Ice Box Cake

Sometimes an ordinary cake will not do. You need other things like cookies, whipped cream, chocolate and coffee all mixed into one. It may not be a pretty cake, but it’s got a lot of flavor and personality.

An Ice Box Cake is supposed to have more pronounced layers but I got a little jittery while applying the whipped cream layers, worried I was going to run out. No matter- the cake still tasted like cookies and whipped cream should. Really really good.

Although extraordinary, you don’t need a celebration to make this cake, since at its base it’s really is just cookies and whipped cream. No frosting here, no actual cake. Somehow that might make you feel more inclined to make it today, as in now.


  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 12 ounces cream cheese (can use light)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee or Kahlúa
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 24 ounces chocolate chip cookies, a crunchy, thin variety
  • milk chocolate nonpareils for decoration (as in snowcaps, or you can find ones that are multicolored)

How To:

In a large bowl (you can use an electric mixer fitted with a whisk if you like), with a hand mixer on low start to whip the heavy cream, cream cheese, sugar, coffe or Kahlúa, cocoa powder, coffee crystals, and vanilla. Once it’s combined, begin to slowly increase the speed. You are looking for firm peaks, like fluffed snow on a mountain top..

For assembly of the cake, start by arranging a layer of chocolate chip cookies on the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. To fill in spaces, break some cookies and fit in-between whole cookies. Spread one-fifth (don’t be stingy) of the whipped cream over the cookies, using a rubber spatula to even. Add another layer of cookies atop the whipped cream, as close together as possible and inseting broken cookies to fill in gaps. Follow with another layer of whipped cream.  Continue to layer until there are five of each, ending with a layer of whipped cream. Smooth over the top and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or if you are on a tight schedule place in freezer for several hours, then refirgerate for a little longer to make sure cookies soften.

Run a sharp knife around the outside of the cake. Carefully remove the sides of the pan. Add decorations –  nonpareils or whatever you like around the edge of the cake. Cut into slices and serve cold.

Carrot Cake Bars

Mmmm cream cheese frosting. Need I say more? Probably, since the title of this post is Carrot Cake Bars. Let’s switch to carrots. They can be sweet; they can be savory. Their bright orange color is enough to brighten up your mid-winter blues. They are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamin A. Put into a batter, the flecks of sunshine create sweetness and add moisture. I find that carrot cakes actually get better as the week goes on. They keep their tender texture and don’t dry out. Must be the magic of carrots (and maybe raisins).

And what’s better, they can be put in cake. CAKE! With cream cheese frosting.

And quite honestly, is there anything dreamier than a moist carrot cake with smooth cream cheese frosting? Both decadent and healthy if done the right way.


  • 1 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 chopped walnuts

for the frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (can be low fat)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first seven ingredients (carrot through ricotta cheese) in a large bowl. Add melted butter and brown sugar and mix well. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oats through walnuts). Stir the carrot mixture into the dry ingredients until fully combined but do not over mix.

Spray an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into the pan and smooth over with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes (a toothpick should come out clean).

For the frosting, whip cream cheese (easier if at room temperature), butter, vanilla, and sugar. Once the carrot cake is cool, frost and cut into squares. Take a minute to enjoy the smooth cream cheesiness. Or, just eat a bar or three.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

In the words of Gossip Girl, omg. This pie is amazing on so many levels. Buttery crust, salted caramel (better than regular caramel), and soft apples with cinnamon and nutmeg. Oh, and flaked crystals of sugar and salt to pull it all together. Again, omg.

I had a friend in high school who would sprinkle salt on her apple slices. I used to think it was so odd, but now – now I get it. Apples + salt + caramel = best fall pie. If you’ve tried fleur de sel caramels, you will find this pie to be a riff, with a welcome fruit addition that causes you to yell “October is here!!” And if you have not had fleur de sel caramels, I implore you to go get some.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds Recipe

the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup ice water

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. This can be done with hands, a pastry blender or a food processor. I really like the first option. Stir in water slowly until the mixture forms a ball. You may not need to use all the water (or you may need a bit more, especially if you are using whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat flour – but I recommend using at least half all purpose unbleached flour). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. You can also place in the freezer for an hour if you want pie ASAP!

Roll out half of dough to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Roll onto rolling pin and lift into pie plate. Press evenly into the bottom and sides. Prick several times with a fork on the bottom and sides.

the caramel:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (flake or fine will work)

Place sugar and water into a medium saucepan and place over low heat. Swish water in the pan manually to get the sugar emmersed. Once sugar starts to boil, watch until the sugar turns to a copper color, after about 10 minutes. Once the mixture is copper or almost brown in color, remove from heat and stir in butter, then heavy cream. Replace on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sea salt flakes. Set aside.

the filling:

  • 4 lemons
  • 6 medium apples
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Squeeze lemons into a large bowl, but lose the seeds. Slice apples very thinly (a mandoline is suggested). Place apple slices in the bowl of lemon juice. Drain the apples and add flour mixture. Toss apples with your hands to coat evenly. Set aside.


Place 1/3 of apple mixture into pie crust. Top with 1/3 caramel sauce. Repeat twice with apples and caramel. Create lattice with remaining pie dough and cut out apple shape if you wish. To lattice, you want to weave the pieces, which I did not do. It was my second lattice pie and I clearly forgot how to lattice appropriately. Brush with a beaten egg (to brown) and top with remainng caramel. Sprinkle raw sugar and sea salt flakes. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Reduce temperature to 335 degrees and bake for an additional 25 to 35 minutes. Let pie rest for at least 30 minutes, but serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

I need to clarify. These brownies, a.k.a. heaven squares, also have caramel in them. It’s a trick I learned from a chef on the Food Network. If you mix the peanut butter with caramel, it has this amazing texture and literally makes you weak in the knees. Especially when combined with chocolate.

Quite seriously they are the epitome of ridiculousness in the brownie world. They combine several awesome flavors: caramel, chocolate, and peanut butter, which really means they have no choice but to be outstanding. It’s in their DNA (er…their ingredients).

I made myself give them away to friends because they were out of control in my house and would have suddenly disappeared. However, they are not to be missed so get baking!

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies Adapted from Bobby Flay


for the peanut butter caramel

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the brownies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 5 ounces high-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

How To:

Pour cream into a small saucepan and heat to a simmer over low heat. In a separate saucepan (small or medium), combine the sugar and water. Cook over high heat without stirring until deep brown. This takes about 10 minutes, but watch the mixture so it doesn’t burn. It is a short time between colors. Once you acheive the right color, whisk in the warm cream until smooth and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat to whisk in the peanut butter, corn syrup, salt and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour into a clean bowl and let cool until thickened at room temperature, about 1 hour/ You can also place it in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Mixture will turn to caramel.

For the brownies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchement, leaving an overhang on two sides. Spray parchement with non-stick spray.

Combine the butter, unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and instant coffee crystals in a double boiler (or place a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water) over low heat to melt. Stir mixture until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes.

In a large bowl whisk eggs, both sugars, vanilla extract and salt until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate mixture while whisking until smooth, making sure to scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour in two additions (the batter will be thick). Stir in the semisweet chocolate chunks.

Place half of the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Drop tablespoons of the peanut butter caramel mixture every few inches over the top of the batter. Add remaining batter on top and smooth over the caramel dollops. Dot remaining caramel over the top. Using a knife, swirl the caramel into the batter to get the marbled effect. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The top should be set but still soft; a cake tester will come out a bit gooey. Cool in pan for a few hours.

The brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or can be frozen for a few weeks.

Doggy Cake

So I’ve been a bit deliquent in regards to posting lately because I was busy preparing for this past Monday – which was “bake the doggy cake day.” It was my fiance’s birthday and I felt it necessary to bake a cake inspired by our dog. I’m not joking, as you can see by the pictures (oops, it is a little blurry).

The Doggy Cake was really just a challenge, to see if I could actually create an edible adorable cake that looks like our dog. I’m pretty sure I succeeded, and the cake was declious on top of it. It is a combination of pound cake and regular cake.  I used a box mix for the yellow portion because I couldn’t bring myself to use another stick or two of butter, since pound cake uses enough on its own. I also changed up the pound cake so I didn’t feel quite as guilty.

The batter needs to be stiff so that it both stays in the cake mold, and so it stand on its own and doesn’t want to keel over.

Finally I used my Nana’s buttercream frosting recipe. There really is no other, and the taste of it brings me back to my 4th birthday, just like this cake should bring back my fiance to his.  In a good way.
Doggy Cake

This recipe requires a 3-D cake mold and a #233 tip for a decorator’s icing bag. I purchased mine from
for the cake: pound cake adapted from

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream (can use regular)
  • 8 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the frosting

  • 1 container white decorator’s frosting by Wilton (or the like)
  • 1/3 cup crisco
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

How To:

First, the cake – preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3-D cake mold with nonstick spray and place on baking rack.

Using a food processor, grind vanilla bean and sugar until very finely chopped and there are few vanilla bean chunks. Sift sugar and vanilla bean mixture to make sure you don’t have any large pieces. Set aside.

Cream the butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl. Gradually add the vanilla sugar, beating until smooth. Add sour cream then the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the flour and salt. Add the vanilla extract and make sure mixture is well well blended.

Mix yellow box cake according to box directions. Add to pound cake batter and mix until just combined. Pour 6 1/2 cups of batter into 3-D mold (could be different based on mold used) and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Do not over bake. Take cake out of oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Now, carefull take front piece of mold off to let steam escape. Place back gently and remove back piece of mold to let steam escape from the back. Replace and sit cake upright, with cake molds still in place for another 15 minutes. Now take off mold and let cake cool for at least 1 hour.

For the frosting, cream crisco and butter until light and fluffy. Pour milk in a small saucepan and set over low heat. You want to scald the milk, getting it very hot without burning it. Gradually add the sugar, beating it thoroughly. Add egg white and vanilla all at once, beating until well combined. Gradually add in the scalded milk while it is still hot – this is necessary in order to dissolve the sugar. Add food coloring of choice and beat until fluffy and until sugar is dissolved – possibly 5 minutes.

Take out 2 tablespoons of decorator’s frosting and place into a very small bowl. Mix with black food coloring and a splash of extract for flavoring (I use butter flavor by Wilton). Place into small ziploc and set aside. Nest mix decorator’s frosting to make it spreading consistency. I add butter flavoring (you can also use vanilla or almond extract) and add food coloring of choice, mixing to create even color. Place frosting into piping bag with #233 tip. Set aside. Spread buttercream frosting on dog cake as a base layer. With black frosting in ziploc, create little eyes and a little nose, along with a mouth and some paws if desired. Next, pipe out hair-like pieces all over cake with decorator’s frosting in the large bag. This will take some time, but the result is worth it!

Clementine Cake with Clementine Buttercream

I can’t get enough of clementines apparently. I recently whipped up a batch of Clementine Cream (or Curd) and needed to experiement a bit more. The lovely Kitchen Butterfly inspired me to create a cake with dreamy, creamy layers using the clementine cream. She recommends mixing the clementine cream with whipped cream or cream fraiche, but since I need my cake to stand at room temperature for a bit I decided a more-able-to-withstand-room-temperature topping was necessary (buttercream).  All I needed was a cake recipe.

Sadly, I can’t say the next part was hard. I really want to say it was a challenging cake, making it seem like I created a masterful dessert. Instead, I simply looked up lemon cake recipes, and exchanged the lemon juice for clementine juice and used the zest of an orange instead of a clementine. I made mini-cakes with pans 6″ in diameter. The result was a lovely little cake, making it easier for me to take piece after piece after piece because they were after all, mini-pieces. And the look of the cake? I’d say it looks pretty cute…and I’ll take the credit if you think its of a masterful quality.

I thought an icing-like frosting was the way to go, as most citrus-flavored cakes have a glaze. Icing to me tastes like a heavy glaze. However, next time I make this cake I will try other frostings because I like more fluff and I think this cake deserves more. The frosting recipe below is a bit heavy, so please offer up frosting suggestions to make this cake better!

Clementine Cake with Clementine Buttercream


for the cake

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh clementine juice
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

for the frosting

  • about 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons clementine curd, divided
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup clementine juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • How To:

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Spray or grease 2 6″ round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.

    Cream the butter and  sugar until light and fluffy about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the lemon zest.

    Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons clementine juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

    When the cakes are done, remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a wire rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

    To prepare frosting, combine 2 tablespoons clementine curd with the butter. Add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, clementine juice, and vanilla extract. Add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.

    Frost cakes by topping first layer with a thin coating of the clementine curd, about 1/3 cup. Top with buttercream frosting, forming a layer over the curd. Top with other cake. Frost both layers with buttercream frosting. Put clementine slices around the cake for garnish.

    This cake will stay “good” for one day out, up to a week in the fridge.

    Clementine Curd (or Cream)

    I could use a little sunshine at the moment and the only manifestation I can think of is to stare at a bowl of clementines.

    In all seriousness, in the winter I crave juicy fruits and citrus. Clementines fall into this category and my mouth waters when I see them appear in their sweet little boxes. I’m a sucker for “cute” marketing. They are in season and I have a whole pile of them waiting for me to test out. The first experiment: clementine curd, which I like to call clementine cream.

    Clementines are very sweet and resemble mini oranges or mandarins. I hadn’t used them in a recipe before this and I’m not sure what I was waiting for. They are seedless and very easy to juice by hand. I did, however, have difficulty grating the zest. Whether they are hard to zest in general (anyone, anyone?) or it was just my clementines… I would use lemon or orange zest instead.


    I’m trying to think of all the many ways to use clementine cream. Here is a list to start: on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, frozen yogurt, freeze to make popsicles, use in tarts, cakes and cupcakes, in frosting, as a filling, as a garnish to a pound cake, even on oatmeal, which I tried this morning with mangos. The smoothness of the clementine cream, mixed with the mango and oatmeal…a good way to start off a less-than-stellar winter day. It tasted blissfully tropical.

    There are so many options! What would you use it in?

    Clementine Cream


    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 2/3 cup fresh clementine juice (about 5 to 6 clementines)
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • pinch salt
    • 1 teaspoon grated clementine zest (orange or lemon will work too)

    How To:

    In a small heat-proof bowl (tempered glass bowl like pyrex), whisk eggs and egg yolks. Set aside.

    In a small saucepan combine juice, sugar, butter, and salt. Heat over medium high until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

    Whisk a few tablespoons of the juice mixture into eggs. Continue whisking eggs and add juice mixture in small increments until combined. Pour back into saucepan and heat on low until mixture thickens. Do not boil. Once thickened, it will leave a path on the back of the spoon and a candy thermometer will read 170 degrees F.

    Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the zest. Transfer to a bowl or glass tupperware. Seal tightly and place in the refrigerator overnight. The curd will thicken more as it cools. It will keep for a week in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer (though I’ve not tried freezing, yet).

    Liz’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

    Liz is my mother. She has been making this cake for decades and it just never fails to be spectacular. So spectacular in fact, when she makes one, she has to make a second because my father can’t take the smell of this cake baking without actually having a piece himself. She makes one to give away, as planned, and one to keep due to my father’s repetitive plea. The aroma is ridiculous – cinnamon, brown sugar, roasting walnuts, ooey buttery cake…

    …I think I blacked out for a moment.

    I said in a previous post there are ingredients in recipes we cannot taste, but make a dish amazing instead of simply good. Sour cream is the secret here, even though its in the title so I guess it cannot be considered secret. However, if you were to give this cake to someone and ask them what they think is in it, sour cream would most likely not be on their list. The sour cream adds moistness and richness, not flavor to the batter and may also be what causes one to eat slice after slice, crumb after crumb until they are using their fingers to pick up pieces of leftover cake on the platter. It happens.

    There is a trick to the cinnamon swirl; thickly pile it making it a true layer. The slices look pretty and you are left with a cakey, cinnamon crunchy, chewy raisin taste-layering effect.

    Liz’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake


    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/2 cup raisins, chopped
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 3 eggs at room temperature
    • 1 pint sour cream (2 cups)

    How To:

    Combine brown sugar, chopped nuts, raisins, and cinnamon. Set mixture aside. Sife together flour, baking soda, and salt.

    Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture alternately with sour cream. Stir until smooth after each addition. Pour 1/3 of batter into greased 10 inch tube pan. Sprinkly with 1/3 of nut mixture. Repeat two more times. When sprinkling last bit on top, try not to add many raisins as they tend to burn (leave them more for the middle layers).

    Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, but test after 1 hour with a cake tester to see if done. Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes or more. Serve with coffee…or not.

    Gingerbread Cookies

    I now know this recipe by heart because I made it multiple times this week and because it has only a handful of ingredients. It makes the best gingerbread cookies – somewhere between a sugar cookie and  traditional gingerbread, which gives them mass appeal, perfect for your holiday gathering.

    And who doesn’t like to eat cookies in an array of shapes – little men, snowflakes, ornaments, trains, mittens, etc.?

    I’ve overbaked several batches (not burned them), but there hasn’t been an issue…thanks to people who like crunchy cookies.

    This gingerbread recipe is perfect for icing, only I prefer mine plain. I’ve also thought about dipping them in chocolate – white, dark or milk. If you dip them, let me know how they turn out!  

    Gingerbread Cookies


    • 1 cup margarine
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 3 teaspoons orange zest
    • 1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
    • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (or dark, if that is what you have)
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda

    How To:

    Cream margarine and sugar. Add egg, blending until light and fluffy. Add orange zest, orange juice and corn syrup.

    Sift spices and baking soda with flour. Slowly add to margarine-sugar mixture. Refrigerate dough at least 4 hours or overnight.

    When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (may also bake unlined). Roll out one quarter of the dough (place rest of dough back in refrigerator until ready for next batch) to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out with desired cookie cutters.  Place 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet and remaining time on wire rack. Ice with royal icing or eat as is!

    Makes approximately 4 dozen with medium cookie cutters or 6 dozen with small cookie cutters.

    Dutch Apple Crisp

    Are you in need of a fast and easy yet still deliciously gratifying dessert? One that can be served with ice cream or whipped cream or anything with the word cream involved? Then you have come to the right place.  Dutch Apple Crisp is a chunky apple dessert with all the normal apple pie attributes, but takes far less time and effort to make and can be transformed into a delicate-looking, entertaining-worthy dish (by the magic of a mini trifle bowl).

    Although the fall harvest is behind us (evidenced by the snow blowing every which way outside my window) there is still an abundance of apples in the stores. Those apples deserve to be covered in a rich flurry of sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and pecans until they are glistening in the kind of way that makes you dip a tasting spoon out of necessity. 


    If that alone doesn’t tickle your apple fancy, please note the apples are covered again by an inch of crunchy streusel, to compliment their tenderness. The streusel, with its sugary-buttery nuggets makes you forget all about a pie crust . This is the type of dessert that puts standard apple pies to shame. If you won’t take my word for it, just ask the apples. They’ll tell you.

    Dutch Apple Crisp


    Apple Filling

    • About 4 medium Granny Smith apples
    • About 3-4  Fuji, gala, or McIntosh apples
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • Pinch kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup raisins (or golden raisins if you want to do a monochromatic scheme)
    • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
    •  1/2 cup cream (may use half and half or heavy cream) 

    Streusel Topping

    • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

    How To:

    Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

    For the apple filling: Peel, quarter, and core apples; dice apples into approx. 1/2″ cubes. Toss apples, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl to combine.

    Heat butter in large stockpot (or Dutch oven) over high heat until foaming subsides, taking care not to burn. Add apple chunks and toss to coat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, stirring occasionally until apples are softened (about 5 minutes). Stir in raisins and pecans. Let the mixture cook covered once again, stirring occasionally. The Granny Smith chunks will be tender and the other apple chunks will be very softened, beginning to break down. This will take about 5 additional minutes.

    Set a large colander over a large bowl so the bowl will catch the apple syrup-y juice. Pour cooked apples to colander; shake and toss apples to drain off juice. Pour juice into a small saucepan and add cream. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until thickened . Transfer apples to an 8-inch square baking dish and pour reduced juice mixture over, spreading evenly.

    For the streusel topping: Combine flours and sugars in a medium bowl; drizzle with melted butter and toss with a fork until moistened. Mixture will resemble a streusel- large chunks and itty bitty pea-sized pieces. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread streusel in even layer on baking sheet. Bake streusel until golden brown, about 5 minutes; cool baking sheet with streusel on wire rack about 5 minutes. Sprinkle streusel evenly over apples. Set apple dish on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Streusel will be a deep golden brown. Cool slightly on a wire rack and serve with ice cream or cream of your choice.