Fall Foodie: Mini Mason Jar Apple Pies

Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve been in the midst of a 6-day vacation from work (I’ve been out of the office since Wednesday and I return next Tuesday) just because I needed a break- but before I left- I wanted to make a quick treat for some of my co-workers since we’ve all been busting our asses in recent weeks and I thought it’d be a nice change of pace for a bit. I’d seen a couple of variations of this recipe floating around on social media and Pinterest over the past few days- and finally caved in and tried making my own variation of it. After a quick stop at Michael’s Arts & Crafts to pick up these cute glass mini mason-jars and gathering some apples I had recently picked at a local orchard- I was ready to put my canning/jarring skills to the test.

The recipe below will make 6 jars. I had to double up on everything to accommodate 12 co-workers (excluding myself).

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 baking apples, peeled and chopped (like Honeycrisp, Granny Smith or McIntosh)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 packages store-bought pie dough (4 circles total)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1½ teaspoons turbinado sugar

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Have ready six ¼ pint (½ cup) mason jars on a baking sheet.
  2. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples and sauté until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and vanilla extract, and sauté for 2 minutes more. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is flat and slightly thinner than it originally was. Cut the dough into six 3-inch circles and six 2-inch circles.
  5. Press a 3-inch circle into a mason jar, pressing it firmly to the base and sides and taking care not to poke holes in the dough. Trim any excess from the top edge with a paring knife. Repeat with the remaining 3-inch circles and jars.
  6. Scoop the cooled filling into the pastry-lined jars, mounding it about ½ inch over the top rim.
  7. Place the 2-inch rounds over the filling and tuck the edges under so they meet the edge of the jar. Crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork. Chill the pies for 10 minutes.
  8. While the pies chill, whisk the egg and water together to combine. Brush the egg wash over each pie top, and then sprinkle the top of each with ½ teaspoon turbinado sugar. Cut small vents into the top of each pie with a paring knife.
  9. Bake until the pies are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

I would like to mention that I didn’t fold over or crimp the tops of the pie crusts to the jars since I didn’t want to risk them getting damaged during transport from my home to the office. Instead, I cooked them separately as individual discs and brought them with me to place on top of the jars as they were being served. For the record- nobody seemed to mind!

These were a big hit with my co-workers, which made me happy- and when I tried one that I had made for myself when I got home after I’d left work for the day/week- I had no complaints! These came out amazing and I think they’re going to be a success when I attempt them again this coming Thanksgiving. I’m actually thinking of trying some different versions, as well- like lemon meringue and key lime pie.

I’m kinda’ craving one right now, actually.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

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Fall Foodie: Butternut Bisque

Continuing with posting some of my favorite Fall-inspired dishes that are best enjoyed during this beautiful time of year, I wanted to share a quick and easy soup recipe that I whip up from time to time- particularly to serve on the chillier Autumn nights here in New England- and that I personally feel really captures some of the best flavors a good harvest has to offer!

Butternut squash is an ingredient that is so versatile and can be used in a ton of different ways- but this rich and creamy bisque might be one of the better ones. With 15 minutes of prep and about 30-40 minutes of actual cooking/pureeing time required to make this correctly- this is a good recipe to have on hand when you want something fast and filling for yourself or your guests!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 can (14½ ounces) of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 4 pounds): peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup Half & Half
  • Sour cream, for serving

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, (5 to 7 minutes)
  2. Add squash, broth, half-and-half, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until squash is tender, (about 20 minutes.)
  3. Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt. Serve bisque with sour cream, garnished with dried thyme, if desired.
  4. Store your leftovers in a covered and microwave-safe Tupperware container to bring with you to work/school/anywhere, really- to enjoy at a later time. Simply reheat the soup- give it a good stir- and savor the flavors some more!

In just three easy steps you can make a huge serving of this bisque- and trust me when I say it tastes amazing- even when it’s reheated the next day! I brought some of this with me to work the day after I’d first prepared it for myself and some of my family that were over for a visit and enjoyed it just as much as I had the first time around. It’s hearty and packed with quite a few flavors that keep it from tasting dull.

I’m looking forward to bringing this in a thermos for a camping trip my friends and I have planned in a couple of weeks!

xx

– Ashley –

Fall Foodie: Chocolate, Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Fudge

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! Now that September is in full-swing, I can start sharing some delicious Fall-inspired recipes I’ve been holding onto for the past month or so- both old favorites and new finds alike- and while a few of them do include a little bit of pumpkin spice here and there- I made sure to mix things up a bit for those of you who might need a break from that “basic bitch” goodness and are looking for other alternatives to cook or bake for your next bonfire or harvest festival.

This recipe, which takes 10 minutes to prepare and 2+ hours to let sit and settle inside your refrigerator (making it perfect to whip up in the morning before you head off to work/class/your errands for the day so you can enjoy it by the time you get back home!) is a sweet and salty mix of chocolate, peanut butter, and pumpkin- making it an indulgent treat that is ideal to enjoy, on your own or with others- during the cool, crisp Autumn weather.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • 1⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling!)
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Line a 8 x 8″ pan with foil; grease with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a microwave-safe dish, combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips and ¾ cup of sweetened condensed milk.
  3. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir and put back in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pan and spread it evenly using an offset spatula; set aside.
  5. In a microwave-safe dish combine white chocolate chips and canola oil; melt on high for 1 minute.
  6. Remove from microwave and stir; put back in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until almost all chips are melted.
  7. Remove from microwave and stir in the rest of the sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree, peanut butter and pumpkin pie spice; stir until thoroughly combined.
  8. Pour over previously prepared chocolate layer and spread evenly using an offset spatula.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped pecans
  10. Refrigerate for 2 hours (or until firm.)
  11. Cut and serve immediately
  12. Refrigerate leftovers to savor at a later time.

I enjoyed squares of this over the weekend during my designated “Cheat Day” and I have no regrets. The fudge is a combination of some of my favorite Fall flavors- all rolled into one- and was especially delicious when paired with a piping hot mug of apple cider.

I’m baking up another batch later on this week to bring to my office for my co-workers to enjoy- and they’ll undoubtedly be making an appearance when I have some of my family over for dinner soon! I’m sure they’re going to be a big hit!

xx

– Ashley –