Tag Archives: apple cider

Brown Butter, Molasses, and Cider Shortbread Cookies

Well people we made it to the week of Christmas!

Are you all ready to go? Are all of the presents bought up? The house clean for company, or if you are traveling, is the packing done? Have you finalized your goody menu? Am I totally giving you a panic attack?

Sheesh. I’m pretty sure I just gave myself one. Are your wine glasses clean? Maybe it’s time to dirty one up.

I’ll wait.

Okay. Now that we are starting to feel a bit more relaxed, let’s talk about those goodies. As if I haven’t already made enough fattening stuff over the past few weeks, I thought I would play around with some shortbread cookies for you.

These are pretty fun. A perfect holiday cookie. The molasses gives them such a rich, warm flavor. And then at the end you get the slightest kick of sweet apple cider. Very nice.

But really it is all about the brown butter.

See all those little brown specks in there? Heaven. When you brown butter, it becomes nutty. The nuttiness is what makes these cookies really special. Special enough for the big guy. I’m pretty sure these are the cookies that Santa will get on Christmas Eve.

Uh-oh.

Great. And now she is beckoning her father over for a taste as well.

Okay so maybe Santa won’t be eating this particular batch of cookies.

Wonderful.

Well I guess I can’t cross cookie baking off of my to-do list just yet. Looks like it’s time for me to head back to the kitchen.

Where did my wine glass go?

Brown Butter, Molasses, and Cider Shortbread Cookies

1/2 cup butter

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup apple cider

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small pan cook butter over medium high heat until brown and bubbly. About 10 minutes.

Turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl stir together flour and salt, and set aside.

Combine butter, molasses, apple cider, and vanilla in a mixer.

Stir in dry ingredients.

Roll out to a 1/4 inch thick disc, and cut into desired shapes.

Bake for 12 minutes.

When cooled, coat with Apple Cider Glaze (recipe below).

Apple Cider Glaze

1/2 cup plus 3 teaspoons apple cider, divided

1 cup powdered sugar

Boil 1/2 cup apple cider over medium high heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally until it is reduced by half.

Let cool completely (it will continue to thicken into a syrup-like consistency) before stirring it into powdered sugar.

Add in 1 teaspoon of unreduced cider at a time until desired consistency.

Mulled Apple Cider Risotto

I didn’t get hooked on mulled apple cider until after The Hubs and I got together.

Every Christmas, my mother-in-law busts out this little old carafe that sits on top of the stove and fills it up with apple cider and mulling spices. She will leave it warming there all day so we can come in and out sipping on it as we please.

It is just a little thing, but it has become something that I look forward to every holiday season the most. So much so in fact that when we couldn’t go do any traveling for Christmas last year because we had a 5 week old, I made sure that our house was stocked with apple cider and spices.

But I naturally over bought, and after a couple of weeks, grew quite tired of drinking apple cider. So I started trying to think of ways to incorporate it elsewhere. I started making my morning oatmeal with the cider, mulling spices, and cayenne. (P.S. It is totally amazing. Do it!) Then one morning, my mind went to risotto. But the problem was, when do you serve a sweet risotto?

Hmmm…maybe breakfast or dessert.

Okay. But who wants to stand over their stove and stir for an hour just for dessert? Or worse, first thing in the morning.

So I started researching some baked risotto recipes and tried it out. Now to be totally honest, you really do lose a little of the creaminess when you bake it as opposed to stirring on the stove top. But again, you only lose a little of the creaminess. It is still risotto. And you barely had to do any work.

You toast up the risotto in some butter and pour in your apple cider and spices. Bring it to a boil and pop it in the oven.

While that is cooking, get some water warming in a pot (or maybe your sweet little carafe) on the stove and when your risotto come out of the oven, gently stir that in about a cup at a time. Don’t worry though, this takes maybe 5 minutes. Stir in some orange zest and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Such a hearty, comforting, warm breakfast. Might be nice for Christmas morning dontcha think? We enjoyed ours on a random Saturday. It was perfect.

Oh and I would like to add that the person who enjoyed this the most at my house was Monkey Mode…just thought you might like to know.

Mulled Apple Cider Risotto

2 tablespoons butter, divided

2 cups Arborio rice

4 cups apple cider

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

3 cups warm water

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 425.

Warm apple cider in a pot until simmering, and add salt, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne, cinnamon, and honey.

In a medium dutch oven or oven proof pan with lid, heat one tablespoon of butter. Toast rice for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour warmed apple cider mixture into the rice, and stir until it comes to a boil.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes.

While the rice is baking, warm 3 cups of water and zest half of an orange.

When rice is done baking, pour in the water 1 cup at a time until it is incorporated.

Stir in orange zest and remaining tablespoon of butter.

Serve immediately with chopped pecans.

Spiced Applesauce Cupcakes

If there is one thing other than tasty recipes that I would like for you all take away from this blog, it is that cooking with your kids around is not only doable, but can be extremely fun and a lot of times down right entertaining.

However, there are certain times when even I wish my kids weren’t in the kitchen.

Times like this past weekend when I volunteered myself to make roughly 60 cupcakes for a baby shower. I thought, “Hey, this will be no big deal. The Hubs can watch the girls and I will just knock those cupcakes out in a few hours.”

Ummmm. Yeah.

Here’s what really went down. That morning, The Hubs offered to help out with some home improvement at his boss’s house. So I was stuck trying to bake cupcakes while The Little Dude played on the computer (thank you, NickJr.com!) and The Monkey napped.  That wasn’t too bad, I managed to get all of the cupcakes baked before she got up. Woot!

I was starting to feel pretty smug about how well it was all going until it came time to frost and decorate the bad boys. Even though The Hubs was back home and doing his best,The Dude just seemed bored. So she looked to me for entertainment. You try explaining to a three year old, why she can’t have a cupcake. 

Me:  “Honey, I’m so sorry but these are cupcakes for my friend’s party.” (Holy crap! I can’t believe I just told her I was going to a party! What was I thinking?!)

Dude:  “Can I come to the party?”

Me:  “No baby. I’m so sorry. You can’t come to the party.”

Dude:  “Well, can I have a taste of frosting?”

And on and on it went.

Then The Monkey, who is normally one of the happiest babies you will ever meet, decided to pick this day to be super cranky, take short naps, and be mega clingy to Mommy.

Oh my.

So what should have been only a few hours worth of work, literally took me all day long.

All. Day.

Basically, I don’t really care if I never see these cupcakes again.

Oh wait. Yes I do. They are delicious.

Everybody really seemed to like them. Including my sweet pregnant friend. Which is all that matters in the end.

Wanna see what they looked like at the shower?

Cute huh?

I can’t take credit for the cupcake design, I saw pictures on the internet of  similar ones that fit this shower’s theme. The whole event was put together by one of my other sweet neighbors who is incredibly creative and crafty. She’s basically an all around know-it-all (in a good way), who I ask advice from on everything from fitness and nutrition tips, to fun fun things to do with my girls, to how to arrange pictures on my walls. I have been pestering her for some time now to start her own blog so she can impart all of her useful knowledge on the world (P.S. I think you should all leave comments telling her to get blogging!).

I mean come on, wouldn’t you like to know how to make stuff like this?

But anywho, lets get back to those cupcakes shall we?

I was kind of going for a mulled apple cider flavor. Something that had a nice fall feel to it. They are so so very moist and tender, and are rich with spices. They have an intense warm sweetness thanks to the molasses, which pairs quite nicely with the less sweet brown sugar cream cheese frosting.

They are the perfect autumn cupckae to bake up this week…and totally easy to do with your kids, so long as you aren’t baking a ton and trying to decorate them for someone else’s party.

Spiced Applesauce Cupcakes

(Adapted from Applesauce Cupcakes from The Lady and Sons, Too! by Paula Deen, and Spice Cake from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham)

Makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups applesauce

2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350

Cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar.

Meanwhile in a separate bowl stir together flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cayenne, and salt. Set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat applesauce and baking soda together about 1 minute, until hot. Stir and set aside.

Stir egg, molasses, and vanilla into butter mixture until combined, scraping down sides of bowl once.

Fold in dry ingredients.

Add hot applesauce to the batter and fold in until just combined.

Place in muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

(Adapted from allrecipes.com)

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 tablespoon honey.

Combine cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla.

When mixture is smooth, add in honey.