Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Half-Pint Pies are Cute!

They make great favors for a housewarming party, too!  After they're assembled they reside in your freezer until you have a hankerin' for pie - or until you send them home with party guests.  I took some "before" pictures of the frozen pies before I gave them all away:


They can be baked right in the jar (after the lids have been removed, of course) and then either popped out onto a plate or eaten right from the jar.  


The tutorial for these single serving pies in jars (I renamed them half-pint pies) can be found at the Our Best Bites blog.  It's a great one with lots of helpful photos. 

After making a few I started getting more creative with the top crusts and the fillings.  I think the lattice top is my favorite.  It's so cute!  I don't usually use that adjective in my pie-talk, but the tinyness of it really does make it cute.  As for the filling, I think you could use any pie or dessert recipe you already have and just scale it down.  I chose apple crisp and cherry pie.  Don't tell anyone, but I used a canned filling from the grocery store for the cherry pies.  If you want the recipes I used for the crust or the apple crisps, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

If you're giving them as gifts, it's nice to pack them in something because the glass is super cold and hard to hold on to.  I went with brown lunch bags and fancied them up a bit with some ribbon and some labels.



I highly recommend that you give these cuties a try.  I'm already thinking about what kind of fillings I can try next!


So, here are the recipes I used:

Pie Crust (enough for 4 half-pint pies)
1 1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening (I used butter-flavored)
3 T cold water

Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut in shortening until pea-sized chunks form and sides of bowl come clean.
Sprinkle with water 1 T at a time, tossing with a fork after each addition.


Apples for Apple Pie Filling or Apple Crisp Filling (enough for 4 half-pint pies, plus some extra to snack on)
3 large apples
1/4 c. sugar
3 T flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
dash of salt

Slice and peel the apples.  Cut them into chunks or thinner slices. 
Combine remaining ingredients.  Add the apples and toss until the slices are well-coated.
Spoon into jars.


Crumb Topping for Crisps (enough for 4-6 half-pint pies)
1/4 + 1/8 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1/4 + 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 + 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 1/2 T butter, softened

Mix everything except the butter together in a bowl.  Cut in the butter until well mixed.  If the topping is your favorite part of a crisp, sprinkle a spoonful on the bottom of the jar before you add the filling.


Use 3 or 4 more spoonfuls (some will spill onto the counter, so this isn't an exact measurement) to top off the crisp and kinda pack it down over the fruit.  You can use a cookie cutter to stamp a little design in the topping if you'd like.


Bake Times
Apple crisps:  375 for 30-35 minutes
Cherry pies:  375 for 50-60 minutes

I Was Featured Pretty Packages Party


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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

House Warming Party Invitations

That's what I'll be doing next Tuesday, along with the help of my two other sisters and my mom.  My sister Jennie and her two kids moved in to their brand new house in September and it's high time they had a housewarming party to showcase their accomplishement - it took a year to construct and they (my sister, mainly) helped out with much of the labor. 

So, in between blowing my nose and caring for my ailing child (we're both really close to being totally healthy again) I've been designing and assembling these housewarming/open house invitations.

FRONT:

INSIDE:
The boxes are unpacked,
The curtains hung with care,
But Jennifer's kitchen
Is still pretty bare.
(she doesn't even have a cookie sheet!)

BACK:

Now I need to corral my co-hosts and decide what kind of snacks we're going to serve.  I'm also working on some party favors for the visitors to take home and enjoy later.  Stay tuned for more housewarming posts to come in the near future!


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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Tute for a Hoot!


While searching for this recipe I discovered that it was invented by Natalie Riggin of Olympia, WA (not far from where I live) and it won her Pilsbury Bake-Off accolades in 1956!  Here's where I learned that little tidbit and what follows is the recipe with a couple of tutorial photos for the owl cookies we made this Halloween.

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. butter, softened
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 c. flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • chocolate chips
  • whole cashews and/or almonds
Beat brown sugar and butter 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and egg.  Beat in flour, powder and salt until dough forms.  Place 1 cup of dough in a small bowl and stir in melted chocolate and baking soda.

On a piece of plastic wrap, press half of the light-colored dough into a 10" x 4" strip.
Shape half of the chocolate dough into a roll 10" long (kind of like a giant tootsie roll) and lay it on top of the light dough.


Roll the light dough up around the chocolate dough. 


Wrap up this log in plastic wrap.  Now repeat this process for the remaining dough.  You'll end up with two plastic-wrapped logs that need to be refrigerated for 1 hour.  After an hour, working with one log at a time, unwrap it and cut it into 1/4" slices (about 22 pieces total).

 

Select two pieces that are similar in size and pinch an ear shape into each one.


Place the two eye pieces, touching, on a cookie sheet.  Use a butterknife to make a couple of indentations on each ear.


Now, lay a chocolate chip in the center of each brown eye spot.  Then press a nut of your choice into the center of the face and that's it!



Bake a sheet of owl cookies at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  I found that mine needed the full 10, but ovens vary, so there ya go.  I think I ended up with a total of 22 cookies.  The chocolate chips take a couple of hours to set/harden, so keep that in mind.


I hope you get a chance to try these.  They're really simple and four-year-olds can help with the nut and chocolate chip placement.  Happy hooting!


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