Archive for 2012

Baking Timeout: Apple Pie Cookies


It's Christmas Eve Eve and I just wanted to share this recipe I found with you guys!!  It is one of my favorites and perfect for the holidays!  They are Apple Pie Cookies!  As always, the recipe will follow the pics.  I picked this recipe up from Tracey's Culinary Adventures.  I changed a few things in regards to technique but I think it gets you to the same place in the end.











Crust2 1/2 cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup very cold water

Filling/Assembly
2-3 medium baking apples (I used Galas)
squeeze of lemon juice
1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
pinch fresh nutmeg
1 large egg
sanding sugar (optional)

To make the pie dough: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low just to combine. Add the butter and beat on low speed to cut it into the dry ingredients - the pieces of butter should be no bigger than small peas when you're finished. Add the water to the mixer and mix on low just until the dough starts to come together and there are no more dry bits in the bowl. Turn out onto your work surface and shape the dough into a ball. Divide in half, shape each half into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one disc of dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out until it is about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick (the shape doesn't matter). Use a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut as many rounds as possible from the dough. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheets and pop in the refrigerator while you repeat the process with the second disc of dough. Refrigerate all of the rounds until you finish prepping the apples.

Peel the apples. Starting from one outside edge, cut thin (1/8 to 1/4-inch) slices from the apple until you reach the core in the center. Repeat starting on the opposite outside edge. Using a 1 3/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut small discs from the apple slices. Add the apple discs to a bowl and top with the lemon juice, tossing to coat (this stops them from browning as quickly). In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

To assemble the cookies: Brush one side of a round of dough with water (this helps seal the cookies). Grab one apple disc, and coat it in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place it on the dough round and top with a second round of dough. Press the edges to seal, then use a fork to crimp the edges. Repeat using the remaining dough rounds and apple discs.

Make egg wash by beating the egg with 1 teaspoon of water. Brush each of your apple pie cookies with the egg wash, then sprinkle them with the sanding sugar, if you're using it. Use a paring knife to cut slits in the tops of the cookies.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and golden brown. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks to allow the cookies to cool (that said, these are great warm so feel free to dig in as soon as they're cool enough that you won't burn your mouth!).

Makes about 20-24 cookies

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Relax Mode

I don't know about you guys but sometimes there are days when I wish I could go to work in my pajamas.  This was one of those days.  I wanted to put on the most comfortable things I could find and I settled on my trusty Vionet wrap.  I love the color and it just wraps around me like a robe.

Top: Vionet wrap (old) Similar item here
Bottoms: Cigarette Slacks from Mango (old) Similar style here and here
Bag & Accessories: Asos handbag, and braided chain necklace I picked up a street vendor

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Special Guest... Mia Cugina





While visiting family, I took these pictures of me and G's cousin.  The dark forest green with the burgundy are just perfect together.  And I just love the gold accents!

Get this look

Jacket: Similar here and here
Top: Similar styles here, here and here
Bottom: Similar style here and here
Handbang: Similar style here, here, and here
Shoes: Similar style here and here

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Those Boots Were Made For Walkin....






I finally shot outside when I went to Canada to visit G's family.  It was so nice to be in a back yard.... oh the memories!

Top: Zara sweater
Bag: Zara Zipper Bag

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Baking Timeout - Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

So this is one of the yummiest, but richest desserts I make.  I got the recipe from Annie's Eats.  I first made this dessert when I needed something to bring into the office (we have this weekly "event" where one person brings in a baked good).  I wanted to try this because it looked like it had all things I love about dessert in one package. 

It is almost too sweet so I wouldn't suggest having a very large serving.  And because of the fresh whipped cream, it is best served cold.

Here are my pictures from my go at this recipe.  The recipe follows the pics.  Enjoy!





RECIPE

  • To make the crust, preheat the oven to 375° F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Toss with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened and the ingredients are evenly mixed. Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan and press the crumbs in an even layer over the pan bottom and about half to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden in color. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Pour a layer of caramel into the bottom of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the chopped pecans. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.

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Decor Timeout




I have been thinking about changing a bit of the decor around my place.  Sometimes living in a rented apartment comes with a subconscious feeling of transiency.  This feeling has kept me from doing any real decorating in any of the apartments that I have lived in while in NYC.  I always say to myself that I will decorate when I buy a house or a condo.  Right now, all of the decor in my apartment reflects my taste, but everything is functional.  There are few vases or things that are just there to enrich the look.  But recently I have been thinking, "Why?" I do not live my life in that way.  I certainly don't think of fashion and my personal style in this way.  And I definitely don't go to all those shows, parks, museums, etc because I NEED to go. 

So I have decided to no longer neglect my home decor.  The first room I have decided to tackle is my bedroom.  I picked up the items above from One Kings Lane.  I absolutely love this site!  So many decor goodies and there is something new everyday. The sales on the site rotate so the items above are no longer available but here are some similar items that you can pick up.  (The desk is just my dream desk.  How fabulous!  Oh if I only had the space...)




When my items actually arrive, I will do a before and after post.  Can't wait!

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Battle on the Rooftop

Which of these necklaces pulls this all black outfit out of the doldrums?





Top: Basic Tee from Forever21
Bottoms: Elie Tahari Wide Leg Trousers (old) Similar style here and here
Bag: Zara Bucket Bag with Zips
Necklace 1: ABS by Allen Schwartz Fringe necklace (old) Similar style here, here, and here
Necklace 2: Over the Rainbow necklace  from Lulu's (old).

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Designer Spotlight - Daryl K

I don't know if you've ever had that one store or that one designer where you feel like if you had the resources, you would just buy every single item.  Its like the buyer or the designer reached into your head, got your personal style, took it out, and filled the store with it.  (Sometimes I feel that way when I walk into Zara.  Zara takes its inspiration from the runways of New York and Paris and gives us the the items that we want most... watered down a bit of course) 

But this post isn't about Zara.  It's about Daryl K.  I recently ran across some photos of Daryl K's Fall 2012 ready to wear line and I can honestly say that I want every single item! I describe my style as downtown chic... you know, bodycon dresses (always knee length or longer of course), pencil skirts & silk blouses, no patterns unless its animal print or color blocked, fitted blazers or jackets with EVERYTHING, and always with heels (the higher the better).  I will have to say that Daryl K must have had all of us downtown chic ladies in mind for her Fall 2012 RTW because each and every piece can be incorporated seamlessly into my wardrobe.  Here are a few of my favorites.



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Baking Timeout - Caramelized Apple Banana Nut Bread

So G's work hours have changed and usually he is out of the house before I am.  So this time around I whipped up something that could be eaten as breakfast to make sure G would have something to eat in the early mornings.We had a few old bananas and apples lying around so I wanted to make something that would use them up so I wouldn't have to throw them out.  So I did my usually food blog search and this recipe popped up.

I found the recipe on Buttercream Barbie but the recipe is actually from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book.

The only change I made to the recipe was that I added some walnuts to the top of the batter before baking.  I just cant have banana bread without nuts.

Here are some pictures from my batch and I have pasted the recipe below the pics.  Enjoy!

I used Golden Delicious apples instead of Granny Smiths

 Caramelizing the apples first is really important because they have to be room temperature when you add them to the batter.  This is just a bit of butter and brown sugar.

Creaming my sugar and butter

The recipe calls for freshly squeezed orange juice but I just used Tropicana.

This is after my eggs and juice have been added.

Apples are all done!

Banana mash :-)

Had to add those walnuts.

 All done. Yummers!

RECIPE:
For the apples
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the banana bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups very ripe mashed bananas (2 to 3)

1. Before you start: Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350°F Lightly butter and flour a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan. 2. To make the apples: Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and heat until bubbling. Add the apples and cinnamon and sautĂ© until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. To make the banana bread: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the orange juice mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each flour addition. Stir in the mashed bananas until combined. Then stir in the reserved apples.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool further. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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Haul - Ulta / Bath & Body Works

A small haul from Ulta and Bath & Body works.  All I really needed was a restock of my makeup remover... but you know how that goes....




Absolutely love this hand lotion. The scent brightens up the day! 

Buttery Nude, Nude Peach Fuzz, Istanbul available at Ulta

Adventure Red-y, Seduce Me, Man Hunt available at Ulta

Can't resist a 2 for $20 candle sale!  Also had to stock up on my favorite scents from this past summer just in case they don't bring them back next year.





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