Friday, September 23, 2011

The Fall Fairy's Happy List

Some people say I'm over the top. THAT'S OKAY! I love fall. I'm not afraid to admit it. A simple pleasure of mine is baking and enjoying the season--so these first few weeks I've taken FULL ADVANTAGE! I've recently been dubbed the fall fairy (not sure if it was by me or by friends...I'll take it either way. Currently taking donations of wings, tutus, and other fairy-like apparel). Here are a few recipes, photos, and happies from a week of fall delights. 

1 cup butter 
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup light corn syrup 
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Over medium heat, combine first 4 ingredients and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda. Stir well. Pour over 8 quarts popped corn (in an air popper, this was two 1/2 cup batches of kernels). Stir to coat well (NOTE: it looks like not enough caramel to cover it all--but it is! It's PLENTY! Turns out super tasty and sweet and caramely). Bake in large roaster or pan for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper to dry.
5 ½ lbs apples cored, quartered, and chopped (Tart apples work great or a combo of different apples)
3 cups sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon (I accidentally put 3 TBSP in---and it was fab. Spice it to your liking--I used way more than they said!! I think I used different amts in each of the 4 batches I've made, the average being around 2 - 2.5 TBSP, 3 for a big batch)
½ teaspoon ground cloves (OR MORE!)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt (optional...I didn't really put it in)

Put chopped apples into the crock pot. In a separate bowl, Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Pour over apples and mix well. Put crockpot lid on, cook on high for 1 hour. Decrease heat to low; cover and cook on low for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown. Stir occasionally (if possible, I left mine cooking from 5PM until 8AM the next morning and it was FABULOUS—so don’t fret if you can’t stir it or if it’s in a long time). Uncover and cook on low for 1 hour longer. If desired, whisk until smooth (I used an immersion blender to get mine to the desired consistency. Spoon into freezer containers (or mason jars!), leaving 1/2-inch head space. Cover and freeze or put them on the shelf if you chose mason jars (if you put them in unused mason jars with new lids while it’s hot, the pressure change will seal them!).
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or combo of all purpose and whole wheat)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans or muffins tins with 30 muffin papers. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, vanilla, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans or muffin tins
OPTIONAL: add one teaspoon of streusel topping (I recommend this!!) to each muffin. To make streusel topping, whisk together 4 tbsp flour, 4 tbsp white sugar, and cut in 4 tbsp butter until it is nicely crumbled in—also can add ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans). Great on top of the loves too!!
Bake for about 50 minutes for loaves or 20-24 minutes for muffins in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. WATCH THE MUFFINS! No one likes a dry muffin, especially not the fall fairy!!
4. Harvest Pork Chops (or Roast) - My sister made this recipe up. SO GOOD WITH CHERRIES!!
4 boneless pork chops
3 apples (peeled and cored)
1 cup Dried Cherries (may substitute craisins, but cherries are better :)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup corn starch
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together water, corn starch, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into crock pot. Add
apples and cherries. Place pork chops (or whole pork roast) over mixture. Cook on low 4-5 hours or high 3-4 hours. Serve with rice. Enjoy!!!
5. Bulk Pie Crust - also a family standard. We made 9 pies in one day then froze the other 11 pie crusts!
5 lb bag of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons salt
3 lb can butter flavored Crisco brand shortening
3 cups cold water

In a large bowl mix together the bag of flour and the salt. Cut in the shortening with knives or a pastry
blender until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cold water. Mix together. You may need to use your hands. Form into twenty balls. Bag or wrap the balls or roll out and place in pie tins and freeze until ready to use. When ready to use, thaw the balls and roll into desired thickness for your favorite pies. Balls keep for 12 months in the freezer. I have found this recipe to be both delicious and a huge time saver. I just had someone tell me that this crust was the best they'd ever tried--definitely a keeper! 

Pie Filling
5 1/2 cups peeled cored sliced cooking apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup butter or 1/3 cup margarine, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375°F, Fit pie crust into pie plate. In a large bowl, mix sliced apples, lemon juice, both sugars,flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pile HIGH into crust.
Prepare topping:.In a medium bowl, with a pastry blender or a fork, mix flour, both sugars, and butter until coarsely crumbled. Sprinkle evenly over apples. Bake at 375°F for 50 minutes. DEVOUR with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or STRAIGHT UP!
6. Oatmeal Bread (This is a classic Family Recipe!!)
1 cup oatmeal
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter
1 Tbsp. dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
5-6 cups additional white flour

Combine the oatmeal, sugar, salt, margarine, whole wheat flour, 1 cup of the white flour and 2 cups of very hot tap water. Blend together with a mixer until well mixed. While that is mixing in a separate bowl combine the yeast and a half a cup of warm water. Add the yeast mixture then additional 4-5 cups of flour. May mix using a dough hook with a mixture of by had. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5-10 minutes. The dough will be very soft. Cover and let rise until double in size. Punch down the dough divide dough in half and place in two greased loaf pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Also--This bread freezes really well! Eat one loaf, freeze one for later (or make a double batch so you have 4 loaves). Best within a few days of baking (or thawing)  :)

1 comment:

  1. Oh hai, friend!

    Can I just say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that you love Fall so much? You and I are very much alike in that regard, which is probably one of the reasons we're such good friends! :)

    I'm so excited by all of the recipes that you posted--I'm a little overwhelmed by the Bulk Pie Crust, as I have yet to conquer ONE pie crust all by my lonesome, but one day, I will be a pie-crust-making MACHINE! And the OATMEAL BREAD! I'll have to reach down in to the deep corners of my memory to remember all of the little tips you gave me when you came over to my little apartment and taught me how to make it. Good memories!

    Love you, friend, let's catch up soon!