Apple Pie to Go-Go

Thanksgiving is coming! Traveling? Baking an apple pie?

Slice of Apple Pie

Last year, I spent Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, and my mother-in-law asked me to bring a pie. I was happy to provide the pie, but I wasn’t sure how to get it to upstate NY in primo condition. I’ve been foiled before by train heaters and bumpy car travel. After much consultation with friends (and my bestie, the internet), I decided to make the dough and filling separately to transport, then assemble and bake upon arrival.


I made the French Apple Pie from The Cotton Country Collection, a cookbook almost everyone in my north Louisiana family owns. This recipe incorporates a custard and apricot preserves into the pie filling.

I baked with Golden Russets from Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva, New York.

This heirloom apple has a firm flesh with an intense sweet-dry flavor. It is a great keeper and very versatile for eating, cooking and juicing.

I also added one Granny Smith to make up the required amount and add some variety, always nice in apple pie.


I made the dough ahead of time, divided it into 2 and froze each piece in plastic wrap. I cooked and spiced my apples and froze them in a gallon freezer bag.

Frozen Apple Pie FIlling

The night before traveling, I made the custard, which I refrigerated.

On travel day, the frozen items went in a tote to cool during the train ride, and the custard traveled with an ice pack in a cooler bag. (Note that you likely could not do this for plane travel due to liquid constraints. In that case, I would probably freeze a prepared but unbaked pie to carry with me.)


I was more grateful than stressed by my mother-in-law’s help with the pie construction. She definitely has more experience with pie-baking than I do. She started hands-off but couldn’t help but get involved! It was fun to do together.

Cut Out Pie Crust

I used a small heart cookie cutter to cut holes in the top crust.

Have a tasty Thanksgiving!

Baked Apple Pie

See also my blog post at Farm2Me about freezing pie filling (for a more basic apple pie recipe) prepared with all your extra autumn apples!

[ Posted in Desserts, Fruit, Holidays, Recipes, Technique ] [ 1 Comment ]

Bake a Change for She’s the First

Happy Birthday, She’s the First!


My husband bought this cupcake from a #BakeAChange bake sale, a fundraiser for She’s the First, which provides scholarships to girls in low-income countries. This annual bake-off helps raises money for these girls who will be the first in their families to graduate high school.

What a great reason to buy a cupcake! I wish I’d known about this. Next year, let’s Bake a Change for education ourselves.

Though this particular campaign ends today, the organization’s birthday, you can donate or sponsor a girl at any time. Learn more at

[ Posted in Charities ] [ Leave a comment ]

Spiked Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes

single_caramel_cupcake_popcorn We’re moving soon and see no reason to pack nearly empty bottles. I knew we weren’t likely to finish off this Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Vodka. It’s actually rather tasty, in my opinion, but it’s not something you want to drink often.

kissed caramel cupcakes

The day before, I made caramel popcorn. (It’s easy, here’s the recipe.) I then baked and frosted the cupcakes on party day. For an extra boost of caramel-boozy goodness, I used a chopstick to make a hole in each cupcake while they were cooling and slowly poured in about a teaspoon of caramel vodka using a small funnel.

This is a fabulous way to use up some caramel vodka, if you’ve run out of creative caramel-based cocktails. See recipe below!


We’re also working on the peach schnapps.

Recipe: Caramel Vodka Cupcakes

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup caramel-flavored vodka
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 pound powdered sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup caramel-flavored vodka
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

Cream the butter sugar at medium speed, then reduce to low. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract and the yogurt.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add 1/2 the dry ingredients to the wet, then the vodka, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, do not overmix.

Scoop batter into lined muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full. Bake 20-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely on wire racks before icing.

FOR THE FROSTING: Beat the butter, slowly adding powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, then the vodka. Mix well at medium-high speed.

[ Posted in Booze, Candy/Cookies, Technique ] [ Leave a comment ]

Tasting Tour NYC: Just Velvet

 Just Velvet Cupcakes


Just Velvet

I encountered Just Velvet at the 41st Annual Atlantic Antic. The Antic is a street fair on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue every fall. I love it as it features mostly local vendors rather the random sock sellers and such that pop up at some NYC street fairs. It’s always good for tasty treats, crafts, music and local flavor (and if you’ve lived in Brooklyn for long, you’re sure to run into a friend or two)!

There were many tempting offerings, but I chose the Cruel Velvet Carrot Cupcake with some prompting from my husband. It was moist and carroty with plump raisins at the bottom, a delightful dessert.

Cruel Carrot Cupcake by Just VelvetJust Velvet is a home-based business owned by Shana Evans. The website is available for ordering 24/7, and orders may be picked up between 8am and 10pm.

Beside the Cruel Carrot Velvet, other “velvets” offered include an Island Velvet (coconut) and, of course, a Just Red Velvet. I also have my eye on her Hot Cappuccino Cake.

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Candy Cupcakes – Caramels & Toffee

I don’t want you to think I’m getting lazy, but I’ve been a busy bee these days. So, when I realized I needed to make interesting and yummy cupcakes that my husband would love with only what I had on hand, I dug into my candy box.

To the rescue, Trader Joe’s English Toffee and Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels.

I made regular vanilla cupcakes, dropping a caramel in each cup of batter.

Caramels dropped in cupcake batter

These plain-jane vanilla cupcakes had a caramel surprise in the center.

Once I frosted, I added chunks—and I do mean chunks—of the toffee.

Toffee cupcakes (champagne candle)

Yes, that’s an adorable mini champagne candle.

Voilà, we had tasty cupcakes fit for a celebration!

[ Posted in Candy/Cookies ] [ 1 Comment ]