Grandma’s Apple Twists

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Guys. Stop what you are doing and make these. Now. They are seriously amazing. I did not give my Grandma credit. I admit it. To be fair, she passed away when I was 2 so it’s not like I doubted her abilities of making good food to her face. Maybe that’s not the best way to start. Let me start over.

My mom recently gave me my Grandma’s very old and much loved cookbook. She thought I may want to “vegetarianize” some of the recipes. I looked through and have a few things I plan to try, but most of all was the delicious desserts she has in there. There’s homemade fudge, apple crisp, cold dough cookie and these, the apple twists. Now I am not a baker. I don’t necessarily like to measure or follow instructions word for word, which is usually required for baking. This cookbook seems to be okay with that though, as there aren’t instructions word for word.

The thing about this cook book is that theres a lot of details missing, there’s also a lot of instruction that make me pause, like “um…are you sure?” The instructions for this say “Prepare apples. Make dough. Roll out a 16×10 rectangle & cut into 16 10×1 strips. Arrange without them touching. Brush wrapped apples with butter. Sprinkle sugar & cinnamon. Pour 1/2 cup water over pastry. Bake at 450 for 25-30 minutes.”

My favorite part is the “very good” written at the top.

Multiple things about this gave me pause. “Prepare apples”, I assume skin off? She wrote cored and sliced and some other word I can’t figure out. So I assume skin off? No, I’ve never made apple pie. I don’t know. “Make dough”, I’ve never done that, but I’ll throw those ingredients in and try. That worked out well. The one that really threw me the most was the cook temp, 450. By the time I got to this, the bottom of my pyrex was loaded with butter. I’m like, “Is this going to catch fire at 450? Butter’s burning point is 350.”

Naturally, I called my mom. She said no, but thought dropping the temp would be fine. Experiment with Grandma’s cookbook #1: done! Don’t worry, I’ll provide more detail than her cookbook does.*Side note: I plan to try them again at 450 at a later time, for now this worked perfectly with a little extra time required.*

Preheat oven to 375 and prepare your apples. Peel, core and cut them. You want to cut them into 8 slices from each apple (16 total). Make dough. Place 1 1/2 cups of flour into a mixing bowl. Add 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 a cup of coconut oil (the original recipe called for shortening, so that would work to). Begin to combine this. As it is combining, add 5 tbsp of cold water. Once dough is formed, remove from the bowl and knead a couple times to bring it all together.

Roll out your dough. Now, if you can figure out how to make a 16×10 rectangle, more power to you. Mine only managed like 12×10 and I said “close enough”. Also, if you desire to measure out 10×1 strips, again more power to you. I estimated 16 1 inch strips that varied a bit in length but were pretty close to 10 inches. Wrap each apple in a strip of dough and place it in a very well oiled baking dish, without them touching.

See why I was worried about fire? That’t a ton of puddled up butter.

Melt 1/4 cup of butter (original said 1/3 but I felt this was too much) and brush each pastry wrapped apple well. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar (original said 1/2, but holy..) and 1/2 tsp cinnamon across all the apples. Pour ~1/2 a cup of water over the pastry and bake for 1 hour. These are literally the best thing I have ever tasted. They would make a wonderful appetizer, holiday dish, or dessert. Enjoy!

Adding a note to mention that since you use a good amount of coconut oil these do end up with a hint of coconut taste/smell, which I thought was fantastic. If you aren’t a fan of coconut, you can switch it out for some other kind of shortening, like Crisco.

Grandma’s Apple Twists

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium apples (cored, peeled, cut into 16 pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 5 tbsp cold water
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Prepare apples by peeling, coring and slicing. Each apple should be cut into 8 pieces for a total of 16.
  2. Make the dough by combining 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 a cup of coconut oil in a mixer. As this combines, add 5 tbsp of cold water. Once dough forms, remove from mixer and knead fully to combine.
  3. Sprinkle your work surface with flour. Roll out the dough until generally about the size of a 16×10 rectangle. *See notes above about sizing*
  4. Cut dough into 16 ~1 inch strips. Wrap each apple slice in dough and place it in a well oiled baking pan, spaced well so they do not touch.
  5. Melt butter and brush each pastry wrapped apple slice. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon all over. Pour in a 1/2 cup of water and bake for 1 hour, removing when lightly browned.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

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When I was pregnant with my second, I prepared a whole bunch of healthy snacks and lunches that are easy to eat one handed in preparation for being alone with two kids full time. My mother-in-law made us a few loaves of zucchini bread also. That’s where the inspiration for this recipe came from.

What she makes us is definitely delicious, but is pretty high in added sugar. While these still have added sugar it has been cut down a good bit. Frankly, I’ll take a bit of added sugar if it get my kid to eat and touch some vegetables once in a while. He helps me make these so is aware of the fact the there is zucchini in them and likes to help grate it. Exposure is key, right?

After a bit of trial and error, these muffins turned out great. They have a wonderful texture, which I find difficult to maintain when using applesauce in a baked good, and a good amount of fluff to make a nice rounded top on the muffin. One note about the flavor: the recipe uses the Crockpot Applesauce, which thankfully has no added sugar, but I also find Crockpot Applesauce has much more flavor than store bought. So while you can absolutely use store bought applesauce, the flavor of the muffin may not be as strong.

Start by preheating your oven to 350. In a food processor, place 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of oats, 1/2 a cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of applesauce, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup of grated zucchini (with excess moisture removed), 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Blend this until smooth. Add a 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and pulse once or twice.

Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Fill each cup with about a 1/3 cup of batter, they should be pretty full. Place in your oven for 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean when tested. They are best kept in the fridge and they can be frozen for 2-3 months. They reheat well in the microwave also.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (see note above about Crockpot Applesauce recommendation)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (with excess moisture removed)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place all ingredients, except chocolate chips, into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add chocolate chips and pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Prepare a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Add about 1/3 cup of batter to each cup. They should be pretty full.
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean when tested.

Berry Puff Pastries

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You don’t have to do everything from scratch. Nobody wants to make puff pastry! – Ina Garten

I’ve never made puff pastry from scratch. Ina Garten is right. Just like with the Sheet Pan Pancakes, I used box version to make my life easier. I will also admit, these didn’t photograph well…but they are delicious and so very easy to make. The puff pastry has a great flakey crust and the berries have a perfect level of sweetness.

Frozen puff pastry needs to thaw before use. Set out for about 20-30 minutes prior to rolling it out. If it’s still not ready within 20ish minutes, you can wrap it in a paper towel and microwave for 10-15 seconds on each side.

While you are waiting for the puff pastry to defrost, add 3-4 cups of frozen berries and 2 tbsp of honey to a medium sauce pot. Place it on medium heat. Leave the berries and honey on heat for about 10 minutes until they start to break down and become syrupy. Once the berries begin to break down, combine the juice from 1/2 a lemon with 2 tbsp of cornstarch (add a bit of cold water if needed) and create a slurry. Add this to the berries as they cook.

Once the berries have become syrupy, take it off the heat and set to the side to let it cool for a little. Sprinkle a flat surface with flour and lay out the defrosted puff pastry. Using a rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry. It doesn’t need to be overly thin, just thin enough to be able to fold the squares.

Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into 9 pieces (3×3). If you are working on a counter top, transfer each square to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

Place a spoonful of the berry filling on each of the squares. Get a small bowl of water and wet the edges of each square with a finger tip. Gently fold over each edge, making a rectangle. Press with your finger tips or a fork to seal. Some of the berries may fall out, that’s okay.

Once you put the tray in the fridge, preheat your oven to 400. After 10 minutes, crack an egg and beat it. Do an egg wash on top of each pastry. Then bake for 15 – 17 minutes until the puff pastries are golden on top. Wait 10 minutes before serving. The filling inside will be very hot. They save and reheat well in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Drizzle a bit more honey on top or some powdered sugar for some extra sweetness.

**I consider these “family” friendly, but just a reminder not to serve these to children under the age of 1, due to the honey and the risk of botulism**

Berry Puff Pastries

Serves: 18 (using both sheets of puff pastry)

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen box of puff pastry sheets
  • 3-4 cups of frozen mixed berries
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 Egg

Instructions:

  1. Remove frozen puff pastry sheets from the freezer and let it defrost for about 20-30 minutes.
  2. While sheets are defrosting, place 3-4 cups of frozen mixed berries in a sauce pot with 2 tbsp of honey. Combine lemon juice and 2 tbsp of corn starch to create a slurry. Add this into berries as they begin to break down. It should take about 10-15 minutes on medium heat for berries to meet the right consistency.
  3. After the sheets have defrosted, sprinkle flour on your work surface and roll the sheets out.
  4. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the sheets into 9 squares (3×3). Transfer each square on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat mat.
  5. Do the same with the second sheet of puff pastry dough.
  6. Fill each square with a spoonful of berries. Grab a small bowl of water. Using your finger, line the edges of each square with a bit of water to help seal them.
  7. Fold over the edges forming rectangles. Use your finger tips or a fork to fully seal each edge.
  8. Place the puff pastry in the fridge for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. Remove and egg wash the top of each pastry. Place in the oven for 15-17 minutes until tops are golden. Wait 10 minutes before eating.