Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall Pie Time - Apple Pie w/ a Twist

And... I'm back.  I could make excuses, but really, who cares?  I'm glad I'm back doing something I love and thankful that one of my favorite followers (and people) encouraged me to end my hiatus from baking and bloggery.  Specials thanks to Leslie for that.

Starting slow with an easy pie that always tastes good.  Or at least, it's hard to mess up and usually pleases a crowd: Apple Pie (with a twist of course).  Leslie and I stopped by the local market for some ingredients. With not much time before our scheduled dinner party, we opted for the pre-made Pillsbury Crust.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Pie Filling:
8 Apples (assorted: fuji & green apple)
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Organic Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Flour
1 Egg

Instructions:

  1. Wash, peel and cut the Apples into cubes.  Place in a large bowl. 
  2. Stir in the Cinnamon, Honey, and Vanilla.
  3. Rub a stick of Butter on a glass pie dish, coating the bottom and sides.   Take a tablespoon of Flour and cover the butter with it.  Discard the excess. 
  4. Put the bottom Pie Crust into a glass pie dish. 
  5. Pour contents into the pie dish, on top of the dough.
  6. Chop the Butter into little cubes and scatter them over the contents.  
  7. Put the top Pie Crust on.  Ventilate with a neat design of your choice.  
  8. Scramble an Egg in a small bowl.  Coat the top of the crust with the egg batter.  
  9. Cover the edges of the Pie with aluminum foil to prevent burning.  
  10. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes; decrease heat to 350 and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes (until golden brown and contents are bubbling out).  
Done! Enjoy. 


















Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dirty Blondies

No Eggs? No Problem. 
Yesterday was a very unexpected Snow Day.  I awoke at 8:30 a.m. geared up for the ensuing week of school and work, dutifully checked my email, and found out school was closed due the previous night's onslaught of ice and snow.   Yes!  A day of rest and recovery on top of an amazing weekend was just what the doctor ordered.  So, I decided to try a new recipe.  Plagued by the treacherous roads and desire to be a homebody for the day, I decided to see what my kitchen stocks could offer in the way of a dessert.   Here's what I came up with:


Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup hot cocoa mix
  • 1 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup toffee bits (optional)

  • Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan. In a heavy saucepan combine the 1/3 cup of flour and water. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thick. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter. When butter has melted, add the hot cocoa mix and mix until smooth; set aside to cool. Beat the sugar (brown and white) and vanilla into the cooled flour mixture. Stir in the cocoa mixture until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the batter until just blended. Fold in walnuts if desired. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out (relatively) clean. Cool before cutting into bars.

Enjoy Your Blondies!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Excursion Cookies


After a night of debauchery, it was time to bake peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  Around 11 p.m. last night, my friend Mike (aka Skeeter) suggested we bake.  Bake??? Yes, bake.  "What should we bake?" I asked. Chocolate chip cookies was the reply.  The problem: there was no brown sugar at Skeeter's house.  The solution: peanut butter.  On a side note, peanut butter is the solution in a lot of problem situations (including emotional meltdowns--it always helps).

Here is how it happened:

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
1 3/4 Sticks of Butter
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Eggs
1 BAG of Tiny Chocolate Chips

Directions:


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Dennis licking the peanut butter spoon.  He also got into some flour .
2.  Combine Flour, Baking Soda, Salt in a medium bowl.  Make sure to "sift" the Flour. Skeeter was baffled by this concept.  Basically, just spoon the flour into the cup lightly to allow for some air to get in there.  Level off and dump in the bowl.  

Me and Dennis (Skeeter's Cat) putting the baking soda in.
3. Mix melted Butter & Peanut Butter, Sugar and Eggs in a large bowl.
I <3 Boys in the Kitchen
4.  Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture gradually using an electric mixer (luckily Skeeter had one of these -- PS anyone who has an extra or wants to buy me one, I would LOVE IT).


5.  Stir in the Chocolate Chips.  This was my first time using baby chips and will not be the last.  They were perfect for this cookie.

6.  Bake on the center rack for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from oven when they are browning.


7. Enjoy with some milk.  They might taste better if you play some Zelda too.

Special Thanks to Dennis and Skeeter for
the use of their home in this baking endeavor.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Boston Cream Pie.

One of Pat's favorite donuts are Boston Cream donuts.  So I thought, why not bake a whole pie for him to come home to after a few days away at Gore Mountain.  Turns out Boston Cream Pies are actually cakes.  They are very fun to make and with the following recipe, quite easy too. 

I should mention, so I don't get yelled at later, that MOST of my motivation for posting this blog tonight comes from my lovely and devoted follower, Mom.  Love you!


Ingredients
  • CAKE:
  • Yellow Cake Mix (see box for directions)
  • Oil
  • Water
  • Eggs

  • FILLING:
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • FROSTING
  • 4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate (Giradelli)
  • 2.5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions


Step 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (or whatever the box tells you to do based on what type of pan you are using—I used non-stick pans I picked up at the grocery store on my 6:30 am ingredients run today).  Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans. 

Step 2: Open box, combine all ingredients (mix, oil, water, eggs) stir with a mixer (or just really fast) for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is completely blended.  Pour cake mix into the greased pans and place in the oven on the middle rack evenly.


Step 3: Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes or until cakes begin to shrink away from the sides of the pans and centers are turning a nicely brownish tan color.  Turn the cakes onto wire racks or parchment paper to cool.

Step 4: In the meantime . . . To Make The Filling: Combine the 1/2 cup light cream with 1/4 cup of the milk and cook over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan.  Immediately add 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt, stirring until dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.  I have to tell you I felt like a real baker doing all this. 

Step 5: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch and whisk to remove lumps.  Whisk in the 2 eggs.  Add the hot cream mixture in a thin stream slowly, whisking constantly (this takes some skill and would probably be easier with a partner).  Return to the mixture to the saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly (much importante), until the custard thickens and is smooth (about 5 minutes--it happens all of a sudden so WHAT OUT!!!).  Remove from heat and stir in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and allow to cool to room temperature.

Step 6: Next . . . To Make The Chocolate Frosting: In a saucepan over low-medium heat, stir the chocolate pieces and 2.5 tablespoons butter until they are completely melted.  Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, add the 1/4 cup light cream in a thin steady stream.  When mixture is smooth, stir in the confectioners' sugar and beat vigorously.  Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.


 Step 7: To Assemble Cake: Spread the cooled filling over one the cooled cakes and place the second cake on top. Pour the chocolate frosting evenly over the top allowing it to spill down the sides.  Take some pictures and share!   





Saturday, November 13, 2010

Shooting-Star Apple Pie


Ingredients:
Pastry for 9-inch Two-Crust Pie (see Apple Pie, I Die)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
6 cups thinly sliced pared tart apples
2 tablespoons margarine or butter

Directions:
Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare pastry.  Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Stir in apples.  Turn into pastry-lined pie plate; dot with margarine. Cover with top crust that has slits cut in it; seal and flute.  Cover edge with 3-inch strip of aluminum foil; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.  Bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, 40-50 minutes.




Bubbling goodness.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spidey Cakes

Easy-peasy cupcakes with some flair.  Scare (or delight) your friends with these eight-legged treat freaks.

INGREDIENTS

- 1 package of chocolate cake mix
- 1 tub of chocolate icing
- 1 package of Reeses Pieces (or M&Ms)
- 1 package of black licorice

Bake the cupcakes according to the box's directions (not too hard to mess up).  Let cool completely.

1. Prepare the Legs:  take clean scissors and cut the licorice sticks long ways to make 2 long skinny pieces.  Then cut them in 4s so that you have 8 small pieces.

2. Ice the cakes.  Be liberal.

3. Create the monster: stick the legs into the side of the cakes firmly.  Apply 2 eyes (or 8) to the front.

Wa-la! Spidey Cakes. Display with plastic spider rings for an extra creepy effect.

Dead Lady Fingers

Happy Halloween!  Try this easy recipe out for your next Halloween shindig.  




INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup softened butter (nuke for about 45 seconds)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 handful of almonds, sliced
  • red food coloring
In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla in a bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.  Beat in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  

Cover the mixture and refrigerate for half an hour.  Roll about two tablespoons of dough in your palms to create finger shapes for each cookie; they should be about 3 to 4 inches long and about 1/2 to 1 inch wide.  To make nails, press a sliced almond firmly into one of the ends. With your index finger and thumb, squeeze on either side of the center to give the knuckle shape.  Also, tapper off the cookie so it's thinner where the nail is.  Make slashes in several places with a paring knife to form knuckles. 

Place cookies about 1 inch apart on lightly oiled baking sheets and bake in 325 F (160C) oven for 20-25 minutes or until slightly golden. Let cool.  

When the cookies are cooled, squeeze red food coloring onto the cookies, focusing around the nails and knuckles (do so sparingly, just a few drops go a long way!).  

Serve and enjoy this gross-looking treat!




Yum!  Martians love fingers!


So do creepy guys...


Love, 

The Rebel Baker and her man Ned (a.k.a. Patrick). 



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Honey Peach Pie served w/ Wild Blueberry Sorbet

Working two jobs this summer (total of 60 hours per week) and living with a guy temporarily who, in a word, is a minimalist, has made it very difficult to find the time and resources to update my blog.  However!  My cousin Rachel came to visit me in Brooklyn this weekend and we decided to host a little dinner party on Sunday night for our friends Leslie, Charlie, Django, and Joe. Special thanks to Leslie and Charlie for bringing a delicious red wine with them!  Rachel and I served fettuccine alfredo with scallops, parsley, garlic and a little salt and pepper.  We also made a nice and simple salad and a fresh baguette from the bakery.  For dessert, Honey Peach Pie served with Wild Blueberry Sorbet from Ciao Bella.  This is a really simple recipe, you should try it!

INGREDIENTS

The Crust:
  • Pillsbury 2 crusts in a box! (Again, we are talking LIMITED resources people. For my pie crust recipe, see my strawberry pie post.)

The Filling:
  • 6 to 7 ripe peaches
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of butter (unsalted)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons honey (Any flavor you want! I like clover or buckwheat)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon water 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut peaches into slices.  
  2. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  3. Saute peaches in 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 1/2 cup of sugar over medium to low heat.  Make sure not to burn them!  Cook until the peaches are not firm anymore, but also not soggy (about 15 minutes).  The point is, you want them to melt in your mouth when you eat the pie.   
  4. Add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the peaches over low heat.  Stir in and mix well. 
  5. Remove peaches from heat.
  6. Add 1/4 cup flour to the peaches and mix in completely.  Add 1 tablespoon water if the mixture becomes to thick.   
  7. Remove pie crust from wrapper, place one on the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan.  
  8. Add the peach mixture on top of the pie crust.  
  9. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of honey over the mixture.   
  10. Cut up the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and distribute evenly over the pie filling. 
  11. Remove the 2nd pie crust from the wrapper, and place over top of the peaches. Seal the sides by pushing the two crusts together by the rim.  
  12. Make slits in the top of the pie for air to go in and out.  
  13. Put in oven and bake for about 45 minutes. The edges should be browning and the juices bubbling when you take it out of the oven. 
  14. Let cool, preferably by a window seal for the classy, home-warming factor.  
  15. Serve while still warm with a scoop (or two) of Wild Blueberry Sorbet (it really goes amazing with the pie).
  16. Enjoy!





REBEL BAKER NOTE:  thanks to all my new followers for your interest in my blog!  I blog because I love to bake and share my recipes with you.  As always, suggestions are welcomed!  I'm always looking for new recipes, especially unique ones!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Magical Bars

First off: WOW! I have more followers. Thank you so much for your interest in my blog. I hope to continue to post more frequently now that it's summer.

Secondly, my apologies for my hiatus from my beloved blog.  Long story short: I'm back to baking now that I have some free time. Ahhh, free time.  Isn't it great?  Schools out, summer's starting, and life is good. 

Today I chose to bake a special delight for my honey bear.  I'm traveling up to his work today and will surprise him and his co-workers with a treat: Magical Bars.  Now, this is something I know he loves his mom to make him so I'm kind of treading on sacred ground here.  But in true rebel fashion, I've strayed slightly from the traditional 7-layer Magic Bar to the 8 layer Magical Bar.
8 Layers:

1. Graham Cracker
2. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
3. Finely-Chopped Walnuts
4. White Chocolate Chips
5. Butterscotch Chips
6. Dried Cranberries
7. Shredded Coconut
8. Sweetened Condensed Milk

Ingredients
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
10 graham crackers, crushed
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup white chocolate chips
½ cup butterscotch chips
½ cup dried cranberries (aka Craisins)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Directions
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the pan with two overlapping pieces of foil, leaving overhang to act as handles for lifting the bars out of the pan. Spray with non-stick spray.

2. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake until the outer flakes just begin to brown, about 4 minutes. (Keep a close eye on it – coconut can go from slightly browned to burnt in a matter of seconds.) Set aside.

3. Melt the butter and combine with graham cracker crumbs in a small bowl. Toss with your fingers until the butter is evenly distributed. Press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

4. In order, sprinkle the walnuts, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, dried cranberries and coconut over the graham crumbs. Pour the condensed milk evenly over the entire dish.

5. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.

6. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil as handles and transfer to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife or bench cutter, cut into 2 by 3-inch bars.
Yields approximately 18 bars

(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cow Plops


Ingredients:
2 cups pecan halves, toasted
4 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Step one: preheat oven to 320F degrees. Put the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Then, line (preferably rimmed) baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step two: make sure your pecans have cooled a bit, then chop coarsely and set aside. Sift together the confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir in the nuts, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Step three: spoon the batter onto the prepared sheets in mounds of about 1 to 2 tablespoons each, allowing for PLENTY of room between cookies: these cookies really expand. Put about 6 cookies on each sheet, and try to avoid placing the batter too close to the edge of the pan.

Step four: bake until they puff up. The tops should get glossy, and then crack a bit - about 12 -15 minutes. Have faith, these cookies really do surprise you.  At first, they look like runny poop, then they really blossom and look appetizing.

Step five: slide the cookies still on parchment onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. They will keep in an airtight for a couple days. This recipe makes about 18 LARGE cookies.

Rebel Baker's Note:  I made these cookies for the V-Day bake sale at my law school.  V-Day is a global movement and series of consciousness-raising events to end violence against girls and women through public performances, education, and networking.  I'm on the fundraising committee and will be hosting an event featuring the band The Nightlife on March 25th at Tess's Lark Tavern in Albany, NY.  So please come!!!

NOTE: This recipe is from 101 Cookbooks; originally entitled "Chocolate Puddle Cookies" but I thought they looked more like Cow Plops.  101 Cookbooks is an amazing cooking/baking website that I highly suggest you take a gander at.  I substituted some organic ingredients they used for some Ghetto Chopper buys and I used pecans instead of walnuts...  Also, I used wax paper. Which is NOT a good idea because the cookies tended to stick to the paper and it was super hard to get them off of it.