All posts tagged desserts

Apple Crisp

Published October 14, 2012 by jenmatteson

It’s apple season!  I feel like I am learning about new apple varieties every fall.  Apples I’ve never heard of before: Sweetango, Lady Slipper, Jazz.  There are over 7,500 different kind of apples out there; I doubt I’ll even try .5% of them.  I’m very particular about the type of apple I will eat raw, but baking and cooking with apples is a different story.

I’m pretty versatile when it comes to using apples in recipes, but apparently, there are some that are really good for baking, and some that are the worst.  According to Eating Well, McIntosh and Granny Smith are the best for baking.  A combination of the two makes the “perfect” apple pie.  Red Delicious on the other hand are the worst for baking.  They say it’s the worst for eating too, so what are they good for?  To finish up, Honeycrip is the best apple for eating.  I do not agree – which is why I find it hard to believe that one apple can be better for eating or baking over another.  Isn’t just personal preference?

Regardless of what is “best”, I tend to use what I have on hand or what is on sale for baking.  For Hezzi-D’s apple crisp I used Haralson apples, and I thought they were perfect!  Even my neighbor, who proclaimed he doesn’t like apple crisp, said that this was awesome.  I’m really getting the hang of this baking thing!  I doubled the topping because after making a single portion, I didn’t think it was enough and I’m pretty sure the “crisp” is the best part of the apple crisp – at least in my opinion.  Serve this warm with some vanilla ice cream and you’ll be in heaven.  Promise.

Apple Crisp

Source: Adapted from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Servings: 10-12


For the filling:
8-10 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin (about 1/8-inch)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and water, then pour over apple mixture.  Stir to ensure all apples are coated.  Transfer to a greased 8×8 baking dish.

2. In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and melted butter.  Using the back of a spoon, incorporate well until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle over the top of the apples.

3. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until apple filling is bubbly and top is golden brown and crisp.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

French Silk Pie

Published June 17, 2012 by jenmatteson

I had absolutely no reason at all to make this pie, but Saturday was rainy for most of the day, I was cooking away, and decided since I had all the ingredients, I might as well whip one up.  Plus, it was one more thing off my 30 Before 30 list.  Also, it gave me a chance to try my hand at pie crust making again.  The first time I did it for my fresh strawberry pie, it tasted wonderful, but I completely forgot to trim and flute my crust.  This time I felt almost like a pro, except for the fact that it slumped in one area while cooking, but oh well, it gives me another reason to keep baking pies, right?  Pie crust is much simpler than I anticipated, based on what others make it out to be, and my second time went super smooth.

I brought two slices to my parents this morning; another treat they got to enjoy for Father’s Day.  I had to try a few bites myself, to make sure it wasn’t poisoned or anything.  The chocolate was rich, but not heavy, and the fresh whipped cream kept the entire pie nice and light.  The crust was flakey and buttery, perfect pie crust in my opinion (can you say that about your own pie crust?).  I didn’t have any chocolate for shaving, so I just finely chopped some dark chocolate chips to garnish.  It looked amazing, and it sure tasted amazing, too!

French Silk Pie

Source: Adapted from What’s Cookin, Chicago?
Servings: 8


1/4 cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups whole milk
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
dark chocolate shavings for garnish (I used finely chopped dark chocolate chips)


1. Make homemade pie crust recipe (find mine here) and set aside to cool.

2. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Over medium-low heat, slowly whisk in whole milk.  Increase heat to medium-high, and let mixture come to a boil while continuously whisking.  Allow to boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla extract until smooth.

3. Pour chocolate filling into pie crust.  Cover with plastic or foil, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

4. Just before serving pie, whisk heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar together in a stand mixer until it forms stiff peaks, about 3-5 minutes.  Spread whipped cream over chocolate filling, and garnish with chocolate shavings.

Tuxedo Cocktail Cookies

Published March 1, 2012 by jenmatteson

I thought it was clever to bring these cookies to the Oscar party; I’m not sure anyone really got the connection. Either way, they are delicious and look fancy. I had to go to three grocery stores before I found almond meal, but I finally found it. Later I find the note: you may have to look at a fancy grocery store or health food store for this or you could easily make your own. The original recipe comes from Food and Wine. I like my recipe name better, though the Food and Wine photographer is much better than me. Tuxedo Cocktail Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond meal or ground almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large egg, beaten
Black and white sesame seeds for sprinkling

1. In a food processor, pulse the four, almond meal, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms large clumps.

2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently until it comes together. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a disk. Roll out each disk between 2 sheets of wax paper to 1/4 inch thick. Slide the wax paper–covered disks onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour, until firm.

3. Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time, peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out the cookies as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Lightly brush the cookies with the egg and sprinkle with the black and white sesame seeds.

4. Bake the sesame cookies for 17 to 20 minutes, until they are lightly browned; shift the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool completely

Make Ahead

The rolled-out frozen cookie dough can be wrapped in plastic and kept frozen for up to 2 weeks; thaw the dough slightly before using. The baked cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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