Thursday, October 10, 2013

In the Kitchen: Caramel Apple Mini Pies

For the past ten years or so, my husband and I have gone apple picking on my birthday. The timing is perfect for us (October 15) because our favorite, braeburn, are pretty much the only thing left on the trees. We pick a lot of apples, so many we can hardly carry them all. I think we usually go back for more, too.

I spend the next few weeks making apple butter, apple sauce and apple jelly (my dad's favorite), but we've actually never picked enough to leave room for making pie filling. Honestly, I'm not really a huge fruit pie fan, will the exception of cold soggy tart cherry pie, which any family member of mine will attest to.

This year we will not be picking apples on my birthday, because I've been picking them from my very own trees for the last two months! There are still a few left hanging and I still have buckets around the house and bowlfuls in the fridge, but I've already processed more apples this year than the last ten combined. That meant my first attempt at pie filling! It was almost a debacle. Actually, I think it does qualify as a debacle, but a salvaged one. In the end all it meant was the quarts I intended to have became pints. I've since been on a mission to come up with some mini dessert recipes that someone could easily make with a smaller amount of pie filling, and here's my first! Did I mentioned those are marshmallows on top?

pie crust dough (homemade or store bought roll)
apple pie filling (homemade or store bought can)
caramel baking bits (in the baking aisle with the chocolate chips)
mini marshmallows

Aside from being quick and easy, the beauty of this recipe is you can make just a few or a whole baking sheet worth at a time. Leftover dough and filling can be stored in the fridge to make something else or bake more fresh later.

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut 4" to 5" circles from the dough, depending on what size you'd like the finished pies (I cut about 4.5"). Spoon one to two tablespoon of filling in the center (you can cut up the apples if you'd like or need to). Sprinkle the caramel bits on top of the filling (as few or as many as you'd like), then fold up and crimp the edges.

Bake for about 10 - 15 min until the crust edges start to brown. Remove from the oven and cover the top with the mini marshmallows. You can also cut up full size marshmallows if you happen to have those. I wasn't sure if too many would make the pie's too sweet so I went light on them as you can see in the photo, but they were amazing and next time I'm totally piling them on!

Return to the oven for about 3 - 5 minutes until the marshmallows start to puff and brown.

As hard as it will be, I recommend waiting about 10 minutes before serving for the marshmallows to set and the pies to cool a bit because they will be bubbling!

I made a few without the caramel bits and they were excellent as well. You can also drizzle caramel (or butterscotch) sauce over the top in lieu of baking with the bits. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

hobby #727 (and a little pillow giveaway!)

I just have to start by reminding everyone that it's October! (As if anyone could forget.) It's my favorite month and the start of my favorite season. Me and summer just don't see eye to eye, I'm an overall better person when the air is cool and there are pumpkins everywhere! I'm extra excited about fall (and winter!) this year because I am finally out of the North Carolina climate and planted somewhere that actually gets cold. I mean single digits and below zero cold. Sorry NC friends, 30° is not cold! :)

So, onto the topic at hand, my newest hobby. I was destined to be a quilter, I could feel it in my bones, it was just a matter of the right time and place to jump in. It was at the top of my bucket list after the move and crazy enough, it all fell into place! I found a local shop that offers classes and took a beginners class about a month ago. Totally hooked! The class project was a 36" square log cabin style quilt. The hardest part for me was choosing fabrics, but I just had to keep telling myself that it wouldn't be my only quilt, so I picked something I loved and went with it.

It was a blast! Like anything, learning the basics and having the right tools make all the difference, but I do believe this is a craft of patience and the OCD perfectionist in me doesn't hurt either. I'm still pretty slow at it, but now that I have a space to keep my machine and supplies out, it doesn't matter! I can work when I have time and not stress about it. The hard part will be finishing a project before starting a new one, I already have four new quilts in the works and am out of work space!


I had a ton of extra fabric strips leftover from my first project so I just kept sewing up more squares! I thought they would make an adorable little pillow, was I right? This also gave me a chance to practice actually quilting a piece on my machine and was my first experience with piping. I lost a chunk of my right index finger, but otherwise a smashing success (I promise, it's not inside the pillow).

I thought it would be fun to give this little pillow away and brighten someone's day! 

To enter, please leave a comment below telling me who you plan to give gifts to this holiday season (family, friends, co workers, etc) and what you are planning to give (homemade or bought). 

Just be sure your first name and email are included in your profile or your comment. I will draw a winner randomly on Monday October 7.

Happy October! ~ nicole