American sweets

Apple Butter

apple-butter

A few weeks ago I read a book about a family that lived on an apple farm and needless to say after I finished it all I could think about it was all kinds of apple treats. So this past weekend I went and bought an assortment of apples so that I could get started. I made an apple cake the other day, which was finished pretty fast, but really the only thing I have had on my mind is apple butter. Apple Butter is a pretty traditional Southern treat that dates back to colonial days. Ladies spend all Fall making and canning for the upcoming year. I would love waking up in the mornings growing up to a plate of fresh hot buttermilk biscuits and a jar of my mommas apple butter.

In the South we always just eat apple butter with biscuits, but we also use it as stuffing inside little hand held apple pies as well. If you have never had the pleasure or trying apple butter it is thick and concentrated kind of like apple sauce yet with a more butter consistency. Back in the day apple butter was prepared in large copper kettles outside. Large paddles were used to stir the apples, and family members would take turns stirring.

I am always really proud of myself when I make something just like my momma used to. Most of you probably think I grew up cooking Southern food with my family, but the truth is that I never even cooked before I got married. So I actually learned how to cook Arabic food way before my own. I am still learning and getting to know how to cook proper Southern food.

2 green apples, peeled and cored
2 red apples, peeled and cored
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1-1/3 cup apple juice

1. In a saucepan on medium heat orange juice and slice apples into pan. Add vanilla, cinnamon and allspice, stir. Add sugar and apple juice. Cover, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

2. With a hand held mixer, blend apples in the pan to get a thick consistency. Serve!

Yields: 1-1/2 cups

Yogurt Honey Cake

yogurt-honey-cake

A few days ago I was in the mood for a cake, but not all the calories one is filled with. I went in the kitchen and decided to come up with a healthier option. Now this is not guilt free, but it is healthier than most and butter free which was my goal. Yogurt is an amazing substitute for butter and even eggs keeping all the moisture intact that those two bring. My oven broke and I baked this in my little table oven and it rose a bit more than needed so after baking I just lightly pushed the middle down with a pot holder and it worked perfect.

I ended up using olive oil and was worried that it may taste like olives, but thankfully it did not have an olive taste whatsoever and I even greased the pan with the oil as well. This was seriously one of the best cakes that I have had and is perfect served with fresh berries. Just the right amount of cake without too much butter or sugar.

2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons semolina
1/2 teaspoon salt

topping:
1/3 cup flaked almonds
honey

1. Pre-heat oven to 400C. In a large mixing bowl add eggs and sugar, with a hand mixer beat until light and fluffy. Add olive oil, baking powder, baking soda, salt, semolina and sugar, mix well.

2. Carefully add yogurt, mix well and add flour until well combined. With olive oil grease a round 9×9 inch baking pan then dust with flour.

3. Carefully add batter into pan. The batter should not be more than half way full (or it will rise too much). Sprinkle almonds all over the top of the batter and bake for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

4. While still hot pour honey on top of cake and lightly brush with a pastry brush until top is covered. Allow to slightly cool and serve.

Yields: 1 9-inch cake

Strawberry Buckle

strawberry-buckle

About a month ago I came across one of my favorite foodies talking about The Secret Recipe Club and immediately thought it sounded like fun. A great way to meet other foodies and make recipes that I may not have tried before, I’m in. Unfortunately there was a waiting list so I was not able to join right away, but soon I was contacted and in and today I am sharing with you my very first recipe from my new club.

I was sent a link to the blog Choose with Noodles which meant I could choose any recipe from the blog that I would like. As soon as I came across blueberry buckle I knew I wanted to make it. The thing is though that blueberries are hard to come by here in Saudi and when you do find them they are pretty expensive therefore I substituted strawberries which I always have on hand. I knew right away this recipe was going to be perfect. The batter was just the perfect color and consistency.

It was a pretty simple little cake to make and the perfect size. I made some mint tea to have with mine and they paired well together.

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped strawberries

Topping:
2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into half inch cubes

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 8×8 baking pan and sit aside. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together butter, sugar and egg. Pour in milk and add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until everything is combined, then gently fold in the strawberries.

2. Spread the batter into the prepared dish.

3. To make the topping, stir together the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter and dry ingredients together until you have pea sized pieces of topping. Sprinkle over the batter and bake about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Yields: 8 servings

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