Friday, January 23, 2015

Brown Butter Pecan Pie

We love pie.  

So much so that we had it at our wedding instead of cake.  When we first suggested that we wanted to do away with the tradition of wedding cake we were met with much resistance.  

"No cake at a wedding?"  "How can this be?" "People expect cake!"
We held our ground on this one and it paid off in the end!  We had about 40 delicious homemade pies at our wedding!  I made 20 of them and a family friend made the other 20.  Our only regret is that we didn't take a pie with us when we left the wedding!
I have tried out so many pecan pie recipes, really I have.  For a while I was on this "corn syrup free" pecan pie kick.  It is also a delicious recipe, but the consistency of the filling was just always too wet and loose.  My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for brown butter so I figured since most pecan pie calls for melted butter it could probably be swapped with brown butter.  After some searching I found a few recipes for "Brown Butter Pecan Pie"
This pie is amazing.

The brown butter adds this extra layer of deliciousness to the pie that is unexpected and smooth.  The crust recipe is from  the cookbook "A year of pies" which I first found from my friend who made the most amazing apple pie one day which the most perfect crust imaginable.
Whenever an occasion calls for pie I make this recipe and am never disappointed!  This pie also freezes well - I know because I froze 20 of them for my wedding!  Just make sure you either a) bake it in a foil pan or b) bake it in a cake pan with straight edges and you can pop it out of the pan after it cools completely and freeze it without a pan (this is what I did - the pie ends up looking more like a tart with straight edges, but it still tastes amazing!)

My husband texted me yesterday informing me that it was "National Pie Day" today...a very subtle hint if you ask me to make him some pie.  This is what came up when I googled "National Pie Day"

"It's National Pie Day, a holiday dreamed up by the American Pie Council. The holiday encourages Americans to "pause amidst the hectic pace of everyday life and express their love, gratitude and appreciation for one another, for their blessings, and for the simple things in life." And enjoy a slice of pie of course."

What is the "American Pie Council" and how do I get into that club?

Brown Butter Pecan Pie
adapted from a bunch of recipes from the internet 

Crust: this recipe makes 2 pie doughs, and the filling only makes one, so double the filling if you want 2 pies, or freeze this extra crust for later.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
3/4 cup ice water

Make sure you work quickly when making the crust and use cold ingredients and even a chilled mixing bowl if you like.  I cheat when making crust and use my stand mixer because it speeds up the process.  In a cold mixing bowl combine flour and salt.  Stir.  With mixer running add the cold cubed butter and mix until broken into pea sized pieces.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of the ice cold water, then slowly add the additional 1/4 cup of water.  Mix just until combined and dough comes together.  If you don't have a mixer you can cut the butter into the flour/salt with a pastry blender or with 2 knives.
Place in fridge and chill for at least one hour.

On floured surface roll out the pie dough into an even circle. turning the dough and adding flour to the surface when necessary.  Quickly line a pie pan with the dough and crimp edges like you like to!


5 tablespoons unsalted butter browned
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt (not kosher)
1 1/2 cups toasted pecan halves (toast plain pecans in the oven for a few minutes)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat lightly. Add brown butter, sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt. Whisk to combine. Pour toasted pecans into prepared pie dough that is in the pan. Pour filling into prepared crust.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center is set and the crust is browned. Cool in pan before serving.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dairy Free/Refined Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cups

Did you make a resolution to get healthy in the New Year?  If you did, this recipe is your friend!  I was super lazy this year and didn't make any resolutions.  Oops.  I am a bad human.  My diet has been off the rocker since Christmas - instead of baking once a week it has turned into once a day!  Oh Lord....what have I become!  My work schedule is pretty light these days, so I find myself being drawn into the kitchen more often.  I swear my mixer is calling my name...pretty creepy if you ask me...wait...did you ask me or was that my mixer talking to me again? : )

We made some new friends a few months before our wedding and they were kind enough to share their recipe for these with me...then I moved and lost the I typed the ingredients that I remembered into Google and it found a similar recipe for me!  Whatever did we do before Google existed?  Remember encyclopedias or Encarta?  Man, do I feel ancient!

Are you going to the March for Life?  January 22nd marks the 42nd year since the Roe v.Wade decision to legalize abortion.  42 years of babies being murdered.  Sick.

“A Nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.” 
- Pope John Paul II

Hopefully my generation will live to see the end of abortion!  We are taking a group out to the Austin March for Life this Saturday to stand up for LIFE!  If you have never been to a March for Life I highly encourage you to find one in your State or make the trip to D.C. for the big March for Life.

Now onto the recipe!  Even my husband likes these...and he does not usually like "healthy" "alternative" desserts.  Win win all around!  If you do try it out leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Dairy Free/Refined Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cups

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter (I like it w/PB better)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 
Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan over low heat, whisk until melted and combined.  Portion out evenly with a spoon or small scoop into a 12 cup muffin pan lined with liners.  Sprinkle the top of each cup with a little bit of kosher sea salt.  Place in fridge until set, about an hour.  Remove from pan and store in fridge until ready to eat.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Simple Meatballs!

Now that I am a married woman with a house to keep up with, a husband to feed and my own kitchen - I find myself always wanting to cook and bake!  Someone stop me!!!  Some people might go to sleep and dream of tropical vacations or being rescued by a prince, but I dream about cookie recipes, what kind of stew should I make next, really is quite absurd.

We had the princess over for dinner this weekend and she requested "Spaghetti and Meatballs"!  Her wish is my command!  This was a super fast and simple meatball recipe without a huge laundry list of ingredients.  So delicious, seconds were had by all!

Before the movie we went and watched the musical movie "Into the Woods."  It was super fun and the songs were catchy!  It was so nice watching a fun movie for a change...seems like so many movies are sad and gloomy these days!  This is our favorite song from the movie:

Adapted from Betty Crocker

lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
cup Italian-style bread crumbs, or plain bread crumbs and add some Italian Seasoning
cup milk, we used almond milk and it worked just fine
teaspoon salt
teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
teaspoon pepper
small onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup)

Mix all ingredients together in bowl until well combined.  Form into about 20-25  meatballs using small cookie scoop or just grabbing chunks and rolling into balls.  Over medium/high heat in large frying pan with high edges- melt a tbs of coconut oil or olive oil.  Add the meatball into pan and brown a few minutes on each side rotating once browned.  Cook until no longer pink.  Meatballs are fragile so avoid turning them too much.  I used tongs to do this.  Once cooked add your favorite red sauce to the meatballs and cook until sauce is hot, about 3-5 minutes.  Serve over pasta of your choice!