Moscow Mules

 

Do you like your drinks ice cold? Me too. I can’t drink a warm beer or even one that is somewhat cool-it has to be ice cold! Do you love to experiment with new cocktails? You KNOW I do by just perusing my blog. Quite often we see particular mugs or glasses associated with a certain drink. The Moscow mule drink is no different-there is actually a mug that pays homage to the drink; and it is a copper mug. They are beautiful mugs that keep your drink nice and cold as they are great conductors for cold AND heat. The traditional mule drink has fresh lime juice and a lot of people are not aware that if you drink your beverage from a mug that is lined with copper, that includes something acidic such as lime juice, the copper leaches into your drink and you are consuming copper.

When looking for copper mugs, make sure to buy one that is lined with Nickel. Check out these amazing and beautiful copper mugs that are shown here. They are  hand made and lined with Nickel.  I have been drinking EVERYTHING from them since I got them. I am obsessed!! I cannot describe how beautiful these mugs are. The color of the copper changes color when you add your beverage and they take on a gossimer glow. They would make a great gift for the Holidays or just to have for yourself when entertaining, they are very comfortable to hold and not heavy at all.  Head on over to there to check them out.  They come packaged very secure.

Fall is just a skip away so I’ve also included a recipe for an apple cider mule. The mugs are perfect for sipping spiced cider as well, as they will keep your beverage hot while you sit in front of the bonfire or fireplace. They are perfect for hot chocolate, mochas, pumpkin spice lattes or anything hot. They are truly a 4 season mug. Happy sipping!

 

Traditional Moscow Mule 

crushed ice

1 1/2 oz. premium vodka

1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

1/2 Cup ginger beer

garnish: lime wedge

 

Fill a Moscow mule mug with crushed ice. Add ingredients and gently stir. Garnish with lime wedge.

 

Apple Cider Moscow Mule

1 1/2 oz. premium vodka

1/2 oz. lime juice

1/3 Cup apple cider

Ginger beer

Garnish: (optional)  thinly sliced fresh apple and cinnamon stick

 

 

Fill a Moscow mule mug with crushed ice, then add first three ingredients. Top off with ginger beer, stir to combine. Garnish as desired.

 

Passionate Pear Moscow Mule

crushed ice

1 1/2 oz. Pear flavored Vodka (Such as Sky Bartlet pear)

1/2 oz. (1 Tbsp.) fresh lime juice

1/2 Cup cold ginger beer

1/2 oz. (1 Tbsp.) passion fruit syrup (Such as Monin brand or)

 

Fill a Moscow mule mug with crushed ice. Add ingredients and stir to combine.

 


Pink Pearl Apple Tart with Frangipane

 

I just love this time of year with all the various type of apples.  Is it just me, or are you also surprised each year on how many kind of apple varieties seem to pop up into the super market? I had heard about this particular variety last year so I went on a hunt this year. And by a hunt, I’m not kidding… Unfortunately I found out by some weird cruel joke that this little rouge gem has a short harvest life. Life can be so mean sometimes! None the less, my hauty tauty shi shi (high end super market) here in the Phoenix Valley (AJ’s) carried them. I finally got smart and called the produce department first to check. Yatzee! I snagged them and quickly wrapped them in a Debbie Meyer green bag to preserve their precious life!!!

Side note: If you don’t know about Debbie Meyer green bags– you need to buy them- they extend any produce for DAYsssssss. Anyway, I digress…back to the apples. The “pink pearl” is the apple that I swear has been kissed by God. It’s beauty is so unique. Some are light pink inside and some are down right fuchsia color. Are they not the coolest thing?! Can you tell I’m totally geeked out about them? They taste amazing too; they are kind of a cross between a Granny Smith and a Gala; tart but a little sweet at the same time.  They are crisp and hold their texture when used in baking.  The outside of the skin is thin and has a yellowy green color.

Pink Pearl Apple Tart with Frangipane

You will need a sheet a puff pastry. *Try to find the type that is all butter. I like Dufour brand.

Note: The typical brand you find in the grocer that is Pepperidg***** is NOT all butter. I sadly found this out when I was in pastry school years ago. I never knew. Just an FYI.

4-5 Sweet-tart apples, peeled, and sliced thin

 

Frangipane Filling

1/4 C unsalted butter (room temp)

1/4 C granulated sugar

pinch salt

1 egg (room temp)

1/2 Cup blanched almond flour

1/4 tsp. pure almond extract

 

*Egg wash for baking (one egg whisked with a fork)

*powdered sugar for serving

In a medium bowl: cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until smooth. Note: [A hand mixer is best]. Add the egg and beat until combined. Stir in the almond flour and extract and then beat just until combined. Note: If you over beat the mixture can separate. If you like your frangipane a little more smooth you can use the food processor just make sure to not over process or it can separate.

Thaw the puff pastry. Unfold and pinch any folds together with your fingers or gently roll with a rolling pin to smooth out creases. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the puff pastry onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Score a 1 inch border around the perimeter of the puff, but don’t go all the way through the pastry. Spread the frangipane filling evenly onto the pastry but stay within the border. Shingle the apples tightly nestled on top of the filling and then sprinkle generously with granulated sugar. Brush the border with egg wash. Place the entire assembled tart on the sheet pan in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill prior to baking. (Puff pastry always needs to be very cold when it goes into the oven to ensure you get that great rise). Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until border is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly. Serve with a sprinkling of confectioners sugar. Note: the tart is best served the day it is made as the filling tends to soften the pastry.

 


Caramel Apple Macarons

caramel-apple-macarons-to-celebrate-fall

Leftover caramel in the fridge is a very dangerous thing. Especially when you discover how good it is stirred into a cup of hot coffee. That leftover caramel got me thinking. Lately I’ve been kind of macaron obsessed. Don’t know why, but it seems to comes in waves. The macaron obsession is real. I was in Safeway and started daydreaming of macaron flavors (I know I’m weird) when I spotted this bag of dried green apples. I’m constantly on the lookout for freeze dried fruits to grind up to add to macaron batter. A quick side note: if you use freeze dried fruits they MUST be rock hard and not have any moisture to them or it doesn’t work.

Caramel apple season is upon us, and I’m so ready for apple desserts, so I thought it would be fun to come up with a caramel apple macaron.  Any more than 2 tablespoons of apple powder messes with the shell and it doesn’t come out right; so to amp up the apple flavor even more, I simply sprinkled some on top of the batter before baking. I also sprinkled some on top of caramel filling before capping off the macaron.

You could also cut a piece of the dried apple and smush it down into the caramel and cap off the macaron to achieve max flavor, but since I had some leftover ground up pieces of apple I chose to go that route. Or do both! I love how when you smush the top macaron onto the caramel all the little bits of dried apple are visible on the sides.

caramel-apple-macs-resized

Caramel & Green Apple Macarons

Caramel Filling

yield: about 1  1/2 Cups

200 grams granulated sugar (about 1 Cup + 1 tsp.)

pinch of kosher salt

2 Tbsp. water

90 grams unsalted butter (about 6 Tbsp.)

120 ml heavy cream (8 Tbsp.)

 

In a microwave glass measuring cup  place the heavy cream and microwave until very warm, and set aside. In a heavy saucepan place the sugar, salt, and water and stir gently to combine. Bring to a boil without stirring (brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush if crystals form) and continue cooking until medium amber color. Carefully stir in the cream and whisk to combine. Stir in the butter and continue to cook for one more minute, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes. Pour caramel in a container and chill until ready to use. Note: If you want salted caramel stir in 1 teaspoon of either fleur de sel or kosher salt once you remove from the heat at the very end.

Green Apple Macaron Shells

yield: about 2 dozen macaron sandwiches

Freeze dried granny smith apples

165 gms almond flour

165 gms confectioners sugar

150 grams granulated sugar

115 grams egg whites (about 4 whites)

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

electric green gel food color (I use Americolor)

mint green gel food color (I use Americolor)

 

In a high speed blender place a couple handfuls of the dried apple and pulverize until you achieve a fine powder. Sift through a fine mesh strainer and measure out 2 Tbsp. of the fine powder. Note-there will be some bigger pieces that remain and that’s okay, reserve those to sprinkle on top as well as adding to filling later.

In a food processor pulse the almond flour and confectioners sugar about 5 times. Sift into a bowl and whisk in the 2 Tbsp. of apple powder and set aside.

In the mixer bowl of a stand mixer place the room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk until foamy (I actually do this by hand). With the mixer on medium fitted with the whisk attachment, gradually add the granulated sugar in small increments then turn the mixer up to medium high and whisk for about 8 minutes or until meringue appears marshmallow like and stiff peaks are achieved. When the meringue is about 90 percent mixed add in a few drops of both mint green and electric green to your desired color; keeping in mind the color fades a bit when the shells bake.  Tip: to test if the meringue is ready, turn off the mixer and turn the bowl upside down.  The meringue should not shift or move, if it does mix a couple more minutes and test again.  Add the almond flour mixture to the meringue and fold several times until when lifting the spatula, the mixture falls back into the bowl in sheets or ribbons.

Prepare a sheet pan with either parchment paper or a Silpat liner. Pipe the macaron batter about 1 inch size circles leaving about 1 1/2 inches in between. Rap the sheet pan on the counter several times to release any air bubbles and then sprinkle generously with the reserved apple dust.

Preheat the oven to either 300° F or (275° F if using a convection oven). Bake the shells for 18-20 minutes; stopping halfway to cover the shells with tinfoil to prevent the apple pieces on top from getting too brown. To test if the shells are done wiggle one gently and if the top still moves then bake another minute or two and check again. Let the shells cool completely on the pans before removing.

Let the caramel sit out to soften a bit to piping consistency.  Pipe a small amount on one half of a shell and generously sprinkle some of the reserved apple dust and top off with another shell of the same size. Store the macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 24 hours before bringing to room temperature to serve. store any leftover (as if) in the refrigerator.


green-apple-caramel-macs

green-apple-macarons-with-caramel-filling

 


Apple Turnovers

I know you want something easy. Nothing too fussy. Nothing too hard to pull together on a weekend. Sure, I get it. A good low maintenance recipe. A good reason , err– excuse to eat pie (sort of) for breakfast. I gotcha. More grown up than a pop tart. Something to throw into the hand of a 13 year old zooming out the door who doesn’t eat breakfast but complains he’s hungry. A grumpy husband perhaps who “doesn’t do breakfast”. Uh huh- you know the type. Enter stage left…duh duh duh the turnover. Your answer to something you can hold in your hand and shove (yep, conveniently it has a starter corner) into your–dare I say it–“Pie hole”. Sorry…I had to go there. Your welcome.

apple turnover filling

turnovers assembled

apple currant turnovers 2

apple currant turnovers

apple currant turnover

Apple Turnovers

yield: 4 turnovers

1/2 package of ready made puff pastry; thawed in the refrigerator

2 Golden Delicious apples

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 Tbsp. dried currants (optional)

1/3 Cup sugar + 2 Tbsp.

1/2 tsp. apple pie spice

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

2 1/2 tsp. water

egg wash: 1 egg mixed with 1 tsp. water

coarse white sugar or sugar in the raw (Demerara sugar)

1. Peel and chop the apples into about 1/2 inch pieces. Immediately toss the apples with the lemon juice to coat evenly. Stir in the (optional) currants. Add the sugar and spice and combine well. Mix together  the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and set aside.

2. In a skillet melt the butter and add the apple mixture. Cook over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes until apples soften. Stir in the vanilla and then add the cornstarch mixture and heat until filling bubbles and thickens, cooking for about 1-2 minutes. Remove the filling to a bowl and chill to allow the mixture to cool.

3. Unfold the puff pastry and sprinkle both sides lightly with flour. Using a rolling pill smooth out the fold lines and roll the pastry lightly into about an 11 inch square. Cut the puff pastry into 4 equal squares. Looking at each individual square of pastry brush the left inside and lower edges of each of the squares lightly with egg wash; being careful not to get the edges too wet.  Place about 3-4 tablespoons of the apple filling to the middle of each square. Fold down the top left corner edge of pastry to meet the opposite lower right corner to meet the corners together to form a triangle, and press lightly with your finger to seal. Take a fork dipped in flour and press/seal the edges of the triangle together. Place the turnovers onto a parchment lined baking sheet and brush each turnover with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Pierce the top of each turnover with a fork twice. Chill the turnovers directly on the tray for 30-40 minutes.

Note: you may fill & assemble each turnover and freeze unbaked. To bake off in a 425° F oven from frozen state; just bake a bit longer.

Note: you most likely will have about 3 Tbsp. of the filling leftover; you can save it and use to stir into oatmeal or yogurt later in the week.

4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

5. Bake turnovers for 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Cool the sheet over a wire rack until turnovers are cool enough to handle. Best served warm.


A Trip to the Apple Orchard…

Fall is for apples, pumpkins, corn mazes, spiced cider and picking. Picking (literally) up any harvest you can get your hands on. In this case- we’re talking apples. I’m a Midwest girl. A Michigander. Apple cider probably runs in my veins. I know this sounds biased, but you just can’t get good apple cider outside Michigan. #SorryNotSorry. It’s the truth. I never met an apple I didn’t like.

Seth grew up in the city of San Francisco, so it’s not like he had tripped or stumbled upon an apple orchard before. I wanted Seth to experience visiting an apple orchard- so we took a little trip to Cranes Apple Orchard which is in Fennville Michigan; not too far from where I grew up. The smell of ripe apples, the crisp Fall air, the slightly soggy ground as you trudge along row after endless row of delicious sweet (or tart) apples. Every variety of apple you can imagine. Cortland, Empire, Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Gala…as well as some names I’ve never even heard of…the list was endless.

Yes, there is the ubiquitous sweet elderly lady-(probably there volunteering and not getting paid a dime- (but she doesn’t mind) serving up fresh apple slices. She’s donned in her striped woolen hat, and appropriate cold weather jacket as she lovingly grips a dark ruby red apple in her rough -(years on the farm)- worn calloused hand. She carves off a little chunk and hands you the little morsel as she awaits your reaction as you bite into the sweet juicy nugget. You nod, you chew, you pause just long enough, and politely without food in your mouth. “It’s sooo good!” you exclaim, as you make eye contact with her, and she smiles back in approval.  You can try a slice of each variety (she seriously doesn’t mind) before you dodge deep into the orchard abyss of appleness to begin picking.  This is not the Piggly Wiggly or Safeway. This is nature. Looking around you see apple trees as far as the eye will take you- with apples of all different hues. Your nose dripping from the cool air as you search each tree for the perfect apple to place in your bag. Apples that have NOT been shined, waxed or stacked up in a perfect tower of pyramid fashion. Children need to see where their food comes from once in a while. It’s a good thing. Beautiful ripe apples with leaves still attached. To top off the day, we stumbled and sometimes even fumbled- our way through the large corn maze on the property.

I hope you enjoy the pictures~

 

Seth holding apple

orchard landscape

The picture below; these may not be apple trees, but pretty none the less…orchard apple trees

barn at orchard

apple orchard

grounded apples 2

grounded apples

Even on the ground they are still beauties

Something tells me in this picture below; a little one must have dropped a Golden Delicious amongst the Cortland apple trees…

grounded apples 3

cranes orchard

apple tree 2

apples 1

crane orchard truck

apple tree 3

golden delicious apple treegolden apple trees

 

And just when we thought we had no energy left- we hit the corn maze; just a one hour detour…no biggy.

corn maze 2

corn maze entrance

deep inside the maze

a look at the maze from above

Seth in the corn maze

For some reason, I’m thinking of popcorn…

corn cob

maybe I should have turned left

Seth is thinking, Hmmm, maybe we should have turned left back there…

but I’m happy to report we made it out safe and sound.

corn maze