“Easy as Apple Butterscotch Pie.” It has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?

Adding some butterscotch to an apple pie makes it even more yummy!
Adding some butterscotch to an apple pie makes it even more yummy!

My mission today…to make dessert for our weekly Sunday night dinner group.

I thought I had it easy. Pumpkin bread, which is my go-to stand by dessert that I can make without even thinking and that everyone loves. Unfortunately, when I went to the pantry, I didn’t have any pumpkin and I didn’t have the time or inclination to make a trip to the store. So I improvised.

I had apples in the fridge. Apple pie is easy! There’s even an idiom that says so! Hmmm…no pie crust in the freezer, so I was forced to make homemade.

Pie crust isn’t really difficult, it was just one more thing to have to deal with. Sigh.

So to make your own pie crust, put 2 cups of plain flour in a bowl and add about a teaspoon of salt. Mix it around with a fork. Then put 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a measuring cup and add another 1/4 cup cold milk. Pour both into the flour at one time and mix with a fork until dough forms. Once all the flour has been worked into the dough, divide it into two pieces.

Put one piece on a large piece of wax paper, cover with another piece, use a rolling pin to roll it out very thin. Of course, you can also put the dough directly into the pie plate and press it out with your fingers, if you want. I like to roll mine, because it has a more uniform thickness, but it doesn’t really matter.

If the crust breaks, just use your fingers to squish it back together. If the edges are a little short of reaching the top edges of the pie pan, just squish them up the sides. Anything that is hanging over the edges can be pinched off and repositioned wherever you need it.

Turn the oven on to 400 degrees. While it is preheating, put the pie plate with the bottom crust in it into the over to bake for a few minutes. Be sure to poke the crust with a fork a few times so it won’t puff up.

While the crust is pre-baking, put a little lemon juice in the bottom of a bowl and start peeling apples. For a deep dish pie, I use 5-6 medium sized apples. Peel them and core them, then cut them into bite sized pieces. As you cut them, put the pieces into the bowl of lemon juice and stir them around to coat with the juice to keep them from turning brown.

Take the bottom crust out of the oven when it starts to feel dry — about 6-7 minutes. Put the sliced apples into the crust and dump some sugar on top and stir it around to coat them. Today, I used about 1/2-3/4 cup of sugar. Then add about a tablespoon of cinnamon and stir it around.

Since I decided I wanted to be a little adventurous today, I then added some dark brown sugar on top of that, along with a few pats of butter. Finally, I threw about 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips into the mix. (I didn’t really measure any of this; I just added it until it looked right to me. Just be careful not to use too much sugar or your pie will be too runny.) I have never used dark brown sugar or butterscotch chips before…I just had a moment of inspiration.

Can't wait to cut it!

Can’t wait to cut it!

Roll out the second crust (it has to be rolled, since it goes on top of the pie) and lay it over the top of the pie. You should have apples domed up in the middle and the crust will lay over them. Pinch the edges of the crust together, then top with a few pats of butter. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake in the oven at 400 for about 15 minutes or until the edges of the crust begin to brown. When that happens, turn the heat down to 350 degrees and bake until a fork will easily pierce once of the apple pieces inside the pie — about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the apple pieces.

Let the pie cool so the juices will thicken. Or don’t. But if you don’t, don’t try to use a paper plate because the juices will soak right through the plate. And wouldn’t you hate to waste any of the yummy goodness that is this pie?

Turns out Auburn had better cupcakes, but I still say ROLL TIDE!

Cupcakes that Auburn OR Alabama fans would love!
Cupcakes that Auburn OR Alabama fans would love!

So this past weekend was a really important weekend (other than the whole Thanksgiving thing) — it was Iron Bowl weekend. The weekend that determines bragging rights for the next 365 days. The biggest rivalry in college football.

Naturally, since I had not one, but two, Iron Bowl parties to attend, I made cupcakes.  We are a house divided, meaning that some of us cheer for Alabama (ROLL TIDE!) and others cheer for Auburn.  So I had to make cupcakes for both sets of fans.

Alabama cupcakes were obvious — Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting. I took it a step further and added cinnamon white chocolate ganache as a filling. (For some reason, the ganache didn’t want to thicken like it should, so I had to add a lot more white chocolate chips than usual. After some time cooling in the fridge, it finally thickened enough to spoon into the centers of the cupcakes.)

The Auburn cupcakes were a little trickier. After some Googling, I finally settled on this recipe posted by The Happy Baker: Orange Infused Blueberry Cupcakes. O.M.G. They were awesome!! I was a little hesitant about the frosting at first, since it was a cream cheese based frosting. I was afraid it would be too similar to the frosting for the red velvet cupcakes. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This orange frosting was some of the lightest, fluffiest frosting I have ever made. Ever ever.

I added the mandarin orange garnish myownself, but otherwise stuck to the recipe as written. This is one recipe that will definitely be made again. And again.

And again…

Cupcakes that Auburn OR Alabama fans would love!

Cupcakes that Auburn OR Alabama fans would love!

Cows in blankets. You mean that’s a thing?

 

Summer means swimming, and boat rides, and grilling. Around here, it also means  drive-in movies! We are fortunate to live about 20 minutes from one of the 10 drive-ins left in Alabama. Last Saturday night, a whole group of us loaded up after a day on the lake and headed down for a cheap double feature. (Six bucks for adults. Total. Even if the movie isn’t very good, you can’t complain too much about three bucks a movie.) There’s still a full-service concession stand with burgers on site, but I was trying to be budget conscious and took my own food. (Yeah, they don’t care if you do that. We took a watermelon to cut, too.)

I decided it was a great time to make Cows in Blankets.

A cow in a blanket. Not what you were expecting, huh?

A cow in a blanket. Not what you were expecting, huh?

What? You don’t know what that is?  Continue reading

All things blackberry — Next, Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake Trifle

Cool and pretty..a great addition to a summer gathering!

Cool and pretty..a great addition to a summer gathering!

On birthdays in our family, the birthday girl/boy gets to pick their meal and a dessert. Picking a dessert at our house often just means throwing out ingredient suggestions and letting me be creative. A couple of years ago, my daughter said she wanted something with blackberries, but not a cobbler. Something cool.

It needed to be doubly impressive since her birthday is on July 3, so her “party” is the huge 4th of July celebration we have. I headed to the internet looking for ideas. There were all sorts of yummy things, but I knew I hit the jackpot when I found a Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake Trifle. I would give credit for where I found it, but I have lost the link. :( I do still have the recipe, however!

It was so good, that’s what she asked for again this year. It was GONE in less than 15 minutes. Bowl clean…

Continue reading

All things blackberry — First, jam.

Just one part of one day's effort! Big, juicy, and wonderful mouthfuls of summer...

Just one part of one day’s effort! Big, juicy, and wonderful mouthfuls of summer…

In the lot beside the office where I work, there is a lovely bunch of blackberry vines. There’s also a thicket of them on the other corner of the property, and some in the trees on the back. (No, we aren’t out in the country — we are four blocks from the main street downtown.) No one seems to know where the blackberries came from, but everyone agrees that they just grew. No one planted them on purpose.

I am just about  the only one anymore who is willing to go out in the heat and pick them. My mom was worried about it being “snakey” (a truly wonderful Southern descriptor), but when I explained that the lawn was mowed right up to the vines on one side, and on the other, the vines are growing on a concrete pad, she settled down a bit. I have also made it quite clear that the day I see a snake is the last day I will ever pick blackberries out there.

Last week when I came in from picking, soaking wet and dying for water, I checked the temperature. It was 92, with a heat index of 108. See why I’m the only one who will pick them?

Anyway, I have picked this year. And picked. And picked again. Then I made my daughter and her friend go out to finish picking.

She didn't mind TOO much, even though it was her birthday!

She didn’t mind TOO much, even though it was her birthday!

So far we have about 3 1/2 gallons. So right now, cooking is all things blackberry, while we have them.

And what is the first thing you make when you have lots of fresh-picked blackberries? JAM!  Continue reading

Old Fashioned Tea Cakes — Turns out they aren’t just for tea!

Store bought sugar cookies just don't measure up after you've had these!

Store bought sugar cookies just don’t measure up after you’ve had these!

Yesterday’s post about the Strawberry Sugar Cookie Cupcakes promised the recipe for the cookies, so here it is!

As long as I can remember, my mother has made tea cakes. I’m not sure how old I was when I finally figured out that other people called them sugar cookies. lol

I can claim no input on this recipe. It has been unchanged for at least 60 years. My mom got the recipe from her aunt and I have no idea how long she had had the recipe before passing it to my mother.

These are quite possibly the best sugar cookies around. No lie. They are a little bit of trouble, just because you have to roll them out, but it is totally worth it! Continue reading

Getting back in the saddle with Sara’s Strawberry Sugar Cookie Cupcakes

Strawberry Sugar Cookie Cupcakes

So how do you start blogging again after being away for so long?

Even more important, how do you turn your attention to something as trivial as being a foodie and cook when your life was turned upside down in an instant?

I suppose I should back track just a bit. As I said in my last post, on March 18, my grandson had a cardiac arrest at after school care. At 3:30 that afternoon, my world turned upside down and it still isn’t completely upright. Before that instant, Todd was a normal, active 6-year-old boy who loved playing kickball and soccer to  fighting for his life.

After 3 months in the hospital with various complications, he finally went to rehab. (He suffered a traumatic brain injury due to lack of oxygen during the cardiac arrest.) He is now home and doing out-patient rehab to try to relearn how to control his motor functions. He is doing well and we are hopeful that he will regain a lot of what he lost.

Needless to say, cooking hasn’t been high on my list of priorities. Mostly, I have tried to stay busy enough not to think about what was going on 10 hours away from me.  As he has improved, though, I have been able to turn my attention back to some of the things I was doing before.

Last Saturday, I made not one, but TWO, kinds of birthday cupcakes for my friends. Continue reading