Easy as Pie

Is it possible to make a pie without your kitchen ending up looking like a flour bomb went off?

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I think not.

If I’m going to go through all that work, there had best be cheese on my apple pie.

Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine the following ingredients and set aside:

7 cups peeled, chopped apples (7-8 apples)

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a small bowl, beat an egg to use later as an egg wash and set that aside as well.

Cut a sharp cheddar cheese into very thin slices, enough to go all the way around the edge of your pie.

Shred a little pile of the cheddar as well – somewhere around a cup.

Now for the crust.

2 1/2 cups flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter

6 Tablespoons cold water (approximately)

Combine dry ingredients, then cut the butter into them. You’re going for a cornmeal texture.

Add the water and work with your hands until the dough comes together. If you need more water, add it a very little bit at a time. It’s more likely you need to work it longer than that you need more water.

Roll out half of the dough on a floured surface for your bottom crust and lay it in your pie pan.

Pour the filling on top.

Roll out the second half of the dough on a floured surface for your top crust, and lay it over the filling.

Cut any excess off the edges and press the top and bottom layers of dough together firmly, then work a design around the edge with your fingers or a fork.

Cut vent holes in the top crust and brush with the beaten egg.

Put tin foil over the edges of the pie.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then turn heat down to 350 and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Take the pie out of the oven and remove the tin foil. Place your cheese slices around the edge of the pie, just in from the outer crust, and sprinkle the grated cheese in the space that’s left in the middle of the pie.

Return to oven and bake 20 minutes.

Eat Your Veggies

Does zucchini come to mind when you need a dose of chocolate?

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Probably not, but it will after you make this bread.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Preheat oven to 350.

2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup buttermilk (You can substitute with milk and a splash of vinegar.)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

Add wet ingredients, then zucchini and chocolate chips.

Bake 40-45 minutes in a buttered bread pan.

Good and Ready

Granola bars are a most versatile snack.

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They’re tasty at any time of day, and you can easily switch up the ingredients depending on your mood and what you’ve got in the house.

This is our standby recipe. We individually wrap the bars so they’re ready to go when we are.

Granola Bars

Preheat oven to 325.

3 1/2 cups oats

1 cup rice krispies

1 cup wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup flax seed (optional)

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup honey (approximate)

Combine oats, cereal, flour, baking soda, salt, flax seed, and sugar.

Melt butter and combine with vanilla.

Add butter/vanilla to oat mixture and stir to coat.

Add chocolate chips.

Add 2/3 cup of honey and stir well.You will probably have some dry parts that won’t combine well with the other ingredients. If you do, add more honey, up to 1/3 of a cup, until everything’s sticking together pretty well. It should be pasty, not soupy.

Butter a 9″x13″ baking pan and press the mixture into it firmly using the back of a spatula.

Bake for 19 minutes.

Let cool and then cut into bars. We cut them in thirds the long way and then into the desired width.

These will last at least a couple of weeks in plastic wrap, but you’ll likely eat them sooner.

Hot Stuff

Apologies if you end up burning your tongue, but I think this jelly delivery system is worth taking the risk.

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Jammy Biscuits

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

Jam or jelly

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix the dry ingredients, then cut in the shortening with a knife.

Add the milk, and knead just until the dough comes together.

Press dough out about 1/2″ thick, and cut circles from it with the rim of a cup.

Make a well in the middle of each biscuit and fill it with jam.

Bake 12 minutes.

Delicious while still hot, or will keep for a few days.

Hip To Be Square

Who says english muffins have to be round?

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Here’s another recipe that can help cut down on grocery spending. The cornmeal gives the crust just the right english muffin crispness, and as you can see, you will not sacrifice any nooks and crannies by making your own.

English Muffin Bread

1 cup flour + 1 3/4 cups flour

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups warm water

Cornmeal

Combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and warm water. (In a stand mixer if you’ve got one.) You want the water to be about body temperature – hot enough to wake the yeast, not so hot you kill it.

Mix 3 minutes.

Add remaining flour and mix til incorporated.

Butter a pan very well. What size pan? Well, it’s up to you. The dough is going to rise to basically the shape of your pan. You could use a loaf pan, and have more of a slicing bread. Or you can do as I did for the muffins pictured above and use a shallow casserole dish. Whatever you use, make it big enough for the dough to rise in.

Give the pan a good dusting with cornmeal.

Add the dough and sprinkle with more cornmeal.

At this point the dough will be very wet and will not fill your pan. Cover it with a towel and let it rise for one hour.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Bake 30 minutes.

Save Some Bread

This bread goes fast at our house.

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All bread goes pretty fast, actually. When I began tracking our groceries to see where our money was going it wasn’t too surprising to see that bread was one of our biggest grocery expenses. Coming up with some easy, delicious recipes caused a nice dip in that spending, with the added bonus of getting to eat much better bread than we can buy at the local supermarket.

Cinnamon Bread

Preheat oven to 350.

1/2 cup sugar + 1/3 cup sugar, divided

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

2 cups flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup vegetable oil

In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, vanilla, and oil.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar.

In a buttered bread pan, layer 1/3 of the batter, then 1/3 of the sugar/cinnamon. Repeat until you have 3 layers of each, ending with sugar/cinnamon.

Bake for 40 minutes.

As Advertised

It would be just plain mean to have a cinnamon bun dancing at the top of my page and not give you a recipe, don’t you think?

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Cinnamon Buns

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Filling:

4 Tablespoons butter

1 cup brown sugar

3 teaspoons cinnamon

Dough:

2 cups flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons butter

3/4 cup milk

Glaze:

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/4 cup milk

Combine the filling ingredients to make a crumbly mixture.

Spread half of the filling ingredients to cover the bottom of a 9″x9″ pan. You may want to line the pan – this gets messy.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture.

Add milk and work it into a soft dough.

Roll the dough into a 1/4″ thick rectangle.

Spread the remaining filling over the dough.

Roll the dough up and slice it into 12-18 buns.

Place the buns in the pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

While they’re baking, mix up your glaze.

Drizzle with glaze while warm.