Saturday, November 27, 2010

Apple Crostata-November'10 Daring Baker's Challenge

  The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.
  I'm getting ready to go out of town for a little girls weekend with my mom and my Runwild Princesses, but I wanted to make sure that I got my Daring Baker's Challenge posted, albeit a short post! This months challenge was very nice. It was simple enough that I was not afraid I would work myself into a psychotic frenzy right before Thanksgiving. Which is always something to be thankful for:)
  Lots of possibilities for a crostata. This Italian dessert, is essentially a dough, called pasta frolla, topped with fruit, jam, pastry cream, etc. The dough,when cooked, is reminiscent of a very crisp sugar cookie. How could one complain to that?!?! 

Apple Crostata
Pasta Frollo:
1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine sugar (see Note 1) or a scant 3/4 cup [180ml, 90g, 3 oz] of powdered sugar
1 and 3/4 cup [420 ml, 235 g, 8 1/4 oz.] unbleached all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1 stick [8 tablespoons / 4 oz. / 115 g] cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
grated zest of half a lemon (you could also use vanilla sugar as an option, see Note 2)
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl
1. Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. You can do this in the bowl or on your work surface, using your fingertips or an implement of choice.
3. Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs into it (reserve about a teaspoon of the egg mixture for glazing purposes later on – place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use).
4. Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.
5. Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.
6. Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
7. Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. You can refrigerate the dough overnight.
 Apple Filing:
3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled & sliced
7 OZ Superfine Sugar
5 OZ Sweet Butter
1-1/4 T Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 T Cornstarch - dissolved in water
3 Crostada Dough - see recipe
Heavy Cream - as needed
Crystallized Sugar - as needed
1. In large sauté pan, melt butter until foaming and add sugar. Cook about 5 minutes until light brown and add the apples.
2. Cook until apples are slightly soft, and add spices - mixing well. add the cornstarch and mix well, cooking one minute.
3. Remove filling and cool completely.

 Assembling and baking the crostata:
1. Heat the oven to 375ºF [190ºC/gas mark 5].
2. Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap it and cut away ¼ of the dough. Reserve this dough to make the lattice top of the crostata. Refrigerate this dough while you work on the tart base.
3. To help roll the crostata dough, keep the dough on top of the plastic wrap that you had it wrapped in. This can help rolling the dough and can also help when transferring the dough to your pan. You can also use parchment paper for this. However, you can also roll the dough directly on a work surface if you prefer.
4. Lightly dust the top of the dough and your work surface (if you’re rolling directly on a work surface) with flour. Keep some flour handy to dust the dough as you go along.
5. If the dough is very firm, start by pressing the dough with the rolling pin from the middle to each end, moving the rolling pin by a pin's width each time; turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat; when it softens, start rolling.
6. Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick.
7. If you used the plastic wrap or parchment paper as rolling surface, flip dough over the pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Peel away the plastic wrap.
8. Fill with cooled filing.
9.Bake for 35-45 minutes.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pilgrim Hats-Thanksgiving Food Craft for Kids

Well, Hello Thanksgiving.... You have snuck up on me this year. Again.
Seriously, I'm not sure just what I've been doing lately, but its seems like just yesterday we were Trick or Treating. So, I'd better get busy posting some of my Thanksgiving recipes for yall!

Today, I'm going to give you a quick recipe that you've probably seen all over cyberspace. These little pilgrim hats are just too cute. Even your toddler kiddos can do this food craft themselves.

With the kids out of school this week, you'll probably be dying for just a moment of peace to yourself. Well, you throw all the ingredients out and show your kids how to make these and I bet you'll have no less than 30 minutes of no-fighting, screaming, fussing or crying from the children in your house. Of course, they'll be jacked up on a sugar high after those 30 minutes. But, hey, you got 30 minutes. Right?!?! Let's be Thankful:)


 Pilgrim Hats

  • 1 cup vanilla frosting
  • 32 miniature peanut butter cups
  • 1 package (11-1/2 ounces) fudge-striped cookies
  • 32 pieces orange mini Chiclets gum or any small square candy


  •  Remove paper liners from peanut butter cups.
  • Holding the bottom of a peanut butter cup, dip top of cup in yellow frosting. Position over center hole on the bottom of cookie, forming the hatband and crown. Add a buckle of Chiclets gum. Repeat with remaining cups and cookies. Yield: 32 cookie

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Not too long ago, the Sinful Southern Sweets family took a little trip to the Pumpkin Patch. This is always a fun trip for the girls.  Pull up a stool and enjoy our little outing before we move on to the recipe for today.

Before letting them participate in any of the farm-type fun, I made them have a little "photo shoot." I’m a mean mommy. But, they will thank me one day….maybe. Here are some of our Pre-Pumpkin Patch pics. Notice, that Princess Runwild did not have on Fall colors, like Runwilder and me. She insisted the fall colors did not “agree” with her that day. As frustrating as it may be, you have to applaud her on her reasoning skills.

Later, we enjoyed the corn trough.
Look at those girls make corn-angels. I wanted to make a corn-angel too, but as I hoisted my leg over the wall into the corn trough,  Princess Runwild looked at me with a mortified glare. So, I refrained. They never let me have fun….

Here the girls rode the tire swings. I didn't get to ride those either :(
Say what you want, but whoever thought to carve tires into horses was genius! Well, at least the girls seemed to think so. Smiles all around..
My favorite was the cow train. See for yourself...

And finally, after various other activities, we made it on the hayride to find our pumpkins. Little Runwilder wanted an “itty bitty baby punkin.”
Of course, Runwild wanted the biggest she could carry.
That was the rule….they had to be able to carry it themselves.  I know…as we covered previously...Mean Mommy.  It didn’t work anyways, Mr. Sweets is a big push-over and carried Runwild’s  big pumpkin. He’s sweet like that.

So after a fun-filled pumpkin patch morning what could be better than a pumpkin-patch inspired treat. As I’ve said before, I adore baked goods made with pumpkin. If pumpkin is a favorite of yours too, you will love these Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. If you have any hesitation about these cupcakes, let me sway you. The icing tastes like something on a Cinnabon cinnamon roll. You know the gigantic cinnamon rolls you buy at the mall. I would have been thrilled to have nothing but a bowl of the icing and a spoon! The pumpkin cupcake just cuts a bit of the sweetness of the icing. Perfect as dessert, but could certainly be served for breakfast. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1 (15 ounce) can canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix with pudding
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  •  1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  •  4 cups confectioners' sugar
  •  2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Whisk together the pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and apple pie spice. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and oil. Beat in the eggs, then fold in the pumpkin mixture. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
  4. To make cream cheese frosting: Cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, mixing until smooth. Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla. Spread frosting over cooled cupcakes