Fall Apple Desserts

I am a magazine junkie–Southern Living, Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Food Network… You get the idea. In the last week or two, all the September magazines are rolling in, and I am drooling over a lot of the fall recipes–but none more than the desserts.

Apples and pumpkin galore! Yum!

I will never make it through them all, but I thought I would share a few of the most tempting apple deserts, in case anyone wants to give them a try.


Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake (From Southern Living)

Southern Living says: This delicious apple bundt cake features a sweet cream cheese filling and homemade praline frosting.  Garnish the frosting with extra toasted pecans.

Seriously, doesn’t that look amazing? I actually liked that half of the cover better than the other side–and the other side was Brad Paisley!


Love this coffee cake! <3

Love this coffee cake! <3

One of my go-to apple deserts is this Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping and Brown Sugar Glaze recipe from Food Network. It comes from Emeril Live!–goodness I miss that show! Hubby asks for this cake all year round!

(Just a note, I usually leave off the glaze–while it is good, I don’t think it is necessary.)

Cooking Light says: Sweet, crunchy apples make for a delicious plate of party “nachos.” Just slice some apples, arrange on a plate, and get creative. While I chose to make a slightly sweet peanut butter glaze, you could easily drizzle with honey or melted chocolate, or sprinkle cinnamon, nuts of your choice, or anything—the options really are endless. Slice some apples and have fun!

Source: Forget Keeping the Doctor Away: Slice Up the Ultimate Apple Nachos


Need more? Country Living has 40 apple deserts in this article!


Lazy-day Caramel Apples

Lazy-day Caramel Apples

Or, you could go the easy route and try one of my favorites –a chopped apple, a drizzle of caramel sundae sauce, and maybe some chopped walnuts or pecans. Healthy and easy! 😉


Whatever your choice, enjoy!   <3

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What’s your favorite apple recipe? Favorite fall fruit? Anything I missed? Feel free to share!   🙂 


Coffee Break – Chocolate Chip Pecan Biscotti

I found myself with a touch of a sweet tooth after work last week, and editing my culinary cozy mystery was not helping the issue. When my main character whipped up a batch of biscotti,  it seemed like the perfect time to try a new recipe.

IMG_8910I love the cinnamon and almond extract with the rich chocolate in these cookies. I think that the higher-quality chocolate makes a big impact as well.

I love this multi-tiered cooling rack for a small space!

I love this multi-tiered cooling rack for a small space!

This makes a lot of biscotti, but they freeze up very nicely. Just take them out for a half hour or so before you want to eat them. Home-baked treat whenever you want them. 🙂

Chocolate Chip Pecan Biscotti

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Ingredients

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
4 Tbsp. Cold Butter, cut in chunks
3 Eggs, beaten
1 Cup Good-quality Dark Chocolate Chips or Coarsely Chopped Dark Chocolate
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Almond Extract
Course Sugar (Optional)

 

Instructions

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl,  mix the Flour, Sugar, Cinnamon, Baking Powder, and Salt. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or 2 butter knives until incorporated and crumbly.
  1. Add eggs, and stir until incorporated. Stir in remaining ingredients, then knead in bowl until fully combined.
  2. Place dough on a floured surface. Knead a few more times, then divide in half. Shape each half into a log about 2 inches wide and 1 inch tall.
  3. Place on baking sheet, and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice each log into 1/2 inch slices, cut on a diagonal. Lay each slice on its side on the baking sheet. They can be close, but not touching the other cookies. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown and firm.
  5. Cool completely on cooling racks. The biscotti will continue to harden as they cool.
  6. Enjoy! 🙂

IMG_8917There is nothing like a crispy cookie to dip in a mug of piping-hot coffee!

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Off to work–with a tasty treat in my lunch bag. Hope you have a wonderful day! ❤️

Blog Signature Do you have a favorite little treat to go with your coffee or tea? Do you prefer cookies, cakes, or pies?  Or are you more of a salty-snack fan? Please share in the comments! 🙂


A Summer Treat: Lemon Blueberry Scones

I have worked hard to be a little healthier lately–more workouts, more veggies, more fruit, less junk food. I started this little experiment because I was told it could help me out with the pain I have dealt with from arthritis–and it worked! As an added bonus, I have dropped 20 pounds in the last three months–not a bad side effect! 😉

IMG_8641One of the things I love about the way Hubby and I are approaching this is that we didn’t cut any food out completely; we are simply more cognizant about how we make them. Nothing processed–we make it from scratch (though we did that most of the time before). If we want a sweet treat, we have it–but we have 2 small cookies, not 6. 😉

That being said, I have a bag of whole-wheat flour here, and I was determined to make something fun with it. I researched a bunch of scone recipes, made a couple attempts at my own, and this is what I came up with.IMG_8608

These Blueberry Lemon Scones are super-tasty, with a crumbly crust on the outside and a soft, moist center. Perfect for a midmorning snack with a piping-hot cup of coffee or tea!

Lemon Blueberry Scones

  • Servings: 12
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Ingredients

2 Cups Whole Wheat or All Purpose Flour*
 2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
 1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 Stick Butter (8 Tablespoons)
2 Eggs (Fork Beaten)
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/4 Cup Honey
1 Cup Fresh Blueberries
1-2 tsp. Cane Sugar (optional)

*Please Note: Using Whole Wheat Flour will change the texture of the final product.

Instructions

  1.  Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with Parchment Paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine Flour, Cream of Tartar, Baking Soda, and Salt.
  3. Cut the stick of Butter into 8-10 pieces, and add to the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender to mix the butter into the flour, mixing only until the butter is slightly smaller than pea-sized.
  4. Add the Eggs, Cream, Lemon Juice and Zest. Stir until it just comes together.
  5. Add the Blueberries and gently combine by hand, trying to keep as many blueberries whole as possible.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and roll into a large circle, about 3/4 – 1  inch thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 12 wedges. (Alternatively, break into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a triangle shape. This will prevent blueberries from being cut in half).
  7. Put 12 triangle pieces on parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with Cane Sugar (I used 1 pack of Sugar in the Raw for the entire batch).
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes until brown.
  9. Serve with a little butter and your favorite beverage. Enjoy!

IMG_8646This is a really easy recipe, and the end product is great. Buttery dough with juicy berries and just a hint of lemon.

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Do you have any favorite treats that are healthier than they taste? Favorite fruit or veggie recipes? Feel free to share! 🙂 


Finding Christmas in July

July in North Carolina does not embody Christmas in my mind, but I have been trying to trick my mind into the Christmas spirit anyway.  As heat-indices soar into triple-digits, I am  working on a Christmas-themes cozy mystery, which means I need to get in the holiday spirit just a bit early this year. 😉

This was our Christmas card a few years ago. Cami loves to lounge under the tree!

This was our Christmas card a few years ago. Cami loves to lounge under the tree!

Christmas music, cinnamon candles, and forty two recorded Christmas movies from the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas in July week have all helped to set the mood.

Oh, and cookies help, too. 😉

After watching several Christmas movies, I broke down and made Oatmeal Cookies (Hubby’s favorite). I added in raisins, dates, walnuts, and some extra cinnamon, and my house smelled amazing! They are tasty, too! 🙂

Mmm, cookies! Just about to come out of the oven...

Mmm, cookies! Just about to come out of the oven…

Of course, the issue with all of this is that I am getting weird looks as I hum Christmas music in the aisles of Target in the middle of summer. And my poor husband is already tired of coming home from work to Christmas music. That usually doesn’t happen until mid-November sometime.

But, the story is flowing, and the Christmas theme is apparent throughout. In the long run, that’s all that matters. Even if our neighbor’s do think I have major issues. 😉

Do you have any sure-fire ways to get in the Christmas spirit? Favorite Christmas Traditions? What are your favorite Christmas carols?

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Back to Baking

A little over six months ago, I did something I never thought I would do. I quit baking.

Nothing beats a fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie!

Nothing beats a fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie!

For anyone that has followed this blog, you know I have always loved to bake. It is my stress relief (at least it was). Sixteen months ago, I couldn’t imagine going two months without baking, going to the extent of packing my stand mixer in the car with us when we relocated to North Carolina.

Unfortunately, our waistlines quickly came to realize why my weekly baking habit just wouldn’t work down here. We knew very few people down here, so instead of sharing sweet treats with family and friends, we indulged ourselves. When we found our pants getting tight, we decided we needed to make a change. So, I quit. Cold turkey. A week before Christmas.

That’s right, I made no Christmas cookies. Not one. To be honest, we didn’t even miss them.

Gearing up for Christmas Cookie baking in the past.

Gearing up for Christmas Cookie baking in the past.

Luckily, we have made friends down here as we are settling in.  We have also had a lot more family visit in the last month or so. So, after six and a half months, I bought baking supplies today. I pulled my Kitchen Aid mixer out of the cabinet.

And tomorrow, I bake. 😉

After six months, I don’t feel the need to bake every week. But, I am looking forward to occasional treats. And, my new habit of walking five or six miles a day should help to keep the waistline in check, even if (when) I do occasionally overindulge.

Have you ever quit an activity you loved cold turkey? Did you go back? 

And does anyone have any suggestions on what I should bake? 😉 


Christmas in October

Just a few of last years cookies.

Just a few of last years cookies.

I love Christmas–the music, the cookies, the decorations, people going out of their way to help others (except in the stores–I avoid stores at all costs at Christmas time), and, oh yeah, the cookies! 😉 Even so, I have always had a not-before-Halloween rule for anything Christmas (except the shopping–that needs to be done as early as possible, thanks to the above rule of avoiding stores at Christmas).

This year, however, I am plotting out a new novel–a Christmas mystery–in October. Read More


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most people who love to bake had one recipe that made them fall in love with baking, something that made them want to try new and exciting things. For me (and many others, I suspect), that one recipe was Chocolate Chip Cookies.IMG_0525 (2)

Like most people, I started with the recipe on the bag of Chocolate Chips. In my late teens, I found the recipe was fun and easy. It quickly became my go-to recipe if I needed to take something to a party.

Back then, the only thing I did to change the recipe was to add M&M’S to add a bit of color. 😉 (This is still a fun idea, just don’t leave out the chips completely.) Read More


Lemon Drop Cupcakes

IMG_2268I love to cook with lemon in the summertime. It is such a versatile ingredient–it works great in both sweet and savory dishes.  Plus it is one of both my mom and my husband’s favorite flavors. 😉

I made these cupcakes the first time about a year ago.  I came across this three-layer cake recipe on Pinterest and really wanted to try it, but I needed cupcakes for a picnic.  Since I love filled cupcakes, the recipe for the cake and the filling worked well with some minor tweaks, although I did use a different icing. Read More


Chocolaty Goodness

I had a different planned for today, but I just had to share this recipe I tried yesterday! 🙂 It was my grandmother’s 81st birthday (Happy Birthday Grandma!), and I was on dessert duty.

I am not a chocolate cake person–I much prefer a yellow or white cake.  But, it wasn’t my birthday, and chocolate cake is my grandmother’s favorite. Read More


Pure Pecan Heaven

Over the past few months, I have become quite the Pinterest addict.  I have found recipes galore, fun household tips, clothing ideas, inspirational quotes, and the list goes on and on!

I wrote a post a few months ago about some of the pins I had tried at home. Today, I want to share a recipe that I tried a few weeks ago for a large group that everyone loved. (I have been baking since I was a teenager, and my mom said it was the best thing I have ever made.  And she is a big fan of my baking.)  😉 Read More