Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple Butter

15 pounds of Jonathon apples 
2 cups Apple Cider
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups of granulated sugar
2 cups of brown sugar

Peel and thinly slice apples and place in 6 qt. slow cooker.  Add apple cider and spices.  Cover and turn to low.  Cook approximately 24 hours.  The apples will be soft and will turn an amazing deep color of cinnamon and caramelized sugar.

Remove the lid and continue to cook until desired consistency.  Depending on how much juice your apples have it could take 5 to 6 hours.  Stir occasionally.

If you like your apple butter chunky and natural you can put in a container and refrigerate.  If you like it smooth, use a hand blender.  Fifteen pounds of apples makes about 2 quarts.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

These are so yummy.  My family loves the Ande's Mints at Olive Garden.  So when I came across this recipe, I couldn't have been more excited.  I had the opportunity to cook for my daughters and their college roommates.  Needless to say, these were a big hit.

Cupcake Ingredients & Directions

Devils Food Cake Mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup brewed coffee (be sure it is cool)

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Mix to combine, scrape the bowl.  Beat for two minutes on high speed.  Fill cupcake tins 2/3 full with batter and make for 14-16 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack

Filling Ingredients & Directions

2/3 cup mint chocolate chips
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar (sifted)

Place chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup.  Heat until chips are melted.  Stir to combine, add powdered sugar and mix completely.  When mixture is cool, place in a plastic squeeze bottle or decorater bag with round tip.  When cupcakes are cool, fill each cupcake with chocolate mixture.  Save a small amount of chocolate for garnish

Frosting Ingredients & Directions

8 oz. cream cheese - softened
1/2 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
green food coloring (optional)

Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.  Add extract and mix.  Add powdered sugar and whip until light and fluffy.  If frosting is too thick you may had a small amount of heavy cream or milk.  I also put in a small amount of green food coloring.

Use a large tip in a decorator bag to frost cupcakes.  Drizzle reserved chocolate over frosted cupcakes and garnish with unwrapped Ande's Mints.

Makes 24 cupcakes.