9×13 Apple Crisp

This delicious apple crisp is made in a 9×13-inch baking pan and can feed an army! I love making this for reunions and Church pitch-ins! Fabulous served alongside vanilla ice cream or just as fabulous served on its own.

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9×13 Apple Crisp 

10 cups cored, sliced and diced apples
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon white all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups white all-purpose flour
2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place apples evenly into 9×13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl combine the white granulated sugar, white all-purpose flour and ground cinnamon. Pour this mixture evenly over the apples. Pour the water evenly throughout.

In a large bowl combine the melted unsalted butter, quick-cooking oats, white all-purpose flour, lightly packed light brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda until the mixture resembles course pebbles when pressed together.

Crumble the mixture evenly over the top of the apple mixture.

Bake, in preheated oven, for 45 minutes.

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Frosting

This moist cake reminds me of a classic spice cake without all the overwhelming spice flavors of some. Delicate and delicious, even better topped with homemade caramel frosting!

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Frosting

For the cake…
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup chilled applesauce
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour

For the frosting…
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl, cream together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar. Add in the chilled applesauce and combine. Will look curdled but that is desirable. Keep working.

Beat in the baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt. Beat in the white all-purpose flour.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake in preheated for 40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

To make the frosting combine the unsalted butter, light brown sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow this mixture to melt and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add in the whole milk and pure vanilla extract. Cook another 40 seconds and remove from heat. Gently whisk in the confectioner’s sugar.

Evenly pour and spread over cooled cake.

Cut and serve.

CHEW THIS! Mini Baked Apple Pies

Mini Baked Apple Pies

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, March 4th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

A Mini Twist on Apple Pie
Blaise Doubman

Spring is just around the corner and with a new season, new recipes always enter my mind. Spring, to me, means not only warmer weather and flowers blooming, but also fresh fruits and garden planting season, lemonade and brisk evenings. I have been on a “pie quest” for several months now, trying to learn more about pies, their history, different crusts, fillings, new and delightful taste combinations, not to mention delightful recipe tests – and I have still a way to go, but continuous learning is the way of life. Take your basic apple pie for example. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways that people make their apple pies! Some people add raisins to their filling, while others add a little blueberry or a twist of lemon. Some people pile their apples high and add maple syrup over the top before placing on the crust, while others cook down the apples until almost a thick glaze forms around the bottom and dots butter over the top before placing on the crust. And, let us take the crust for example! Do you make your crust with lard? Butter? Shortening? A combination? Do you add cheese? Mayonnaise? I am fascinated by this and why people use and add what they do.

When developing the recipe, I am sharing here today with all of you, I wanted something basic and simple, but something that was new yet familiar. You can, by all means, make your own pie crust for this recipe, but I wanted to make it easy. As Food Network star Nancy Fuller always says, “Scratch made is best, unless you are stressed”. And that is so true! Do not be intimidated in the kitchen by making your own pie crust and do not be ashamed of buying refrigerated pie crust! A shortcut is a shortcut and there is nothing wrong with wanting to save time! I wanted this recipe to make mini pies that were baked in the oven and not fried. You can fry them if you wish. I also wanted to create a glaze for them, but these are also delicious eaten plain. They are also delicious crumbled up on vanilla ice cream but that is another story. I love recipes that are familiar, foolproof, delicious and flavorful and I hope you will enjoy these mini baked apple pies.

Mini Baked Apple Pies

These hand pies can be made with homemade dough rather than refrigerated dough, can be made with your favorite fruit filling and can be deep fried if desired. That is the beauty of this recipe, it is very versatile! The finished pies should be kept covered at room temperature and will last up to 3 days.

2 boxes refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup whole milk, plus 2 tablespoons
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl blend and mash the apple pie filling with a fork. Add in the ground cinnamon and pure vanilla extract, stirring to incorporate.

Unroll the pie crusts onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or bottom of a narrow glass, cut out 6 circles from each pie crust. You should end up with 24 total circles and will have to work carefully in batches.

Place a heaping teaspoon of the apple mixture in the middle of each of the cut-out circles. Fold the circles over, crimping the sides tightly with a fork. Using the fork, poke the tops of each pie once to allow them to bake and steam evenly.

Brush the tops of each prepared pie with the large egg white. Place the pies onto the prepared baking sheets and bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool only slightly before glazing.

In a large bowl whisk together, the confectioner’s sugar and whole milk to make the glaze. Drop the slightly warm pies into the large bowl of glaze and coat evenly. The easiest way to do this, is by using two forks and working carefully. Place the glazed pies onto the parchment lined baking sheets and allow to cool completely and allow the glaze to set up before serving and enjoying.

Ask and Answer: I posted a picture of some homemade croutons awhile back on my social media and several people wanted the recipe, so I thought I would share it here with everyone. The secret to good homemade croutons is in the kind of bread you use, and it may not be what you think! The secret? Hamburger buns! Take a pack of hamburger buns, cut into desired size and place on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and choice of seasoning mix, if any. Toss together with clean hands. Bake in 425-degree oven until crisp, stirring every 5 minutes. Desired baking time, and crispness, is up to you. I bake mine about 20-25 minutes, stirring and flipping the croutons often. Serve in air-tight container for 3 days.

CHEW THIS! Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings

Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 17th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Inspiration is key in recipe development…
Blaise Doubman

I have always had a fascination with family reunions, pot lucks, pitch-ins and Church dinners. Not just because of the familiar faces that usually greet you at these functions, and the good times that usually ensue, but because of the delicious food that is shared. I can’t remember one function that I’ve been to, that didn’t have tables and tables of food. I love those times, because it gives me a chance to taste familiar dishes, as well as give me ideas and inspiration in making and creating my own.

I am fascinated by people sharing their recipes and the history and stories behind them. Usually a recipe is “invented” through necessity, greed, or mistake. Let me give some examples. Years ago, in war time rations, cakes needed to be made without eggs and oil so mayonnaise was used. This is a good example of a recipe developed through necessity. I, on the other hand, when developing recipes, fall more into the category of greed. What is it that I would like to eat? Why haven’t there been a peanut butter, white chocolate and pretzel cheesecake invented? Sounds absolutely delicious to me! Recipes made my mistake are often one of the most popular methods in recipe development. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been making a recipe, and forget to add this, or add a little pinch of that, and it takes the recipe to a whole other level.

This recipe was inspired by a dessert that I had at a Graduation open house years ago. It was good…but I knew I could make it even better. I changed the recipe by using crescent roll dough instead of puff pastry, changed the type of apple, left out the raisins, added more cinnamon and used Sprite instead of 7-Up. I also changed some of the measurements to find that perfect constancy in the glaze. I find it to be the perfect combination of sweet, tart, citrus and cinnamon all at the same time. This is so much better than your typical baked apple dumplings that you may be familiar with. A recipe developed by inspiration through something I had had before, but wanted to change and make better. I love recipes like this…

Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings

Using “Granny Smith” apples for this recipe is really the best choice because it gives a perfect tartness that is needed to cut through the sweetness of this dish. Also make sure you use regular “Sprite” – not the “Diet” variety – it will not result in the same flavor.

2 cans crescent rolls
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced into 8 slices per apple
2 (4 oz.) sticks salted butter
1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup white all-purpose flour
1 (12 oz.) can of Sprite

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add white granulated sugar and cinnamon to the melted butter and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often.

After 2 minutes, stir in the white all-purpose flour and cook another 2 minutes.

Wrap each apple slice in a single crescent roll and place in prepared baking pan.

Next, pour the melted butter mixture evenly over the rolls.

Pour the can of Sprite over everything and place in preheated oven and bake for 38 minutes exactly.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

CHEW THIS! Comedy of Errors Apple Pie

Comedy of Errors Apple Pie

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, January 18th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Recipe testing leads to best apple pie ever!
Blaise Doubman

I was testing yet another recipe with my Grandma Barbra for my upcoming cookbook a few days ago and what started out as a disaster – let to the best apple pie ever! I had been experimenting for quite some time with an apple pie recipe that I created about three months ago. I let it sit on the backburner for quite awhile before finally I decided I was going to work on it until I got it right. Well, this recipe has taken quite the journey, but I’m thrilled to be finally sharing it with you in its finished glory. The finished title “Comedy of Errors Apple Pie” comes directly from its creation – let me explain…

My Grandma Barbra and I had quite the experience with testing this recipe. For starters, we didn’t use a deep dish pie plate – we used one that was regular size. Note – please use a deep dish pie plate when making this recipe. About 15 minutes into the cooking time, we noticed smoke coming from the oven door. We rushed over and opened the door. The pie had leaked all over the oven floor, out the bottom hinge in the door, and all over the floor. Talk about a mess… Clean up followed, followed by some tears and then finally came laughter. (It was only after the bucket with water and floor cleaner was spilled that laughter soon followed. We figured then we might as well laugh about the situation.) We tried again, adjustments were made, and I remember telling my Grandma “What if this is the best apple pie we have ever had?” and we laughed. Guess what? It was…

Comedy of Errors Apple Pie

As I mentioned before, this really needs to be made in a deep dish apple pie dish to avoid overflow in the oven. The lemon really brightens the flavors of the apples and the extra amount of sugar combined with the tartness of the Granny Smith apple make for a delectable combination. The “secret ingredient” to this recipe is the cornflakes that are sprinkled in the bottom of the crust before adding the filling. It helps absorb some of the juice – making sure the bottom crust doesn’t get soggy. Be sure to use real maple syrup and not pancake syrup – it will make a difference. This pie is delicious eaten alone, but feel free to serve alongside some vanilla ice cream. Keep leftovers at room temperature for up to three days.

For the apple filling…

5 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced thin
1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

For the pie crust…

2 cups white all-purpose flour
¾ cup shortening
1/3 cup ice water
1 teaspoon salt

½ cup cornflakes
4 tablespoons butter

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium sized pot over low heat, simmer the apples, white granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, corn starch and maple syrup for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, make the pastry by combining the all-purpose flour, shortening and salt in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter or a fork to combine until the mixture is the size of small peas. Next, add the ice water in and continue combining until dough becomes a soft ball – being careful not to over mix the dough.

Divide the dough into two equal balls and roll out each ball until its circumference is about an inch bigger (all the way around) than your pie plate.

Place one rolled out pasty into your pie dish. (The easiest way of doing this is to gently “wrap” your dough around your rolling pin – and then “unroll” it into your dish).

Sprinkle the cornflakes evenly into the crust before pouring in the apple mixture.

Dot the top of the apple mixture with the butter.

Next, take the other rolled out pastry and push the end of a spoon all over the top crust to help “vent” the pie. Place the pastry on top of the pie, and press lightly around the sides to help seal the top and bottom pastries together.

Finish by crimping the edges.

Take one egg and beat it with about 1 tablespoon of water to create an “egg wash”. Brush this, lightly, on top of the pie, (don’t use the whole amount of egg wash) and then sprinkle about a tablespoon of white granulated sugar evenly all over the top.

Place in preheated oven for one hour. Allow to cool before serving.