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    Entries in cinnanananom (20)

    Tuesday
    Dec172013

    It's Beginning to Smell a lot like Christmas

    Ahhh, the smell of cinnamon.  Nothing else makes me think more of Christmastime than that.  For a short time when Hubby and I were younger, we had a Dippin’ Dots franchise in a mall.  During the holiday season, the nut store would move in.  You know the nuts I’m talking about.  The ones you can smell for like 8 blocks.  Usually they sell cinnamon almonds, but I used to sit there all day smelling their nuts and would visit often.  That’s how I eventually figured out they made pecans too, just not as many or as often.  The almonds are pretty amazing, but the pecans… there are no words.  Now, I’m going to show you how to make them yourself at home.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 4 cups pecans
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 ½ cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon salt 

    Before you get started on anything else, go ahead and preheat your oven to 250° and line a sheet pan or a large roasting pan with parchment.  (Or you can just butter it if you don’t mind washing it when you’re done.  Next up, measure your sugar, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl. 

    Whisk them together until everything is evenly distributed, then set it aside. 

    In a large mixing bowl, combine your egg white and vanilla.

    With your mixer (or a whisk if you prefer) beat until it’s nice and frothy. 

    Add the pecans.

    Stir thoroughly.  It’ll take a minute or two, but you want your nuts completely coated. 

    Pour on the sugar mixture.

    And stir some more.  All of the sugar should be moistened and the vast majority of it stuck to your nuts. 

    Pour the pecans onto your prepared pan.

    Spread them out so there’s basically a single layer.

    Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  When they’re done, they’ll be dry and no longer sticky. 

    Allow them to cool just long enough that you won’t burn yourself and start devouring.  Wait, I mean, let them cool completely and store them in an airtight container.  (Yeah right)

    What reminds you most of the holiday season?

     

    Friday
    Sep272013

    Apple Upside Down Gingerbread Cake

    Wow, that’s a bit of a mouthful, huh?  Well, it was an easier title than sweet and spicy, apple-y, molasses-y, gingerbread goodness. Elise Logan and I went apple picking, you see.  In fact, I have to give a shout out to her munchkin for being such a great apple picker.  These are the ones I took, which was only a small percentage of the total haul. 

    While we were there, we visited the gift shop, of course.  Along with all the many jams and jellies, they had sorghum molasses.  I’ve only ever had cane derived molasses, so I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to try something new.

    So with an abundance of apples and exciting new molasses just dying to be made into something, the idea for apple upside down gingerbread cake was born.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 3-4 medium apples
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup flour
    • ½ cup whole wheat flour
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
    • ¼ cup buttermilk*
    • 1 egg
    • ¼ cup oil
    • ½ cup molasses*
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • *the sorghum molasses I used was a little thinner than my usual blackstrap, so if yours is very thick, you may need to increase the buttermilk to ⅓ cup. 

    I know that looks like a huge list of ingredients, but I promise this is really quite easy to put together.  First, we’re going to deal with the apples.  Wait, first, butter an 8x8 pan and preheat your oven to 350°.  Now for the apples.  Peel them and cut them into a large dice.  Then, into a pan over medium heat, put 1 Tablespoon of butter. 

    Then in go the apples. 

    Toss them until they’re all coated with butter, then pop the lid on for 5 minutes. 

    When you remove the lid, they should just be starting to soften. 

    Sprinkle on the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

    Gently toss or stir until the apples are evenly coated. Pour them into the prepared pan.   

    Spread them around so you have an even layer, and then set that aside. 

    Now onto the cake part.  Put all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.  (both flours, sugar, salt, soda, powder, cinnamon, and ginger)

    Whisk those together and set them aside.  Next come the wet ingredients.  Buttermilk, egg, oil, and vanilla all go into a bowl. 

    Whisk that for a good minute or so to make sure the egg is well beaten.  Then, pour in the molasses.  Ah, there’s something beautiful about that, isn’t there? 

    Now, mix that well, and pour it over the dry ingredients. 

    Stir just until it all comes together.  Once the liquid and flour get together, you never want to over mix, or your cake will have air tunnels in it and can even be quite tough. 

    Pour that over the apples and spread it to even out the top. 

    Into the 350° oven for about 35 minutes.  It’ll be nicely browned on top, especially at the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. 

    In my world, hot out of the oven, spicy, apple-y deliciousness, can’t be served without a bit of good vanilla ice cream on top. 

     

    Have you ever been apple picking before?