At school this past semester, I discovered the most wonderful treat – apple chips. In the food court area, called the “Pit,” they had displays of them and they were a great snack between or after class. They were made by Seneca and were wonderful. But then they started disappearing. They went from two large standing displays to one, then to a little counter one until all the bags had been sold. This was of course after I had completely fallen in love with them.
Apples are one of the few fruits I actually enjoy so I thought the chips would be easy enough to make on my own. And really they are! if you don’t mind waiting a couple of hours for them to be done that is…
So it’s been a while. I changed schools this past semester and my new dorm’s kitchen was on the basement level with my room on the third floor. My tendency to forget things while running back and forth to the kitchen highly hindered my ability to bake. As in, I didn’t bake for the entire semester. I made fudge once. But that just required the stove top that was in the lounge and the fridge in my room.
Now I’m back at home! This means i have access to the Kitchen Aid and a large stove and wide spice collection and lots of space and everything at my fingertips. Oh how I love being home. I’ve already made my chocolate cupcakes and was just itching to make something else. My mom is having a friend over for wine later so something not quite so bready sounded like a good idea. I looked through my recipes (I think I have 500 something bookmarked) and was between two Smitten Kitchen citrus choices; Deb’s keylime meltaways and her lemon bars. Obviously, if you’ve read the title, I chose the lemon bars.
I don’t know what was up with the lemons today but I could not get any juice out of them. I went through 5 lemons and still only had about 2/3 cup of juice. I tried microwaving them and everything. I have no idea what happened. Oh well the bars are delicious.
It was the 29th Annual Apple Harvest Festival here in Ithaca this past weekend. I love Apple Fest. Like seriously. But this year was a bit less enjoyable because of the cold and rain but hey, that’s living in Ithaca for you. I got a gorgeous 1/4 peck of apples and when I saw the “Apple Honey Challah” post on Smitten Kitchen this week it was just too perfect. I’ve been dying to make a challah bread for ages and the timing of this loaf couldn’t have been more perfect. I was also excited because it only made one loaf instead of Deb’s other challah recipe which made two… or at least that was the plan.
In my excitement of making this wonderful bread (and in not using actual measuring cups) I accidentally added 1 2/3 cup of water rather than the called for 2/3 cup. I frantically put my 9th grade algebra to use to calculate how much of everything else I needed to add to make it right. Oh my gosh was that an adventure. I ended up using 1350 grams of flour, needless to say (if you understand weights and baking) this means my new bag is looking a little slim.
So instead of one loaf of challah, I had two beautiful round apple honey challah loaves.
I love pasta. And cheese. So naturally, baked ziti is right up my alley. I had wanted to try this recipe since the day I saw it on Can You Stay For Dinner? in my days of endlessly looking at food blogs. Now I have enough recipes to last a year so the search has subsided… For now. Read the rest of this entry »
Same friend as the meatball subs, different weekend. Deb has done it again with these recipes. I know I have an almost sick obsession with Smitten Kitchen, but honestly, those recipes are good and it’s updated pretty regularly so I have a seemingly endless supply of those good recipes.
Anywho, cupcakes. One major tip – make sure you have the coco powder clear of clumps. While the cupcakes still tasted phenomenal, there were periodic clumps of coco powder within the cake. Also, the batter is liquid and they turn out fine with said liquid batter. Now I know my piping skills aren’t quite so fantastic, but that was part of the fun of eating them! We didn’t wait for the cupcakes to cool entirely so the ice cream was melting within them and the whipped cream was all over our noses. Read the rest of this entry »
One word – YUM. It might just have been that way because my friend and I completed making these at 4:30 in the afternoon but still. Very delicious. I would really recommend making these with two people because it does make it go a lot faster.
The recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Cheese Straws. What I changed was using chili powder instead of red pepper flakes because I thought those would be overwhelming with the small size of the cheez-its i was creating. I also, obviously, didn’t make them ‘straws.’ They were still really delicious!
So some notes on what could be improved – The 1/8th inch thick that Deb says to use is just a little too puffy for cheez-its (though I think it would work perfectly for the straws). It’s hard to go thinner but I think the next time I make these, I’ll also make them a little larger. It was a HUGE pain to transfer all those little cheez-its from the cutting board to the baking sheet.
Definitely give these a try if you like cheez-its but are not so much a fan of the chemicals in normal ones.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon milk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.
3. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel; both worked great), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/2 -inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Then work the other direction to create the squares. Gently transfer the crackers to a parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving at least 1/4-inch between them.
4. Bake the crackers on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the corners are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.
5. Serve at room temperature. Cheez-Its will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for two days.