Tag Archives: desserts

Apple Salted Caramel Bread Pudding

Tonight Andrew and I are going over to his uncle’s house for dinner with his family in Willow Glen/Cambria area of San Jose. The only other time I’ve met them was when Andrew’s grandmother died, so this will hopefully be a much better time. They asked that we make a dessert to bring over. I was feeling something autumnal, maybe with apples or pumpkin. I decided on apples because well, pumpkins are a pain in the ass and I didn’t feel like a pie.

There was a delicious sounding apple caramel bread pudding in Martha Stewart’s cookbook The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.

Salted Vanilla Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups organic, evaporated cane juice sugar (I know I went all fancy and shit)
  • 1 cup organic half and half
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract (original recipe called for a vanilla bean, but I ain’t that fancy)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. salted butter (you can use unsalted as well)

1. Pour water and sugar into a small/medium sized sauce pan. Do NOT mix together. Heat on medium and gently swirl the pan (occasionally) for twenty minutes until your sauce has reached a deep amber color. I thought mine had reached this stage but apparently it didn’t and was a little thin but still delicious.

This is what it looks like when you first put it on the stove.

Note: making anything that boils and has sugar scares the crap out of me. I’m always afraid it’s going to explode every where. It seriously looks like lava when its cooking.

This is what it looks like before you add the heavy cream, butter, vanilla and salt.

2. Turn the temperature down to low. Slowly add the cup of heavy cream and mix with a wooden spoon. Yes, it is imperative that you use a wooden spoon. This will make you feel superior to people who use metal or plastic spoons. Then add the two tablespoons of butter, vanilla, and salt. Mix and keep on low until you are ready to assemble the pudding.

This is what it looks like when you are done. Note the essential wooden spoon.

Now, while this was cooking I was also cutting apples into “matchsticks”. My cutting skills are similar to a pre-schooler’s drawing skills: they’ve got the concept but they still can’t put it together the right way.

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 8 oz. loaf of brioche (you can use white bread with the crusts removed, but remember you’re trying to be fancy)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsps. vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk (the recipe called for heavy cream, but I wasn’t about to use THAT much heavy cream in one dessert)
  • 2 granny smith apples cut into match sticks
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. salted, room temperature butter (this is for rubbing on your ramekins).

1. Cut your two granny smith apples into matchsticks. Use the time that you’re sauce is cooking to do this. This is time consuming if you have shitty knife skills like me or don’t own a mandolin. Doesn’t really matter, none of us are trying out for Top Chef or anything.

My beautiful matchstick apples. I think I’m failing Martha with my knife skills.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place apples in a bowl; toss with lemon juice; set aside. Butter two large ramekins (you can also do six individual ramekins if you want to make it extra special). Cut brioche into 8 slices, quarter each slice, and set aside.

3. In a bowl, whisk together almond milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add brioche and toss to coat.

4. To assemble, coat the bottom of each of your ramekins with a thin layer of sauce. Then add a quarter of the apple mixture to each ramekin, then add a quarter of the bread mixture, then sauce, and repeat for a second layer.

This is what it looks like before you cook it.

5. Cook for forty minutes until puddings are set. Martha goes into all this crap about using a water bath, but it’s not necessary and its an extra step. I hate extra steps.

6. Serve warm with sauce. Yum!

It was a little sweet for me and I think next time I would reduce the sugar so that I don’t feel like I’m going into a diabetic coma. The salt added a nice touch to the caramel and it went deliciously with the apples.

Mini Chocolate Chip and Cashew Cookies

I really wanted to try my hand at another vegan cookie recipe. This time I bought semi-sweet chocolate chips which are vegan. I used earth balance instead of apple butter. I didn’t use any eggs or egg replacement in the recipe, but used almond milk to wet the dough a bit. The cookies came out delicious! They didn’t spread like cookies usually do, but that’s not really a requirement for me. They were buttery, chewy, and MINI! My mother says they’re fattening, but I think most things are okay for you in moderation.

Vegan Chocolate Chip and Cashew Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup earth balance
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped, salted, roasted cashews

1. Pre-heat oven to 350º F. With an electric mixer, cream the earth balance and both sugars together until light and fluffy.

2. Add almond milk and vanilla extract. Mix together. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir. Add the chocolate chips and cashews, and mix well to combine.

3. Using a small melon baller or ice cream scoop, place dough on a non-stick cookie sheet. Don’t worry about crowding because these cookies do not spread. Bake in the oven for ten minutes or until lightly coloured.

Vegan Poptarts with Homemade Apple Butter

Please excuse the incredibly shitty photo. For some reason I could not get my camera to focus today and my battery ran out before I could take more photos. I used the same recipe as before (see Homemade Vegan Poptart recipe) and this time I used apple butter that I made over the weekend as the filling. The apple butter turned out absolutely amazing, but I have so much of it. I have no idea what to do with all of it. Here is the recipe for the apple butter.

Apple Butter

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. pink lady organic apples
  • 1 cup water (Martha calls for apple cider, but I didn’t have any)
  • 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice mixture
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large havey buttomed saucepan; place over mdeium high heat and cook, sittiring often with a large wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until apples are broken down and saucy, about one hour. Mash any large pieces of apple with the wooden spoon.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until apples are completely broken down and butter is thick and dark, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove from heat and let stand to cool. Store, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to 1 month or frozen up to six months.


A Cookie Recipe

I love to bake.  While baking is a lot more exact than other kinds of cooking, I still try to find room to experiment. I tried out this recipe for New Years Eve and found it to be a great success. The original recipe was taken from the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.

Ginger Lemon Almond Cookies

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp.  (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. superfine sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/4 cup blanched sliced almonds

Procedure

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with two racks centered. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the egg; mix on high to combine. Add the zest; mix to combine.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, salt, crystallized ginger, and almonds. Add to the butter mixture; mix on low speed to combine.

3. Drop about two teaspoons of dough on cookie sheet, spacing each cookie about three inches apart. Place a piece of crystallized ginger and slivered almond on the top of each cookie. Bake for seven minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for another five to seven minutes.