September GNCO – Apple Pie Cookies

For the month of September our game night cook off “special ingredient” was crust – anything you considered crust. The winner of the night was a beautiful chicken pot pie. I followed in second and third with Chicken, Bacon Broccoli Quiche and Apple Pie Cookies.

With two little munchkins to attend to the Apple Pie Cookies initially felt like a big hassle but in the end they were so worth it! It is definitely the season for baking apple things!

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Apple Pie Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Crust Recipe
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surfaces, dipping fork
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup water, very cold (I pour 1 cup and add ice while I work, then measure 1/2 cup from it when I need it)

Filling
2 medium apples, I used Granny Smith
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A dash of nutmeg and/or any other spices you like with your apples

To finish
1 large egg
Coarse or granulated sugar for garnish

Additional stuff
2 baking sheets covered with parchment paper
Rolling pin, pastry brush (for egg wash), fork (for crimping and dipping) and sharp knife (to make slits)
A cookie cutter about 2-1/2 inch in size.

Make your pie dough first: Mix together flour, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large bowl. Using a pastry blender work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of small peas. Stir in the ice water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Knead it two or three times to form a ball. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days.

On a well-floured counter or pastry cloth, roll out your pie dough thin, a little less than 1/8-inch thick. Lift and rotate your dough as you roll it, to ensure that it rolls out evenly and so you can be sure it’s not sticking in any place. Use your cookie cutter to cut as many rounds as you can from the dough. Transfer them to parchment-lined baking sheets and keep them in the fridge until you need them. Once you’ve finished the first packet, repeat the process with the second packet of dough

Prepare your apples: Peel your apples. Cut thin (1/8-inch thick) slices from each side of the whole apple until the core is all thats left. Cut the apple slices into small cube-like pieces. Place them in your second bowl, covering them with a few drops of lemon juice to keep them from browning. Combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl and add to the apples. Mix together until all apples are coated with the sugar mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Assembly:
Grab your first disc of chilled dough and lightly dampen it on one side with the water. This is to help it seal. Place about 1 tbsp. (as much as you can fit without the dough tearing and still be able to crimp the edges) in the center of the dough. Lightly flatten. Place a second disc of dough on top; I found it easiest to seal it by picking the whole thing up (this is when you’ll be glad that your dough is cold and semi-firm; if it’s soft and getting sticky, chill it until it’s easy to pick up) and press the tops and bottoms around the apple with your fingers. Hold the pies at an angle and place one edge of pie on floured surface. Rotate pie as you crimp around the edges with a floured fork. Place on cookie sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut decorative slits in your “pies”. Brush your cookie with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake your apple pie cookies for 25 minutes, or until puffed and bronzed and very pie-like. (If this is your first batch, peer in at them at 20 minutes, to make sure your oven doesn’t run hot.) Let cool if you have enough patience!

Do ahead: These will keep for a few days at room temperature. You can freeze them by doing everything but brushing on the egg wash and sugar. Keep them frozen until needed. Bake them directly from the freezer just adding on a few minutes to the bake time.

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Day 9 of Intuitive Eating

In the book, “How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too” the author recommends not weighing yourself. Since the body changes weight constantly it can be discouraging if it seems like you are making no progress. She suggests using clothes, about a size smaller, as a way to determine if you are losing weight or not. Every time you want to step on the scale to check your progress instead you can try on your too small clothes and gradually you will see the changes in your body.

I have a pair of capris I chose as my weight loss determiner. I had bought them at a yard sale 3 or 4 weeks ago and couldn’t even button them. After a couple days of eating intuitively I could! They don’t look attractive (yet!) but it was encouraging. As fun as this is I did cheat this morning and step on the scale. In these 9 days I have lost 4.5 pounds! I’m sure some was water weight but what is awesome is I have been eating whatever I wanted when I was hungry and still lost some poundage. At different times throughout the past week I’ve had lemon chicken pasta alfredo, coconut-lemon cake, Schwan’s ice cream almost every evening, raspberry cream pie, muffins, a latte, coffee with creamer, burritos, tacos, hot dogs, bagels.. and the list goes on. How awesome does it feel to know I’ve lost 4.5 lbs. while enjoying foods that I love and knowing I am capable of eating them intuitively – I actually stop when I’m hungry and as of today actually threw the rest of my meal away when I felt full. It feels great! 

This morning I started my day off with an Egg McBagel (egg, turkey bacon and cheddar cheese on a delicious, soft, potato bagel from Costco) and some watermelon. Yum! I ate the watermelon and half of the bagel because I was full. Since it would keep OK I set it aside and when I was hungry later I ate it as a snack.

Egg McBagel

Egg McBagel

For lunch I ate the last of the Tilapia Fish Taco with Spicy Coleslaw stuff I had. Mmmm…Fish Taco

For a snack I had a small cup of decaf coffee with vanilla creamer and a macadamia nut caramel cluster (normally I could have eaten like 10 of these!). I had planned on making a shrimp Alfredo tonight but my husband wasn’t hungry so I popped open a can of Nalley’s Chili and ate it over Fritos with cottage cheese, cheddar cheese and sour cream. What can I say?… that’s the way I like it and since I CAN eat it that way I will.. hehe. 

Chili

There is something about this chili and chip combination I love and yet somehow, in 9 days, I was able to know my hunger and stop when I was full… I know it’s not a lot but for me it is. I actually threw this away. Go me! 

Leftovers

And for dessert I am enjoying, once again, a delicious slice of Raspberry Cream Pie with Schwan’s Raspberry Rumble ice cream. An excellent combination! 

raspberry pie

Raspberry Cream Pie

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This is a pie I’ve been wanting to try for a long time but because I was trying to be “healthy” I hadn’t made. Now that I can, it is currently waiting in the fridge for me! 

Raspberry Cream Pie

(Adapted from Common Sense Homesteading)

Ingredients

  • 1 – 9 inch pie crust, unbaked 
  • 4 cups raspberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg

Directions

Lay crust into pie pan and crimp edges. Place berries over bottom of crust. Combine remaining ingredients in bowl, mixing until blended. Pour over berries. Cover edge of crust during baking (to keep it from browning too much).  (A pie crust shield makes this quick and easy, but you can also use foil.)  Bake at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes, until center is bubbling and edges are starting to set.  Pie sets up as it cools.  Keep refrigerated.  Can eat “as is” or with a bit of whipped cream or ice cream. 

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Making Changes

Eating intuitively seems like such common sense but in my real world I’ve spent my entire life over eating and eating when I wasn’t hungry. There is something about dieting, telling yourself you can’t eat certain foods, that suddenly makes you crazy for food. When I would tell myself… you can’t have that donut… it was like 20 times harder not to eat it. 

Allowing yourself to eat ANYTHING and learning your hunger cues is so exciting! Food no longer feels like it has a hold on me since I can eat whenever and whatever I want. At the end of the day it’s not so much, “how much did I eat today?” but more like “how much DIDN’T I eat today?” I am having so much fun starting this journey and I can already see some positive results. 

Today I started my morning with a high fiber pancake with maple syrup and a slice of turkey bacon. Normally I would probably eat 2 of each and still feel a little deprived (or at least think I’m deprived). Around 10:30 I drank half a cup of coffee with some creamer because I was sooo tired! For lunch I had one Tilapia Fish Taco with Spicy Coleslaw. Then for dinner I ate half a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough with tomato soup, roasted asparagus and watermelon. I didn’t even finish my soup because I felt good. And for dessert I enjoyed a slice of Raspberry Cream Pie with a scoop of Schwan’s Raspberry Rumble ice cream. A great way to end the day! 

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Coconut-Lemon Cake

This cake was made by my brother for our Game Night Cook Off. He very likely could have beat me if his presentation had turned out better (some cakes have a mind of their own). It’s soooo good though so I had to share!

Coconut-Lemon Cake

Recipe from MyRecipes.com

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Lemon Filling (recipe below)
  • Fluffy White Frosting (recipe below)
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Cake Preparation

  1.  Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  2. Combine flour and baking powder; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla.
  3. Beat egg whites and salt at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Stir about one-third of egg whites into batter; fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
  4. Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Lemon Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan; stir in 1 cup boiling water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar and cornstarch dissolve (about 3 minutes). Gradually stir about one-fourth of hot mixture into yolks; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Stir in lemon juice.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter. Cool, stirring occasionally.

Fluffy White Frosting

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small heavy saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until clear. Cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches soft-ball stage or candy thermometer registers 240°. This can potentially take up to 20 minutes. You are waiting for the water to evaporate until you hit the soft-ball stage (no pun intended).
  2. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form; slowly add syrup, beating constantly. Beat until stiff peaks form and frosting is desired consistency.

Cake Time

  1. Once cakes have cooled spread Lemon Filling between layers. Spread Fluffy White Frosting on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle top and sides with coconut; garnish, if desired.
  2. Savor every bite!