Sunday, December 13, 2009

Homemade Applesauce

You know you're a child of the 70s if you can complete this line..."pork chops and _____."

I'll never forget watching the Brady Bunch with Peter Brady repeating "pork chops and applesauce" when Alice told him what was for dinner.  It must've been the way he said it and it's stuck with me all these years.

Well, I set about making my own homemade applesauce, which my Mom used to make a lot.  It turned out to be a great treat although I didn't serve it with pork chops.

Homemade Applesauce
(Courtesy of Kelly Oliver)

6 apples, cored, peeled and chopped (use more or fewer apples if you have them)

Place chopped apples in a saucepan and partly cover with water.  Simmer apples until tender.  Use a potato masher to mash the apples to a smooth or chunky consistence (whatever you prefer).  Add cinnamon and sugar to taste.  Applesauce should keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.

And yes, making applesauce is really that easy!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cookie Season: Double Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies - Two Varieties

So this past week, my colleagues decided it would be a nice tradition to start a cookie exchange, to which I happily agreed.  So I got to work and ended up making two varieties of Double Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies.  Why two varieties?  Well, I started with the more brownie-like variety but because the dough was so thick, I wasn't convinced they would turn out well.  Thankfully, I was wrong, and they ended up being my favorite of the two (just because they were more festive), although they are both good recipes.  Recipes included below so you can choose one (or make them both).

Double Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies #1
(Courtesy of Kelly Oliver, adapted from the Food Network's December 2009 magazine)

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 t. peppermint extract
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (or regular cocoa powder)
¾ t. salt
¼ t. baking powder
cup chocolate chips
¼ cup peppermint candies, crushed (optional)

Beat sugar and butter until fluffy, then beat in egg, vanilla and peppermint extract.  Whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder; stir into the butter mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and peppermint candies.  Chill dough for 30 minutes, and then roll into balls.  Bake 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Double Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies #2
(Courtesy of Kelly Oliver, adapted from Crisco's Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe)

¾ cup Butter Crisco
1 ¼ cups light brown sugar
2 T. milk
1 T. vanilla
1 t. peppermint extract
1 egg
1 ¾ cups flour
4 T. cocoa powder
1 t. salt
¾ t. baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips (or mint chocolate chips if you can find them)

Beat Butter Crisco and light brown sugar until fluffy, then beat in milk, vanilla, peppermint extract and egg.  Add flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda to the mixture.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Chill dough for 20-30 minutes, and then drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees.