Caramel Apple Pie A La Mode Bites

Caramel Apple Pie A La Mode Bites

Since the Summer is winding down, it’s time to say goodbye to fresh, sweet berries and hello to juicy, flavorful apples. A great way to celebrate the season is with apple pie, of course.

Instead of making a pie, I wanted to make another recipe highlighting Nature’s Pride bread! This is another entry for the Nature’s Pride bread ambassador contest.

Note: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s Program, Foodbuzz offered a coupon for a free Nature’s Pride product in exchange for making up a little ol’ recipe highlighting Nature’s Pride bread.  Six bloggers’ recipes will be chosen to be an ambassador for Nature’s Pride at this year’s Foodbuzz Festival!

Can you tell I’d really like to go to Foodbuzz Festival this year? :)

I took apple pie a few steps further and made this into a caramel apple pie a la mode bite. Talk about DELICIOUS and perfect for a party! :)

I’m sure you’re curious about the crust. The crust is simply sliced Honey Wheat bread, and it comes out perfectly crispy and sweet, which is great for a dessert crust! To do this, I used a 2″ circle cutter to cut out the crusts and pressed them into a mini muffin pan to shape them! I took a couple of pictures, since I’m a visual person, and thought pictures would help.

Crust how-to

Super easy, right? Definitely give these a try! You’ll be glad that you did!

Caramel Apple Pie A La Mode Bites
Source: an original

makes 24 bites

Ingredients:

Crust:

Apple Filling:

  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced finely
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 5 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. flour

Additional toppings:

  • vanilla ice cream
  • caramel sundae topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a 2″-3″ circle cookie cutter, cut out circles in the bread. I was able to get 2 per slice.
  3. Press each circle into a mini muffin pan, making sure it’s pressed well against the edges to form into a good crust. (see above picture)
  4. Brush melted butter on the tops of the crusts.
  5. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle liberally over the buttered crusts.
  6. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until the crusts brown. Allow to cool.
  7. To make the apple filling, melt the 1/2 stick butter in a small pot and add apples. Then, add brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook down for about 5 minutes on low/med-low heat. Add flour to thicken the sauce and cook another 5 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool until apple filling is just warm.
  8. To assemble the bites, add about 2 tsp. of ice cream to each of the crusts (just eyeball it). Add a tsp. of apple filling and then drizzle with caramel sundae topping. Serve immediately. :)

Foodbuzz 24×24: The Best Things We Ever Ate

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Summer officially started last Monday. However, being in Louisiana, we’ve been feeling summer-like weather since May. With the heat index hitting 110 degrees sometimes, we wanted to throw a summer party that was most definitely indoors!

I watch entirely too much Food Network. If it wasn’t for Food Network and reading food blogs, I’m fairly certain my husband and I would be living off of Hamburger Helper and take-out. One of my favorite shows lately has been The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Every show has a theme, and it features the cooks/hosts on Food Network and their favorite eats in that theme. So, when Foodbuzz emailed about this month’s 24×24 proposals, I figured it would be a fun party to feature the best things our families have eaten! Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this party! :)

To come up with the menu, I sent out an email to our families asking for their favorites in each category.

  • On the Grill (recipes that are done on the BBQ)
  • Dangerously Cheesy (major cheese in a dish)
  • No Utensils (finger foods/apps)
  • Keep it Comfy (comfort food)
  • Frozen Treats (any dessert from the freezer)
  • Mix it Up (a food that requires using a mixer—doesn’t have to be a sweet)
  • Louisiana’s Best (Louisiana food)
  • Cold and Colorful (like a salad or cold app with lots of veggies or fruit)
  • Under the Sea (favorite seafood dish)
  • Classic American (with 4th of July approaching, tell me a dish that screams American)

After getting many responses, here is the menu we came up with:

Drinks:
Strawberry Lemonade
Strawberry Daiquiris

Appetizers:
Cheese Fondue with Vegetables/Bread*
Bruschetta*
Boudin Balls

Entrees:
Steak Skewers with Chimichurri, Onion Cheese Sauce and Compound Butter*
Spicy BBQ Shrimp Skewers*

Sides:
Crawfish Fettuccine
Macaroni and Cheese
Vegetable Skewers*
Grilled Corn
Lettuce Greens with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Desserts:
Strawberry Cake*
Assorted Cupcakes
Cinnamon Crumb Apple Pie
Fresh Berries with Ice Cream

* recipes will be featured in the blog in future posts

I will admit, I’m still getting the hang of entertaining for a large number of people. Despite doing a lot of prep, I felt fairly stressed in the last hour. Since the party was for family, though, I had loads of help at the last minute. :) Whew!

The fondue was an absolute hit. I was nervous to make this myself, but this recipe came together beautifully! I served the fondue with day old po’boy bread, carrots and broccoli.

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We purchased the boudin balls at a local joint, since they are pretty much my husband’s favorite. The bruschetta was a lighter alternative to the other appetizers. I was super excited to use basil from our garden for this dish!

Appetizers

I need to thank the hubs for braving the sweltering disgusting heat to cook up this magic on the grill. The steak, especially was a real winner to family!

kabobs

We made 3 sauces available for people to dip/cover their skewers in: a chimichurri, onion blue cheese (not pictured) and a worchestershire chive butter. The chimichurri ended up being a huge hit (and I used parsley from the garden for it)!

Steak Butter/Chimichurri

Here is some lovely grilled corn that survived a few flare-ups on the grill. :)

Grilled Corn

Here is a semi-decent picture of the crawfish fettuccine before everyone digged in. The hubs’ parents made this dish and it was delicious. Perfect flavor with a little Louisiana kick!

Crawfish Fettucine

This is some macaroni and cheese that is my mother-in-law’s favorite. It was definitely pretty tasty (not to mention, cheesy). :)

Mac and Cheese

After enjoying some serious eats, we waited a good while before putting out desserts and just chatted, watched TV and played some games.

I will say the desserts were absolutely amazing.

Fresh berries (and ice cream, not pictured)

berries

Strawberry Cake (inspired by a local bakery). I would have just purchased one, but I had no idea an 8″ cake was over $30. What the heck?! I guess I’m just used to baking my own cakes to realize how expensive cakes have gotten!

Strawberry Cake

This was a welcomed surprise. A local cupcake bakery occasionally has giveaways on Twitter, and I won some cupcakes! They were seriously delish! Thank you Sweet Wishes Cafe!

Cupcakes

Here is the cinnamon crumb apple pie. This is one of those frozen pies you can find in the grocery store, but has quickly become a favorite with my hubs’ family.

apple pie

Of course, our puppy was very excited to get all of the attention she got at the party, and thanks to my mom, she tried a piece of steak for the first time. I think she enjoyed it. :)

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And of course, it wouldn’t be a party without family! Here are some pictures of our family.

Mom and Sis

family

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It was a great time to be had by everyone, especially in the milder indoors. Thank you so much to Foodbuzz again for the party! Everyone had a blast! :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

Around noon yesterday, my heart was pounding as someone was talking over the PA system at work. I tried to play it cool, acting like my work had to be done, even though it was my lunch break. However, I could sense my coworkers were listening in with anticipation too. I entered this recipe in a dessert contest at work earlier that day, and the results were being announced.

 As they announced the winners of each category, I could feel butterflies flying around like crazy in the pit of my stomach. They announced the winners for cake, cookies, brownies, pie and then…miscellaneous. See,  I don’t know what this torte would be considered. Pie? Eh, kind of, but it didn’t LOOK like a pie. Cake? Nope, shaped like a cake, but not a hint of spongey cake texture. So, I just placed it in the miscellaneous category, since this torte is in a league all of its own. For category’s sake on the blog though, I’ll call it more of a pie.

This was the first time I whipped cream and the first time I made a ganache. As I was making these two components, I remember watching Food Network and seeing all of the flops associated with attempting these components. Overbeating cream to a butter, chocolate seizing, etc. I was a bit of a worry worm, because this was a contest and I couldn’t mess up! To be honest, I have no idea why I was scared. Whipping cream was kind of fun to watch, and watched the gananche come together was delicious. I admit, I came close to drooling right into that glass bowl of deliciousness (but I didn’t, I promise).

I loved making this dessert. Peanut butter and cream cheese are usually rather heavy components in recipes, and as I was folding in the whipped cream, it significantly lightened up the filling. The dessert looks deceptively rich and decadent but  because of the whipped cream, it is actually a fairly light feeling dessert. I think this dessert would be amazing for a nice ending to a summer dinner.

Oh, and tastewise? Well, this torte won first place in it’s category. I even have a little blue ribbon to prove it, and the bragging rights in the office. I think that speaks volumes on how amazing this torte tastes!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours (adapted by Annie’s Eats)

Crust Ingredients:

  • 32 Oreo cookies, finely processed into crumbs
  • 5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Small pinch of salt

Crunch filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups salted peanuts, finely chopped, divided (for the filling, crunch and topping)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. espresso powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground nutmeg

Filling ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural)
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk

Ganache ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I just used 4 oz. of the mini chips)

Directions:

  1. To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.  Combine the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl.  Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs.  Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan.  Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.
  2. To make the crunch, in another small bowl combine 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts, mini chocolate chips, sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Toss with a fork to mix and set aside.
  3. To prepare the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks.  Beat in 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks.  Scrape the cream into a separate bowl and refrigerate until needed. 
  4. Wipe out (do not wash) the mixer bowl, replace the whisk with the paddle attachment, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth.  Beat in the peanut butter, whole milk, and 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts until well combined.
  5. Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about 1/4 of the whipped cream just to lighten the mousse.  Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Scrape the mousse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.
  6. To finish the torte, put the chopped chocolate or mini chips, in my case,  in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.  Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a full boil.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and smooth.
  7. Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing with a metal icing spatula.  Scatter the remaining peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, at least 20 minutes.  When the ganache is firm, run a knife along the side of the springform to ensure nothing is sticking, and then remove the sides of the springform pan.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Pie

With the time change, I was anxiously awaiting Desperate Housewives to come on at 8. However, it was 5:30 and dark! I realized I needed to make the time zoom a little faster, so I decided to make a pumpkin pie.

Not just any pumpkin pie, a Weight Watchers friendly pumpkin pie! I found this great recipe in Cooking Light, believe it or not. I’m being completely serious when I say I cannot tell the difference between normal pumpkin pie and this pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin Pie
Source: Cooking Light

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin

Crust:

  • 1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury) (I used premade frozen crust)
  • Cooking spray

Topping: (I omitted this topping and subbed some Cool Whip Fat Free)

  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur)
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Position oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 425°.
  2. To prepare filling, combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pumpkin, and stir with a whisk until smooth.
  3. To prepare crust, roll dough into an 11-inch circle; fit into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under and flute.
  4. Pour pumpkin mixture into the crust. Place pie plate on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet on lowest oven rack. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove pie from oven); bake an additional 50 minutes or until almost set. Cool completely on wire rack.

To prepare topping, beat cream with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Add the amaretto and powdered sugar, and beat until blended. Serve with pie.

Serves 12.

POINTS*: 4.5/slice (with 1 tbsp. whipped topping included)

Seriously, try this recipe for the holiday season. You will not be disappointed! :) This is now going to be a favorite I’m bringing to every holiday I’m asked to bring a dish for!

Pumpkin Mousse Pie

I remember finding a recipe for this in my Weight Watchers magazine last year, and when I made it, it was SO yummy. Unfortunately, in my decluttering, I threw out the magazine, and thus, losing the recipe. I resorted to google to find the pie’s recipe, but there were like 4 versions. I took a chance on this one and made it. I will say, this isn’t the same recipe as the magazine. It was more spicy and much less pumpkin flavor than before. It was still good, but not the same. I will find that original recipe though…my family enjoys the trials!

Pumpkin Mousse Pie
Adapted from On Beyond Running

Ingredients:

  • 1 reduced fat graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 1/4 cup cold 2% milk
  • 1 package SF FF instant cheesecake pudding
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 tub sugar free cool whip, thawed
  • 1 tbs. pumpkin pie spice OR 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. ground ginger and 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, beat milk, pudding mix and spices together with a whisk for 1 1/2 minutes. Whisk in pumpkin. Fold in cool whip. Spread in pie crust.
  2. Refridgerate for at least 2 hours for it to set. Keep stored in fridge.

Makes 8 servings
Points*: 4

Dorie’s All American Apple Pie!

Who couldn’t start the 4th of July weekend without an All American recipe, such as this one. :) If you have the book, consider making it for this weekend! You won’t be disappointed hehe!

When the ever so popular book “Baking: From My Home to Yours” went on bargain listings for Amazon (sorry, it’s not on bargain anymore :( ), I knew I couldn’t pass it up. So many people rave about this book. In fact, there is a group online solely dedicated to making a recipe from this book every Tuesday, but I can’t join that because of my diet, and I really lack the time right now. Plus with a dead camera at home, I can only make desserts on weekends (since my fiance graciously allows me to use his camera), and those will be VERY few and far between!!


My new shiny baking book!!

I chose this recipe as my first recipe out of the book, because my fiance bought a bag of apples a week ago, and so we had to use them all..so this was perfect for that!

This was my first pie that I’ve made from scratch, and PRAISE GOD for a food processor. This crust was light and flaky, and just mmm. I will say the tapioca in the recipe made me a little confused, and I wanted to omit it so bad. The only time I eat tapioca is in my bubble (boba) tea, and in really large pearls. So, imagining this in apple pie was like hmm…

However, I’m glad I didn’t omit it. I really think this made the texture of the filling amazing. I’ve always been known to sub things in baking and cooking, and if I’m lucky, it comes out right…so I went strictly by the recipe! Oh wait, I did forget the graham cracker crumbs…only 2 tbs. so I think I’m ok…**sinks in desk chair** but still, fabulous apple pie!


Peeling, coring and slicing 4 lbs. of apples is HARD WORK!! We used pink lady and granny smith apples (he had 3 lbs of pink lady and I picked up a couple granny smiths)


The dough halved, getting ready to roll down :)


The pie assembled and ready to chill before going in the oven.


The finished pie..sigghh…sorry, had to have a slice!


The gooey goodness in the middle!