Crunchy, Nutty Apple Crisp with a Sprinkling of Bacon

Sprinkling on bits of crispy bacon during the last few minutes of baking is, of course, optional. But it sure is a fun option!  

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I always have such good intentions.  I always buy lots of fruit and I always throw away some of that fruit.  This time I put those soft apples to good use and baked one of my favorite old-fashioned desserts – Apple Crisp.  Sprinkling on bits of crispy bacon towards the end of the baking time gives this dessert an new twist.

You know, I actually prefer eating apple crisp at room temperature, but that didn’t keep me from giving myself a big serving while it was still hot.

Except for coring, peeling and cutting the apples, this dessert takes very little time to prepare.

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8 – 9 inch square cake pan        Bake at 350F for 30 – 35 minutes

Add chopped, cooked bacon 5 minutes before apple crisp is ready to come out of the oven.

Ingredients

    Apple Filling

  • 7 cups peeled, sliced apples
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 pinches nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. flour     ++ Flour helps thicken the apple juices
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

    Topping

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar   ++  Just leveled, not ‘packed’    
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbs COLD butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 2 – 3 Tbs. roughly chopped cooked bacon  To be added during last few minutes of baking.

++  As the old expression goes, “Live and Learn’.  I learned that finely chopping the cooked bacon was NOT the way to go, so I recommend doing a rough chop.  Also, it’s better if the bacon is slightly crispy… not super crispy.  

Method

In a large bowl mix 7 cups peeled, sliced apples, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 3 pinches nutmeg, 1 Tbs. flour and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Pour into a square baking pan.

Place 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 4 Tbs cold butter (cut into small pieces) and 2 pinches salt in a medium bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, or two knives, mix ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.  (Do NOT add the bacon!)

Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the sliced apples.  Bake at 350F for 30 – 35 minutes.  The apple filling should be bubbling and the topping should be browned.

++ If adding 2 – 3 Tbs. chopped cooked bacon – sprinkle it on 5 minutes before apples crisp is fully cooked.    Enjoy!

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Butter Brickle Cake Frosted with Whipped Cream & Topped with Crushed Milk Chocolate Toffee

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‘Butter Brickle Cake Frosted with Whipped Cream & Topped with Crushed Milk Chocolate Toffee’ was chosen by ‘Bernideen’s Tea Time’ as a special feature!!!

http://blog.bernideens.com/2016/02/special-features-from-bttcg-blog-party_20.html

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Butter Brickle Cake Frosted with Whipped Cream & Topped with Crushed Milk Chocolate Toffee starts with a yellow cake mix to which melted butter, milk, eggs, butter brickle baking bits and vanilla are added.  After baking, the two layers are cut in half to form four, and each layer is frosted with whipped cream and sprinkled with crushed milk chocolate toffee.  Yummy!!!

I love the idea that such a delicious – and rather impressive looking dessert – starts with a ‘jazzed up’ cake mix!!

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 1 box yellow cake mix   ++  I used Betty Crocker
  • 1 cup WHOLE milk  ++ You can use 1% or 2%, the cake just won’t be as rich.
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter  ++  Butter replaces the oil in the recipe.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 cup butter brickle baking bits  ++   I used to ‘Heath’ toffee baking bits

WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING

  • 2 cups COLD whipping cream  (1 pint)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup confectionery (icing) sugar  ++  I used 1/2 cup  conf. sugar but think I will use 1/3 cup next time.  It all depends how sweet you like your whipped cream. 
  • 1-4 – 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. almond extract.  ++ Start out with 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp. almond extract, then if you wish, add a bit more.  It’s all a matter of personal taste.
  • about 2 cups crushed milk chocolate covered toffee candy – such as SKOR or HEATH bars – about 4 – 5 candy bars.  ++  I used 5.

Method      

 2 (9″) greased and floured (nonstick) round cake pans   Bake at 350F for 25 – 30 mins.

Place 1 box yellow cake mix, 1 cup WHOLE milk, 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter, 3 eggs and 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. almond extract in a medium bowl.  Blend the ingredients first, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in butter brickle bits.

Divide batter equally between two greased and floured 9″ round pans.  Smooth tops with a spatula.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  Allow pans to cool for 10 minutes on a cake rack before removing and allow layers to cool throughly before frosting with whipped cream.

PREPARING WHIPPED CREAM

With mixer set at medium speed, beat 2 cups whipping cream and 1/2 cup confectionery (icing) sugar until  thickened.  Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. almond extract and continue beating until cream is thick enough to hold its shape. ++  When you pull the beaters out, the cream should stand in stiff peaks

PUTTING CAKE TOGETHER

Here’s a trick I learned when I took a cake decorating course A LONG TIME AGO – place a blob of whipped cream in the middle of your serving platter. Place the first layer on top of the cream.  The whipped cream (or, in other cases, frosting, helps keep the cake from sliding.

You’ll be frosting 4 layers, so imagine that you’d divided the whipped cream into quarters so you’ll have enough for the whole cake.  You’ll also be sprinkling on 1/4 of the crushed toffee candy for each of the 4 layers.

Spread a layer of whipped cream on top of the first layer.  Sprinkle on a 1/4 of of the crushed toffee candy bars.

++  Here’s another tip from that cake decorating course.  1. Start frosting by placing a good-sized amount of whipped cream in the center of the layer.  2. Make the whipped cream layer a little thicker when you come to the edge of the cake – almost like a rim.

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Place your 2nd layer on top of first.  Repeat – spreading on a layer of whipped cream and sprinkling 1/4  of the crushed candy bar for each remaining layer.

I love how this cake looks pretty darn impressive, yet is so easy to make.  And it tastes as good as it looks.  Enjoy!!

++  Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

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Good Grief Charlie Brown – It’s a Pumpkin Patch Ice Cream Cake !!

All you need to make ‘Pumpkin Patch Ice Cream Cake’ is ice cream (no surprise there), two packages of chocolate cookies, pumpkin shaped candy and purchased green frosting!

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the American comic strip Peanuts.  Created by Charles M. Shultz, Peanuts  features delightful characters and a dog named Snoopy.   Adults are never seen – ever – which I believe is every child’s dream!

The Great Pumpkin, who, like Santa Claus arrives bearing gifts only to disappear once his task is done, made his first appearance in 1959.  Linus is the only person who believes in The Great Pumpkin and the other children laugh to see Linus sitting in a pumpkin patch year after year …. waiting for The Great Pumpkin …. who never shows up.  Yet Linus remains undeterred and has great faith The Great Pumpkin will show up next year.  What an optimist!!

Every year since 1996 families have gathered around their TVs to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, knowing full well that Linus will only be humiliated once again.  I dedicate this pumpkin patch ice cream cake to Linus, Charlie Brown, Snoopy (the dog) and all the Peanuts gang.

Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

++ I just learned the first Peanuts movie (not a cartoon) is arriving at theaters in States on November 6th.  How’s THAT for timely??  (I had no idea….)

   Ingredients and Method       See ‘how to photos’ at the bottom of this page!!

Use a 9’x 13′ pan or casserole       If using a slightly bigger or smaller pan, adjust ingredients

  • 2  (1.5 quart)  containers ice cream        ++I used chocolate and fudge swirl ice cream   
  • 5 cups chocolate cookie crumbs     ++  About 1 1/2  packages chocolate cookies with vanilla cream centers such as Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies    oreo cookie
  • candy pumpkins – – –  22 – or so….
  • 1 container purchased cake icing with ‘cake decorating tips’ –  OR about 1/2 cup homemade icing, dyed green

 Remove ice cream from freezer and allow to warm up a bit while you prepare chocolate cookies crumbs.

Using a food processor or blender, chop up approximately 1 1/2 packages of chocolate cookies with vanilla cream centers.  You will need 5 cups chocolate cookie crumbs total.

++  If you don’t have a food processor or blender available, place cookies in a large plastic bag and ‘smash’ cookies using a rolling pin, meat tenderizer or a can.

Spread 1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs on the bottom of pan.

Open one ice cream container. Using a knife, go around edge of ice cream cartoon to loosen ice cream.  Tip ice cream onto a plate.  Cutting one slice at a time, cut ice cream into 3/4′ slices and lay slices on top of crumbs.  Continue until there is one full layer of ice cream.  ++  You may have a bit of ice cream left over if you’ve used a smaller size pan.

++ Don’t ‘fret yourself’ over the placement of the ice cream layers.  Make sure your hands are freshly washed & use your fingers to push the ice cream into the corners etc.  (If you follow this blog, you know I’m a BIG fan of just using my (clean) hands at times!)

Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of chocolate cookie crumbs on top of ice cream.

Repeat ice cream layer using second container of ice cream.

Sprinkle on remaining 2 cups of cookie crumbs.

Pumpkin Patch Ice Cream Cake - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Arrange the candy pumpkins here and there on top of the chocolate cookies crumbs.  Add vines and leaves – and there you are..  A Pumpkin Patch Ice Cream Cake that would make The Great Pumpkin proud.  Enjoy!

We grew both orange and white pumpkins at our farm in St. Antoine de Tilly, Quebec

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Autumn – My Yellow Farmhouse – 2015

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Pumpkin Patch Ice Cream Cake - myyellowfarmhouse.com

‘Frightfully Delicious Halloween Bars’ with Candy Corn, Mini-Marshmallows, Nuts and Chocolate Chips

Not Halloween?  Skip the Candy Corn and use full cup of chocolate chips, M&Ms or broken-up candy bars.    ; o )

Frightfully Delicious Halloween Bars are gooey, chewy and chocolatey.  Imagine combining a recipe for brownies with a recipe for chocolate cake (which includes a stick of butter) – then sprinkling on mini-marshmallows, nuts and chocolate chips – and you’ll have a good idea of how good these taste.

Oven at 350 (F)        Greased 9′ x 9′ pan       Yield – 20 pieces

Bake for 22 minutes, remove pan from oven.  Add toppings – bake for a further 4 to 5 minutes

    INGREDIENTS

       Topping

  • 1 1/4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips      ++  I use ‘Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup candy corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts  –  your choice

      Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter (or margarine)    ++ 1 stick
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  METHOD

Place 1 1/4 cups mini-marshmallows in a small bowl.  In another small bowl, combine 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, 1/2 cup candy corn and 1/2 cup chopped nuts.  Set aside both bowls.

Place 1/2 cup butter or margarine in a microwavable bowl.  Melt butter for 30 seconds, until melted. Add 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.  Mix with a fork or whisk until well-blended and lemon-colored.

Add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Mix with a whisk or spoon until well blended.  Pour batter into greased 9′ x 9″ pan.

Bake at 350 (F) for 22 minutes.

Remove pan from oven.  Sprinkle on 1 1/4 cups miniature marshmallows, then sprinkle on mixture of 1/2 cup candy corn, 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips and 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

Return pan to oven for 4 – 5 minutes, until mini-marshmallows are softened and slightly puffed.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Fill a mug with very hot water.  Cut into 16 or 20 pieces.

++ Dip a sharp knife into hot water before each new cut.       ++   Between each cut you may need to wipe off knife.     ++  Don’t get frustrated by the stickiness of the marshmallows,  just take your time!  And keep rewetting the knife in the hot water!   Enjoy!!!

Frightfully Delicious Halloween Bars with Candy Corn- My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Frightfully Delicious Halloween Bars with Candy Corn -myyellowfarmhouse.com

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Frightfully Delicious Halloween Bars with Candy Corn - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Frightfully Delicious Halloween Bars with Candy Corn myyellowfarmhouse.com

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++  Adapted from http://www.hersheys.com/recipes

Toffee Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Cookie Crust and Caramel Sauce

I just learned something….Toffee is basically sugar and butter. Caramel is sugar and cream or milk, with butter occasionally in the mix.  How about that?!
This was fun to make. But – if you’re short of time, you could buy a vanilla cookie crust and some caramel sauce.

This is actually my second attempt at making this pie! If you read my last post, I quoted Roseanne Roseannadana, “It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” And the ‘one thing’ happened to be that I fell and badly banged my head and sprained my wrist.  And the ‘other thing’ is that I ‘totaled’ the first version of this pie.  As I was placing my finished pie into the freezer, I scraped off about half the toffee candy and homemade caramel sauce on the ice maker. I attempted to repair the damage …. but the Toffee Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Cookie Crust and Caramel Sauce just didn’t look right.  So, today, I made another pie.       And this version is perfect! 

Ingredients
  • CRUST INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups ground ‘Nilla Wafers – – or any other soft vanilla cookie
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • CARAMEL SAUCE INGREDIENTS
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar      ++ NOT packed !!
  • 1/4 cup dark Karo syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • PLUS….
  • 1 pie pan      ++  NOT a deep dish pie pan
  • a quart of toffee crunch ice cream – slightly softened  
  • 2 English toffee bars, such as Heath, Score or Daim, broken into small pieces
Method

CRUST – Combine 1 1/2 cups ‘Nilla Wafer crumbs, 2 Tbs. sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter in a medium bowl. Press crust mixture firmly on the bottom and sides of an 8′ or 9’ pie pan.  ++  I used a measuring cup today to press down the crust – and it came out much nicer than my first attempt!

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CARAMEL SAUCE In a medium saucepan melt 1/4 cup butter over medium-high heat until it melts.  Add 1 cup light brown sugar  (NOT packed !!) and 1/4 cup dark Karo syrup.  Bring to a boil, stirring the whole time. Lower heat to medium and continue to boil – stirring – for about 4 minutes.

Toffee Ice Cream Pie with 'Nilla Wafer Crust - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Reduce heat to low.  Stir in 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Cook, stirring, for another minute.

Your finished product should look something like this.    ++ It’s best to leave the sauce in the saucepan, I just did this for ‘photographic purposes’ !

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Place crust in freezer for 20 minutes.    Remove pie crust from freezer.     Drizzle about 2/3s of the caramel sauce over the pie crust.   ++  If your cookie crust isn’t too cold, you’ll be able to spread the caramel sauce.  Otherwise, just drizzle the caramel sauce onto the crust.

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Spread enough softened ice cream to fill the crust.

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Sprinkle broken up pieces of toffee candy on top of the ice cream. Drizzle the remaining caramel sauce over the candy bits.

++ The caramel sauce came out a bit too thin on my 1st try…. and it was a bit thick on my 2nd try – but it didn’t matter !!  When it was too thin, I put it in the fridge for a bit, and when it was too thick, I just added a bit of the heavy cream and gently rewarmed it.

Return pie to freezer for about 6 hours – or overnight.  ++  Pie will be easier to cut if you allow it to sit out for a few minutes after removing it from the freezer.   ENJOY !!

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++  Recipe adapted from http://www.kitchendaily.com/recipe/nilla-ice-cream-pie

Quick and Easy Cherry Squares

OK – let’s imagine a scenario. You just remembered you promised to bring a dessert to a friend’s party – but you forgot all about it. You check in the cupboards… nothing there but a can of fruit pie filling. Let’s say it’s cherry. “Just great”, you think, “What am I gonna do with that?”

Easy answer – If you’ve also got flour, butter, eggs and sugar – which most of us usually have on hand – then you’re minutes away from putting the cherry (or blueberry etc.) fruit squares into the oven!

You’ll be beloved.  Everyone will ask for the recipe. Perhaps you’ll end on television, preparing these Quick and Easy Cherry Squares for your adoring public… OK – enough with the daydreaming. But I can guarantee you that these will be a big hit. And, if you have time to drop by a Quikie-Mart on the way to the party for vanilla ice cream or a can of whipped cream – then you’ll be even more beloved. Enjoy! 

++ You can use any canned fruit pie filling you wish, like blueberry or apple, if you prefer.

++ Oven at 350 F      Bake for 50 minutes     Can be served either warm or cold

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter or margarine, softened   (Unwrap & microwave for 20 seconds.)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling  (Or blueberry etc.)

Grease and flour at 10″ x 13″ pan or casserole. (I like to use “Wilton’s Cake Release).
In a large bowl – using electric mixer – mix 2 sticks softened butter, 2 cups sugar and 4 eggs until well blended. (About a minute.) Add 3 cups flour,1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. almond extract, and, again, mix until blended.

Spread about three-quarters of the batter in the pan. On top of the batter, spread the entire can of fruit pie filling.  ++ Be sure to put about 3/4s of the batter on the bottom of the pan – or – the middle may not cook properly!

Quick and Easy Cherry SquaresDrop large spoonfuls of the batter on top of the pie filling. (The spoonfuls of dough won’t cover the whole top – the fruit should peek through.) With your fingers, pat down the dough a bit to flatten it out.   Bake at 350 F for 50 – 55 minutes.   Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Cherry Squares - baked - fixedCherry Squares - Naomi's Photo

++  My friend Naomi recently made Quick and Easy Cherry Squares.  I think I’m gonna have some blogging competition if I don’t watch out!  

Great job Naomi – glad your & your husband enjoyed them!