Saturday, November 29, 2008

November Daring Bakers...Caramel Cake

This is my first month participating in the Daring Bakers Challenge. I wanted to expand my baking horizons a little bit, and thought this would be a fun way to do that.
My first challenge was this fantastic caramel cake. It is very sweet and very rich...perfect for sharing with the family on Thanksgiving. I actually had a pretty easy time of it, although this was only my second time at making caramel. The frosting is dee-licious and will be put on top of some chocolate cupcakes really soon!
For the recipe, check out the source of our November challenge... Shuna Fish Lydon at
This is her signature caramel cake recipe. The recipe can be found at
The host for this challenge was Dolores of and the cohosts were Alex of , Jenny of , and Natalie of
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Brown Sugar Chewies...a family favorite

These are one of our families favorite cookies. One of the few that Eric actually requests. Chewy, yummy, goodness. Bonus...they don't require a mixer, so you can make them with sleeping babies in the house. Hope you enjoy them.

Brown Sugar Chewies
from Paula Deen & Friends cookbook
**I usually double the recipe for a 9 x 13 inch pan

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans (we don't use these, so I'd say they're optional)
confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray an 8-inch square pan with vegetable oil cooking spray.
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Turn off the heat, add the brown sugar, and stir until smooth. Stir in the egg. Sift together the flour and baking powder and stir into the brown sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.
When cool, dust the top with confectioner's sugar. After cutting into squares, remove from the pan and store in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
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God wants all of his children to become more like His Son. I have felt stagnant for a while. Like I was just floating along. Happy not to have any "major" trials. Content to be where I was, though that contentedness was not a good kind.
However, after starting the Respectable Sins study I began to really feel the Holy Spirit poking me in my conscience. Saying "No, no...we have not arrived...we need to keep moving forward."
I can say that in these last couple of weeks, God is moving me forward. I have been so convicted of the "little" sins in my life...unthankfulness, impatience, irritability...and the list goes on and on. But the good news is that our God is faithful...after pointing these things out, he has helped me to address them and I feel that I am again moving forward. I have had a blessed time these last couple of weeks with my boys. Less anger, more patience, more love.
I know that I will never "arrive" this side of heaven, but I pray that God will keep pushing me forward.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Homemade Applesauce

The smell of apples roasting in the oven has to be one of my favorites. I'm not even a huge fan of cooked apples, though I will eat them. It's like coffee...smells much better than it tastes to me (no offense you coffee lovers out there). However, the boys love applesauce in any form and Landon's preschool curriculum was covering all things autumn and today was to be spent on apples. So, we decided to make some homemade applesauce. I found a recipe, well really a method, for roasted applesauce online and it sounded like a good idea to me...for taste and nutrition (no boiling or nuking those nutrients away). It was so easy and is so good with a little caramelly note to it from the roasting and some brown sugar. I'm a homemade applesauce convert, although I'll still have to buy that blueberry kind.

Landon had a blast. I let him dump the ingredients and then mash the apples up. I had to steal his spoon away or he would have eaten half the bowl.

The finished product. Delicious. Would even be good warm with ice cream. The proportions listed below really don't make a lot, so you may want to double or even triple the amounts. I tweaked the spices and stuff enough to make it my own...feel free to play. Enjoy!

Roasted Applesauce
4 large apples (peeled, cored, and chopped)
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tea vanilla
3/4 tea cinnamon
1/8 tea nutmeg (fresh ground if you've got it)

Preheat oven to 400.
Toss everything together and place in a 9 x 13 inch pan (for this single could use two or a large rimmed baking sheet for larger batches).
Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 50 minutes or until apples are very soft and starting to brown. (It will vary depending on the type of apples you use. I left them in 50 minutes for a mix of honeycrisp and golden delicious).
Mash apples.
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