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Apple Fritter Cake and UFOs

Dang, was this recipe was an evolution!  I just set out to adapt a recipe that used cake mix but make it without cake mix.  I did it, the cake part itself turned out great!  I was really proud of myself but overall I thought the cake was too sweet.  However, I loved the glaze on it!  It was just like a donut glaze, and since the overall effect of the cake was that of a coffee cake and I had just bought a butt load (yes, I said butt load) of apples, I thought I’d make an Apple Fritter Cake!  Also, because I wanted to cut down on the overall sugar content I changed my base recipe and decided to start my adaption from my all time fave Joy the Baker.  She has this awesome Strawberry Coffee Cake that is a big hit in this house.  It is one of my husband’s favorites, so I know it is good.

The tart apples cut the sweetness a bit.  Cinnamon just makes it better.  It really tastes like an apple fritter!

Before we get into anything else, is anyone else completely overwhelmed by the season yet?  Not just the holidays necessarily but for my kids the end of soccer season and the beginning of performance team is coming up.  The end of the year party and playoffs are stuck into the days that the girls don’t have practice or dance.  O yeah, dance.  My girls love to perform so I sign them up to be on performance team where they go to local festivities and dance.  We have those coming up.  There are two parades they are in starting today.  Plus Angela insisted on trying to make a classmates birthday party right after the parade…we’ll see.  Man o man, it is all coming up: Thanksgiving, a birthday party for three family members at once a few days later, three dance performances, two days of playoffs, dance Christmas show and party, soccer party, school parties, Christmas, Robert’s third birthday, then New Year’s, then vacation (which is never vacation for a mom, right?).  I just need to breathe and make lists and I should be OK but I need to keep remembering that!  Breathe and make lists!  Breathe and make lists!  Seriously, just listing everything coming up has made me feel better, thanks!

My GeekyLink for this week is something I discovered last week but had to wait because The Hunger Games trailer was released before I could share it with you. Army vs. UFO (1942; Los Angeles), I had never heard about this.  Now I don’t even remember how I came across it but I found it completely intriguing especially growing up in Southern California and being a longtime lover and follower of UFO lore.  Eyewitness to History is one of the links under the video and I really liked it because it sets the stage for the things that went on during that time.  Air raid drills and blackouts and anti-aircraft target practice late into the night set the stage during a World War II era UFO sighting that was either nothing that went way too far or something that just gave up after us firing at it for two hours.  Anyways, I thought it was pretty cool.

Recipe Follows

Cinnamon Cranberry Apple Muffins and Happy Accidents

I was so frickin (yes, I said frickin!) mad at my husband yesterday.  My family would say, “So what else is new.”  But no really, yesterday I was totally justified.  You see, he has a very funky work schedule (he is a truck driver) and I always try my best to be very accommodating.  I mean, he has to sleep, there are peoples lives on the line!  I try to keep the kids as quiet as possible, even taking them out when I don’t need to go out, just to keep the house quiet for him.  Sometimes, though, he just doesn’t cooperate.  It is not that he has trouble sleeping necessarily, it is just that if he knows that he HAS to sleep it makes it harder for him to GET to sleep.  My problem is that on his days off he likes to stick to his work schedule.  While I understand that, it is much harder to stick with in everyday life.  You see, I was in the middle of making a batch of muffins that I had never made before.  They should have been done by the time I was supposed to leave to pick up my preschooler from school.  They weren’t.

To be fair, I never asked for his help but he was awake at this point (he even dressed my son to go with me) and he usually isn’t.  It was his day off.  I was making remarks about how he was ruining my muffins but he never said a word.  So out of the oven the muffins went, just minutes from being done.  And, as I feared, once I got back from picking up Sarah, my muffins were all sunken in, unsalvageable.  Luckily, it was a big batch, I had nine more to bake and I over baked them!  That is when I lost it.  He told me I should have told him when to take them out but I told him I didn’t know when that would have been as it was a new recipe.  He told me to make them over.  I told him I was out of cranberries.

Ready for the oven!

I was bummed.  After eating a bit of over baked muffin, it got me thinking.  I started to see the flaws in my muffin.  I was thinking what else I might change and how I could make it better.  The original recipe calls for a cup of oil.  The first time around I changed it to one cup of brown butter but I think that it was too much.  In the topping, I first used 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and although it made my house smell phenomenal, it was a bit much too.  The first time, I only used about 3/4 cup of cranberries and when I ate my over baked muffin I wanted more.  That meant a quick trip to the store because I was also out of brown sugar (how did that happen?).  I also decided to used my white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, just because.

Can you see his little muffin face saying, "Eat me"?

These muffins are awesome!  They would be a perfect addition to any Christmas breakfast.  They have less sugar and butter than before (yay, for applesauce).  They baked up so pretty with perfect little domes and everything.  The topping is so awesome, it adds a nice sweetness and crunch. Plus, with the brown butter and cinnamon, how much better could your house smell?  We ended up going out to dinner (yay, for gift cards) and once we sat down I had to thank my husband for helping me to make a better muffin.

My official GeekyLink for this post is about the Hunger Games.  If you haven’t read these books yet, please do so!  I am gearing up for the movie coming in the spring and so have this picture from Vanity Fair to share The Young Cast of The Hunger Games.  Scroll over their faces and you will see who is playing what and if you haven’t read these books, it will give you the gist and hopefully make you want to read them.  However, I do want to tell my Doctor Who fans about a contest You Might Be In BBC America’s Next Doctor Who Special. Yes, You.  So take a look if you are interested.

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Oven Baked Apple Donuts

What a long weekend!  It started early Friday, with getting everything ready for the fair and didn’t end till I popped one of these in my mouth on Sunday night.

The fair was a major success!  Despite the exorbitant prices and a mini meltdown early in the day by my son, there was fun and good food to be had all around.  Plus, it wasn’t too hot.

Saturday was just as fun with the beginning of soccer season starting bright and early for us at 8AM.  My oldest had a great time and a great game.  My four year old…I just don’t think soccer is her thing.  At one point, she picked up the ball and put it in front of the goal so she could kick it in.  It was hilarious!  Not for the action in and of itself, it was the look on her face when she did it.  She was fed up and you could tell.  Also, when we got home, she kept saying soccer was boring.  However, she still kept asking when her next game was, so we shall see.  We also stayed at the soccer fields to watch my nephews play.  The only tough part of the day, was reining in my two year old the entire time.  Afterwards, my friend came over and we caught up on Dr. Who and the season finale of Torchwood.  Once she left, it was back to work menu planning for the coming week.

Sunday was grocery shopping and catching up on dishes.  Finally, at the end of the night, I got to bake.  I was able to make some yummy stuff, covered in cinnamon sugar. Plus, I got to bake with apples.  

I told you I was gonna!  These little itty bitty donuts were just perfect.

I didn’t feel the need to change a thing.  I did add a bit more apple, but that was just because I had a few more cut up and I figured why not.  I also did mess up a bit on the method (I forgot to add the butter before the apple mixture, oops) but it all turned out alright.  The only thing that would have made this recipe better is if I had put the batter in the fridge overnight so I could have baked them first thing in the morning.  Then, they would have won an award for the Best Monday Morning Breakfast Ever!

Mmmm, cinnamon sugar…

Now, back to Dr. Who and Torchwood…

Lots of fans of the Doctor have issues with Amy and Rory, I am not one of those people.  Any man that waits two thousand years for his woman is a man I can get behind.  Of course he would still love Amy aged thirty five years more, was it even really a question?

The ending of Torchwood was kind of a bummer.  Poor Alexa Havens (former Babe from All My Children) died in the last episode and since I had heard they were going to do another season, I was really disappointed.  Not in the episode, however, because any fan of the non mortal Captain Jack Harkness can totally get behind the ending.  However, I read a review that said overall the season was a 44 minute episode stretched to 440 minutes.  Yeah, kinda.  Still excited that there will be a season five!

GeekyLink Alert!  Now that we are finished with Torchwood, my friend and I are going to watch Joss Whedon’s Firefly.  We both heard it was great.  She has seen Serenity (the Firefly movie) and is a big Buffy fan.  I am a Nathan Fillion fan (ever since One Life to Live), but hadn’t seen the series.  So I will let you know how that all goes, we have only seen the pilot so far.

Recipe Follows

Cinnamon Blueberry Cookies with Cream Cheese

Dang it is hot!

Maybe that is why I changed these cookies so much.  They were supposed to be Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake cookies.   Nice, crisp, clean summer flavors.  I had every intention of making them.  I bought lemons and everything!  The cheesecake part started me thinking a bit about fall, though.  We have had a mild summer here in So Cal for the most part but, around my birthday and just this past week, it has been scorching.  I just want the summer to be over and fall to be here.  So I decided to change it up a bit.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure it would work.  I just tried my hardest, using all the baking skills I have learned so far.

It all turned out well!  Next time I might add more spice and you don’t really need the cream cheese, the cookie can stand on its own, but it is a nice little nugget to bite into, but so are the blueberries already.  This is one of those soft pillowy cookies that is almost like biting into a cake.  No crunch.  I did miss that a little, so I added a bit of cinnamon sugar immediately after they were baked and that helped.

{Note, if adding cinnamon sugar, add it immediately after baking not before.  It just won’t be the same, the cookie is soft and will just absorb the sugar, not let it stay crunchy and crystallized.}

I really want to try it with diced apples (Apple Cheesecake Cookies anyone?)!  I want to try LOTS of recipes with apples.  I want to try LOTS of recipes with these flavors.  I want to be able to bake, but it is just so dang hot!  To be fair, I did bake these yesterday in the scorching heat but I want to be able to bake and still be relatively comfortable.

It is supposed to cool down from this weekend till the middle of the week.  I can’t wait!  I am so excited!  I am also excited because I get to go to the fair with my husband and kids later today.  Then, tomorrow is the first game of the soccer season for my oldest AND the first game ever for my four year old, yay!

Sunday, I am baking.

My GeekyLink is something I wish I could have shared on my first post.  I just found it on The Nerdist website this week.  Yes, I am still actively trying to get you to watch Dr. Who.  This trailer Three Doctors, One Trailer shows all of the Doctors since the series came back: Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and of course, the current Doctor, Matt Smith.  I really like it but I do think it is a bit Eccleston heavy (and a bit Tennant lacking) considering he was only the Doctor for one season, but I figure, he WAS the first new Doctor so he is kind of important.  Don’t forget The Girl Who Waited is coming up on Saturday.

Cinnamon Blueberry Cookies with Cream Cheese

Adapted from

Makes about 18 cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 freshly grated nutmeg

1 heaping tablespoon yogurt

1/2 cup blueberries

1/4 package cream cheese, cut into 1 teapsoon cubes (optional)

either sugar or a blend of cinnamon sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until it is light and fluffy.  Blend in the vanilla and egg.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour.  Mix half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.  Mix in the yogurt and blend, then mix in the rest of the flour mixture.  Gently fold in the blueberries so as not to burst any.  Refrigerate the dough for about 15-20 minutes to help make it stiff enough to roll.

For each cookie, roll 1 heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball then flatten it slightly into a disc shape.  Place cream cheese cube into the center and form the dough around it creating a ball again.  Bake them for about 10-14 minutes until the edges brown slightly.   Immediately, sprinkle with sugar.

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