Caramel Apple Pizza

A fun, pretty easy dessert that’s something different than usual. It’s best the same evening it’s baked, but wasn’t nearly as soggy as I expected on the second day.

Crust:

  • 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 envelope pizza crust yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup very warm water
  • 3 tablespoons corn oil (I used vegetable oil. Who has corn oil?)

Toppings:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced (Fleischmann’s recommends peeling them, I didn’t bother)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts (I took this as optional)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment/a silpat or grease a pizza pan.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt, and stir briefly together. Add the water and oil and mix until combined.

Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough – I used about 1 3/4 total. Knead until smooth and elastic, then move to your prepared pan and pat or roll into a 12″ circle, pinching a rim around the outside to create a crust. Use a fork to dock (stab) the dough every inch or so.

Place the apple in concentric circles on the prepared crust.

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, corn starch, and cinnamon until no sugar clumps remain.

Stir in the butter, corn syrup, and vanilla until evenly mixed, then drop in small dollops over the apples. The mixture will melt and spread to fill the crust as it bakes, so if it’s not perfectly even that’s probably fine. Sprinkle with peanuts if desired.

If using a pizza pan, place a larger pan underneath to catch drips. Place pan(s) in the oven and bake 16-21 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Let rest at room temperature 10 minutes before transferring to a cutting board to slice.

Caramel Apple Pizza

From Bread World.

Crust:

  • 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 envelope pizza crust yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup very warm water
  • 3 tablespoons corn oil

Toppings:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment/a silpat or grease a pizza pan.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt, and stir briefly together. Add the water and oil and mix until combined. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough – I used about 1 3/4 total. Knead until smooth and elastic, then move to your prepared pan and pat or roll into a 12″ circle, pinching a rim around the outside to create a crust. Use a fork to dock the dough every inch or so.

Place the apple in concentric circles on the prepared crust. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, corn starch, and cinnamon until no sugar clumps remain. Stir in the butter, corn syrup, and vanilla until evenly mixed, then drop in small dollops over the apples. The mixture will melt and spread to fill the crust as it bakes, so if it’s not perfectly even that’s probably fine. Sprinkle with peanuts if desired.

If using a pizza pan, place a larger pan underneath to catch drips. Place pan(s) in the oven and bake 16-21 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Let rest at room temperature 10 minutes before transferring to a cutting board to slice.

 

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Butterfinger Cheesecake

As should come as no surprise to anyone, Butterfinger Cheesecake is quite delicious! I had adapted a recipe for mini-cheesecakes into one cheesecake, which worked fine except I’m going to recommend that for you all, instead of making a chocolate layer on top, which gets rock hard in the refrigerator and smooshes your cake when you press down to cut it, you just drizzle each slice with hot fudge sauce when serving. Smoosh-problems solved!

I baked this with a hot water bath, which helps reduce/prevent cracks in the surface, but I never manage to wrap my springform with foil well enough to prevent water from leaking through, so I don’t know that I’d bother. Soggy bottom crust edges are a bummer!

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 30 Nilla Wafers
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • a pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Filling:

  • 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • a pinch salt
  • 4 fun size Butterfingers

To serve:

  • hot fudge sauce
  • 3 chopped fun size Butterfingers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8″ springform pan.

To make the crust, place the Nilla wafers in a food processor and process until only crumbs remain.

Combine remaining crust ingredients and pulse until mixed.

Pour into the springform and press evenly into the bottom and a bit up the sides.

Bake 10 minutes, until lightly golden, then remove from the oven.

Wipe out the food processor with a paper towel, then add the cream cheese and peanut butter and process until mixed.

Add the sugar, egg, cream, and salt and process until smooth.

Add the Butterfingers and process an additional 20 seconds, until chopped and spread through the batter.

Turn the mixture out into the baked crust.

Bake for one hour, then turn the oven off and crack the oven door open (wedging it with an oven mitt or wooden spoon if necessary to keep it open) and let the cheesecake sit an additional 2 hours.

Refrigerate overnight, then serve topped with hot fudge sauce and chopped additional Butterfinger.

Butterfinger Cheesecake

Adapted from Noble Pig.

Crust:

  • 30 Nilla Wafers
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • a pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Filling:

  • 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • a pinch salt
  • 4 fun size Butterfingers

To serve:

  • hot fudge sauce
  • 3 chopped fun size Butterfingers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8″ springform pan.

To make the crust, place the Nilla wafers in a food processor and process until only crumbs remain. Combine remaining crust ingredients and pulse until mixed. Pour into the springform and press evenly into the bottom and a bit up the sides. Bake 10 minutes, until lightly golden, then remove from the oven.

Wipe out the food processor with a paper towel, then add the cream cheese and peanut butter and process until mixed. Add the sugar, egg, cream, and salt and process until smooth. Add the Butterfingers and process an additional 20 seconds, until chopped and spread through the batter. Turn the mixture out into the baked crust, then bake for one hour. Turn the oven off and crack the oven door open and let the cheesecake sit an additional 2 hours. Refrigerate overnight, then serve topped with hot fudge sauce and chopped additional Butterfinger.

 

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Chorizo Manchego Flatbread

It’s been many years since my last chorizo/manchego recipe, but it’s a flavor combo well worth returning to! My current supermarket doesn’t have the kind of firmer chorizo I used back in 2013, but I tried two different types it did have, and one was way better for the purpose (= didn’t drip grease up to my elbow). I used refrigerated dough, as I was making this straight back from the airport without time for homemade dough to rise, but it worked really well for this purpose, so I stuck with it when I made my second try!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pillsbury thin crust pizza crust
  • 5 ounces Manchego cheese
  • Johnsonville ground chorizo – I started off with a tube of ground chorizo and it was super super greasy, but this stuff, the kind that comes plastic wrapped to a foam tray, was much more reasonable
  • apricot preserves

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease or line with parchment/a silpat a 10×15″ half sheet pan. While the oven heats, grate the cheese, then set aside. Pop the crust tube and spread the dough out widely over the pan. Bake for 8 minutes.

While the crust bakes, cook the chorizo on the stove over medium-high heat.

Remove the crust from the oven and spoon several large spoonfuls of apricot preserves on it.

As the heat of the crust begins to melt the preserves, spread them to thinly cover the whole crust except for a thin edge all the way around for later handling. Cover the apricot preserves with the grated cheese, then top with as much of the cooked chorizo as desired/as fits.

Bake an additional 8-10 minutes.

Slice, and enjoy!

Chorizo Manchego Flatbread

 

  • 1 Pillsbury thin crust pizza crust
  • 5 ounces Manchego cheese
  • Johnsonville ground chorizo
  • apricot preserves

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease or line with parchment/a silpat a 10×15″ half sheet pan. While the oven heats, grate the cheese, then set aside. Pop the crust tube and spread the dough out widely over the pan. Bake for 8 minutes.

While the crust bakes, cook the chorizo on the stove over medium-high heat.

Remove the crust from the oven and spoon several large spoonfuls of apricot preserves on it. As the heat of the crust begins to melt the preserves, spread them to thinly cover the whole crust except for a thin edge all the way around for later handling. Cover the apricot preserves with the grated cheese, then top with as much of the cooked chorizo as desired/as fits. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes. Slice, and enjoy!

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Strawberry Cacao Pigpen

A week or two ago I got an email asking if I was interesting in trying cacao tea. Although I’m not a tea drinker, I am always curious about anything chocolatey, so found a method more my style to check it out! This recipe makes roughly twice as much cacao tea jello as you’ll need, so you’ll have some more for sampling.

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups boiling water, divided
  • 6 ounce box strawberry jello
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons cacao tea grounds
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, or more as desired
  • mint leaves

This smells Very Good.

To start off, you’ll need a Piggy Pop mold for the pigs, which is something I had just been given/was eager to use.

To 1 1/4 cups of the boiling water, add the box of strawberry jello and stir well until fully dissolved. Let cool, then stir in the sour cream, which helps make them a bit opaque and isn’t enough to impact the taste.

Gotta whisk pretty seriously to break up all the sour cream.

Pour into the pig mold and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, bring 2 1/2 cups of the remaining water to a boil. Place the 2 tablespoons of tea into a tea strainer or, as I had, empty tea bags. Put your tea strainer/bags into the boiling water, cover, and turn off the heat but leave the pot on the warm burner. Steep for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small dish, combine the cold water and three packets of gelatin, stir together, and let sit 5 minutes.

Remove the tea strainer/bag from the hot water, and if necessary, bring back to a near-boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture. Let cool to room temperature.

Gently remove the jello pigs from the mold, pushing from the top – I found they popped out quite easily even from an ungreased mold.

Place as many pigs as you’d like into an empty 9″ springform pan. Pour enough of the cacao tea gelatin in to act as a cozy mud bath for your pigs. Refrigerate until set, several hours.

Meanwhile, line a small pan with parchment or wax paper. Melt the chocolate chips by microwaving in short bursts. Place in a piping bag or ziplock with the corner cut off, using a flat tip if you have one. Pipe even length lines, evenly spaced, for fence posts, then cross them perpendicularly to connect your fence. Make several short sections, as you’ll be putting straight fences into a round pan. Refrigerate to set the chocolate.

Once all the gelatin is set, remove the side from the pan. Gently peel the chocolate fences from the parchment and stab the bottom of each section into the gelatin around the outside, to create a fence. Holding the mint leaves in a tight bunch, cut thinly either with a knife or kitchen shears. Sprinkle the cut mint as desired to create patches of ‘grass’. Slice, and enjoy your wigglepigs!

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Mongolian Beef

That good takeout taste without leaving the house! This recipe comes together quite quickly (definitely within 15 minutes once the meat is sliced), so don’t forget to get rice and any other sides you might want started early enough!

In this case, butternut squash actually on the sides.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb skirt steak or flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain (I have terrible knife skills, my thin-ish was thin enough)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • cooked rice, for serving

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Set aside. Place a mesh strainer in the sink.

Pat the sliced steak dry using paper towel, then place the dried meat in a large ziploc. Add the cornstarch, seal, and shake well to coat evenly.

Turn the coated meat out into the strainer you placed in the sink, shaking gently to remove excess cornstarch.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic, stirring constantly until fragrant, 15-30 seconds.

Add the soy sauce mixture and cook for 2 minutes before transferring back to the bowl. The sauce won’t have thickened up yet, and that’s ok, we’ll come back to it!

Turn the heat up to high and add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides.

Add the sauce back and cook until thickened to your desired consistency, which should happen within a few minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in the scallions. Serve with the prepared rice, and garnish with extra scallions if desired.

Mongolian Beef

From Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb skirt steak or flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • cooked rice, for serving

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Set aside. Place a mesh strainer in the sink.

Pat the sliced steak dry using paper towel, then place the dried meat in a large ziploc. Add the cornstarch, seal, and shake well to coat evenly. Turn the coated meat out into the strainer you placed in the sink, shaking gently to remove excess cornstarch.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic, stirring constantly until fragrant, 15-30 seconds, then add the soy sauce mixture and cook for 2 minutes before transferring back to the bowl.

Turn the heat up to high and add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides. Add the sauce back and cook until thickened to your desired consistency, which should happen within a few minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the scallions. Serve with the prepared rice, and garnish with extra scallions if desired.

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Flourless PB&C Bars

A huge batch of very peanut butter-y oat bars with both chocolate chips and Reese’s Pieces. These will be very popular with anyone you give them to (give or take a peanut allergy..)!

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup salted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups peanut butter (I prefer creamy but either way)
  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Reese’s Pieces

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13×18″ half sheet pan and set aside.

Beat together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the vanilla and baking soda and beat again until well combined.

Add the peanut butter and stir in by hand with a rubber spatula.

Stir in the oats, then the chocolate chips, then turn out into the prepared pan.

Spread the dough evenly, pressing it into a flat layer filling the whole pan.

Sprinkle the Reese’s Pieces evenly over the top and gently press them into the dough.

Bake 15-17 minutes, until lightly golden and no longer moist looking. Cool completely in the pan before cutting.

Flourless PB&C Oat Bars

From Brow Eyed Baker.

  • 2/3 cup salted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Reese’s Pieces

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13×18″ half sheet pan and set aside.

Beat together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and baking soda and beat again until well combined.

Add the peanut butter and stir in by hand with a rubber spatula. Stir in the oats, then the chocolate chips, then turn out into the prepared pan. Spread the dough evenly, pressing it into a flat layer filling the whole pan. Sprinkle the Reese’s Pieces evenly over the top and gently press them into the dough.

Bake 15-17 minutes, until lightly golden and no longer moist looking. Cool completely in the pan before cutting.

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Creamy Corn and Basil Orzotto

I’ve done some real risotto and some baked risotto in the past, but today we’re doing real risotto cooking technique, except with orzo pasta instead! It does make a creamy texture, like you’d expect from risotto, but goes a bit faster. Add in some cheese, corn, and basil from the garden at work, and you’ve got a great meal!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I just used more broth…)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a large dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering, then add the shallot and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the broth to a low simmer in a small pot.

Add the orzo, dry, to the dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

Add the wine/extra broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits of shallot from the bottom of the pan. Stir, slowly but constantly, until the wine has fully evaporated.

Add a ladle-full of the simmering broth to the dutch oven and cook, stirring still slowly but constantly, until the broth has been fully absorbed into the orzo. Repeat, adding ladles-full every time the last one has been absorbed. Once half of the broth has been added, add the corn as well, and continue adding, stirring, and absorbing.

Once all the broth has been absorbed, about 15 minutes total, remove the dutch oven from the heat and add the cheese, basil, and butter.

Continue stirring until the butter has been melted and spread throughout, then taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve with additional Parm on each serving.

Creamy Corn and Basil Orzotto

From The Kitchn.

ut goes a bit faster. Add in some cheese, corn, and basil from the garden at work, and you’ve got a great meal!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a large dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering, then add the shallot and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the broth to a low simmer in a small pot.

Add the orzo, dry, to the dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the wine/extra broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits of shallot from the bottom of the pan. Stir, slowly but constantly, until the wine has fully evaporated.

Add a ladle-full of the simmering broth to the dutch oven and cook, stirring still slowly but constantly, until the broth has been fully absorbed into the orzo. Repeat, adding ladles-full every time the last one has been absorbed. Once half of the broth has been added, add the corn as well, and continue adding, stirring, and absorbing. Once all the broth has been absorbed, about 15 minutes total, remove the dutch oven from the heat and add the cheese, basil, and butter. Continue stirring until the butter has been melted and spread throughout, then taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve with additional Parm on each serving.

 

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