Mini Cranberry Mince Pies

Mini Cranberry Mince Pies

This recipe has been languishing in my computer now for almost a year. I had every intention of sharing it with you last November, but as life usually gets in the way of my best and well laid plans, that obviously never happened. Recently, as it turns out, I just so happened to remember that these photos and this recipe were still there patiently waiting for their day in the sun.

Mini Cranberry Mince Pies 2

My memory is not as bad as I seem to think it is, thankfully. Yay for that! It’s a small victory and I’m gonna take it for exactly that. I made these last year with the intention of sharing these at Holiday time because (lets be honest) if you are at all the type of person to indulge in a mince pie you are going to do it at then.

Mince pies in the States have gotten a bad rap. Along with fruitcake, there is this perception that mince pies are purely the purview of the silver-haired, senior generation. It’s old fashioned and for the longest time fashion-less reputation, have been for many, decidedly uncool. Not to mention it’s hazy and slightly stomach churning history that includes the addition of actual meat (at least in America anyway.)

Growing up we typically had our mince pie at both Christmas and Thanksgiving. Usually they were prepared lovingly by my Mom or Grandmother as a large, whole pie. After being introduced to mince pies the way they are most commonly consumed around the world, (in small mini form) I was hooked. Mince pie is rich, no doubt, so consuming it in small bite sized portions is for me, the perfect method.

Mini Cranberry Mince Pies 3

This recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Christmas is the perfect recipe for dipping your toes into the mince pie world if you are at all curious but still slightly unsure about the whole thing.  It’s also a great and perfect fusion of the traditional British recipe with a New World spin that just works perfectly for Thanksgiving I think.

Recipe adapted from Nigella Christmas

This post contains affiliate links.

  • Mini Cranberry Mince Pies
Servings
30 mince pies

Ingredients

Servings: mince pies

Instructions

For the cranberry mince:
  1. In a large sauce pan combine the port and sugar over low heat. Stir until dissolved. Add the spices, and dried fruits along with the orange zest. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the fruits have softened.
  2. Remove from the heat, add the bourbon and honey, then the cranberry relish. Stir to combine and set aside to cool. Prepare the crust.
For the crust:
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, vegetable shortening, salt and the butter. Process just until pea sized chunks form.
  2. Slowly pulse the mixture while adding the orange juice. Continue to pulse until the juice has been incorporated and the dough begins to form a ball. If you need more liquid to get to this stage add an additional teaspoon of ice water until you reach the desired consistency.
  3. Remove from the work bowl and flatten dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Assembly:
  1. Remove dough from the refrigerator and set aside to warm slightly. Roll dough thinly and cut into circles using a 2 1/2" cookie or biscuit cutter. This size works well for my mini muffin tins, but your's may be different so use a slightly larger or smaller size if necessary. Lightly oil just the top portion of your mini muffin tin to prevent sticking. Use a shot glass or a mini tart tamper to gently easy the dough into the well of your mini muffin tins. Fill the tin with the pastry rounds, then add no more than 1 teaspoon of cranberry mince filling to each well. If you add any more you run the risk of it bubbling over and being difficult to remove from the pan.
  2. Roll the remainder of the dough thinly and using a small star cutter, (aprox. 2" in diameter) cut enough stars to fit the top of each tart. Place the pan in the refrigerator while your oven preheats.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Once hot, place your muffin tin on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust just begins to brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the pies sit for no more than 5 minutes. Carefully remove the pies and let them finish cooling on a wire rack. Cool your tin completely before finishing the remainder of the recipe. Dust with confectioners sugar or serve with brandy butter.

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Cranberry Crumble Tarts

Cranberry Crumble Tarts 4

Well the Thanksgiving recipe train is rollin all over the Internet these days so I decided it was high time for me to jump on and share with you these little crazy, delicious cranberry tarts. If you’re on the lookout for a lovely alternative or addition to the pumpkin pie you are undoubtedly going to serve for the big day, look no further.

A light, flaky crust; cinnamon, orange scented,  sweet cranberry filling and a simple and buttery crumble topping make these little tarts a no-brainer in my book and a really outstanding dessert.  I first had these in mini tart form at the Sur La Table Seattle Corporate, IFBC Bloggers excursion back in September and let me say they were so addictive, I had to prevent myself from going crazy and stuffing several in my mouth all at once. Warm from the oven, they quite literally melt in your mouth.

Cranberry Crumble Tarts 5

This recipe was created by the lovely and oh so talented Culinary Director at Sur La Table Corporate Seattle, Sephi Coyle and I loved it so very much at the time I definitely knew I had to share it here.  I’ve adapted it ever so slightly but in essence it remains the same. You can make this in small tartlet form by using a mini muffin tin or even if you feel so inclined you could bake it into one large tart . It also freezes beautifully so making ahead is a snap.

Super versatile, it really would work equally well on any holiday table, not just for Thanksgiving. The only thing missing? A big dollop of vanilla ice cream, of course.

Cranberry Crumble Tarts Tippy

  • Cranberry Crumble Tarts
Servings
6

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

For the Crust:
  1. Place the flour, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor with a dough blade attached. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly dribble the ice water in to the mixture and pulse until it just begins to come together. Add up to an additional 1/4 of ice water if needed.
  2. Dump mixture out onto a lightly floured board and lightly knead the shaggy pieces until it forms a ball. Divide in half, flatten slightly, wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile prepare the crumble and the filling.
For the Crumble:
  1. Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the butter is reduced to the size of small peas. Avoid over processing. Set aside.
For the Filling:
  1. Place the cranberries, sugar, orange zest, flour and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Set aside.
To assemble:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Remove one of the discs of dough from the refrigerator and allow to set for 15 minutes until pliable. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to an even thickness, somewhere between 1/8" and 1/4". Fit dough into the tart tins, by placing a tin under the dough and pressing it evenly into each tin. You may need to re-roll a few times to fill all the tins. You should also be able to get 6 tarts from half of the dough, if not though go ahead a roll the second half of the dough. Place the prepared tins on a lined and rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. Spoon the cranberry mixture evenly into each tart and top with the crumble mixture. Apply liberally.
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Allow to cool for 45 minutes before serving.

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Black Bean and Blueberry Smoothie for @WilliamsSonoma Smoothie Week

Black Bean and Blueberry Smoothie

Smoothies are everywhere have you noticed? I think it’s simply fantastic that they are so popular and in fact show no signs of going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Really, how can something so delicious, so packed with healthy nutrients, so quick and easy,  be anything other than just awesome?!

Black Bean and Blueberry Smoothie 1

I became a fan of smoothies when my kids were little as a means of getting some fiber and vegetables into their diets in a sneaky kind of way. Once I learned how easy to make, how satisfying and scrumptious they were I was hooked.  As the kids grew and began buying smoothies that practically needed to be funded with a loan from the bank, we all became even bigger fans of the homemade variety.

So when Williams-Sonoma contacted me and asked me to be a part of their Smoothie Week I couldn’t resist! The first installment for this series focuses on the theme “Not Your Typical Smoothie” smoothie. Basically a smoothie featuring a slightly odd or unusual ingredient. Enter this concoction, the Black Bean and Blueberry Smoothie.

Oftentimes people complain that there aren’t enough protein options for smoothies that aren’t laden with calories (think nut butters specifically), but really that simply is not the case. Yogurt of course is a great addition and if you use the Greek variety you are doing yourself even more of a favor on the protein scale. But there are other fantastic ways of adding protein, and beans, believe it or not are one of them.  Their mild, unobtrusive taste and soft texture make them a natural in a fruit smoothie. Since I have growing boys I like to go a bit nuts on the protein side of smoothies and I think after trying this new combination I’m going to definitely be adding beans to our regular fruit/yogurt rotations. Strange, definitely. Delicious, absolutely.

Black Bean and Blueberry Smoothie 3

For this recipe I also decided to add a few tablespoons of a chia, buckwheat and hemp cereal mix along with some of the most beautiful spinach I’ve ever seen, an heirloom red variety I found on a trip to the market this morning. Almond milk, frozen blueberries (you could use fresh if you like), yogurt and a little bit of honey round out the remainder of the recipe.

Black Bean and Blueberry Smoothie 2

This made an excellent breakfast, and I loved it so much I drank the other one for lunch. You must give it a try. You could even add white beans to a light colored fruit smoothie if you’d like.  The sky is the limit really. And if you are in the market for a blender you absolutely should mosey on over to Williams Sonoma and give them a look. With the holidays coming it would be a lovely way to treat yourself and your family to a season of health and of course smoothie happiness.

Disclosure: This post in unsponsored. All opinions contained herein are my own.

  • Black Bean and Blueberry Smoothie
Servings Prep Time
2 5 minutes

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until the mixture is fully incorporated. Pour into glasses and serve.

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Mumma: Spiced Swedish Beer Cocktail

Mumma 4

I was scrambling around my kitchen over the weekend, trying to get a handle on the crazy, out of control mess that it had become (as it does so frequently these days), when my thoughts turned to the fact that it was all of the sudden November 1. The majority of my baking and cooking during the months of November and December always takes on a Scandinavian flavor as it does predictably for most Scandinavian Americans. Traditions that are forgotten most of the year are all of the sudden immensely important. Most will go all year without much thought to their traditional foods (although I’m excited to see that is changing) but come the holidays everyone wants nothing more than to get their hands on some lefse, lutefisk, fish balls or pinnekjøtt.

Over the years, several of our local Scandinavian food shops have shuttered their doors and sadly I think this is largely due to several factors. Recession, expensive import and export duties, moving and changing demographics all have played a part in their demise and it’s with a heavy heart that I realize the few we have left may be in some jeopardy even now. I do my part to shop at them as frequently as possible and upon a recent trip to Ballard, I was encouraged  to stumble upon a new Scandinavian Bakery near Fremont called Byen Bakeri.  Gorgeous towering Kranskekake’s, fluffy cardamom braids and some of the most amazing Mazarin tarts I’ve ever seen, can be found there. A definite must stop if you’re in the area.

Mumma 2

This recipe for Mumma has been stuck in my recipe box for years and one that I’ve tweaked over time to suit our tastes. The beauty of it though is it’s accessibility. No trips for special ingredients are necessary. Each family has it’s own variation and Christmas seems to be the time of year when it, along with glögg and other spiced beer is consumed most. Christmas beer is a huge business in Scandinavia, and almost impossible to find here in the U.S, but really this recipe, while not the same thing, does a pretty good job of getting to the heart of the matter. I think it makes a really fantastic drink for any occasion in the winter months and consequently I don’t restrict serving to just the month of December.

Mumma 3

The beauty of this recipe is that it serves a lot, for fairly cheaply.  I limit my recipe to two kinds of beer and add some ginger ale rather than the more widespread, lemonade. A small amount of good Spanish Sherry or Maderia, a dash of gin and a generous teaspoon of finely ground cardamom are all you need.  I am usually an advocate of grinding your own cardamom for everything as it’s clearly way, way better, but unless you can grind your own in a spice grinder to a very fine powder, I recommend using the pre-ground store bought variety here.  The last thing you want is big chunks of cardamom floating around in your mouth or getting stuck in your teeth.

To put it politely and rather obviously, this recipe has the ability to kick you in your posterior. Moderation is definitely the key here as few things can be truer than the adage that Scandinavian’s definitely love their drink and definitely know how to tie one on. Make sure you serve this with plenty of hearty food or at the very least when you don’t have plans to be anywhere but firmly planted on the sofa in front of a roaring fire with friends for hours on end. Sounds like heaven.

  • Mumma: Spiced Swedish Beer Cocktail
Servings Prep Time
8 10

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. In a large pitcher sprinkle the cardamom in the bottom. Tilt the pitcher and slowly pour the beer down the sides, minimizing the frothy head. Add the ginger ale, sherry, gin and stir gently. Serve.

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Apple Almond Crumb Pie

Apple Almond Crumb Pie

One can certainly say it is now officially fall in the Northwest! In my mind we’ve not really arrived at fall until we’ve have a least one really good, storm. This last weekend we had our first big storm of the season and as a result lost power for a few days. Living out  in the woods as we do, we lose power frequently and early on were smart enough to purchase a little generator that keeps our refrigerator running, gives us a few lights and operates the fan on the fireplace to help keep us warm. It also, and probably most importantly keeps our coffee machine running. There is nothing so delicious as a hot steaming cup of joe by candlelight, while huddled under a blanket and 2 layers of Smart Wool socks.

Last Saturday night found us out to dinner with friends in a lovely little spot in Bellevue with a tall wall of glass windows and a front row seat to the incoming storm. It was a doozy. Trees toppling, rain blowing sideways and a downed, live, in the middle of the road, power line awaited us upon arriving at home. To complicate matters, it was my son Erik’s homecoming night at the high school, and my other son Drew was out with friends heading home from driving go-carts in Redmond. It’s a bit disconcerting to be separated from your kids when things are out of whack weather-wise, so I was eventually relieved when we all arrived home safe and sound.

Apple Almond Crumb Pie 2

Now that we’ve had our requisite fall storm, it’s also time for me to fulfill the second half of the fall initiation equation. Apple pie. Specifically this apple pie. I do happen to live in the Apple State after all and in my opinion every self-respecting Washingtonian should have at least one really outstanding apple recipe up their sleeve. I’ve shared several with you this fall, but I have to say I think this one is my favorite. It’s one we’ve made for a years and somehow managed to slip underneath my blog recipe planning radar up until now and for that I apologize.

There is so much that is just right, just amazing with this recipe and truly every time I make it I get raves.  Big raves.  A thin layer of almond paste and a delicious almond crumb topping elevate this pie so far above the ordinary.  Apples and almonds feature prominently together in Scandinavian cooking and combined in this way they turn this pie in to something extraordinary. This would also make an excellent addition to the pie table at Thanksgiving as well if you are looking for something special that’s not cranberry or pumpkin.

This recipe is the latest installment for the Issaquah Press. To get it,  head on over the the Issaquah Press Recipe Box section.

Recipe adapted from Odense.

One Pumpkin Three Ways

pumpkin meringue and gingersnap pie 2

I have to admit that prior to blogging the thought of making pumpkin anything from scratch simply did nothing for me. Why on earth would you attempt to hack away at a massively unwieldy, ungainly pumpkin to only then reach inside it’s slimy innards and struggle to remove strings and seeds that stubbornly refused to budge? Memories of arm aching, afternoon pumpkin carving sessions for the boys, fleeting through my mind as I vividly recall thinking to myself “Why exactly am I doing this?”

pumpkin sage gratin

It’s so much easier to saunter to the pantry, grab a can of pumpkin puree and open that baby in 10 seconds flat. And let’s be honest, canned pumpkin is good. Really good. And way easier on the arms. Small sugar pie pumpkins have forced me to change my tune of late. Easy to cut, scoop and roast, one well placed slice with a sharp kitchen knife is all it takes to get you into pumpkin roasting goodness. It’s really no trouble at all to clean a pumpkin that’s been sliced in half anyway, and in the interest of being even more honest, there is just nothing quite like homemade pumpkin puree. It has a earthy complexity that is just lacking in the canned varieties.

The overabundant plethora of pumpkin and squash varieties in the store these days just get’s me stoked, and should provide you with perfect incentive to get yourself to the store and start roasting your own.

PUmpking Burssel Sprout Crostini

Last month Relish Magazine challenged me to come up with 3 recipes from one pumpkin, using a larger 5-6 pounder or if you prefer 3 smaller sugar pie pumpkins. I jumped at the chance and developed recipes for a Pumpkin Meringue Pie with a Brown Butter Gingersnap Crust, a Savory Sage and Pumpkin Gratin and a Roast Pumpkin, Bacon and Brussels Sprout Crostini.

The Pumpkin Meringue Pie is my new favorite pumpkin pie recipe, and that crust is so seriously good it was a challenge not to eat it straight from the bowl over the sink. Salty, sweet, spicy and the perfect foil for the creamy pumpkin puree and light as air meringue.  The Savory Sage and Pumpkin Gratin, highlights the earthy flavors of pureed pumpkin the best, with eggs, heavy cream and Gouda cheese topped with a crunchy, buttery bread crumb crust. Roast Pumpkin, Bacon and Brussels Sprout Crostini is simply my favorite side dish piled on top of a buttery, garlicky grilled slice of bread. A sprinkle of red pepper flakes doesn’t hurt here either.

For the recipes and a brief pumpkin roasting how-to, head on over to Relish Magazine.

Roasted Pumpkin, Maple and Kale Flatbreads

Roasted pumpkin and kale crostini

Are you pumpkined out yet? I most definitely am not and seeing as how I’ve got no less than 10 pumpkins residing on my front porch and mantlepiece currently, I guess that’s a good thing. Last week along with the gorgeous bounty of apples I received from the good folks at Farmstr, I was lucky enough to get a pretty good stash of several varieties of squash and pumpkin as well so it’s safe to say, I’ll be set for squash for quite some time. I’ve been longing to try my hand at pumpkin gnocchi for a while so I think I will definitely have to give that one a go here soon.  If you have a good recipe for it that you’d like to share I’d be thrilled to have it. (I have nightmares of making gnocchi that turn into rocks.)  I’ll be pureeing, roasting, peeling and freezing much of that bounty for use later through out the year, but until I reach my pumpkin saturation point I’m all over everything pumpkin right now.

Roasted pumpkin and kale flatbreads 1

Hopefully my stash of pumpkins decorating my front porch will survive in tact for the next few weeks, but between a neighbors curious and mouthy bulldog puppy and more bear activity on our property, I have my suspicions.  We sadly woke up to more bear inflicted apple tree damage  last week. In an effort to reach the uppermost apples, a bear snapped a massive branch off one of our beloved trees one night and I’m suspecting it’s the same bear that toppled the entire tree I mentioned a few weeks ago. Depending on how hungry or desperate they get they may make a play for my pumpkins. It’s only happened once in previous years, but I wouldn’t put it past them to attempt it again. Particularly this bear. The thought of him walking and sniffing around my front porch makes my blood run cold, so I’ll likely bring the pumpkins in for good.

Roasted pumpkin and kale flatbreads 2

Roasting your own pumpkin couldn’t be easier and there are so many delicious and edible varieties out there these days you definitely should try your hand at doing so. Pumpkin is just so good and good for you and it’s versatility in sweet and savory dishes make it a staple in my kitchen not just in the fall, but year round. Each year I usually try cut up and freeze a fair amount of them to add to recipes for use later in the winter. And for those of you wanting to know how I roast, (and to help you along for this recipe) I’ve included some short and simple instructions on how to roast your own. There are many ways to skin this cat though, so you’ll likely find just as many ways to roast them if you look elsewhere.

Roasted pumpkin and kale flatbreads 3

Flatbreads like these in my opinion are super easy to prepare and can stand on their own for a meal, or serve as a starter if cut into small pieces and served with cocktails. Light on the cheese and heavy on the vegetables, I like to think of them as a virtuous pizza. I’ve prepared these on some store bought naan, but if you’d rather use some ready made pizza dough (or even better your own pizza dough recipe) that would work equally well.  If you go the pizza dough route, be sure to bake them off prior to adding the toppings. In fact I’d bake them just to the point of being done, prior to browning. Then add your toppings and allow them to crisp up and brown on the second bake.

This recipe couldn’t be simpler and it hits all the right flavor notes. Sweet and savory, I finished it with a light drizzle of maple syrup and even a generous sprinkling of chili flakes as I just can’t help myself when it comes to that kind of thing. My grocery store carries baby kale and I just can’t say how much I love that stuff. If you can’t get your hands on any of that, use baby spinach instead and be generous with it. It wilts down and becomes a perfect counterpoint to all the other goodness going on. Creamy goat, brie or Cambozola cheese sprinkled over the top makes it even more amazing.

I’ve got a few pieces of this left in my fridge as I write and I’m beginning to think this would make an awesome breakfast.. maybe with an egg on top or two. After all, I’ve got some serious eating to do if I plan to stay a step ahead of those bears..

Roasted pumpkin and kale flatbreads 4

  • Roasted Pumpkin, Maple and Kale Flatbreads
Prep Time Cook Time
20 minutes 15 minutes

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, while assembling the flatbreads. Brush a small amount of each flat bread with olive oil. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese evenly over the surface of the flatbreads. Lay the sliced pumpkin over the top of the cheese and set aside.
  2. In a medium cast iron skillet, sauté the onion with 1 T. butter and 1 T. additional olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the onion is caramelized. Divide the onion evenly between the two flatbreads.
  3. Pile the kale or spinach over the top of each flatbread and drizzle with some additional oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the greens are wilted and the crust has turned a golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven, garnish with the cheese and drizzle the maple syrup evenly over each. Slice and serve.
  5. To roast the pumpkin for this recipe, choose a small sugar pumpkin (even a small squash would work well) and wash thoroughly on the outside. Slice the pumpkin into quarters, and remove the seeds with a soon. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. and place the pumpkin quarters on a baking sheet. Drizzle a few tablespoons oil over each piece and poke the flesh a bit with a fork. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top and bake for 40-50 minutes until the flesh is soft but still firm enough to hold it's shape. Remove the skin from the pumpkin and slice thinly. You will have pumpkin left over from this recipe, serve it in salads or add it to your favorite creamy pasta if you like.

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Orchard Apple Cake

Orchard Apple Cake

I finally did it. I bought a Fitbit over the weekend.  After much thought and urging from my walking partner and good friend Teri, (along with some nudging from my husband) I made my way to the sporting goods store and took the plunge. This was a big deal for me. I’m staunchly opposed to jumping on every “tech” or device wagon anyway and after reading David Sedaris’s equal parts hysterical and terrifying piece in The New Yorker on the lures/horrors of  such devices, I vowed that I would never purchase one. I’ve always struggled with a bit of a guilt complex so somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that I might be getting myself into a bit of trouble, what with the constant monitoring of steps and calories burned along with my tendencies for over thinking and my general inability to keep my behavior within reason. Persuasive friends and undying curiosity finally won me over.

Orchard Apple Cake 2

Orchard Apple Cake 3

I’m four days in and so far I’ve managed to keep myself in check and not get too carried away. I’ll check back in in a week or two and let you know how things are progressing.  If I don’t check back in, it’s safe to assume I’ve gone down the Fitbit rabbit hole and you’ll need to send in reinforcments. Ideally, reinforcements with cake and a healthy dose of bourbon, please.

If you could bring me this cake specifically, I’d be eternally grateful. A riff on the traditional Swedish Apple Cake, it’s buttery, almond infused and super simple to make. Typically served with a vanilla sauce drizzled over the top, it’s safe to say this cake is iconic to all Swedes. In fact I’m pretty sure it’s on permanent rotation at Ikea. I’ve mixed up the recipe a bit, so it’s not “traditional” for those of you wondering. I was even tempted to sprinkle some crushed cardamom in there,  but I resisted the urge. Next time.

Orchard Apple Cake 4

There’s something I just love about cakes like this. Nothing fancy; perfect for breakfast or alongside a hot mug of tea in the afternoon.  It just speaks fall to me. This is cake to be eaten when it’s raining and the wind is blowing things sideways. This is cake made to lure, crazy Fitbit obsessed walkers out of rabbit holes. For sure.

 

The apples for this cake were a generous gift from the lovely folks at Farmstr

Farmstr is a local Seattle area online marketplace for local farm food that works to connect farmers to consumers directly benefitting both the consumer and the small farmer. If you live in the Seattle area, I strongly urge you to check them out and look for drop off locations near you. Beautiful produce, meat, eggs and seafood are all offered. I just adore them and their mission and I know you will too.

Recipe adapted from Kari Schoening Diehl’s  Swedish Apple Cake from The Everything Nordic Cookbook.

This post contains affiliate links.

Orchard Apple Cake 5

  • Orchard Apple Cake
Prep Time Cook Time
30 minutes 1 hour

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8" round cake pan, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper cut to fit, then butter that as well.
  2. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the pan, tilting and turning until thoroughly covered with bread crumbs. Knock out the excess and set the pan aside.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and the sugars on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time scraping down the sides of the bowl until fully incorporated.
  4. Stir in the almond extract and the salt. Then sprinkle the baking powder over the top of the batter. Combine then add the flour in 3 additions, incorporating fully in between to prevent any lumps.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Set aside. Peel, core and slice the apples. I use an apple peeling gadget that works wonderfully for this, but doing it the regular way works just fine too.
  6. Lay the slices in a circular pattern around the perimeter of the pan, on top of the batter. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the cake.
  7. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then carefully invert and set on a cooling rack to for the remainder.

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Matcha Almond Spritz Cookies

Matcha Almond Spritz 4

Incredibly, somehow we are already in the midst of fall. Wasn’t it just summer? Even though I’m already missing the longer days I have to say I’m so very ready for cool nights, warm soups, cozy sweaters and football.. And I’m just loving all of the great pumpkin and fall recipes that I see everywhere.  I simply never seem to get tired of pumpkin/squash everything.

I think in large part it has to do with the fact that we are beginning to embrace the joy of food enjoyed in it’s season. The thought of pumpkin whatever in June, while really delicious I’m sure,  just isn’t gonna do it for me. So now that it’s that time, I’m working on some yummy pumpkin posts to share with you all later this month.  But for now I’m all about cookies.

Matcha Almond Spritz 8

Thank God, cookies don’t have a “season” or I’d be in trouble. These spritz have been a very long overdue addition to my cookie repertoire and I’m kind of a bit shocked at myself for not thinking of making them sooner. I love green tea; drink it everyday sometimes twice a day and I’ll find any excuse to put it in just about anything I think could benefit from it.

I love the earthy, bright flavor of it and in baked goods it just works on so many levels. If you’ve ever had a Green Tea Tiramisu you know what I’m talking about.  And then there’s it’s gorgeous color. How can color so vibrant, so amazing not make you happy?  I think it’s fair to call this recipe a fusion one, because it combines my beloved Scandinavian Spritz cookie recipe with delicious  almond flavors and marries it very happily with the delicate but complex  taste of green tea. A perfect match in my opinion.

Matcha Almond Spritz 9

I adjusted my regular spritz recipe by just adding one teaspoon of Matcha powder because I didn’t want the flavor to overwhelm the almond already in the recipe, but if you’d like more of it’s flavor you can easily add up to an additional teaspoon of Matcha without any harm. I also eliminated adding the cardamom as I felt like there’d be just too much going on. This recipe could also be a fun and  different addition to your cookie plate for that all important cookie giving season arriving soon, that for now shall remain unnamed. You’re welcome.

There are loads of great Matcha brands out there, but for this recipe, I used KissMe Organics, Organic Matcha.  Yum. What’s your favorite way to enjoy green tea?

This is an unsponsored post with affiliate links. Thanks to KissMe Organics for the gift of the Matcha!

  • Matcha Almond Spritz Cookies

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In the bowl of a mixer combine the butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Add the egg, the extract and salt. Combine and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Sift the flour with the green tea powder in a small bowl. Then gradually add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Grab a handful of dough and roll it between your hands, the appropriate diameter to fit into your cookie press. Depress the handle just enough to meet resistance, then place the press flat against your cool cookie sheet, click once or (if using an old turning model, turn once).
  3. Let press rest against the pan for 5 seconds, then gently lift off. Fill the pan with cookies, spaced 1″ apart. Sprinkle with coarse sanding sugar. Bake for 6-8 minutes until the cookies just begin to brown ever so slightly around the edges.
  4. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before removing from the pan to a cooling rack. Wash pan and cool in the freezer for 2 minutes. Begin the process again.

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IFBC Sur La Table/KitchenAid Excursion

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A couple weekends ago, I was thrilled and fortunate to attend my first International Food Bloggers Conference here in Seattle. After blogging for more than four years, I decided it was time to get out, meet some of my fellow bloggers, learn some great new information and get inspired. The simple fact that IFBC is literally in my back yard made attending the event a no brainer for me and I have to say it was so, so worth it.

The weekend was jammed full of so many wonderful events, food, friends and opportunities to meet vendors it’s going to take a few posts for me to adequately share with you all that took place but I thought I’d start first with what for me was one of the highlights.

The Friday afternoon before the conference began, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to visit the Sur La Table Corporate Headquarters in the SODO district of Seattle with 49 other very lucky bloggers. We are blessed here to be home to many wonderful companies, and Sur La Table is one such Seattle institution that has always set my baker’s hear aflutter. And truly how could it not? Unless you’ve been out of the country or living under a rock for the last 30 years, you’ve likely heard of them and their outstanding products.

 

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We were greeted at the hotel by Dorallece Dullaghan, Sur La Table, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Public Relations and after a short ride to corporate headquarters we were ushered into their new beautiful test kitchens. The excitement in the air was palpable and it was so wonderful to be in such a beautiful space. After a welcome from SLT CEO Jack Schwefel we were treated to some recipe development discussions and demonstrations by Sephi Coyle, Culinary Director and Kristina Micallef the Culinary Program Content Manager. I was experiencing serious job envy.

We were also thrilled to meet Nikki Lockett, the Senior Marketing Manager for Kitchnaid Small Appliances, who shared with us the KitchenAid mission and introduced us to the brand new KitchenAid Food Processor attachment. Again, job envy. Majorly.  Our cooking demonstrations involved the making of homemade fettuccine, with kale, lemon and walnuts along with some meltingly delicious warm cranberry crumble tarts.

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Bloggers doing what they do best, photographing and eating!

The event was seriously gorgeous and it was so wonderful to meet new bloggers and learn more about Sur La Table and their upcoming product lines. It was so wonderful in fact,  I found myself having a difficult time remembering to take photos and I completely failed to adequately document all that I learned.  Most of these photos I ended up taking with my phone. The food was as expected, so very delicious and I’m now a big fan of kale pestos. I think I’m probably the only person on the planet who had yet tried kale pesto.  I know that kale is reaching the saturation point for most people but truly I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.

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Sephi and Kristina demonstrating the new KitchenAid food processor attachment

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My friend and Seattle area blogger Peabody Johanson from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. Score!

We were all seriously thrilled with our gorgeous swag bags from Sur La Table and completely stunned with the gift of a the food processor attachment from KitchenAid. I’ve used it for several recipes since returning and it’s a game changer. Easy to use and all fully dishwasher safe, I’m in love with it.

This event in an of itself was a fantastic way to begin the weekend, and I felt so lucky and thankful to be a part of it. The warmth of IFBC attendees is legendary, and the conference does a fantastic job encouraging bloggers to meet, make friends and to fully enjoy the very most of their time. Stay tuned for more information on the weekend and even a little what to do, where to visit in Seattle post, if you are thinking of making it to our beautiful area in the near future.

If you are a blogger and at all on the fence about attending a conference, I strongly suggest that you should definitely put IFBC on your list. It will be hosted again in Seattle next year and registration for the event is already open.  You can register by visiting them HERE. If you’ve got questions about the conference I’d be happy to answer them too so leave me a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out. I’d love to see you there next year!