Monday, June 17, 2013

German Apple Pancakes

When Matt thinks of Father's Day (or Christmas, or St. Patrick's Day, or our kid's birthdays, or any holiday, really), he thinks of German Apple Pancakes. They are all he wants for breakfast most of the time, but I try to keep it special for Father's Day. He doesn't read my blog, so this will be our secret....I want them every morning for breakfast, too! I'm such a good wife, though, that I don't make them without him (very often. what??).

I can't really remember where the original version of this recipe came from...probably somewhere on google. All I know is that it's Yummmmmmy!!!! Anyways, here are the step-by-steppers:

 You will need a cast iron frying pan or some other oven-safe stove-safe pan.

Whisk together 1/2c. flour, 1T. sugar, a pinch of salt and 1/2t. baking soda.

 Add 4 whipped eggs, 1c. milk, 2 t. vanilla, 2T. melted butter and some cinnamon and nutmeg.

Let the batter sit for 20-30 mins at room temperature  It will thicken significantly over this time, but should still be pretty runny and pourable. Is pourable a word? I guess so, since spell check didn't kick in.

Preheat your oven to 425*F. Coat your pan with LOTS of butter before turning on the heat. (sorry, there's not a picture for this step). I just take the stick and rub it all over the bottom AND sides of the pan super well. Combine some cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Sprinkle it liberally all over the pan. Add 1 whole sliced apple (peeled or unpeeled is up to you). You want to try to get the slices to lie as flat on the pan as possible. Sprinkle more of the sugar mixture over the apples.

 Cook, covered, over medium heat until the apples are tender and bubbling. Don't let them scorch! Make sure your heat doesn't get too high, and be sure to have plenty of butter in the pan. If you need to add some pads of butter while the apples are cooking, that's totally fine. Covering the pan isn't necessary, but it helps the apples steam and cook more quickly and evenly. Don't be picky about every apple being tender... you're going to bake them soon.

GENTLY pour your batter over the apples. If you pour the batter too fast, all the apples will float to one side. You want them to stay evenly distributed here.


Use an oven mit to transfer the pan into your oven. That handle gets hotsy totsy!! Bake about 10-15 mins at 425*F. Then reduce the heat to 375*F and bake another 10 mins or so. We were hungry and anxious to eat, so I pulled this out about 5 mins early. It was still totally cooked, just not as golden on top as usual.

 Slice and top with powdered sugar and Creme Fraiche (or whipped cream if you're lazy like me.)

 Or cut them into little bite-sized pieces for your minions. :)

Happy Father's Day!!!

German Apple Pancakes

1/2 c. flour
1 T. sugar + more for sprinkling
1/2 t. baking soda
pinch of salt
4 large eggs, whipped
1 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
2 T. butter, melted + more for coating
1 apple of any kind, sliced
cinnamon & nutmeg
powdered sugar
Creme Fraiche (or whipped cream)

1. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda & salt. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, melted butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. Let stand at room temperature 20-30 mins.

2. Preheat your oven to 425*F. Coat a cast iron pan with butter. Combine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle the pan liberally. Line your pan with sliced apples and sprinkle the apples with more sugar mixture. 

3. Cook apples, covered, on medium heat until apples bubble and caramelize. Add more butter if needed. Once the apples are mostly tender, pour batter very gently over the apples.

4. Put the pan in the oven and bake about 15 mins at 425*F. Reduce heat to 375*F and bake an additional 10 mins.

5. Slice and top with powdered sugar and Creme Fraiche or whipped cream.

Serves 4

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Salted Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, guys. I know how many thousands of people claim to have THE cookie recipe. And I know how amazing some of those cookies are because I've made them. But nothing..."I repeat...nothing gives a student the right to walk around the school at night." Oh, shoot...Prof. McGonagall just popped into my head mid-sentence. Back to business: ...nothing has ever beaten plain old homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies. At least, for Matt and just doesn't get any better than Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Until Now:

Let me tell you a story:

Once, (2 days ago) we were going to have a swim party with my side of the family. My mom went to Wal-mart and saw these cookies. "Hmm, those look good," she thought. And so she bought them and brought them to the party. They were SO GOOD! Grocery store cookies are never good, unless they are from Costco. We all were so impressed with how amazing these cookies were! So...two days later, I still couldn't get those cookies off my mind. I went to the store this morning and there they were...calling to me. And I thought, "If those were SO GOOD, then the homemade version will probably put me into a coma." So today, I took that never-fail chocolate chip cookie recipe, tweaked it a bit and VOILA! Salted Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Guys...I may not be in a coma, but these cookies are no joke. I don't have step-by-steppers, because I was way too excited about making them to take pictures, but here is my recipe.

And some pictures of Char eating them with her cute new haircut.

Salted Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c. butter, room temp
1/2 c. butter flavored shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
2 - 2&1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. coarse kosher salt (plus more for sprinkling)
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. butterscotch chips

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Cream the fats and sugars in a mixer. Add eggs and vanilla.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Gradually add to mixing bowl until incorporated. Do not overmix! Add your chips and mix just until they are evenly distributed.

3. Spoon dough onto greased, or parchment-lined cookie sheets about 1-inch apart. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired.

4. Bake in preheated oven 10-13 mins until JUST starting to brown around the edges.

5. Let the cookies cool on the pan about 5 mins. Enjoy!

Yields 3 dozen

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Tea Party!!

My little girl turned 3 on May 18th. It's so exciting!! She had a great, but very simple birthday. I didn't even make her a cake! But Papa and Nana came over and she opened presents, then relaxed to a movie with daddy. And really, what else does a girl need?

Oh, yeah....I guess a girl could use some of that. Cake, cookies, pearls...yeah, a girl could definitely use that.

So, I did make a cake. It may have been 2 weeks after her birthday, but I did make a cake! Remember that Rainbow Brite cake I talked about a couple posts ago? With the Rainbow Horse, Starlight? Well, I completely changed my mind about that cake. I'm still going to do it for a future bday, I think, but I really wanted to do something girly and vintage for Char's 3-year pics. 

My sister happens to be one of the best decorators I know. I walk into her house and want to weep at how adorable everything is. She decorated my wedding reception and it was...BEAUtiful!

See?? Gorgeous. (I can't get my pictures to get in the right place on the dumb page!! Anyone have suggestions? It's driving me crazy.) When she told me she was using the green fencing we had for my dad's and my horses...I thought "huh?" But it looked SO gorgeous. And unique.

So I raided her house of many of it's decorations. I also grabbed things from my sister-in-law and mom, then I went to Goodwill and got some great stuff that I knew would get used again and again. Like that tiered glass tower?? It's Goodwill plates and bowl and candlesticks. I wanted to make one of those forever! And it will be great for cupcakes, etc. I think it costed $10 when all was said and done, which was actually more than I was expecting, but still a great deal considering some of the pieces look like crystal.
 niece came to play with Charlotte for the pics and let me tell you...we got some beautiful shots! The cake turned out just how I was imagining, and the girls had so much fun dressing up!

I had a really tough time getting my girl to look into the camera, but that's okay. She had fun and that was the most important thing. Happy 3rd, my beautiful Char!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Camping with the Babies

"The monster....I hear it! It's gone, it ran away. The monster..."

This is what my two-days-shy-of-three-years-old said to my husband in the wee hours of the morning while we were camping. I just laid in my sleeping bag, and laughed in my head because I was too cold to laugh out loud. Let me tell you something about camping with kids: It is a BLAST! But it's also an adventure in both the good ways and the not-so-fun ways. There are older and wiser people in my family that have mastered the art of camping with kids. Matt and I are just scratching the surface.

I would call our first attempt at camping with our kids a success. Nobody got serious bodily injuries. None of us starved. We all made it home without damaging any of our goods. Also, Charlotte LOVED going potty in a hole. That's my girl! The only hang-ups were Wyatt not walking, and it being colder than the northern tundra at night.

A word on taking a crawler's fun for a little bit, then they get sick of it. Wyatt got so frustrated that he couldn't get up and run around with Charlotte! He also got pretty tired of the pine needles.

SO....we will probably wait until Wyatt is REALLY walking before we camp again (which shouldn't be too long, now. He finally started walking everywhere this weekend!!! Hooray!!!!)

Now...i'm going to share with you the best 2 camping recipes I have ever had. (outside of my dad's stew)

This recipe was great because I could make it ahead of time, and just throw in the eggs and cheese when we got there. I also LOVE the "no clean-up" factor. From now on, I will look for almost all tin-foil meals for this reason. No clean-up makes camping a lot more enjoyable for me. Although I do love cooking in my dutch oven. I also loved how healthy this breakfast was. Biscuits and bacon-gravy are amazing, but I usually want to go lie down and sleep for 6 hours after eating them.

Our next favorite was a twist on a classic. M&M Smore's. Have you heard of these? I wish I had a picture. You roast a mallow, pull off the outer skin, roll the gooey part in mini mm's and smoosh it between the crackers.! Matt doesn't usually like smore's. (what!?) He is crazy. He ate 3 of these I think. Which is kind of a big deal.

Anyways, a quick word on that cobbler made with two cans of pie filling and cake mix....DON'T make it! It was awful. Even ice-cream couldn't rescue it. I will never take a cobbler short-cut again. The fresh berries and real batter is the only way to go. And if you mix the dry ingredients ahead of time, bag it, and put it together there, it makes life much easier.

Also....bring Hostess (or Tasty Kakes or whatever it's called now) cupcakes...

They will make everything better. Happy camping!