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.

Ingredients

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.

Prep

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.)

Assembly

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!

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Discussion

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!

caramel_cupcakes2

We’re also working on the peach schnapps.

Recipe: Caramel Vodka Cupcakes

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

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
FROSTING:
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.

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Ready to bake? Go to recipes!

The Latest

  • Red, white & blue; Mama’s helper 🇺🇸 #happyfourthofjuly
  • Red Velvet Cupcake #redvelvetcupcake #creamcheesefrosting 🧁 One of many batches to blog soon! Fun (?) fact, I’ve yet to actually eat a red velvet I’ve baked myself.

Discussion

I made these logo toppers for the Birchbox tech team. I found the perfect-shaped “B” cutter and used a square punch to create the diamond in the middle.

Making Logo Cupcake Topper

Birchbox logo - gum paste

Birch box logo cupcakes - gum paste toppers

IMG_2774

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Questions? Leave a comment or send an email.

Ready to bake? Go to recipes!

The Latest

  • Red, white & blue; Mama’s helper 🇺🇸 #happyfourthofjuly
  • Red Velvet Cupcake #redvelvetcupcake #creamcheesefrosting 🧁 One of many batches to blog soon! Fun (?) fact, I’ve yet to actually eat a red velvet I’ve baked myself.

Discussion

cake balls

Have leftover cake, icing or melted chocolate? Make cake balls!

For all of these, I used my small ice cream scoop, the one I usually use to scoop batter for mini cupcakes.

Carrot Cake Balls

The secret to cake balls is that they are really just crumbled cake mixed with frosting in most cases. I had leftover carrot cake and vanilla buttercream, these were the result.

carrot cake balls

Most cake balls have some sort of chocolate or candy coating, but mine went bare. If I’d planned ahead, I would have gotten some white chocolate to melt and dipped these. That may have made them over-the-top rich, but that just seems to be the deal with cake balls or pops.

Chocolate Balls

My first type of chocolate balls were really candy rather than cake. They were made from a mix of milk and dark chocolate melted with a little cream, scooped into balls when cooling and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

The second chocolate-based batch was basically chocolate icing and peanut butter, chilled and scooped, then dipped in chopped hazelnuts. I kept them in the freezer until I took them to the event (with ice packs), where they eventually reverted to mush. They made tasty mush, but I wouldn’t try this method again unless I were serving immediately.

Cake and Candy Balls
Carrot Cake, Chocolate with Powdered Sugar, and Peanut Butter Chocolate with Hazelnuts

These treats made good use of my leftovers!

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Ready to bake? Go to recipes!

The Latest

  • Red, white & blue; Mama’s helper 🇺🇸 #happyfourthofjuly
  • Red Velvet Cupcake #redvelvetcupcake #creamcheesefrosting 🧁 One of many batches to blog soon! Fun (?) fact, I’ve yet to actually eat a red velvet I’ve baked myself.

Discussion

I’d never tried the swirl. It seems the perfect recipe to end up on Pinterest Fail. However, sometimes you’ve got to mix it up!

I stuffed a bag with chocolate icing on one side and peanut butter on the other. It worked out ok but wasn’t perfect. My main issue wasn’t in separating the flavors but that the chocolate and peanut butter icings were different consistencies. You can see in the photos how they didn’t behave the same, the peanut butter was not as smooth (probably not a frosting best suited to piping).

peanut_chocolate_swirl

I later saw someone doing this with three bags (two bags of icing in a third bag with tip), and I will try that method next time! I’ll also make sure my frostings are more similar.

I was fulfilling a birthday cupcake flavor request of peanut butter and chocolate. The swirled icing wasn’t the only chocolate in my peanut butter, the cupcakes themselves were peanut butter with chocolate chips.

chocolate chip peanut butter cupcakes

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Questions? Leave a comment or send an email.

Ready to bake? Go to recipes!

The Latest

  • Red, white & blue; Mama’s helper 🇺🇸 #happyfourthofjuly
  • Red Velvet Cupcake #redvelvetcupcake #creamcheesefrosting 🧁 One of many batches to blog soon! Fun (?) fact, I’ve yet to actually eat a red velvet I’ve baked myself.

Discussion