Monday, September 19, 2011

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting

Made this cake to take to the West End Gallery picnic on Sunday. Tom says "It is excellent!"  He went back for seconds.

I found it in an out-of-print popular cookbook from a 1970's era Vermont restaurant called Bakery Lane Soup Bowl.  It was featured on the back of the book, so I knew it had to be pretty good. 

Fresh Apple Cake
(from the Bakery Lane Soup Bowl cookbook)
Makes 9 x 13 inch cake

2 1/3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. EACH of cloves and nutmeg
4 cups chopped, peeled apples  ( I used Gala)
1/2 cup soft shortening
1/2 cup chopped walnuts  (I used 1 cup pecans)
2 eggs
caramel frosting

Combine flour, sugar, soda, salt and spices in large mixing bowl.  Mix until well blended, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add apples, shortening, nuts and eggs.  Beat at medium speed until well blended.  Pour into a greased, and floured, 9 x 13 inch pan.  Bake in pre-heated 325 degrees oven 45 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Frost in pan with caramel frosting.

Caramel Frosting
Makes about 1 cup

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
dash salt
3 T. milk
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar (about)
1/4 t. vanilla

Melt butter in small saucepan.  Add brown sugar and salt.  Stir over medium heat until sugar melts.  Add milk and bring to a boil.  Pour into mixing bowl and cool 10 minutes.  Add confectioners sugar and vanilla.  Beat to spreading consistency, adding additional confections sugar, if necessary.  Spread on Fresh Apple Cake.

It traveled well,  stayed moist overnight and was easy to make! 


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Birthday Chocolate Chip Cookies

Birthday Chocolate Chip Cookies
Today, we celebrated David's 30th early because we will be at the Chris and Tara's wedding next weekend. I made a big batch for him to take home to enjoy between now and his birthday on the 25th. 

I used three types of chocolate chips --- milk chocolate, semi-sweet and dark.

I also used one of Tom's recipes (he said he was honored) which he had written down in the back of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Cookbook Christine sent to us a long time ago.  His version, dated 1/7/89,  he named Tom's Fabulous Chocolate Chip Cookies in his humble way.

I adapted his recipe to my way of making cookies.  Mostly, I changed the way that he introduced the ingredients which was unconventional.  And I subbed milk chocolate chips for the butterscotch chips.  And used maple syrup instead of corn syrup.

Birthday Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Tom's Fabulous Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe)

Makes a big batch 60+ of 3-inch cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1 t. almond extract
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. maple syrup
4 to 5  cups all purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1 cup half'n'half
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
12 oz milk chocolate chips
12 oz. dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together the butter and shortening with an electric mixer.  Add sugars and cream together.  Add the eggs, the extracts, maple syrup, the salt, baking powder, baking soda, half'n'half and mix well with electric mixer.
In a separate, large mixing bowl, add 4 cups of the flour.  Add the three kinds of chips and toss together to coat all of the chips with flour.  Pour in the wet ingredients and use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine.  If the dough seems too wet or sticky, add up to 1 cup of flour, as needed.
Drop by tablespoons on to cookies sheets, 12 per sheet.  Bake two sheets at a time, rotating and switching, halfway through.  Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until browned on the bottom, and still blonde on the top.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack to completely cool.

Happy Birthday, David!  The big 3-0!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Soup of the Week: French Onion

French Onion Soup

This French Onion Soup would be good for a meatless Monday meal or when you want something to warm you up.

So simple, so delicious!

To create a successful French onion soup, you need to be sure to
  • Use ordinary onions, not sweet onions (i.e., not Vidalia or Mayan)
  • Carmelize the onions, low and slow, until they are golden brown  -- don't be in a hurry
What you will need is

a 2 lb. bag of yellow or white cooking onions for the best flavor.

French Onion Soup
(adapted from Classic Home Cooking)

Serves 4 for a meal or 8 as a first course

3 T. butter
1/4 cup oil (canola, olive or safflower)
2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
1 T. sugar
1/4 cup flour
4 to 7 cups  of beef stock (depending on how thick you like your soup)
salt and pepper
8 slices of rustic or French bread
8 slices of Gruyere cheese, sliced thin  (Cheddar works well too)

The slicing of the onions takes time, so give yourself 15 minutes to prep the onions.

Melt the butter and oil in a heavy soup pot.   Toss the onions in the oil and cook until soft, then sprinkle them with 1 T. of sugar,
stir and cook, low and slow, until the onions caramelize, for a total of about 20 to 30 minutes.  You know they are done when they are golden brown.
Sprinkle the flour into the pot, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 -2 minutes.

Gradually stir in the stock and bring to a boil.  Add salt and pepper to taste,

cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes.

Toast the bread and then melt the cheese on top to create a Gruyere crouton.

Taste the soup for seasoning, then ladle into warmed bowls.  Float a Gruyere crouton on top and serve immediately.