Recipe Testin’: Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings (Adapted from the Pioneer Woman)

appleI love Pinterest for its multitude of awesomeness. It’s no surprise it’s an extremely popular interactive vision board many use for ideas on an array of categories–food included. I often utilize Pinterest’s food boards and pins for cool recipes. Deciding after much procrastination to try a perfect fall treat incorporating basic ingredients, I found a simple, yet delectable recipe using sprite, crescent rolls, apple, butter, sugar and cinnamon. The original recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman, whose version includes 2 cans of crescent rolls and Mountain Dew. I had to improvise by adding Sprite and 1 can of crescent rolls, but it did the trick. (Click on this link for the original recipe. This has step-by-step pictures, and some of you may prefer that.)

The following is Pioneer Woman’s recipe with a few tweaks I added for creativity. It takes 10 minutes to prep, 40-45 minutes to cook (depending on oven and browning) and serves 6-8 people. The recipe is straightforward, the dessert is undeniably scrumptious and this is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  •  2 cans of original crescent rolls. I used one can and it worked just fine.
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 oz/ 1 cup Mountain Dew or sprite.
  • Cinnamon to taste. I added nutmeg as well. (To put it in quantative terms,start with 1/2  of 1/4 of a tsp. I eyeballed it, and this is the best I’ve got.)

Directions: (Preheat over to 350 degrees)

  • Peel, core and cut apples into 8 slices. This is an opportune time to use that apple peeler and corer if you have one. If not, it’s a great investment.
  • Open box of crescent rolls, and separate them into triangles. Place dumplings into a 9 x 13 inch pan. I used a round clear pan, lightly greased with butter.
  • Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll, starting from the top of the triangle, rolling downward to the tip of the crescent roll. Secure by applying gentle pressure to create an adhesion.
  • Melt two sticks of butter over medium-low heat. Add vanilla, sugar, and gently stir. Mixture doesn’t have to be smooth.
  • Pour butter and sugar mixture over the apple crescent rolls, thoroughly covering apples. Pour Mountain Dew on the sides of the pan, around the appley crescents.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon. (I got creative and used nutmeg and sugar in conjunction to cinnamon. I thought a good idea would be apple pie spice or a dash of sugar and ginger for next time.)
  • Place into oven and bake for 40-43 minutes, until apples are soft, butter bubbles and the crescents are golden brown and crispy.

Serve while warm. Toppings may include: ice cream, whipped cream, or whatever works for you! Why not try both versions/substitutions and incorporate the optional ingredients for variety? I’d love to hear your experiences in your comments.

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Buttermilk Biscuits From Scratch!!! Recipe and Review!

I have heard from biscuit enthusiasts that biscuit making was no joke. From the wide variety of methods to the variety of styles, biscuits are diverse, yet timeless. This essential food is one I often crave, and have been contemplating making. I searched from a biscuit recipe that I was not familiar with, offering my a sense of culinary innovation and a dash of a challenge/risk element. Would I even like these biscuits? Would this uncommon ingredients used in this recipe pay off, or disappoint?  Plus, it’s somewhat sweet! The recipe is adapted from P4  on food.com.  The link to the recipe will be available upon clicking on the 2nd biscuit photo below. I hope you enjoy it!

My biscuits. Not the best photo as it was taken on my phone. Sadly,I am *not* a phone photographer.

I made the biscuits today, and they came out fluffy, moist and provided my taste buds with an underlying richness that is not typical is the biscuits I have tried previously. They were slightly sweet as the recipe called for 2 tablespoons of sugar. (I suggest toning it down to one if you’d like to have a less sweet aftertaste)

Biscuits pictured on the site. Click photo for the recipe!

I also occasionally have an issue with the bottom of my stuff getting burnt, so I slapped some a thin layer of butter on the cookie sheet, and turned the oven down to 375 degrees, compared to the 400 degrees that the recipe called for. I’m not sure if you have that issue, but if you do, I recommend doing the same. Only thing is the baking time will change, (from 8-10 minutes, to almost 20!) but the inside will be done,baking evenly and the bottom a little darker than the top, but not burnt. More so of an average brown color. I also added some butter atop the hot biscuits, adding more flavor as it melted into the biscuits nooks and crannies.

Also, if you don’t have a jumbo size egg, I read you can substitute that with a regular sized egg and a tsp. of milk.  You can click the picture which should direct you to the site. Granted, mine don’t look as smooth, but the texture if fluffy and soft (and the darn things were delish!). Also, I’m not sure how much of a difference having a bicsuit cutter makes visually, but I didn’t have one. The glass I used was good enough, though. =)

I give these biscuits 4 tongues and a taste bud (4.5 out of 5) just because I’m not so used to sweet biscuits, however, the sweetness would make an excellent compliment to a savory dish. {TIP} Pair these beauties with savory meats like

  • sausage
  •  bacon
  •  turkey
  •  chicken
  • seafood based breakfast items (seafood grits,ect)
  • Savory seasoned eggs (like Southwest types) to balance the sweet undertone, giving the dish a nice balance.

Also, you can get creative and make a unique butter/spread for these biscuits. From Almond butters, to Honey butters (even with vanilla!) to garlic butters (which may be unflattering with this biscuit), or even a spicy cinnamon butter may be a nice touch! Even your tangy fruit, like blood orange jam, or cranberry relishes may bring out that depth you may want!

Panera’s Strawberry and Cream Scone Review

I love variety new flavors and scones so when I went cruising Panera Bread’s website and saw they had a few new items, I was pretty chipper. The one that caught my attention the most was the strawberries and cream flavored

Panera Bread's Strawberry and Cream Scone.

 scone.  Hmm.. Instantly, I wondered it the scone would be glazed, or have a biscuit colored, creamy texture with bits of the dehydrated strawberries, and occasional tastes of vanilly nuggets. I even wondered if there would be any detection of cream at all, just to make sure Panera was not tricking me into thinking cream was in the scone.  Having already tried and loved the orange scone, I knew this one had to be consumed and fast.

So I bought one with a no ice, iced green tea. That’s how I do it, so I can get every drop of my drink without th ice deception making it look like I have more than I actually do. Milking it is my middle name. So what? I’m a broke college student. 😉 The texture was about the texture of their orange scone- rather hard but soft. Imagine eating a donut stick by Little Debbie this is exactly the consistency it has, and the glaze was a clear, sugary glaze that the donut stick has.  I was slightly disappointed, because I was expecting  thicker, opaque glaze similar to their orange scone glaze, but obviously in a vanillish cream variety. The taste was both refreshing as the strawberries gave a tanginess to contrast the sweet glaze, almost buttery more so than creamy, however. I;d have to pass on this one, though it isn’t bad, it does nothing in competition with the beautiful orange scone.

Pros: I love the fact that the scone had real dried strawberries versus those little dried hard balls of fruit you get in jiffy muffin mixes. Bring on the realness!

Cons: The glaze is like a dried glaze you’d eat when eating a little Debbie caked donut. Twins??? Or rather, it’s three-sided cousin from up North. Either way, they can very well be in the same family. May not be a bad thing if you don’t care. Also, strong buttery taste and a harder than normal scone texture. Perhaps, it’s the hardened glaze?

Yumfactor: About 3 tongues and a taste bud.

Copy Cat Gourmet: McDonald’s McGriddle (with Recipe)

I just made a low budget, copy cat McGriddle (for recipe, see below).  If you have not heard about the Mc Griddle by now, it’s a breakfast sandwich offered at Mc Donald’s composed of eggs, cheese, sausage (or in my case, just egg and cheese) and last but not least, 2 sweet mushy maple kissed “pancuits” (a word I created combining the words pancake and biscuits). When the item first emerged, many people were skeptical to taste it because of the traditional belief that eggs and meat should not be sweet.  Well, to them I say who wrote the rules on how eggs, cheese and meat should be eaten?  The product is sweetned with maple crystals which compliment the high sodium  in the sausage that so nicely decorates the breakfast sandwich.

I just so happen to love the cute little buggers and often crave them,only coming to a slow halt when I learned that: 1.) I do not want to continuously pay close to or slightly over $3 each time I want this sweet yet greasy delight; 2) the item has a very high sodium content.  Fine for you if you want to walk head high into a habit that can later result in high blood pressure if not properly watched.  Either way, I won’t judge.

Maple Syrup Crystals

Today, I frequented food sites and  I had come across many useful recipes that encourage saving time, gas, energy and not to mention money by recreating these products in your own kitchen.  I finally came across the recipe. Basically, the copy cat McGriddle recipe called for: flour, eggs, sugar, butter, cheese and meat for optional choices, with a somewhat  complex ingredient “maple syrup crystals”. Nearly sounding like a magical incantation of some sort, the author noted that it was available in a particular store I never heard of, which further lead me to my impulsive improvisation of this recipe. Who wants to drive some place on an empty stomach to find something like this? Not that it isn’t worth it, but will I actually find them?

*Warning! The following contains unorthodox ways of creating the classic dish, French Toast in unique manners.  If offended by the idea of eggs NOT being used in the French Toast mixture, I advise you to leave. Viewer discretion is advised.  🙂

I had a violently growling tummy,1 egg, wheat bread, maple crystals, an egg ring (an egg ring: a tuna can without a top or bottom, which when eggs are complete, results in a neat and circular fluffy, pretty little egg), sugar, milk and an idea. I was determined to make this McGriddle! I remember getting the idea after I remembered seeing Aunt Jemima’s French Toast in a store and thinking about eggs, cheese and the possibility of a turkey based meat being nestled in between two maple flavored, sticky pieces of wheat bread.

So, first things first, I complied my ingredients (Note: I do NOT actively measure out every ingredient, so please prepare some of the ingredients according to your taste. I have tried to be as approximate as I can).

This serves 1 person:

  • 1/4 c. Soy milk  (You can use whatever milk you have available)
  • 2 slices of  Honey wheat bread (Not Texas Toast)
  • 1/2 tsp or 3/4 tsp Cinnamon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp  Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Butter (To spread in the pan)
  • 1 Eggs
  • Shredded cheese Enough to cover the finished egg.
  • Pinch of  salt
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. Pancake syrup <–Take that maple crystals! Ha!

1. Preheat oven/ conventional over to 375. The first thing I did was create the meatless French Toast. (Yes, I know, you cannot officially have the F.T. without the eggs, but the purpose was to create bread that was similarly made with similar ingredients to yield a sweet, mapley taste. Plus, I only had 1 egg left. You can indeed make French Toast if you’d like.) I combined the milk, sugar, cinnamon sugar, and vanilla, mixing them together with a fork. I put aside so I would not get my ingredients mixed up.

2. I turned on my stove  to medium heat, adding a small enough amount of butter to coat the pan, and as it melted, I took a slice of bread, carefully dipping it in the mixture, coating both sides evenly. (I actually let one slice of bread sit in the mixture a little too long, and it got too soggy. Don’t make the same mistake I did!)

3. I allowed each slice to brown, flipping it so it would not get stuck to the pan.  Sadly, one of my slices were bogged down in mixture, so it became  little hard to do due to excessive moisture and sog.  (I will add that if you have never made French Toast, please consult a recipe now, because having that knowledge will help in the creation of this dish.)

4. When they were both somewhat firm, but  not fully cooked, I decided to bake/toast the slices of maple, cinnamon, vanilly bread in my toaster oven, so the sponginess would become crunchy.  (This is not necessary if your slices are firm, but chances are since there are no eggs in the mixture they will be slightly soggy.) *Also, if you do not have a conventional over, you can bake these slices at 375-400 until they get brown for at least 6 minutes.

5. I cooked the egg, first cracking it, and adding the pinch of salt. I mixed it with a fork, added more butter to the pan, and added the egg. I did not want to scramble it, so I just emptied the bowl and decided to let the egg cook.

6. When the egg cooked half way, I folded it in half, flipping in on the other side. (I figured if I flipped the egg while it was cooked, it may be harder to fold the egg.) Be sure to keep an eye on your toast so it will not burn!

7.  When the eggs finished cooking, I added some shredded cheese on the top, letting it melt. (We only had that available)

8. Add the egg/cheese (and meat if it applies) and place it inside the bread. Enjoy.

Optional:

  • Add turkey/ bacon or turkey/sausage to the sandwich.
  • Use Texas Toast bread for thicker slices.
  • Use an egg in the mixture to make French Toast slices.

Man! This was exceptionally good! My only drawback was that 1 slice was heavy, and still slightly soggy. I was too hungry to wait for it to firm so I took my chance and ate it.  The maple flavor really gave the sandwich the illusion of  the magic maple crystals, adding a nice amount of sweetness; the egg was aptly portioned and folded in between the bread and the cheese was the perfect accessory.  I added a piece of turkey sausage which made the mean taste more filling and added a nice complex taste compliment to the sweet bread.

I will say that this  is a deliciously healthy and comforting and low-budget method   not to mention, lower in sodium content because it’s prepared with less grease and fats.  While it does not taste 100% dead on to the McGriddle, it is very tasty in its own right and does mimic the original. Adding margarine versus butter also reduce the amount of fats in the sandwich.

You’ll get something like this.

Vegetarian French Toast McGriddle Yumfactor: 4 tongues out of 5 and a taste bud.