Pumpkin Pie 3 Ways

Every family has its own holiday traditions, and each year new favorites are discovered and requested the following year. This year, I decided to try pumpkin pie in three ways: pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cake and a standard pumpkin pie.

As a kid, we always had Thanksgiving at my Aunt Dixie’s house. Pumpkin pie was the epitome of Thanksgiving to me. We enjoyed it only once a year and any other pumpkin pie would always be measured against her perfect recipe. This pie was so good that all of us kids would eat slice after slice. We’d all run around outside, make extra room for pumpkin pie, then come back in to eat more. It was a fun tradition that I get to see the next generation of kids in our family do today. I wanted to share my Aunt’s pumpkin pie recipe with her permission. She isn’t sure where she got the original recipe, but she’s been making it for Thanksgiving for decades. Every time she makes it, she uses the recipe as a general guideline, making small changes here and there. But every time, it comes out as the best pumpkin pie recipe ever.

Recipe #1: Aunt Dixie’s Pumpkin Pie

Classic Pumpkin Pie

This pumpkin pie is perfectly spiced-just the right amount of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg that aren’t overwhelming for younger palates. You can make this pie ahead of time, freeze it a couple of weeks and then bake it the day before Thanksgiving when you need it. When you pair the pie filling with a homemade pie crust, it is the best pumpkin pie ever. The crust is flaky and slightly puffed from the addition of baking powder. I like to use up any leftover crust to make little sweet treats. I just cut shapes out of the pie dough, top with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. The pie crust bites can be baked simultaneously with the pie, just remove after 10 minutes or when the edges turn golden brown.

Filling:

  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk

Clabber Girl Pie Crust Recipe:
(watch our 60 second video on how to make pie crust here)

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 10 Tbsp. butter cold and cut into chunks
  • 3-4 Tbsp. ice water as needed

To prepare the pie crust:

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs with some pea-size pieces of butter. Gradually stir in enough of the water for the dough to clump together. Gather up the dough and form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled but not hard, 1-2 hours.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 1/8-inch thick round. Transfer to a 10-inch pie dish, trimming the dough to a 1/2-inch overhang around the edges of the dish. Tuck the overhang under the dough on the rim and flute the edges.

To prepare the filling:

Mix ingredients in order. Pour into uncooked pie crust and bake at 425° F. for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350° F. and continue to bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Recipe #2: Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

This cheesecake is smooth and light with a slightly sweet, slightly sour finish. You can either make it as two 9-inch pies or one spring form cake as the recipe advises. The cheesecake does take a long time in the oven, but could be made a few days in advance and refrigerated. Completely cool the cake before refrigerating. If you wrap it in foil or plastic before it is cool, condensation can drip on top of the pie and make the sour cream look thin.

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling:

  • 24 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin
  • 2/3 c. evaporated milk
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. Rumford Cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Pumpkin Cheesecake Topping:

  • 2 c. sour cream
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

To prepare the crust:

Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and press into a 9-inch spring form pan or two 9-inch pie pans.

To prepare the filling:

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, white and brown sugar and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, cornstarch and spices. Add to cream cheese mixture. Pour into prepared crust(s).

To prepare the topping:

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

Bake for about 65 to 70 minutes at 350° F. Remove from oven, spoon topping mixture over cake(s). Return to 350° F oven and bake for additional 5 minutes.

Recipe #3: Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Pie Cake

This pumpkin cake is a mix of two batters: a cream cheese and a pumpkin batter. It is very mild and not overly pumpkin tasting. One thing I liked about this recipe is that you don’t have to worry about portioning out the pumpkin batter evenly, the cream cheese filling bakes up just fine. The end result is a beautiful layered cake dotted with chopped pecans.

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. Rumford Cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 eggs

Pumpkin Batter:

  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter melted
  • 1 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Rumford Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
  • 1 c. chopped pecans
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

To prepare filling:

Combine ingredients for filling mixture; set aside.

To prepare batter:

Beat together eggs, sugar, pumpkin and butter. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture; stir in nuts.

In a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, pour 1/2 of batter into bottom, spread it out to coat the bottom completely (about ½-inch thick). Top with filling mixture; pour the other half of batter on top.

Bake in a 350° F. oven for 25 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

White Cheddar & Chive Scones

Holiday baking, isn’t it the best? With Thanksgiving just around the corner, my head is flooded with sweet recipe ideas, from fruit galettes to pumpkin coffeecake. But if you’re looking for a bread recipe that’s both cheesy and savory, then I have the recipe for you: savory scones. You might be thinking to yourself: “Savory scones Nate, really?” And to that I say “Yes!!” Just like sweet scones, savory ones are equally as versatile. I made mine with chives and white cheddar, but you can feel free to substitute and experiment with other cheeses and herbs.

Versatility: one of the many reasons why I love cooking.

Try some of these combinations of pairings for inspiration!

  • Feta & Basil
  • Gouda & Sage
  • Or, Mozzarella & Rosemary, just to name a few!

These scones have a perfectly golden, crusty exterior with a warm, buttery, and cheesy interior which is perfect dipping in a bowl of beef stew or in a pool of mashed potatoes and gravy. Savory bread is definitely the way to go this Thanksgiving!

White Cheddar & Chive Scones

Ingredients

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
2 tsp. granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. cold butter, cubed
1 c. white cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 c. chives, finely diced
1 c. heavy cream + 1 Tbsp.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a slightly crumbly meal, making sure a few larger pieces remain. Mix in the cheese and chives until combined.

Add the cream, stirring to combine until the dough begins to come together.

Mixing Scone Dough

Transfer to the dough to a well-floured work surface.

Scone Dough on Cutting Board 2

Roll the dough out into a 7” disk about 3/4” thick.

Scone Dough on Cutting Board 1

Use a knife to cut the disk into 8 wedges.

Raw Scone Dough Close Up

Transfer each wedge to the prepared baking sheet.

Raw Scone Dough

Brush scones with the 1 tablespoon of cream and bake for 16-18 minutes or until they are golden brown and your kitchen starts smelling amazing. Cool on the pan and serve warm or at room temperature.

White Cheddar Chive Scone Hero

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Once again, I am enjoying the many flavors of fall! Don’t you just love all the flavors of fall!!? Fall time is when we harvest some of my favorite vegetables! Sweet potatoes! I love them prepared so many ways! From sweet recipes to savory recipes, sweet potatoes are delicious so many ways. Definitely as a favorite with this Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potato recipe.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes 1

This recipe with the garlic and Parmesan brings in some savory flavors to blend with the sweet potato sweetness. It’s an easy side dish packed full of flavors.

Fall is when sweet potatoes are dug in the garden. It’s always nice to use fresh produce that we have grown to prepare different recipes and enjoy!

Raw Sweet Potatoes

These Garlic and Parmesan roasted sweet potatoes are well liked in our house and are a great side dish paired with any meal. Especially in the fall season, when we mostly think of having sweet potatoes.

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients
3 medium sized sweet potatoes (peeled or skins on, cut into cubes)
1/2 of a small onion, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Black pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 400° F. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes (you can leave the skin on if you prefer). Chop the onion. Place the onion and cubed sweet potatoes in a bowl. Add the olive oil, pepper, and garlic powder to the bowl and mix coating the onion and sweet potatoes well. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, shredded Parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley. Serve warm.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes 3

Be sure to give these Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes a try as a side dish this fall! Add them to your Thanksgiving feast!

Sugar Cakes : A Rumford Complete Cookbook Recipe

These little sugar cakes are so simple and tasty!

I talked a little bit before about liking to make snacks for my kiddos to enjoy.

sugar-cakes1When looking through the Rumford Complete Cookbook this month, I had snacks in mind for a recipe to try!

These little cake muffins are delicious sweet treat! They are soft, moist and fluffy but yet pleasantly dense. Packed with a sweet flavor they are kid approved….my son loved these!

The Sugar Cakes recipe is on page 163 of the Rumford Complete Cookbook. Below is a photo of the recipe.

Here is my version of the recipe with some updates.

sugar-cakes3
Sugar Cakes: A Rumford Complete Cookbook Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 egg whites

Directions:
Mix together the butter and the flour in a medium mixing bowl until crumbly. Add the sugar and mix well. Beat the egg whites until slightly frothy and add them to the dry mixture. Mix together well with a hand mixer. Pour mixture into a well greased mini muffin pan for small cakes. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar onto the top of each cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

The mixture was too runny with this recipe from the cookbook to roll out at all on a cutting board and cut into small cakes. I decided to bake them in the mini muffin pan and they turned out great! Mini cakes!

The recipe makes 18 mini sugar cakes.

A moist, sweet in flavor little mini cake. Grab a handful for a little snack!

sugar-cakes4

Persimmon Pudding: An Old Fashioned Classic

Persimmon pudding is an old fashioned classic in the Midwest during the late fall and winter months. A dense, moist, sweet and almost custardy type dessert – a delicious flavor to enjoy along with all the other favorite fall flavors!

Persimmon is in season here in Indiana in the fall months. Persimmon are grown in the southern part of Indiana. There is even a Persimmon Festival in September. Persimmon pudding is a favorite old fashioned dessert for the fall and winter months.

I was introduced to persimmon pudding a few years ago! It’s actually one
persimmon-pudding2

of my dad’s favorite recipes that my grandma makes this time of year. I had always heard them mention it, but had never tried it until a few years ago. I loved it too!! This is a recipe my grandma learned from her mom, I asked her if she minded if I shared it here.

persimmonpudding5

Persimmon Pudding

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp Clabber Girl baking powder
3 eggs
1 pint persimmon puree

Directions:
Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix with a handheld mixer until mixed well. Pour mixture into a 9×13 baking pan and bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Stick a butter knife or toothpick in the center at the end of the 50 minutes to check if the pudding is baked all the way through. Bake a little longer if it’s not. Cool to somewhat warm before serving. Top it off with cool whip before serving. Serve it in cut out squares or dolloped in a bowl.

Once cooled, the persimmon pudding can be stored at room temperature for about 8 hours. Then in the refrigerator for a day or 2. Simply reheat until warm in the microwave to enjoy more.

Persimmon pudding is a lightly spiced, with its own flavor, baked pudding that is similar to a custard with a pumpkin pie texture.

Thanksgiving is almost here and it would be paired perfectly with a big Thanksgiving feast. Add persimmon pudding to your Thanksgiving menu this year and years to come.

persimmon-pudding4

Baking with Halloween Candy

Every year I do through the same thing…I stock up on Halloween candy for Trick or Treat only to end up with extra candy because rain or cold weather limited how much we give out. I’ve even tried going to my parent’s house to hand out candy, as they live on a main street in town which is home to a lot of kids. We start handing out candy in the drive way handing, but as soon as the sun sets and the wind picks up, we move inside. Fewer and fewer kids visit as the wind picks up and the little kids get tired. Inevitably, I have some leftover Halloween candy and wonder what I am going to do with all of it. This year, I know exactly what I’ll do! I’ve tested all three of these recipes and much to my co-workers delight, they turned out great!

Halloween Candy Bark

Halloween Candy Bark

If you like your sweets with just a hint of salt, this Halloween Candy Bark is for you! I lined a baking sheet with wax paper and covered the bottom with broken pretzels and chopped pecans and walnuts. Then I poured melted chocolate chips on the top of the bottom layer. You could use white or milk chocolate or even a layer of both. If you microwave the chocolate chips to melt them, do it in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, so the chocolate doesn’t scorch. While the chocolate was still warm, I topped the candy bark with some leftover candy eyeballs and candy coated peanut butter candies. You could also use other chocolate covered candies and get pretty creative with this recipe. I set the baking sheet in the fridge to help the chocolate cool quickly. Once it was completely chilled, I broke the bark into 3-to 4-inch pieces. There are so many options you can choose with Halloween Candy Bark, all depending on your taste.

Bottom of the Bucket Cookies

Bottom of the Bucket Cookies

When you have a wide assortment of extra Halloween candy, try putting pieces on top of a sugar cookie. These cookies lasted about 20 minutes in our office! Halloween candy in wrappers, however, is still sitting in the lunchroom. Everything tastes better on top of our Rumford Sugar Cookies! It’s a sturdy cookie with a good crunch to it when you bite in. Watch them closely in your oven and take them out just as the edges start to brown. If you let the cookies become golden brown before removing from the oven, they will likely be dried out.

I used candy coated chocolate candies, candy corn and broken pieces of chocolate candies. Candy coated chocolate or peanut butter can go on top of the cookies before you bake them, but everything else should be pressed into the cookies as soon as they are out of the oven. You can even make indentations in the top of the cookies for the candies before they are baked to make it easier to place them after baking. The chocolate candies melted a little, making them stick perfectly to the cookie tops.

Chocolate Candy Bread

Chocolate Candy Bread

The chocolate candy bread recipe was the most popular in our office! It is visually so beautiful and filled with all of your chocolate candy favorites! I took our chocolate buttermilk bread recipe and added a one and a half cups of assorted mini chocolate candies. When the bread came out of the oven, I drizzled melted white chocolate on top with a little milk mixed in so it was just the right consistency. I added some coarsely chopped chocolate mini candies, too. When you cut into the bread, you won’t see all of the chocolate candy, but you can taste the different ones throughout the loaf of bread. This is the perfect recipe to make on November 1st to use all your leftover Halloween candy.

Chai Chocolate Quick Bread

When I think of fall, I think of baking. Once those leaves start ever so slightly turning colors and the nights get a little bit longer and a tad bit cooler, I’m ready to break out my mixer and crank up the oven. I love making pies from scratch or exploring fun new soup or side dishes, but my weakness during the fall leading into the holidays will always be bread. I’ve definitely been known to set aside a whole day (sometimes two!) dedicated solely to bread making. But I know that life oftentimes makes it to where setting aside that much time just isn’t realistic.

Enter…quick breads. Unlike yeast breads, quick breads do not contain any yeast at all in the dough and use Clabber Girl Baking Powder and/or Clabber Girl Baking Soda as a leavening agent. Because we’re omitting the yeast and using a chemical leavening agent instead, we’re able to cut out all the time needed for yeast breads to rise. The end result is usually a very tasty bread that took a faction of the time to make. So though I love yeast breads, I always end up making A LOT of quick breads this time of year.

Generally made a little on the sweet side, quick breads are great because of their versatility. You can make savory breads (Rosemary, Thyme & Asiago Cheese sounds good to me!) perfect as a side for dinner slathered with butter or sliced and toasted to dunk in your favorite fall soup. The ever popular Banana Bread or Pumpkin Bread are always amazing recipes to have in your recipe box. You can even go crazy and indulge with a Chocolate Quick Bread Drizzled with Dark & White Chocolate with Toasted Nuts sprinkled on top. The possibilities are endless and perfect for you to make it your own for your family to enjoy.

As you can probably tell, I have been thinking a lot lately about quick bread flavors. I wanted to find something unique and different, that still had all my favorite fall flavors in it (and chocolate, everything is better with chocolate, right?). That’s when I decided on Chai Chocolate Quick Bread. I love the warm spice notes you get when drinking a Chai latte, so they go perfect in this fall bread.

You’ll need two bowls to make this bread, one for your dry ingredients and one for your wet ingredients. Because we’re using baking powder (which reacts to liquid) to leaven our bread you want to keep your dry ingredients separated from your wet until you’re ready to mix and immediately go into your dish and bake. This bread is tasty all on its own, but you can always kick it up a notch and serve it with a maple-cinnamon compound butter. Plus they make great gifts during the holidays and are perfect as mini loaves as well (you’d get 3 from this recipe). I hope when all is said and done and you’re taking your first bite you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Chai Chocolate Quick Bread

Makes: 1 loaf
Ingredients:
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cardamom
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp kosher salt
2 eggs
1 c. chai concentrate
¼ c. granulated sugar
¼ c. coconut oil, melted & slightly cooled
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a bread loaf pan with parchment paper.

Line Bread Pan with Parchment Paper
In a large bowl mix flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, spices and salt. Set aside.

Dry Ingredients Chai Chocolate Bread
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, chia concentrate, sugar, and coconut oil. Set aside.

Liquid Ingredients Chai Chocolate Bread
Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 30 seconds. If needed, microwave for an additional 15-30 seconds and stir until smooth.

Melted Chocolate
Slowly pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredient bowl and stir until just combined.

Mixing Chai Chocolate Bread

Pour batter into your prepared bread loaf pan. Drizzle melted chocolate over the top and using a butter knife gently swirl the chocolate on top, just barely mixing it in with the batter.

Marble Chai Chocolate Bread
Bake in a 350° F for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes before removing from pan and slicing.

Chai Chocolate Quick Bread Hero 2

Apple Cream Pie….my most favorite pie

apple cream pie 4I love pie, especially fruit pies! Today I am sharing my MOST favorite pie of all pies. Flavors of apple and cinnamon with a creamy texture all in one with this Apple Cream Pie. Definitely one of my favorite flavors of Fall.

When I tell people I’m making an apple cream pie, most say they have never heard of it.

This is my Grandma’s recipe. It is a recipe that has been passed down and made for several generations and I have always enjoyed it. I remember the day I asked her to teach me the recipe and she was so happy to show me. We got the ingredients and I learned how to make my most favorite pie of all! I even asked her for permission to share the recipe on my blog. It is super easy and DELICIOUS!! Plus I am so happy that I have learned one of my Grandma’s recipes (along with a few others).

I especially like this pie during the holidays and in the fall when apples are in season. You can use any variety of apple, although there are specific apples that are better for baking. My favorite apple to use is Cortland or Gala. I prefer more of a tart apple.

So here is the recipe:

Apple Cream Pie

makes 2 pies

Ingredients:
3 lbs of apples
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
Deep Dish pie crust – package of 2 or use homemade recipe below
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
Cinnamon

Homemade pie crust rather than pre-made crust
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup all- purpose flour
1/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
10 Tbsp. butter, cold and cut into chunks
4 oz. cold water

Directions for homemade pie crust:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the chunks of cold butter and mix the butter into the flour using a pastry blender. Continue to do this until the mixture looks like bread crumbs or small pieces of butter. Add the cold water and stir into the mixture so that it all sticks together. Clump the dough all together to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. You want the dough chilled and cool, but not hard. This will make it easier to work. Roll out the dough to a circle on a lightly floured surface. Lay the circle of crust dough in your greased pie pan. Then do the directions below to fill your pie crust.

Directions:
-Place your pie crusts on a cookie sheet, one that has a rim (Do this before filling your pie crusts, to prevent spillage once you pour in the cream)
-Peel, core, and slice your apples into thin slices
-Mix 2 cups flour and 2 cups sugar together in bowl

Filling the pie crusts is simply an alternating and layering process.
This is how I do mine.

-Sprinkle flour/sugar mixture on bottom – just enough to cover the bottom
-Layer of apples
-Flour/sugar mixture
-Sprinkle cinnamon – more or less for your taste
-Layer of Apples
-Flour/sugar mixture
-Sprinkle cinnamon
-Layer of Apples
-Flour/sugar mixture
-Sprinkle cinnamon

Once your pie crusts are filled, divide the 1 pint of whipping cream between the two pies, half pint on each. Pour it all around the top of each pie. Be sure to not get too close to the brim of the pie crust. When baking, the cream will rise up and may spill over (hence the cookie sheet underneath for baking).

Place in the oven at 425° F for 15 minutes. Then bake at 400° F for 45 minutes.

Cool until pie is slightly warm before serving.

6 Granny Smiths Never had it so Good: Cinnamon Apple Squares

Green Apples 1 Autumn squares were a seasonal treat growing up as a kid. I can remember the wafting aromas of slowly baking apples dredged in cinnamon and sugar coming from the kitchen. The smell of freshly baked crust escaping the oven and into my nose. A tall glass of milk in my hand and you have yourself the perfect after school snack. Apple squares are a Crawford family tradition around the autumn/holiday season. This recipe is inspired by my Grandma Cooley’s recipe, which was passed down to my mother which was, in turn, passed down to me. Traditionally, you would make a second layer of dough and roll it on top to emulate an apple pie, then a simple icing is drizzled over top. When brainstorming with my mother about ways to improve upon the recipe, she suggested taking off the top layer of crust and making an apple streusel to sprinkle on top, to which I thought “that’s a good idea!”

The smell that will come out of your oven will be indescribable. Warm scents of cinnamon and vanilla filling your kitchen. It reminds me of those chilly fall nights, a bonfire burning bright and everyone is drinking apple cider and talking and laughing. It’s food like this that brings people together. That warm, comfort food that sparks a memory and an emotion. That’s what I love about food, it runs deep in all of us. Baking family recipes like these makes me miss home at times. Being away at college can be tough, but when I take a bite into one of these apple squares, it reminds me of the people I love and the places I truly miss.

Cinnamon Apple Squares Recipe

Ingredients

Crust:

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

¾ tsp. salt

¾ c. vegetable shortening

2/3 c. whole milk

Apple filling:

4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled or unpeeled and sliced

1/3 c. granulated sugar

1/8 c. Clabber Girl Corn Starch

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¾ tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground cloves

Streusel topping:

¾ c. granulated sugar

¾ c. all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ c. unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

1 Tbsp. water

Icing glaze:

2 c. powdered sugar, sifted

1/3 c. heavy cream

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Cinnamon Apple Squares 5Directions

For the crust. Chill the shortening in the fridge 15 minutes before beginning. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the chilled shortening into the flour mixture until a coarse meal begins to form. Slowly add the milk and stir until the dough begins to form and come together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and shape into a 1 inch round disc. Cover with plastic wrap and have set in the fridge for 1 hour or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the streusel. In a medium-size mixing, stir together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut the chilled butter into the flour mixture until pea-sized chunks of butter are seen. Stir in the water until combined. Cover and place in the fridge until needed.

For the filling. In a medium-size mixing bowl, toss together the apple slices, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves until well incorporated. Set aside.

Grease a 9×13-inch baking sheet. Roll the dough out into a rectangular shape, allowing the dough to stretch past the edges of the sheet. Roll dough onto the sheet, pressing the dough out evenly. Cut off excess dough and fold edges under the dough. Crimp the edges around the sheet pan. Fill the prepared crust with the apples and accumulated juices, spreading them out in an even layer. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the pie. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and your kitchen is smelling of apple spiced heaven.

For the icing. In a medium-size mixing bowl, stir together the sifted powdered sugar, heavy cream, and melted butter until combined. Drizzle over top of the apple squares while they are still warm and cooling. Serve immediately.

Lemon Meringue Pie-Tips for Perfectly Homemade Meringue

Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

Lemon Meringue Pie is a classic pie! If you love the flavor of lemon, it is definitely a pie for you! The lemon filling is so refreshing and delicious and I love it with the fluffy, sweet meringue.

I learned how to make the lemon meringue pie from my mom. We used a recipe that was her great grandma’s. She shared with me that she always remembers her great grandma having a lemon meringue pie baked every time they visited. It is one of her memories of her great grandma.

Crust:
Use one pre-baked pie crust. Either a homemade pie crust or a premade crust. (Tip: use a fork to poke holes into the bottom and sides of the crust in the dish to prevent the crust from bubbling while baking). Lightly beat 1 egg white and brush the crust during the last five minutes of baking to seal it for the lemon filling. Be sure to do this step to prevent crust from getting soggy from the filling.

Filling: 
1 C. + 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2/3 C. water
1/2 C. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
3/4 C. lemon juice
2 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest (about 3 lemons)
4 egg yolks
1 pinch of Kosher salt

1 1/4 C. boiling water (that will be added in).

Meringue:
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
1/4 C. water
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Directions for the filling:
In a medium sauce pan, combine the corn starch, sugar and salt together and whisk to get rid of all the chunks. Then add the remaining filling ingredients except the boiling water and mix until it is combined thoroughly.

Add the boiling water and whisk the mixture together. Bring it to a boil and continue stirring. Reduce heat and cook and continue to stir for about a minute more. The filling mixture will turn a glossy yellow. 

Immediately pour the filling mixture into the prepared pie crust. Allow the filling to cool completely then put in the refrigerator so it is nice and cool for the meringue. 

Directions for the meringue: 

Preheat oven to 350° F. 

Mix the corn starch and water together in a pan on medium heat. Stir constantly until it thickens into a gel. This happens fast, about 2 minutes. Set the gel aside. In a mixing bowl, gently beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar to dissolve. Using a hand mixer, begin beating until foamy, then slowly sprinkle in the sugar while beating. Continue to beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Then add the gel that was set aside and continue to beat a little longer. 

Immediately spread the meringue on the cooled pie and spread out using a spatula. Smooth it out or add peaks with the meringue. Place in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown for your liking. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. 

Tips for the meringue: 

Making the meringue for the pie can be a bit tricky! Here are some tips to help make a great meringue. 

Use fresh eggs for the meringue. Make sure they are at room temperature. Fresh eggs will give you more of a fluffy volume of meringue than older eggs. Room temperature eggs will beat faster than colder eggs right out of the refrigerator. 

Heat plays a major part in making meringue. The humidity in the air will cause your meringue to loose volume and flatten faster. 

Stainless steel or glass bowls work best for making meringues. Plastic bowls can carry traces of oils or grease that will effect the stiffness of your meringue. 

Use a hand mixer to whip the egg whites rather than beating them by hand. It can take a while and for the meringue to form constant whipping is needed. 

By cooling the lemon filling of the pie before adding the meringue will help the meringue to stay stiff and set during baking and afterwards. 

When serving the lemon meringue pie, use a knife dipped in cold water to help prevent your meringue from breaking down at serving. 

Lemon meringue pie only lasts generally a day, maybe 2 and then the meringue will start breaking down and weep. It is great to make as a pie that will be enjoyed in the day of baking. 

Enjoy this classic lemon meringue pie recipe. The wonderfully delicious tart flavor with the creamy meringue is a family favorite.