Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Baking

Yesterday was one of the biggest eating holidays there is. With all the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, rolls, and deviled eggs, you end the day pretty stuffed. BUT you can't forget about dessert!

The classic Thanksgiving dessert is pumpkin pie. This year, I decided to do a different take on it, and made apple butter pumpkin pie! Everyone knows how much I love apple butter, and that plus pumpkin? How can you go wrong? You can't! I've made this recipe in the past, so I was looking forward to making it again.

Now, I suck at making pie crusts, and until I get a food processor, I refuse to try again. So instead, I did cheat and used pre-made pie crusts. I used a 9inch pie pan, and laid the crust into the pan, and attempted to crimp the edges. It didn't work too well, but it's good enough.

Then, in a bowl, I combined one can of pumpkin, half a cup of apple butter, half a cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.
I then slightly beat 2 eggs and another egg yolk to add into the bowl of ingredients.
After the eggs are combined into the other ingredients, I stirred in half a cup of whipping cream.
Once the cream was completely combined, I poured the filling into the crust. I then used strips of aluminum foil to cover the crust for the first half of baking so that it wouldn't burn.
I baked the pie for 20 minutes at 375 degrees, and then took the aluminum foil off, and baked for another 35 minutes.

The apple butter gave the pie a deeper color, which I loved. And it also mutes the pumpkin so it's not overly pumpkin and makes it a tad sweeter, and adds in an extra spice flavor. I loved it!

I also made my usual sugar cookies! These cookies are great because they're not overly sugary.
First you combine four cups of flour with two teaspoons of baking powder and set aside.
Then in your mixer, cream 3/4 cup butter that's been softened to room temperature with 1.5 cups of sugar.
You want to have it mix for a couple minutes until it's light and fluffy. Then add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Once that's all mixed together, you add in the flour mixture in thirds to create the dough!
Now, once again, I had dry dough on my hands. There was no way in it's current state I'd be able to form the dough, roll it out, and cut it into shapes. So I used my handy water trick and added in about half a cup of water. This helped bring it to the perfect consistency! Once the dough was formed, I rolled it out in sections (making sure to flour the counter and my rolling pin so that it wouldn't stick), and cut out some cookies! I decided to go with the leaf cookie cutter seeing as how it is the fall.
You don't have to spread the cookies very far from each other on the cookie sheet, because they don't spread out or get much bigger in the oven.

I baked each batch for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees until they were a perfect light golden on the bottom. It's been pretty exact baking every time I make them, so I don't even really have to check them.

The frosting is super simple, I just use confectioner's sugar and water. I don't have any exact measurements for this, I just add more confectioner's sugar to make it thicker, or more water to thin it out. I just used a spoon to frost the cookies, and I did leave some without frosting in case that's what people preferred.

It was some long baking but definitely worth it. There was something very calming about rolling out cookie dough (totally strange, but I think it's a good sign that I picked the right hobby if it makes me feel that way). And the leftover pie in my fridge is totally worth it!

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