious. It’s a Cooking Light receipe that we found on myrecipes.com (giving credit where it’s due!)

Sorry for the poor quality picture… all I had available was my phone camera!

Ingredients 

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup stick margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups chopped peeled Rome apple (about 2 large)
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, margarine, vanilla, and cream cheese at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 4 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, beating at low speed until blended.
  3. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Combine 2 tablespoons cinnamon mixture and apple in a bowl, and stir apple mixture into batter. Pour batter into an 8-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.
  4. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack, and cut using a serrated knife.
  5. Note: You can also make this cake in a 9-inch square cake pan or a 9-inch springform pan; just reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes.

Baker note: We used a springform pan, and it worked out just fine. We also substituted some whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour, and I’m not sure if you could taste a difference since I’ve never tried the cake before, but it worked great!

5 Star Peanut Butter Cookies

There is a story behind these delicious cookies. Katy’s dad has a birthday soon, and loves peanut butter cookies. These will be his gift… Katy is going to drive over to her parents house and bake them fresh when she arrives. An excellent birthday present, if I do say so myself.

Here’s the recipe:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat the peanut butter, butter, and sugars until they are creamy, then beat in the eggs. In a different bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir this mixture into the batter until it is even. (Refrigerate 1 hour at this point, you’ll get doughier cookies.) Then roll the cookie dough into little balls (about 1 inch) and place on baking pan. Preheat your oven to 375 F and bake about 10 minutes. (don’t over bake these!) Once you’re done, you can go back to finding some Seattle waterfront real estate… that’s what we do with most of our free time.

(This recipe is from “Best Loved Cookies.”)

Coffee Cake Buttermilk Muffins

The other day Matt and I discovered cookbooks at the public library! We got a few, but one was Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast. it has some delicious looking breakfast goodies. I tried out the Coffee Cake Buttermilk Muffins, but I put my own twist on the recipe to make it a little healthier, substituting oil and applesauce for butter. (The original recipe has 1 stick of butter in it). Oh, and I left out the nuts all together – just not really a fan of nuts in my coffee cake.

Coffee Cake Buttermilk Muffins

The coffee cake swirl part:

1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon

The muffin part:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil (I use canola oil)
1/2 cup applesauce (I put a little less than a full 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cardamom (I didn’t have any of this in my spice rack, so I used nutmeg instead)

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

2. Make Swirl: mix togehter sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside for later

3. Make the Muffins: Lightly coat muffin tin with vegetable spray. In a small bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt – set aside for later.

4. Beat together the oil and applesauce until well blended. Add sugar and beat for about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on a lower speed. Mix in vanilla.

5. Add half the flour mixture and mix on low until blended. Add the buttermilk, cinnamon and cardamom (or nutmeg) and mix until smooth. Then add the remaining flour mixture and mix just until blended. (I like to do this part by had so I make sure not to over-mix)

6. Fill the muffin cups half full then sprinkle a tablespoon of the coffee cake swirl. Top with the remaining batter. Then Sprinkle heaping easpoon of swirl on top of each muffin.

7. Bake: for about 22 min until muffins are pale golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let them cool in the pan for about 5 minuets, then remove them to a cooling rack. Best when warm. :)

 

NOTE: The muffins do not stay quite as moist after a day or so when substituting oil and applesauce for butter. But really, how many muffins will be left after two days? Not many!

Coffee Cake Buttermilk Muffins

Fudgy Oat Flour Brownies

Ever since taking wheat out of my life a few years ago, I’ve been on the hunt for some delicious brownies. And let me give it to you straight here: These are AMAZING! As an added bonus, they just happen to taste like my grandma’s chocolate spritz cookies that she makes every year for Christmas – yum! So go ahead, put the batter in the pan, stick them in the oven and shamelessy lick the bowl. Yes, they are that good.

1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup dutch cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (optional)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup oat flour*

Heat oven to 350°. Combine butter, cocoa and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Stir in oat flour. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. This recipe also works out great if you choose to leave out the eggs.

*An Oat Flour Public Service Announcement: Make sure to purchase gluten-free oat flour. Oats are often processed in the same factory as gluten products, so there can be traces of it in the oats. Bob’s Red Mill makes a very safe g-free oat flour – check Whole Foods or your favorite grocery store to pick some up. And next time you’re interested in purchasing some Chicago real estate, hopefully you’ll be aware that this website is totally unrelated.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe just might go in the running for the best chocolate chip cookies. I was browsing the internet looking for new chocolate chip cookie recipes and found this one on Occasional Sugar. I packed up a container to take dinner with a friend last night, bringing more than I thought would be necessary for four people – and they were all gone by the end of the evening! Thats how you know they are good.

There were a few tips to making these cookies on the blog that I thought were quite helpful.

1. DON’T TOUCH THE DOUGH! it can make them flat.
2. Don’t shape the cookies, drop them in shapeless blobs on the cookie sheet. They look better that way.
3. Make them small. I know this is counter-intuitive to many of you chocolate chip cookie bakers out there. But you get more cookies out of the batch, but also I think they cook more evenly when smaller.

One more thing to consider: half the recipe. Unless you have a classroom full of kidos to feed, you probably don’t need 50 cookies in your house.

3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temp
2 eggs, room temp
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
15oz. Chocolate Chips or other candy (I used a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips)
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. In separate bowl, hand-whisk together the brown and white sugar to remove any lumps. Then with an electric beater or kitchen-aid mixer, add butter to sugar mix and beat until very light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add dry ingredients in three batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips (with a strong spoon, not your mixer to avoid a jam).

Preheat oven to 350. Drop dough by the spoonful on to an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, don’t over bake them. Remove from oven when the edges of cookies just start to brown and let them sit on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Crackletop Cookies

Chocolate Crackeltops

Chocolate Crackletops are great to make for holidays! I made them into Post-Valentine’s Day cookies. I found pink and red M&M’s at the store for super cheap a few days after Valentine’s Day. The recipe calls for mini M&M’s so I just cut a bunch of the regular sized M&M’s in half. Worked just fine. Since M&M’s are made into lots of colors for the holidays – St. Patty’s Day is coming up, use green M&M’s or use the Easter color mix for a spring cookie!

These cookies have a somewhat fluffy and cake-like texture. The looks are deceiving.

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups “M&M’s” Baking bits
some additional granulated sugar

In small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, butter and chocolate, stirring until its all melted. Gradually stir in eggs and vanilla. Then stir in four and baking powder until well mixed.

Chill for one hour

Stir in M&M’s and chill an additional hour

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheet with foil. With sugar dusted hands, roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll balls in additional sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Don’t overbake.

Hint:  if you flatten the balls a little before putting them on the cookie sheet the come out a little more cookie shaped, rather than keep the ball shaped form that mine have.

Chocolate Crackletops

Recipe from my “Best Loved Cookies” cookbook.

Blueberry Oat Muffins

Blueberry Oat Muffins

I found this recipe while browsing the internet looking for ways to bake with blueberries. I had remembered there was a giant Costco sized container of blueberries in my fridge, and I was never going to get through them all just putting them on my cereal every morning. These muffins are a slightly healthier version, substituting apple sauce in place of the usual amount of oil. I think they turned out great. The original recipe used whole wheat flour, but I didn’t have any of that.

One other tip, if you sprinkle a few oats on the top just before putting the pan in the oven, they look a lot “cuter” once cooked. Living with a husband who eats things based on appearances most of the time, you learn how to make the outside of food look more appealing. I didn’t get a picture of this, because I turned half the recipe into a loaf of blueberry bread, which I sprinkled the oats on.

2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup Milk
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottoms of your muffin tin

Mix together the first five ingredients, beat well

Stir in by hand, remaining dry ingredients, be careful not to over mix

Fold in blueberries (I always add extra because I like blueberries and they are good for you!)

Spoon into muffin tin so that each one is about 2/3 full

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until tops turn golden brown. Cooking times will vary based on your oven.

Makes 24 muffins

Carrot Cookies with Frosting

Carrot Cookies

Photo credit: Kelley DiVesta

Cookies

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
2 cups shortening
2 cups mashed carrots (Canned: 2 large)
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Mix together in a large bowl and drop by rounded tablespoon full on an un-greased cookie sheet.

Bake for about 10 minutes

When cooled, frost with orange frosting

Frosting

2 cups powder sugar
2 Tbs Orange Juice
1 tsp vanilla

Recipe from the famous Mother of Kelley DiVesta!

Kelley and I got together one afternoon, took a walk, then decided we should eat back all the calories that we had walked off by making cookies. But, they have carrots in them, so they are healthy…. right?

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! Another excuse to bake, right? And since I had never made homemade shortbread before, I decided this was the perfect opportunity! Valentine’s Day Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies. I found the recipe in my “Best Loved Cookies” cookbook. I love that book!

They were super easy to make, and turned out delicious.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Beat butter and sugar at a medium speed until light a fluffy.

Beat in vanilla.

Add flour and salt, mixing on a low-speed.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide dough in half and press each half into an ungreased 8-inch square pan. (other shapes work too).

Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are just golden brown. (Do not over bake!) As soon as they are done, and still in the pan, score the shortbread in whatever shapes you want the final cookies to look like, taking care not to cut completely through the shortbread.

Then let the pan cool for about 10 minutes before removing the shortbread onto a wire rack. (To do this, turn the pan over and gently loosen the shortbread, let it sit upside down on the wire rack).

Once the shortbread is completely cooled, break it apart into square, rectangles, or whatever shapes you made. (Hearts would be a good idea for Valentine’s Day.)

Bakers Note: I didn’t have mini-chips in my cupboard today, so I took the regular sized chips and cut them in half with a sharp knife. Worked great.

Wheat & Egg-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Hey All! WelOat Flour Chocolate Chip Banana Breadcome to the first allergy-kind post of its kind on Chocolate Chip Cookiest! Matt & Katy invited me to be the resident gluten-free writer, so as time allows, I will be adding some of my favorite recipes to the site. This recipe is an adaptation from a Bob’s Red Mill recipe and is kind to those, such as myself, who cannot tolerate wheat or eggs. A word of caution: it uses oat flour, which some gluten-free folks & all celiacs cannot have. Feel free to substitute in your favorite gluten-free flour or just make sure to purchase oat flour that is specifically gluten-free.

Oat Flour Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

1/2 cup butter (melted works best)

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup overripe & mashed bananas

2 teaspoons (or more!) vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

dash of cinnamon

1 3/4 cups gluten-free oat flour

3/4 cups gluten-free chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°. Cream together the butter & sugar. Add mashed bananas to the mixture. Stir in vanilla (be generous here, folks! the more the merrier!). Add the baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon, then mix well. Add the oat flour and stir. Drop in the chocolate chips and gently fold into batter. Pour mixture into one bread loaf pan & stick in the oven. Check the bread at 35 minutes by inserting a knife into the middle of the loaf - if it comes up with no raw batter, just gooey, delicious chocolate chips, you are good to go! If it still has some batter, cook for 5 more minutes, then recheck. Remove from oven & let cool 10 minutes (if you can wait that long!). Yum!

Bonus Points: If you are feeling uber generous, bake a double batch. Share one loaf with a group of friends. Don’t tell them the recipe and you can secretly delight in the fact that will not know they are eating gluten-free. Only once they are weeping tears of joy over the deliciousness of it and asking for fourths should you break the news to them. Be prepared for dropping jaws and shouts of dispute: “There’s no way this is gluten-free!” To which you can calmly reply, “ah, yes, it is.” And when they leave, pull out your loaf that you have secretly locked in the back closet (so as to not be discovered, of course), grab a large fork, and settle into a cathartic state of gluten-free bliss. Ah yes, this is the life….