Iced Hermits

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE COOKIES
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for baking sheet
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 cup chopped candied ginger, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup raisins

FOR THE ICING
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar, plus more if needed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line bottom with parchment paper, and butter parchment; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cloves in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Put butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add brown sugars; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg and yolk, and molasses. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Mix in 1/2 cup candied ginger and the raisins.
    Spread dough evenly onto prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until firm, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool completely in baking sheet on a wire rack.
  3. Make icing: Put brown sugar, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla and confectioners sugar. If icing is too thick to drizzle, stir in more milk, a teaspoon at a time. If icing is too thin, stir in more confectioners sugar, a teaspoon at a time. Let cool slightly.
  4. Drizzle bars with icing; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup candied ginger. Let stand until icing has set, about 15 minutes. Cut into 2-inch squares. Bars can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

NOTE: These bars are a bit on the dry side. I added 1/4 c milk to keep them moist. With the milk, they will not store as long as they would otherwise.

NOTE2: DO NOT double the spices in this recipe. They already have an “Indian” level of spice. You’ve been warned. ^^

NOTE3: These are really delicious, amazing cookies.

NOTE4: The icing tastes a lot like New Orleans pralines. Yum yum.

Kicked Up Apple Crisp

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I’m of Indian origin, and I like spices. For most American recipes, I generally double, triple or quadruple the amount of spices specified. Most people don’t, spices are expensive, and they don’t know which spice blends well with others. The below recipe is, IMHO, what a proper apple crisp should taste like. If you don’t like spices, simply omit them, or minimally use 1/2 tsp cinnamon only.

This is my original recipe. Enjoy!

Note: Always use McCormick spices for best flavors. Yes, it is worth the money, and yes, it makes a difference. If you can’t afford McCormick, just omit the spices altogether. Bad spices will really mar the flavor of your baking, and totally undermine the work you put into your meal.

This is a one dish (the pyrex brownie pan) and one bowl (for the dry ingredients) recipe. No measuring cup or anything to clean, just use a big tablespoon and a knife to cut the bIMG_20160320_164016utter. Spices are not measured either, just sprinkle evenly straight from the bottle.

Important: do not substitute other apple types for the granny smith apples. Yes, it makes a difference. Granny smith apples are preferred in baking because they don’t get mushy when you bake them. See picture of the apples at right, fork cut after baking:

Also, granny smith apples are tart, so if you sub in something else, the sugar content will have to be adjusted. I like the blend of sweet and sour and spicy the granny smith apples provide. It makes the dessert feel less sweet (and easier to finish a whole pan by yourself!)

Yield: One 8×8 brownie pan full.

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Ingredients:

FILLING:

2 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp ginger, ground
1/2 tsp allspice, ground
1/4 tsp clove, ground
1/4 stick butter, softened
1/4 tsp lemon juice (fresh!)

TOPPING:

4 big tablespoons all purpose flour
6 big tablespoons quaker oats
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line up sliced apples in bottom of pyrex pan. One layer is sufficient. Eat any extras. You will generally use 1.5 large granny smith apples for the one layer, or 2 small granny smith apples.
  2. Squeeze lemon juice over the apples.
  3. Sprinkle spices over the apples.
  4. Dot butter over the apples.
  5. It should look like this:IMG_20160320_155744
  6. Now mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Use your hands and smush it all together. When it is all mixed well, and there isn’t any loose flour or oatmeal wandering around, you are done. It should look like this (you can see the tablespoon I used to measure the flour and oatmeal in the picture too):IMG_20160320_155751
  7. Now lay the flour mixture over the apples in the pan in a nice even layer. It won’t be perfect. It doesn’t matter. In the oven, it’ll mix and ooze deliciously regardless. It looks like this before you put it in the oven:IMG_20160320_160038
  8. Bake 375 F for 25 min. It will ooze and bubble deliciously.
  9. Enjoy hot out of the oven. Tastes great covered with whipping cream (liquid or whipped), ice cream, or yogurt, drizzled with caramel sauce.
  10. Enjoy!

This dessert is super fast and super easy, it takes 15 minutes to put together.

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Bake it just as you and your family are sitting down to dinner, and by the time you finish, a nice hot dessert will be ready for you!

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I love serving this to guests and to family for the holidays, or bringing it to a potluck. If you omit the spices, the apple crisp still tastes good, and becomes a very economical option for gifting. Yum yum yum! Enjoy!