Mary's Cream Cheese Apple Cake

I hope everyone who was affected by Sandy is doing OK. In some way or another the entire eastern half of the U.S. was affected in some way. My daughter, who lives in one of the zones in NYC that was evacuated, missed the worst of it as she has been down here helping me finish up the packing. Finally, after three cancellations, she has a flight going back tomorrow afternoon. Still no electricity in her home or business, but she heard her water is on, so while things will NOT be pleasant for a while, she felt it imperative to get back and check on everything. I am keeping my fingers crossed for everyone.


This Cream Cheese Apple Cake from Mary at One Perfect Bite is totally delicious and was the hit of my Garden Club coffee last week. I made and froze a smaller loaf of it, so I can assure you it holds up beautifully to freezing, which is a huge plus. You can also see the cake cut in diagonals in my Apple Fritter post from a couple weeks ago.
Everyone loved this very moist cake, with just the perfect amount of apples. You've got to try it.....the cream cheese makes for such a lovely tender crumb. You'll love it. Easy to make, too. 
Thanks, Mary!

Cream Cheese Apple Cake
From Mary at One Perfect Bite

3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 pounds tart apples, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour two (9 x 5 x 2-inch) loaf pans.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together and set aside.

Put butter, cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat ingredients on medium-high speed until mixture is very light in color — almost white — and texture is fluffy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl once during the process to insure that butter is evenly incorporated.

Crack eggs into a liquid measure and add vanilla. With mixer on low speed, slowly pour mixture into bowl allowing eggs to fall in one at a time. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl.

Add sifted dry ingredients on low speed; stop mixing as soon as flour is incorporated. Fold apples in by hand using a stiff spatula and scrape batter into prepared pan.

Place pans in the middle of oven and bake 60-75 minutes rotating pans halfway through baking time. When cake is finished, a wooden skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean. Allow cakes to cool 15 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely and cover with a thick dusting of confectioners' sugar. Yield: 16 servings.


Swirly Halloween Cookies

These would have been so much cuter with Halloween sprinkles on the sides, but my box of sprinkles is packed at the bottom of a sealed packing box. Really, I didn't intend to do any more baking....so they got packed.

(Oh....and my packing? Many of you have asked how it's going......

Does this look organized to you? LOL)

Anyway....back to cooking. All I needed to buy was packaged sugar cookie dough so I decided to bake these yesterday, thinking I still had the sprinkles in the cupboard. Sorry about that. 
And....I really didn't take (or even have) time to practice getting the swirls just right. But one thing I did learn...chilling the dough in between each step would help a lot. (Never head into the kitchen when your mind is someplace else!)
You can go to Toni's blog, Make Bake Celebrate and see what they're supposed to look like. So much more professional than mine; her swirls are PERFECTION. And she had sprinkles in her pantry. :) You can see her step by step photos too, which are an enormous help... makes it so much easier.
They were fun to make, truly atrocious colors, aren't they? And perfect for Halloween, even if they didn't turn out as great as Toni's. Imagine them with sprinkles all around the outside.
(Am I the only one who feels weird about using colored food gels? And that one swirl really does look black in the cookie, but the photo makes it look brown.)

Swirly Halloween Cookies
From Make Bake Celebrate

Sugar cookie dough
Orange, black, green, and purple food coloring (use gel...it washes off your hands)
Sprinkles (!!!)
Parchment paper
Wax Paper
Lollipop sticks (optional if you'd like to turn them into cookie pops)

Step 1: Roll your cookie dough into a ball and then roll into a log.

Step 2: Cut into 4 equal parts. 

Step 3: Roll each piece into a ball and create a dent with your thumb, put some food coloring in each. If your wondering about the dent this will help keep the coloring on the dough and not on your hands. As you work the dough press the uncolored dough inside and push, roll, and gently work the dough as it colors from the inside out. Once you get good enough you won't have a single spot of color on you. (I actually wore plastic gloves.)

Step 4: Begin to roll each color into grape size balls. Somewhere between nickel size, and quarter size. Take the time and make sure they are fairly similar in size. Not only will this give you a good mix of color it's going to keep your cookies about the same size.

Step 5: Next take one of each color and very gently roll it together. It will kind of look like a beach ball.

Step 6: After all that rolling I found my dough was getting soft and warm, not good for coiling. So stick them in the freezer for a minute of two. They will chill just a bit and become nice to work with again. About half way through rolling the balls you may notice they are getting very soft again, just pop them back in the freezer for a moment and you'll be back rolling.
While your waiting set up your work station. You'll need a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to bake on. Some wax paper to work on and sprinkles and a knife near by. Also, go ahead and preheat the oven to 350.

Step 7: To make the coil start out by gently rolling the ball between your palms and then place on the wax paper. Gently and evenly roll out the dough into a rope about 8 inches long. I do so by first starting  to roll it out naturally with my hands facing front and then I turn one hand lengthwise to smooth out the bumps. See how the colors are all kind of straight below? Once your done give each end a gentle roll in the opposite direction to "twist" the rope reveling more colors. Particular I know but you want all the colors to come out.

Step 8: Start out by rolling in one end. If one end is thicker use that one.

Step 9: Now coil up the rest of the dough. I found it was easier to gently pick up the dough and allow it to drop around the center into a coil. Rolling the dough flat on the paper by moving the center around resulted in bumpy cookies. If your end is kind of funky or pinched due to rolling, simply cut off the very end  to smooth it out.

Step 10: Now gently pick up the cookie by lifting the wax paper and flipping it onto your hand. Roll the sides into the bowl of sprinkles. 

Step 11: Place on parchment lines baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. (Don't put them too close together as they spread.)


Apple Cider Fritters

Not often do I make fritters of any kind, but these were a delight. I served three things at the Garden Club coffee along with apple cider and, of course, coffee. Mary's Cream Cheese Apple Cake, which you can see on the left in the photo, the fritters (towards the back on the right) and some cranberry orange biscuits, which are on the right in front.

I know, I'm supposed to be packing, but I did leave the dining and living rooms fairly open so I could host the group of 28 women. They were good sports as they were surrounded by packing boxes. (You can see some in the background on the right.)

Back to the menu: the biscuits, I thought, were boring and dry. Of course, biscuits are supposed to be somewhat dry and they did look tempting and had a nice strong orange taste, but no, I'm not making them again. I may post the recipe later, but I'm not overly enthused. Perhaps for a tea? To dip? Like a thin scone?

For certain I'll be posting Mary's (from One Perfect Bite) cake later because it was far and away the biggest hit, but I'll go with the fritter recipe today. Yum. 
Even the photo says yum. It's just that fritters make such a mess, don't they? First the frying, and then the glaze dripped all over the counter, the floor and the next day I even found some on a drawer handle. It was worth it though. They're such fun to serve this time of year. I had some large panettone liners and they were perfect for serving.

Apple Cider Fritters 
From The Family Kitchen, posted by Ole & Shain Olmanson

1 cup apple cider
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1 apple, peeled and finely diced
pinch of salt
oil for frying

For the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider

In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook apple cider until it reduces down to 1/4 cup of syrup stirring occasionally. Set syrup aside. Mix together butter, sugar and egg until frothy. Stir in apple cider concentrate. In a medium bowl, sift flour and baking powder together. Form a well in the center and add in the milk, apple chunks and the egg mixture. Knead into a soft dough. 

Heat the oil to 370 degrees F. Scoop dough using a small scoop or by pinching off small amounts and rolling into 1-1/2? balls. Add to oil and dry for 4 to 5 minutes until golden and cooked through on the inside. Remove from oil and drain on a wire rack and paper towels.

In a small bowl, mix together powdered sugar and apple cider until a glaze is formed. Dip warm donuts in the glaze and set aside for the glaze to set. Enjoy.


Roasted Vegetable Frittata

When I need a fast dinner and don't have anything much in the fridge, I usually throw together something with eggs, as do all of you. A frittata is a great excuse to use leftover veggies AND put a quick meal on the table.
Roasting vegetables to intensify flavor is something I learned from Ina Garten ages ago. Ina's roasted tomatoes are a perfect example: ambrosial when served with mozzarella, basil and balsamic vinegar. It's my go-to salad for pot lucks, entertaining and, quite frequently, just for me. 

So when I saw Ina make a roasted vegetable frittata recently, I perked up. I don't usually roast anything that goes into my frittata, so this was bound to have more flavor than usual. The great thing is...use any veggies you have. They all work beautifully in this. 
Besides, all that cheese! Yum. Dinner will be on the table in an hour. Honestly, how easy is that?

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

From Ina Garten's How Easy is That?

6 to 8 servings.


1 small zucchini, 1-inch-diced 
1 red bell pepper, seeded and 1 1/2-inch-diced 
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1 1/2-inch-diced 
1 red onion, 1 1/2-inch-diced 
1/3 cup good olive oil 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves) 
12 extra-large eggs 
1 cup half-and-half 
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (3 scallions) 
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
Place the zucchini, peppers, and onion on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and toss well. Bake for 15 minutes. Add the garlic, toss again, and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the oven to 350 degrees. 
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. 
In a 10-inch ovenproof saute pan, melt the butter and saute the scallions over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Add the roasted vegetables to the pan and toss with the scallions. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes over medium-low heat without stirring. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake the frittata for 20 to 30 minutes, until puffed and set in the middle. Sprinkle with the Gruyere and bake for another 3 minutes, until the cheese is just melted. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges and serve hot. 



Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Ginger Cream

Panna Cottas are so simple to make and not overly sweet, which is exactly what everyone wants after a heavy meal. I loved the idea of a pumpkin one, but it's quite mild so I added another layer of flavor with a ginger cream. Perfect for fall, but I also pictured it as a Christmas dessert. Simplicity itself. I kind of liked the way the spices in the pumpkin panna cotta stuck to the side of the glass so it showed up speckled once I poured in the ginger cream. But you could use a Q-Tip to clean it up a bit before you pour in the ginger cream if you're a perfectionist.

Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Ginger Cream

Ingredients for the panna cotta:

1 1/2 cups milk
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash nutmeg

Method for the panna cotta:

Put 1/2 cup of the milk in a saucepan, and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, blend together the remaining milk, cream, pumpkin, sugar and cinnamon. The mixture should be perfectly smooth, so it is best to use a blender or hand beaters.

Turn the heat to low, and cook the milk, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin dissolves. Pour in the cream mixture, and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until steam rises. Turn off the heat, and ladle or pour the mixture into 6 4-ounce ramekins or other containers.

Chill the panna cotta until firm and then top with ginger cream. (Recipe follows) Chill until firm.
Makes about 8 servings.

Ginger Cream


3-4 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups well chilled heavy cream
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water

Mix the ginger, sugar and a pinch of salt. Tranfer to a bowl and add cream. Sprinkle gelatin over the cool water for 1 minute until softened. Heat to melt. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the ginger mixture at a time until the gelatin is cool. Then whisk in remaining ginger mixture. Pour through a fine sieve. Chill over ice cubes and then pour on top of the pumpkin panna cotta.


Candy Corn Oreo Bark

How fun is this for Halloween? And I'd never even heard of Candy Corn Oreos. (I found them at Target. Where else?) Not being much of a candy maker, let alone eater, I was in the mood to find something candy-ish for a Halloween post this year. The bark looked funky and fun, so I'm passing it out to some of my more mature (ahem) trick and treaters. Honestly, I didn't think I'd like it because I really don't care much for white chocolate, but I was wrong. It's totally addictive. Bad, bad bad.
Wrap it up in cellophane with some black and orange ribbon and you're all set. Big or little kids, doesn't matter. We're all kids at Halloween.

Candy Corn Oreo Bark
From Jamie  at My Baking Addition 

Yield: 20 pieces

10 Candy Corn Oreos, chopped
1/2 cup small pretzel stick pieces
1/2 cup salted peanuts
12 ounces white chocolate, chopped (Use three 4-ounce Ghirardelli White Chocolate Bars)
3/4 cup candy corn

festive sprinkles


Line an 8×8 baking sheet with parchment paper. (I used a 9" square baking pan.)

Spread the cookies, pretzels and peanuts into the bottom of prepared pan.

Melt chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave at 50% power, stirring frequently until almost melted. Remove from the heat while there are still a few pieces of unmelted chocolate; stir until smooth.
Drizzle chocolate with a spoon over the goodies in the pan, spreading the top flat to coat evenly. (You have to poke it around a bit to make certain all the little pieces get some white chocolate on them.)
Top with candy corn and sprinkles. Let cool until firm. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.


Apple Brownies

At first glance, and while it's still in the pan, doesn't this look a bit like Dorie's French Apple Cake? (See photo at bottom of page.) Putting it together was a bit the same too. It seemed over-laden with apples and not enough batter. But it was a much stiffer dough than Dorie's.
The recipe was in the October issue of Martha Stewart's Living and the magazine pictured them plain, but I added a little glaze with some Calvados in it. 
Of course. :)

Apple Brownies
Martha Stewart's Living, October 2012, adapted from The Apple Lover's Cookbook by Amy Traverso 

1 stick salted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I used Granny Smith)

Preheat oven to 350. Generously butter an 8 x 11 baking dish.

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In your mixer, beat the egg, sugar and butter until pale and light. By hand, add the walnuts and apples. Then add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
Spread the batter in the pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack then cut into 12 bars.
Glaze if you wish. Confectioners sugar mixed with almond or vanilla flavoring, or a little Calvados.
Bars can be stored airtight up to 5 days.


Cream Cheese Almond Cookies

I wouldn't exactly call this a Christmas cookie, although I tagged the recipe last holiday season and see no reason it couldn't make it's way to your Christmas cookie tray. It's just the ingredients were in my pantry and I was in the mood for some cookies while packing, so I made them the other day. An unassuming little cookie, they're just perfect with a cup of tea or a little pick-me-up midday with a small glass of milk. They'd also make a nice hostess gift. They're comforting. Do you know what I mean? Nothing unusual, just simple and delicious.

Cream Cheese Almond Cookie

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, soften
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg white
1 cup almond slices, lightly toasted

Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl, set aside.
Put butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Mix in sugar and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
Transfer dough to a work surface. Divide in half, and shape each half into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap, freeze until firm, about 30 minutes or up to 2 weeks.
Preheat oven to 350F. Unwrap one log, lightly brushed with egg white, and roll in almond slices, coating completely. Cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Space one inch apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake cookies, rotating halfway through, until golden around edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.
Repeat with the remaining log.



Jamie Oliver's Welch Rarebit with Chili Pepper Chutney

I thought I'd interject this in the middle of all my apple and pumpkin recipes. After all, we do need to eat something for lunch and supper! I seem to be over-laden with dessert-type recipes this fall. I'll try to do better after Christmas.

Every generation has a recipe for Welsh Rarebit; my mother did and I made it for my kids too...the whole trick is using a really fine cheddar. My favorite was made with cheddar, flour, butter, dry mustard, dark beer, Worcestershire and cayenne. And we always ate our rarebit with my great Aunt Irene's homemade chili sauce. OMG, it was divine. I have her recipe, but never have made it. It was an all day event. She used to have two women friends in to share the work and they'd make a HUGE amount and split the results. Totally impressive assembly line.

Anyway, The Two Fat Ladies made a rarebit on one of their shows (makes sense, as it's a traditional British dish) and I remember the egg addition and how it puffed up a bit, but if you've seen their shows, you know their recipes are always a little vague. And I never bought their cookbooks.

hen I saw Jamie Oliver make his rarebit with spicy chutney; it puffed up too and I thought it looked fabulous. I'll include lots of his directions. He's fun, isn't he? Frankly, I think it's one of the best football, late night or New Year's Eve snacks I know. You could use your own chili sauce, but this one was perfect and well worth the effort.

Welsh Rarebit

From Jamie at Home

3 slices sourdough bread, 1-inch thick 
5 1/2 ounces creme fraiche or 5 1/2 ounces sour cream, by weight 
2 egg yolks 
1 cup shredded Cheddar, Double Gloucester or other English cheese 
1 pinch ground black pepper 
1 pinch kosher salt 
1 teaspoon mustard powder 
3 teaspoons chili pepper jam 
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 

Toast both sides of bread under broiler until lightly browned. 
Stir together remaining ingredients except chili pepper jam and Worcestershire sauce. 
Spread 1 tablespoon, or to taste, chili jam (recipe follows) on each slice of bread. Divide cheese mixture evenly between slices and spread to edges. Return to broiler until top is brown and bubbly, 2-3 minutes. 
Crisscross the top of each slice with the edge of a knife, just to cut through the crispy cheese. Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce and serve.

Jamie's Cheeky Chili Pepper Chutney

From Jamie at Home

8-10 fresh red chillies
8 ripe red peppers
olive oil
2 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
a sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
a 5cm piece of cinnamon stick
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g brown sugar
150ml balsamic vinegar

If you want your chutney to last for a while, make sure you have some small sterilized jars ready to go. 

Place your chillies and peppers over a hot barbecue, in a griddle pan or on a tray under a hot grill, turning them now and then until blackened and blistered all over. Carefully lift the hot peppers and chillies into a bowl (the smaller chillies won’t take as long as the peppers so remove them first) and cover tightly with clingfilm. As they cool down, they’ll cook gently in their own steam. By the time they’re cool enough to handle, you’ll be able to peel the skin off easily. 

When you’ve got rid of most of the skin, trimmed off the stalks and scooped out the seeds, you’ll be left with a pile of nice tasty peppers and chillies. Finely chop by hand or put in a food processor and whiz up. Then put to one side.

Heat a saucepan and pour in a splash of olive oil. Add the onions, rosemary, bay leaves and cinnamon and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook very slowly for about 20 minutes or so, until the onions become rich, golden and sticky.

Add the chopped peppers and chillies, the sugar and the vinegar to the onions and keep cooking. When the liquid reduces and you’re left with a lovely thick sticky chutney, season well to taste. Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaves. Either spoon into the sterilized jars and put them in a cool dark place, or keep in the fridge and use right away. In sterilized jars, the chutney should keep for a couple of months. 


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