Sunday, December 7, 2014

Apple Gingerbread with Vanilla Glaze

Classes are ending this week (thank goodness!) and I promised my upper level seminar snacks on the last day. I decided I wanted to bake and I had some apples left in the fridge that needed using up. Apple spice cake? Apple muffins? 

I wanted something holiday-related, so I went back through some of my bookmarked recipes. I found a recipe for pear gingerbread. Aha! Apple gingerbread it is. 

Notes: Me and glaze? We're not friends. I've never been good at getting the consistency right. This recipe as it was originally written did not work: the glaze was too dry. I upped the amounts and that worked better. If there's one thing I've figured out, it's that glaze is not an exact science. I heated a little bit more milk than I needed and just fiddled with the amounts until I got it right. 

I used my stand mixer to make the glaze and it worked great. You don't need to use it; you just need some elbow grease and a whisk.

Mixing the apple pieces into the flour will help them not sink to the bottom of the batter, so be sure not to skip that step.

The gingerbread is fluffy and sticky and delicious! If you're bored with other holiday desserts, give this one a try. It would be perfect for a holiday potluck because you can make it well in advance.  

For gingerbread (adapted from this recipe):
2 cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup molasses 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 eggs
2 apples

For vanilla glaze (adapted from this recipe):
1 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons milk
Pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions: Heat the oven to 350 and butter a 9x13 baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Peel and chop apples into small pieces (mine were a little smaller than 1/2 an inch). Mix the apples into the dry ingredients. 

In another bowl, crack and beat the eggs. Add in oil, milk, vanilla, and molasses. Stir to combine. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until well-combined (don't over mix). Pour batter into the baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until a tester comes out clean. 

Let cool completely and then cut into small squares. Put wax paper under a cooling rack and transfer the squares to the rack. 

To make the glaze, add sugar, salt, and vanilla to the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir together. Melt the butter and add it to the bowl. Heat the milk for a few seconds in the microwave and pour it in the bowl while the mixer stirs. The glaze should be thick, but you should be able to drizzle it. If it seems too thick, add a little more milk. If it seems too thin, add a little more sugar. 

Using a whisk or a fork, drizzle the glaze over the gingerbread. Allow it to set for about 15-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Ham, Havarti, and Chive Drop Scones

Can you tell that I'm on a scones kick recently?

Our Thanksgiving didn't quite go as planned. We were supposed to go to West Virginia to visit some friends, but the day before we were supposed to leave, I got sick. It was the worst head cold I've had in a good long time, so I spent most of the holiday on the couch watching the first season of Twin Peaks with Scott (he hadn't seen it before).

I felt better by Sunday, so we decided to do our Thanksgiving dinner then. I made meatballs (our tradition), bacon brown sugar roasted brussel sprouts, and regular old Stovetop stuffing. For breakfast, I made some new scones.

Notes: I loved these, but Scott was less crazy about them. He thought the chives were a bit overpowering (what does *he* know!? ;-)). If you have a picky eater in your house, you might want to use a little less.

I used sour cream to make these and it was a bit difficult to mix them because the sour cream was thick and cold (of course you need it cold). You might want to use a little milk to thin it out.

I divide these between two baking sheets because I like them the size of biscuits. If you like yours bigger, just make bigger handfuls.

2 cups of flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup shredded havarti cheese
1/2 bunch of chives
6 tablespoons of cold butter
4-5 slices of deli ham
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons of milk (more if needed)

Directions: Heat the oven to 350.

Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

Mince the chives and chop the ham into small pieces.

Cube the butter and add it to the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or your fingers. The butter should be the size of small peas.

Add the ham, cheese, and chives. Add the sour cream and milk and mix with your hand until it forms a soft sticky dough.

Drop small handfuls of dough on to a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!