Thursday, October 29, 2009

Better Than Apple Pie

A friend of mine brought this over one night when we had dinner together and pointed me to a recipe for Swedish Apple Pie from, but said she tweaked it. I also did a bit of tweaking and here is the final product! I call it "Better Than Apple Pie" because it doesn't use a traditional pie crust and the topping is better than apple crisp topping. It's almost more like a cookie! The original recipe calls for Granny Smith Apples, which I usually love in pies, but since my tree is bursting with apples right now, those are the ones that made it in. (I have no idea what kind they are) Just like apple pie, I love it with vanilla ice cream.

Makes 1 9-inch pie (6-8 servings)

20 minutes prep, 40 minutes bake time

1 1/2 lbs 5 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 5)
1/2 T sugar
some cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, to taste

3/4 c white sugar
3/4 c brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 c flour (I've used whole wheat and white, both work great)
3/4 t cinnamon
3/4 t pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c butter (1 stick), melted
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Toss apples with 1/2 T of sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to taste, and pour them into a pie plate. Thoroughly mix together sugars with the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, butter, and egg. Spread this evenly over the top of the pie.
3. Bake in preheated oven until the apples have cooked and the topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Libby's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is based on one called "Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies" from Old-Fashioned Cookies
cookbook. I changed it, but only very slightly. They are perfectly chewy and yummy warm out of the oven, or days old. I think the trick is the butter-flavored crisco, though the first time I made these I did half butter-flavored and half regular, because I only had half a stick of the butter-flavored. Also, make sure you do not over bake them, since they will still bake longer on the cookie sheet once you remove them from the oven.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.


2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 Butter Flavor CRISCO Stick of 1 c Butter Flavor CRISCO all-vegetable shortening
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c warm honey
2 t vanilla
2 c Guittard milk chocolate chips
1 c finely chopped walnuts


1. Heat oven to 375 F. Grease cookie sheets (or use a Silpat, if you have one) Place sheets of foil on countertop or cooling racks for cooling cookies.
2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Combine shortening and sugars in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended. Beat in egg, sour cream, honey and vanilla. Beat until just blended.
4. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture at low speed until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
5. Drop slightly rounded measuring tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto prepared sheet.
6. Bake at 375 F for about 10 minutes, until set. Do not overbake. (unless you prefer crunchy cookies) Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet and remove to foil to cool completely.

Rigatoni with Sausage & Fontina Sauce

This recipe was introduced to the family by The Mom. Not sure where she got it (probably a magazine) but she can edit that in later if she wants. This is an immediate hit with everyone and I love it because it's so quick! It does dirty a lot of pans, though, which can be annoying, so sometimes I saute the mushrooms with the sausage, once it's about half way done. Tastes just as good, just doesn't look as pretty :) I've been meaning to try substituting Mozzarella for Fontina, to see if it tastes as good and I plan to update once I have tried it. I have tried using half and half instead of cream and it tastes good, but the sauce doesn't stick to the pasta as well. Perhaps I should have let it simmer longer to thicken it. Finally, I usually just use dried herbs in place of fresh ones, but having the fresh basil on top really really really improves the dish and I highly recommend it if you can!


1 lb italian sausage
2 T olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
1-28 oz can Italian crushed tomatoes
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 T dried basil
1 c heavy cream
1/2 lb Fontina cheese, grated
1/4 c grated Romano cheese (I use Parmesan)
2 T chopped fresh basil leaves
1 lb Rigatoni, cooked "al dente", drained
Fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter (2 or 3 oz package)


In a heavy skillet, saute the sausage in olive oil until no longer pink, crumbling as it cooks. Add garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and basil. Cover, cook for 10 minutes. Add heavy cream and grated Fontina cheese. Stir on low until cheese is melted. Place cooked pasta on serving platter. Top with sauce, grated Romano cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and fresh basil.

Super-Moist Zucchini Bread

I found this recipe in The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, Heavy-Duty Revised Edition
and I found it to be sooooo super moist! It is delicious! As you can see in the picture, the zucchini bread was almost gone by the time I got to take a picture of it. When I made it, I substituted half the white flour for freshly ground whole wheat (as noted below) but I bet it's just as good with all white. I plan to try all wheat too, and I'll probably make a note about the results later. Also, I never know how much weight of something I used (note to self, get a kitchen scale) and I think I probably used more zucchini than called for.

Makes 1 9-in loaf
prep time: 10 min
Total time: 1 hr 20 min plus 1 hr 10 min cooling time

If you are using large zucchini, out each zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon to
scrape out and discard the seeds before shredding. The test kitchen found no
discernible difference in the flavor of loaves made with plain whole-milk yogurt, plain
lowfat yogurt, or plain nonfat yogurt, so use what you have on hand.


2 zucchini (1 lb), ends trimmed
1.5 c sugar
6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 lg eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c plain yogurt
1 T lemon juice
2 c all-purpose flour (i use half white, half wheat)
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1 t allspice
1/2 t salt
1/2 c pecans or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped


1.Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously coat a 9x5-in loaf pan with vegetable oil spray.
2.Shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. (I used a food processor) Squeeze the zucchini between several layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Whisk the sugar, melted butter, eggs, yogurt, and lemon juice together in a large bowl.
3.Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt together in a separate lg. bowl. Gently fold the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula, until just combined. Do not over-mix. Fold in the nuts.
4.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 55-60 minutes.
5.Let the loaf cool in the pan for 1- minutes before unmolding onto a wire rack to cool for 1 hr.

VARIATION (I haven't tried this, but it sounds like a good idea)
add 3/4 c golden raisins or dried cranberries to the batter along with the zucchini.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Rolls

These are the melt-in-your-mouth rolls that inspired us all. They are irresistibly buttery, uncontrollably fluffy, and absolutely delicious.

Warning: No other roll will taste good to you ever again.

without further ado:

Grandma's Rolls
Make about 50 rolls
Takes about 1.5 hr

Note: this recipe is recorded by me taking notes while watching the Pro.

Get out
3 eggs, so they can get to room temperature. Then, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Heat together in the microwave for 2 minutes:
3 c milk
1/3 c shortening
1/3 c sugar
until warm through. Be sure it's not too hot for the yeast by sticking your hand in and touching the bottom. If you're nearly getting burned, it's too hot.

Put about
2 c flour
2 t salt
2 T active dry yeast
in the mixer, add warm milk mix, and mix on med-low until combined.
Add 1 egg at a time, until all three are mixed in.
Mix on med-low for 1 min.
Add flour, 1 c at a time until dough looks like thick pancake batter (less than 4 c)
Add flour and mix with wooden spoon until still really sticky. Let the dough rest for 10 min.
Meanwhile put about
3 c flour
on a pastry cloth.

Once dough has rested for 10 minutes, pour it out onto the floured pastry cloth.

And fold until doesn't stick to hands, but it will still be barely sticky.

Do not add too much flour!

Let the dough rest 10 min covered by the pastry cloth.

Grease 2 jellyroll pans with Crisco.

Melt a cube of butter in a shallow dish.

Once the dough is done resting

"Crisco" your hands. (If my grandma says it's a verb, it's a verb!)

Pinch off dough a little larger than golf ball size.

Roll to push air out and flatten.

Dip one side in butter,

wipe butter on the top of the previous roll and fold butter to inside. Press edges.

Lay rolls 5x5 on your jelly roll pans.
(Note, John, Audra and I helped, so these rolls are not as uniform as when Grandma does it herself. Also, she always gets exactly 50 rolls.)

Rise covered, until doubled in size (20-30 min).

My grandma cleans her pastry mat like this

Now we wait

Bake at 350, 15-20 min