Apple Crostata


Hello all–  This little dessert is actually a re-run.  I made it a couple weeks ago for Laurel and John in Wisconsin after we ran into beautiful apples at the Winter Farmers Market.  And it was so yummy, I tried again this week for our Monday night ladies.

It goes together pretty easily.  The tedious part is peeling and slicing those apples!  But it smells so inviting coming out of the oven, that buttery crust and cinnamon laced apples –and with a scoop of ice cream–just  perfect!


1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar (plus a tsp for sprinkling)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter (1stick)
5 tab. ice water

Apple Filling:
5 smallish (4 medium) apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Extra:  ice cream or whipped cream.

To make the crust, mix together the 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.  Then with s pastry blender* or 2 forks, cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Then add the ice water and stir the mixture until forms a dough.

Roll out the dough on a counter dusted with flour, using a rolling pin.  Lift it carefully onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment.

Peel, core and slice the apples to smallish chunks.  Then drop them in a mixing bowl and stir in the 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, cinnamon and salt until the apples are all coated with the dry ingredients.

Spoon the apples into the middle of the rolled out crust.  Fold the edges of the crust up over the pile of apples, leaving the middle uncovered.  Sprinkle the teaspoon of sugar over the turned up edges of crust.

Pop the whole thing into a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is golden and the apples are firm, but tender.  Serve it warm with whipped cream or ice cream.  So good!

*or use a food processor to cut it all together.

Pear Nut Bread


Hello all–  Are you on the countdown to Thanksgiving??  Me too!  Can’t wait for kids and grandparents to come pouring in the door.  Hoping for hugs and laughter and my sister’s pie.  So thankful.

And if you have people staying over for the weekend (like we will), it’s great to have a couple loaves of this bread waiting in the fridge– for breakfast or to serve with soup or for a midnight snack…  Love these tender, fruity moist little loaves–think you will too!

1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 pears peeled, cored & cut in bits
1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 or 2 tab. milk or half & half

Peel, core and cut the pears to bits and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugar and eggs.  Then stir in the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.  Then fold in the pear and nuts just until it’s all thoroughly blended.

Scoop the batter in a standard 9″x 5″ loaf pan (I used 2 smaller half size pans) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted into the loaf comes out dry.

While it’s baking, whisk together the powered sugar and milk to make the glaze–use 1 tablespoon of milk to make a thicker glaze– or 2 tablespoons for a thin glaze.

When the bread is baked, let it sit in the pans for 10 minutes to cool just a bit and then remove and drizzle the glaze over the top.

Peach Crostata

Hello all–  When we first arrived in Wisconsin a couple weeks ago, our dear friends Jac & Jackie trekked down to Madison to meet up for dinner with us at our kids house. It was a sweet time catching up with them, and ended dinner with this fresh peach crostata.  Sweet summer peaches– they make any dessert a celebration!  After supper we walked and talked down along the lake in the coolness of the evening– so thankful for J & J.


1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick), diced
3-5 tablespoons ice water
a couple more tab. of sugar

5 peaches, peeled, pitted, cut into slices
1 tab. flour
1 tab. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

To  make the crust use a food processor or a pastry blender (Or just 1 forks, if that is what you have on hand!), cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Mix in the ice water, starting with 3 tablespoons and adding more if needed until you have a ball of dough.

Wrap the dough ball in a piece of plastic wrap and set it into the fridge while you prepare the peaches.

Peel, pit and slice the peaches.  In a mixing bowl coat them with the tablespoon of flour, tablespoon of sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon.

Then take the dough from the fridge, roll it on a floured counter with a rolling pin until it makes a 11″-12″ circle.  Set the dough on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil or parchment paper.

Mound the peaches in the middle of the dough and then fold up the edges inward to hold in the peaches.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the turned up crust.

Put the crostata into a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes– until the crust is nicely browned.  Serve it up hot, cut into wedges,  with a scoop of ice cream!  A fine summer dessert.

Apple Fritter Bread


Hey there– When I was back at Laurel School, someone would often plant a big pink box of donuts on the teacher table in the morning to share around.  I was OK passing up the glazed donuts or the sprinkle ones, but if there was an apple fritter in that box, I could seldom resist cutting off a wedge to have with my pre-class mug of tea.

So when I ran across this recipe for apple fritter bread, I was on it!  Moist and fruity and also good with a big mug of tea.

2 large apples, peeled, cored, cut to chunks
2 tab. cinnamon, divided
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1  1/2 cups flour
1  3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tab. milk


Peel, core and cut the apples to smallish chunks and mix them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon.

In another small bowl, mix together the 1/3 cup brown sugar and the remaining tablespoon of cinnamon.

Then in a larger mixing bowl stir together the 2/3 cup sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs..  Next mix in the milk until it’s well blended.  Finally stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.

Then in a standard 9″ by 5″ loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray, pouring half of the batter.  Spoon half of the apples over this first layer and then sprinkle on half of the brown sugar mixture.  Repeat for a second layer– batter, apples & brown sugar.

Put the loaf pan into a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes until it’s cooked through (test with a sharp knife to see if it comes out clean).

With a fork whisk together the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk.  If it seems too thick for the glaze you want, add another tiny splash  of milk.  After the bread has cooled for 10 minutes or so, drizzle on the glaze.  And enjoy!


Cinnamon Roll Muffins


Hi friends– It’s September and the oven has been put back to good use around.  I’ve been baking up a storm.  And nothing smells so good coming out of the oven as something laced with cinnamon.  This little muffins are kind of second cousin to cinnamon rolls, lots of the same flavor and the crunchy nuts, but a whole lot less time and effort is involved.

I made them for our lovable group of 20 & 30 something’s who come in on Thursday nights– and the muffins all disappeared!  I love baking for those guys– such an appreciative group of eaters.  And just all around fun to spend an evening with them.


1 cup brown sugar
1 tab. cinnamon
1  1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 tab. melted butter

2 cups flour
1 tab. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 cup milk

2 oz. cream cheese (1/4 of a block), softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tab. milk
few drops of vanilla


First make the topping.  Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts.  Then completely fold in the melted butter.  Set this aside for later.

For the muffins, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Then mix in the oil, egg and milk.  (The batter will be stiff.)  Take 1/2 cup of the brown sugar topping mixture and stir it into the batter.

Use muffin papers or spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray– then scoop the batter into the muffin tin.  Put of spoonful of the brown sugar topping on top of each muffin, patting it down a bit with the spoon to make it stick well to the batter.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes until firm to the touch.

While they are baking, make the frosting.  I softened the cream cheese in the microwave for a few seconds.  Then with a whisk, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and the vanilla.  If the frosting seems runny enough to drizzle over the muffins from a spoon, that’s great!  If it is too thick, add the second spoon of milk and blend it completely.

Drizzle that luscious frosting over the muffins, hot from the oven and enjoy that cinnamon smell while you do it!  Scrumptious eaten with friends and mugs of tea.


Apple Cinnamon Walnut Pancakes

Hello there– Do you ever get a certain food on your mind and can’t stop thinking about it until you sit down to a plateful? Seems like I was thinking about pancakes all last week and finally when Sunday lunch hit, I made up a big pile of there sweet things.  Actually they’re not too sweet– just the sweetness from the apple and a bit of brown sugar.  With a couple strips of bacon and a mug of tea, they’re my kind of Sunday afternoon indulgence.  Hope you like them too…

1 large apple (used Granny Smith)
1 cup flour
2 tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tab. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Peel and core the apple.  Grate it into coarse shreds.  Set aside

Mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Then stir in the milk egg, oil and vanilla.  Finally fold in the grated apple and walnuts.

Pour the batter, with a 1/3 cup measuring cup, onto a hot griddle that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook on medium heat flipping to brown both sides.  Makes about 10 medium size pancakes.

Of course, there’s the part about adding butter and maple syrup as soon as they hit the plate.  Enjoy!



Caramel Apple Pecan Rolls

IMG_2330Hi all– I’m up.  Early. It’s a Saturday morning and I rolled out of bed while it’s still dark to make these apple pecan rolls.  I guess getting up early on a Saturday is not the best way to convince you to make them!!– But these little roll are super simple using frozen bread dough.  You just need to have some time for that yeasty dough rise in the middle of the process.  They have a yummy maple glaze and sit in a puddle of caramel at the bottom of the pan– and all those sweet apple and bits of pecan!!  OK, that should lure you.

I’m whisking them off to breakfast with a big bunch of friends on Glenda’s back patio in a bit.  They send a scrumptious cinnamon-y smell out of your oven as they bake and I know will be a hit at our little breakfast potluck.  Totally worth the early morning get up!

1 loaf frozen bread dough,* thawed
a sprinkle of flour
2 tab. butter melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced fine
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tab. milk
1 3.5 oz. box vanilla pudding mix (not instant!)**
6 tab. butter (3/4 of a stick of butter)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tab. maple syrup

IMG_2317Thaw the frozen bread dough– let it sit out in a warm place a couple hours. or thaw in the fridge overnight.

Roll the dough on a flat surface sprinkled with a couple spoons of flour until it is a 12″ by 16″ rectangle.  Spread on the 2 tsp. melted butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, apples and pecans.

Starting at the longer side, roll the up the dough, jelly roll style.  Use a serrated knife to cut the dough into 12 equal slices

Set the slices cut side up into a 9″x13″ baking dish or 10 to 12″ round cake pan that has been liberally sprayed with cooking spray.  Set them into a warm place and let them sit and rise for  1  1/2 to 2*** hours until they are about double in size.

Meanwhile, to make the topping, stir together the 3/4 cup brown sugar, milk, pudding mix, and 6 tab. melted butter in a bowl.  Set aside.

Once the rolls have risen, pour the brown sugar-pudding mix topping over the rolls and bake them in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the rolls are browned and set.

Then whisk together the 1/2 cup powdered sugar and maple syrup and drizzle it over the rolls with a fork.  Delicious served warm from the oven…

* I used Bridgeford frozen bread dough.  It comes in a package with 3 one pound loaves, so I have another 2 in the freezer to use later.
**My market didn’t have the 3.5 oz. package of vanilla pudding mix–the cook & serve (not instant) kind.  So I used butterscotch (which they did have!).
***I set the oven for 350 and let it heat for just 3 minutes when I first walk in the kitchen and then turn it off.  This makes it just warm enough to raise the dough.  These rolls rose quickly and were huge in a little less than 1 1/2 hour.

P.S. I’m back from the breakfast and the rolls were as good as I’d hoped!


Sweet Potato Muffins

IMG_5077Hi friends– Loved these cheerful little muffins.  We had them with a pot of lentil soup, but I can imagine them on the breakfast table with a plateful of scrambled eggs or even alongside a Thanksgiving turkey!

1 small sweet potato
2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup buttermilk*
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
4 tab. butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon

Make the topping– mix the sugars and cinnamon.  Stir in the butter and set aside.

Cook the sweet potato 7 or 8 minutes in the microwave until it’s soft and cooked through. Scoop out the creamy orange potato and mash it, reserving 1/2 cup for the muffins (you can eat the rest for lunch!)

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Then stir in the buttermilk, vanilla, oil and eggs.  Finally blend in the mashed sweet potato. Spoon the batter into a muffin tin with 12 cups lined with muffin wrappers.

Use your fingers to crumble the topping over the muffins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until the muffins are golden and firm to the touch.


*to substitute for buttermilk (if you don’t have any on hand), pour 1 tab. cider vinegar in  the measuring cup and fill to 3/4 cup with regular milk.

Cinnamon Pear Cake

Hello there– With all those beautiful, plump, firm, green pears out there at the market, this recipe is just in time.  It’s a little bit homely.  But I like it’s nubbely top and crispy edges.  And it’s chock full of pear sweetness.  Such  friendly little cake, simple and comfortable.

1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup canola oil
2 pears, peeled and cut into chunks
2/3 cup walnuts (or pecans), chopped

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Then mix in the vanilla, egg and oil.  Finally fold in the walnuts and pear chunks.  The batter will be super thick.  Turn it into a 9″ cake can sprayed with cooking spray. And bake it up at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes until its cooked through.  When it cools a bit, it’s pretty to dust it all with powdered sugar.

This cake is lovely all on it’s own, especially when it’s warm.  But you know it’s even better with a scoop of whipped cream or ice cream by it’s side.