Fresh-Picked Apple Danish

Autumn is my favorite season. This weekend my family and I went apple picking at Larriland Farms in Maryland. It was a wonderful afternoon and we got a lot of goodies. Including a ton of fresh-picked apples. Pink Ladies, Granny Smith and Stayman were the varieties that my little boy picked.applesapples2apples3

I spent two days trying to figure out what to make and I settled on an apple danish. This recipe was super fun to make and actually really relaxing. I can’t wait to play around with this again with a different filling.

These were so tasty fresh out of the oven. Will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

Ingredients:

5-7 apples (I used Pink Ladies and Granny Smith)

Half stick of unsalted butter

¼ cup of white sugar

1/3 cup of light brown sugar

¼ teaspoon of cinnamon

Pinch of salt.

 

Egg Wash

1 large egg, room temp

2 tbsp of milk, room temp

 

Follow the recipe for homemade Danish pastry dough.

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Preheat oven to 400 deg

While the dough rests in the fridge, slice your apples.danishh6danish6

Melt butter, allow it to brown not burn over medium heat.

Add apples

Add Add ¼ cup of white sugar and 1/3 cup of light brown sugar.

Simmer until crisp-tender. The apples will be soft but have some bite to them. A sauce will form.danish7danish8

Remove apples from pan and allow to cool in a small bowl.
Pour the sauce that formed into a a bowl and allow it to cool.

Remove dough from fridge

Flour your work surface and roll the dough out into a rectangle that is about 12×6-12×7”.

Slice the corners off of one side and two small triangles off of the other side.

Place dough onto your parchment lined or cooking sprayed baking sheet. (It will be very hard to move the braid if you form the braid on the counter.)

Using a sharp knife or pastry blade, create angled slices. This will form your braid.

Spread the sauce down the center of the rectangle and layer your apple slices.danish13danish14danish15

Alternate dough-strands to form a braid

Fold up the end and create a seal

Brush braid with egg wash

Bake the Danish for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. You will want to rotate the pan every 4-6 minutes to ensure the Danish browns evenly.

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The Danish will be crispy and flaky on the outside and moist on the inside. For a bit of added decadence, brush any remaining sauce onto the Danish fresh out of the oven. Super NOM!

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Simple Black Bean Dip

Super simple, packed with flavor and good for you! Can’t beat that.  This dip makes for a great appetizer or a middle of the afternoon “geez, I need to nosh on something before dinner snack”. I’ve heard…..

dip

2 cans of black beans

2-3 cloves of garlic

Lime

Worcestershire sauce

Rice wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt

Crushed red pepper or jalapeno

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Chili powder

Cumin

Olive oil


  1. In a food processor, place 1 medium red onion, 2 cans of drained and rinsed black beans, 2-3 smashed cloves of garlic, the zest of a lime, the juice of the lime, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar or white balsamic (trust me).
    *(Some recipes call for sweating the garlic, onion and peppers in a pan dip2before pulsing. This is also an option.)
  2. Add a liberal pinch of kosher salt, crushed red pepper or chopped jalapeno, ½ tsp of garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder and a tsp of cumin.
  3. Pulse the food processor while adding about a tbsp. of olive oil.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish or ramekin.dip4
  5. Eat with tortilla chips or raw vegetables.

 

 

 

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© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

#TT: Shrimp and Avocado Plantain Cups

As much as I love a quick and simple recipe, I generally loathe the videos that circulate on a certain social networking site. I saw a recipe similar to this and I was inspired. I changed a lot, for instance, baked cups as opposed to twice fried….something-or-others. I added a lot more flavor (and seasoning, ofc.) and upped the health-factor with more veg and some beans.

These can be eaten as a snack, an appetizer (great accompaniment for my simple black bean dip) or as a meal, just load up your plate and dive in.

 


(12 qty)

You will need: a mandolin slicer, cupcake pan and a microplane

 

3-4 large green plantains

Kosher salt

Pepper

Red onion

One large, ripe avocado

Can of black beans, rinsed

2 limes, 1 zested, 1 for garnish

½ lb to 1 lbs of deveined and peeled shrimp

Medium tomato, chopped

Olive oil

Smoked paprika

Chili powder

Cumin

Onion powder

Garlic powder

Bunch of cilantro

Seeded and chopped serrano pepper (optional)

Cooking spray

 


 

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 

Peel your plantains and cut in half, across.

(PLEASE BE CAREFUL, USE YOUR GUIDE, DO NOT CUT YOUR FINGER TIP OFF. IT’S NOT FUN. TRUST ME)Using your mandolin slicer on the lowest setting (thinnest), slice your plantain as many times as possible.

 

In your cupcake pan, spray with cooking spray.

Layer your plantains inside the pan, cut into pieces as needed (pictured below). Spray with cooking spray, salt and pepper.

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Bake 15-30 minutes, begin checking for crisp, golden brownness around 15 minutes and every couple of minutes after until ready to be pulled.

In a small bowl, add your shrimp and a couple of tbsp of olive oil. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Season liberally with smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, onion powder and garlic powder. Sauté on med-high heat until cooked through.

Reserve 12 whole shrimp and chop up the remainder.

In a large bowl, combine your chopped red onion, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, lime zest, chopped tomato and chopped cooked shrimp. Squeeze the juice of your lime and toss gently to combine.

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After allowing your cups to cool, remove them from the pan.

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Fill your cups with your mixture and top with whole shrimp.

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The filling can be served warm or cold. If there is any leftover, toss it with some baby greens and have a quick, NOM-worthy salad.

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© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

 

Quick & Easy Brownies with Coffee Infused Butter

I am still learning to bake quite a few things, as such, brownies have been the last boxed treat that I had to ditch. I’d long since stopped baking cakes and such from the box, but brownies remained a staple until recently. A warm piece of Duncan Hines’ brownie is really sinful. Partially because it’s from the box and *gasp* “YOU cook from THE BOX!?” and partially because, well, chocolate.

 

They serve a purpose. A middle-of-the-night, “you know what I could go for?” purpose. Then there are other times when not only do you need a hit of chocolate, but you also need the therapy that comes with following the steps of a recipe; the browning of the butter, the measuring and the stirring.

 

Today was one of those days. I needed to eat a brownie just as badly as I needed to create a brownie. This recipe has been adapted from a very basic recipe from King Arthur flour, it’s a bit less sweet and I steeped coffee in my browning butter before adding it to the mixture. (Listen….it’s an extra step but the flavor of the brownie?? NOM!)

 

Ingredients:

10 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick +2 tbsp)

1 to 1 ¼ C white sugar

¾ C unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp of baking powder

1/8 cup of ground coffee (or espresso)

2 large eggs

1 tsp of vanilla extract

2/3 C of AP flour

 

Cooking spray

Foil or parchment

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Allow the butter to cook, stirring frequently. After about 5 minutes add the coffee, again, stirring frequently. The butter will froth up but continue to stir. After about 10 minutes remove pan from the heat.brown1brown2
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, add sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Grab a small bowl and using a fine mesh strainer, pour your butter-coffee mixture. Using a spatula, gently press the coffee mixture in order to get as much of the butter out as you can. (There will be fine coffee particles, don’t worry. This is OK.)brown3brown4
  4. Pour your coffee-butter into your bowl of dry ingredients. Using a silicon spatula, or wooden spoon, stir into all of the ingredients are well-combined.brown5brownie10brown6
  5. In a larger bowl, pour your flour. Into the flour, add your cocoa mixture. Add one egg and stir until combined, then add the final egg and your vanilla extract. Beat this mixture thoroughly until it is well combined, 30-45 seconds. You should not see any flour.brown8
  6. Line your cooking dish with foil or parchment paper, grease with butter or cooking spray.brown7
  7. Add your batter and smooth the top. Using a knife or the flat side of your spatula, create some light swirls.brown9Bake for 20-25 minutes, it should pass the tooth pick test.
  8. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan.
  9. Once cooled, remove lined brownies from the pan and cut into squares.brownier15brown13
  10. Store in an airtight container.

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Chewy Apricot Breakfast Bars

I still have a ton of dried fruit and I’m trying to figure out how to use it. I’ve been snacking on them straight out of the bag, I’ve made smoothies and I’ve made cinammon rolls. And I still have a bunch left. I’m not generally a fan of a huge breakfast, I like to nosh in the morning. These are very yummy and the apricot flavor comes right through. You can pick a few up and go.

 

 

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup oats

½ to 1/3 cup of sugar

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking soda

1 stick of unsalted butter, cold (cubed or shredded)

 

5 oz of dried apricot

½ cup of raw honey

1-2 tsp of water

*You can also use ¾ to 1 cup of apricot preserves

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, salt and baking soda.bars
  3. Cut in butter (using fingers or pastry blender) until the mixture looks like crumbs, you will have chunks of butter.bars2
  4. You’ll want to work quickly but if the butter starts to melt, stick the mixture in the freezer for a few minutes
  5. Press half of the mixture into your greased pan, you want a small-ish pan.
  6. In a food processor, blend apricots and honey. If the mixture is thick add the water.bars5
  7. Spread the apricot mixture then sprink with the remaining oat mix
  8. Press down gently
  9. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. Cool on baking rack and then cut into squaresbars4
  11. Store in air-tight container

 

 

 

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© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Spiced Honey & Banana Muffins

I love a good muffin and I’m always experimenting with different flavor profiles. Banana is a classic. In this recipe I used some of my favorite fall spices and instead of refined sugar, I opted for raw honey. This is not a super sweet muffin but if you insist, I added an alternative towards the end 😉

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Yields 12+ muffins

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½  tsp nutmeg

½ tsp freshly grated ginger

½ tsp salt

2-3  very ripe bananas

½ stick unsalted butter

½  cup honey (if you want a sweeter muffin go for ¾ cup)

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin tin
  2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder and salt
  3. In a separate bowl mash bananas and mix in the honey, egg and butter.muff1
  4. Add the vanilla and the milk until combined
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix with spatula until combined
  6. Fill muffin cups until about two-thirds fullmuff3
  7. Bake until a tooth pick comes out clean, 10-12 minutesmuff4muff6

 

 

The muffins can be kept in an airtight container, leftover batter can be frozen and used at a later date.

 

For a little indulgence:

Mix ½ cup of confectioners sugar with a few tsp of milk until smooth and dip the muffin tops in!

 

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved