Sunday, October 29, 2017

Halloween Hand Pies

One of my favorite desserts from our Halloween dinner this year was our cherry hand pies. They're literally "hand pies". Get it? 
That joke alone was worth making them. Sue says it's not funny.... I disagree.
Anyway, this dessert is a great way to celebrate Halloween without a huge amount of effort. I used our Never Fail Pie Crust but any pie crust will do (even store bought). The crust and a can of pie filling and *voila* you are ready to make these spooktacular pies. 

Halloween Hand Pies

Half of our Never Fail Pie Crust (HERE)  recipe
1 can cherry pie filling
1 egg, beaten
sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. 
Prepare pie crust as per instructions. You will need half of our recipe to make 5 hands. 
Trace your hand on a piece of cardboard (I used a cereal box), and then cut it out.
Roll out the dough to a little less than 1/4 inch thickness. Place the cardboard cutout of your hand on the dough and cut out as many as you can.

Reroll the scraps once or twice and cut out as many as you can again. I ended up getting 10 hands (to make 5 pies). 
Place a hand on a flat work surface and, using a basting or pastry brush, brush the beaten egg over the surface of the hand. Place a generous scoop - about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup - of the pie filling in the palm of the hand. 

Cover with another hand cut out. Using a fork, gently press around the edges to seal the pie. There is no need to seal the fingers, just around the palm of the hand, thumb, and baby finger. (See photo for details).

Place hands on prepared cookies sheets. Repeat until all your hands are used up. You will have some cherry pie filling leftover. Reserve this for serving.
Brush the tops of the hands with the beaten egg.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Then turn down the heat to 350 and continue to bake until pastry is golden brown - about 20 - 30 minutes or so. 

Let cool on wire rack until room temp. 

Serve warm or room temp. You can decorate the pies with sliced almonds for nails, if desired. Simply use a little of the cherry pie filling as glue. 

Serve the pies with the extra pie filling for dipping the finger in! The fingers don't have any filling so serving with dip is a great way to eat them. 

I believe if you were to use a store bought crust - like one for one double pie crust - then you would probably only get 2 complete hands out of it. 
Using half of our recipe you get 5 complete hands - maybe more, depending on the size of your hands. 
A spooktacular treat indeed. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

A while ago our mother brought home a couple of bags of Sahale Snacks for us to try. I believe she brought the Maple Pecan Glazed Mix and the Cranberries, Black Pepper, and Orange Zest Mix. 

I was going to just eat them all on their own. They are ridiculously tasty. But then I had the idea to give them a quick chop and throw them in some cookies. 
*cue angels singing*
Oh. My. Gosh.
These may be the best oatmeal cookies on the planet. 
I ended up making both snack bags into cookies because I couldn't stop eating them. 
FYI - if you can't find the Sahale Snacks anywhere just substitute 1 cup of candied pecans plus 1/2 cup craisins or raisins for a similar taste experience. 

Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp molasses
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cornstarch
1 bag Sahale Snacks (any flavor), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, scraping down sides as needed. Beat in the egg and molasses until well combined. 
Add in the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and cornstarch and beat briefly, until dough comes together. 

Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop cookie dough onto prepared cookies sheet, leaving cookies about 2 inches apart.

Using the palm of your hand, flatten the cookies out a little. 
Bake at 350 until cookies are a light golden brown on top, about 15 - 20 minutes. (Do not over bake or cookies will be crispy and not soft/chewy). 
Remove from oven and let cool on tray for 5 minutes.

Then remove to wire rack to cool completely. 

Using a 1/3 cup measure, you should get 1 dozen cookies. You can make them smaller of course, but why on earth would you want to do that? 
Store in a Ziplock bag on the counter OR you can freeze them for later. They freeze very well. 
All those crunchy nuts and chewy raisins and craisins make for a good combination of textures in this cookie. You'll want to write this recipe down, or at least Pin It to a favorite Pinterest board. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Plum Coconut Crisp

Sue shared a recipe for plum crisp and plum cobbler (link HERE) but I really feel like my Plum Coconut Crisp deserves its own post. 
Adding some crunchy coconut to all those sweet and squishy plums is a fantastic idea. 
I've been waiting all summer for fall to come just so I could make this crisp. True story. 
It uses a good amount of plums too so is great when your friends bring over boxes and boxes of plums and you need to use them up before the fruit flies completely overrun your kitchen. 
From start to finish in about an hour. 
Make one tonight... or make two - they freeze well too! Simply cook, cool, cover and freeze. When ready to eat - pop, frozen, into a 350 oven until heated through - about 40 minutes or so. 

Plum Coconut Crisp

Plum Layer
4 cups diced plums
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Crumble Topping
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 10 inch pan with cooking spray, set aside. 
In a bowl, mix together plums, flour, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Spread in prepared pan. 

In the same bowl you just mixed the fruit in, mix the coconut, flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and butter. Stir with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over plums in pan.

Place on a cookie sheet or pizza pan to catch drips. 
Cook in 350 oven until bubbly and browned on top, about 40 or so minutes. 

*Boom* Done. Just like that.
Serve warm or room temp. 

Of course, adding some vanilla ice cream is always a brilliant idea. 

Soooooooo tasty. 
I'm just going to crawl right into the bowl. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Pear And Mincemeat Crumble Cake

Sometimes you just have to give crazy ideas a try. Crazy ideas like....say... a vanilla cake with pear and mincemeat. I mean.... who puts mincemeat in a cake? Tarts, sure. Pie, yeah, of course. But cake? I don't know. Seems a little sketchy. 
Here's the thing. It's not sketchy. At all. It's brilliant. 
I'm the last one to line up when someone says "mincemeat" is the treat. Um...mincemeat is not really a treat. It's something we eat because it's Christmas time. That's it. 
But, put a few spoonfuls in a cake and *voila* NOW its a treat. 
A tasty, tasty pear cake with just enough spicy mincemeat to make things interesting. 
Sign me up. 

Pear And Mincemeat Crumble Cake

Pear Filling
5 medium pears, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 cup butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
pinch salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
1/2 cup mincemeat

1/3 cup cake batter (reserved from above)
1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 325 (yes, 325, not 350). Lightly spray a 12 inch tart pan with cooking spray, set aside. 
Prepare pears - place pears and sugar and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, until just tender, stirring every so often. Once it is cooked there shouldn't be any juices - if there are then simply drain them from the pan. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Set aside to cool. 
Prepare cake - In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. 
Add in the flour, salt, and baking powder. Beat until no flour streaks remain.
Fold in the almond flour with a spatula. 
Prepare crumble - Remove 1/3 of a cup of the batter to another bowl. Using a fork, blend in the 1/2 cup of flour until mixture resembles crumbs. 

Assemble cake - Spoon half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Spoon half of the pear filling over the cake, then spoon half of the mincemeat over that. 

Repeat the layers again - batter, pears, mincemeat. 

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the cake.

Bake in prepared oven for about an hour - can take up to an hour and 10 minutes. A toothpick inserted near the center should come out clean and top should be golden brown. 

Remove from heat to a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then remove the tart pan and let cool completely. 

Can be served warm, room temp, or chilled. 

A couple of notes. You can bake this in a 9 inch springform pan if you want a higher, denser cake. You will just have to watch your cooking time: it will be about an hour and a half and you will want to cover with tinfoil at the one hour mark to prevent it from getting too dark on top. 
I have baked it in a 10 inch tart pan and it works very well too. You just have to place it on a pizza pan to catch spillover. (It rises up very well and in a 10 inch pan you will have spillover!) I simply cut the spillover off with a serrated knife while it was cooling on the wire rack and it was perfectly fine!
**Pears + Mincemeat = Perfect Fall Dessert**

Be sure to visit Carole's Chatter! We're sharing at her link party.