Monday, October 13, 2014

Fresh Apple Cake with Honey Glaze

A long time ago, in a far away place... Ok, maybe only 15 or so years ago, and in Minnesota, there was a store I used to shop at called "Dayton's". It was a Minnesota based store, but I don't know how big of a territory they covered. It was a BIG department store, and a nicer one. One of their stores was in downtown St. Paul, and it was connected to the skyway system, so I could go shopping there for a lunch break once in a while. They had the best marketplace. High end chocolates that were so yummy... I would just buy one... just a treat for the walk. Then.... there was this cake mix that they sold. An apple cake mix. Oh how I loved that cake mix. That was back in the day when I relied on mixes, and I bought several each year. Sadly, somewhere in some mergers, acquisitions, and marketing changes, my beloved cake mix went away.

Maybe this was one of the triggers that got me away from mixes. You find one you love, and then it goes away. I have tried so many apple cake recipes over the years, hoping to find a recipe that would make the cake that I knew and loved. Never even close. I tried a lot of good, applicious recipes since then, but I was never happy because they weren't the one.

Then this past weekend happened. We were meeting some friends for a picnic, and I wanted to make a dessert. I had all these great apples from the orchard, so I pulled up a recipe I had pinned a long time ago, and whipped it up with no expectations other than being delicious. Guess what?!?!?! It is darn close to the cake I had been trying to replicate! Everyone loved this cake. It is amazingly moist, a nice crisp layer on top. If you really like that top layer, skip the glaze and just have some whipped topping.

Fresh Apple Cake (Source: Paula Deen)

3 cups diced apples
1 cup pecans, toasted
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a tube pan, set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together apples, pecans, vanilla, and cinnamon; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In large bowl beat sugar, oil, and eggs with electric mixer until completely combined and creamy. Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing until completely combined. Fold in apple mixture. Fold until apples are evenly distributed through batter. 

Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Allow the cake to fully cool in the pan, then turn out onto a plate.

Honey Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp milk

Add all ingredients to bowl, stirring until smooth.  Drizzle over cooled cake

Can be stored in refrigerator up to 5 days. Wrap tightly and store in airtight container.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Lanesboro Minnesota

Just in the nick of time, before my allergies hit for their yearly fight, my bestie and I met in Lanesboro, Minnesota for a girls weekend. Lanesboro is a quaint little tourist town,  I have heard of this town for years as being a "destination" town, being best known for it's biking trails and being the B & B capital of Minnesota.

By the time we made our plans, the B & B's were booked, so we stayed in a neighboring town.  
All of the countryside, towns and scenery were so worth the trip. 

This bridge once was for trains, and is now part of the Root River Trail System.

This bridge wasn't part of the trail system, but I thought it was pretty.

 As we walked along a small stretch of the Root River, we had to take a picture of this back yard that belonged to one of the B & B's.

A beautiful waterfall, just below a campground.

Do you love waterfalls as much as I do?

When we were done walking, we took a driving tour through town.  
We went to the highest point we could see in town which was a church, and found this amazing view of the waterfall.

 So many unique stores with unique items! Like this repurposed tire that is now a Rooster Planter!

Of course, we had to stop at an orchard while we were out. These Red Delicious apples were such a deep red, that from a distance they almost looked chocolate!
We were NOT allowed to pick apples, only buy what was in the store. I had never heard of this before, can you pick apples at your orchard?

We also went to a local Eagle viewing spot. We weren't treated with eagles, but did get to see an amazing view!

If you have the opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jeepers Creepers Peepers

Welcome to October's "Fill the Cookie Jar"! This months theme is Halloween/Pumpkin. I had another cookie in mind for you for this event, but it was an epic failure! The more I think about that cookie, the more determined I am to go back to it and make it work. So, you may see it yet. Or we might never speak of it again.

So... what to do for this month? I might not be able to remember my grocery shopping list, or remember where I put the new roll of paper towels, but I can remember when a friend posts a picture a year ago of a cute little Halloween cookie. So, after touching base with her about the recipe, and shaking off the dust from my previous failure, I was ready to try and make some eyeballs!

Super fun recipe! I used a mix of cookie butter, and peanut butter, but you can certainly use all peanut butter. I would highly recommend if you have some little ones running around to have them ready to help you with the "blood". These set up really fast, so either work on a couple at a time, or have help!

Once all was said and done, I wasn't sure what I was going to call these. But, then one of my awesome friends made a comment about the pic on facebook, I knew what their name was. Jeepers Creepers Peepers!

Truckin' Man wanted me to tell y'all that "He's got an eye on you!"

If you are interested in joining Fill The Cookie Jar group on facebook, fill out the form that can be found at Fill The Cookie Jar. Each month we bake a different theme for the cookie.
We bake, we share and we enjoy our cookies!

Jeepers Creepers Peepers

Peanut Butter Balls
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup cookie butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar

3/4 lb Almond Bark
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp water
red food coloring

Line baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.  In large bowl, mix butter, cookie butter, and peanut butter together until completely combined and smooth. Add powdered sugar, half a cup at a time. Mixing completely after each addition.  Take about two teaspoons of mixture and roll into ball. If mixture is to dry, add some more peanut butter. If to wet, and a little more powdered sugar.  Roll all mixture into balls.  Place on baking sheet. When completed, place baking sheet with balls in freezer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt almond bark in microwave following package directions. In small bowl, stir powdered sugar, with water together. Add food coloring, and water one teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached (Test this with a toothpick on the side of your bowl. You want it thin enough so that it will run down the balls, but not so thin that it will run right off). Once you have the right consistency, set up your work station. Have a sheet of wax paper ready to make your "Peepers", melted almond bark, "blood", and toothpick or your choice of tool for the blood drizzle.

Moving quickly, drop chilled peanut butter balls into melted almond bark. Set on waxed paper. With toothpick, drizzle red from center top of ball, down the sides. Set M&M on top. If the top is already set up, you can add a dot of almond bark to the M&M for "glue".

***Tip: If you are working alone, take 4 balls out of freezer at a time. When you complete those, repeat steps.

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Simple Supper Tuesday 
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