Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mulled-Cider Cranberry Sauce

This year, I'm making a slightly different cranberry sauce for the holidays. Yummy!


  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1 TBS finely grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 c apple cider
  • 1/3 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 firm apple (I use McIntosh, but Roma would work well too), peeled, cored, and finely diced
  1. Put all ingredients in a medium size heavy saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until cranberries soften and pop and sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.  
  2. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  The sauce will thicken more as it chills.

Texas Chili

Texans apparently like to put their own stamp on everything they do, including chili.  Here's an easy meal that simmers well in the slow cooker all day and is great for chilly evenings!

  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper, minced
  • 3 (15 oz) cans pinto beans
  • 2 (28 oz) cans Rotel tomatoes
  • 4 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 TBS jalapeno peppers, minced (optional)
  • 1/4 c chili powder
  • 1tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1TBS cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic pepper
  1. Cook and stir the beef, onion, and bell pepper in a large pot over medium heat until the beef is brown and onion and pepper are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain grease from beef.  Place in slow cooker.
  2. Add to the slower cooker the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, jalapenos (if using), chili powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Set slow cooker on low and simmer for 6-8 hours.  The longer you simmer, the more flavor you will get.  Sometimes I simmer up to 10 hours!

Spiced Cider Doughnuts

I got these from the William and Sonoma web site and they are SO yummy.  I love cold weather cooking!


  • 1 c apple cider
  • 3 1/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 TBS. cold unsalted butter, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Canola oil for deep-frying
  • 1 1/2 c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  1. In a small saucepan, bring the cider to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely. In a bowl, sift together the 3 1/4 cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add the butter. Using a handheld mixer on low speed, beat until the mixture forms fine crumbs. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, 1/4 cup of the reduced cider and the vanilla until combined. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute, adding up to 1/4 cup more flour if needed. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and pat it out to a layer 1/2 inch thick. Freeze until slightly firm, 15 minutes. 
  2. Heat a deep-fryer to 350°F or pour oil to a depth of at least 3 inches into a heavy, deep saucepan and heat over high heat to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Set a large wire rack on another rimmed baking sheet and place near the stove. Return the dough to the work surface. Using a doughnut cutter 3 inches in diameter, and dipping the cutter into flour before each cut, cut out as many doughnuts as possible, pressing straight down and lifting straight up. Transfer the doughnuts and the holes to the parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Gather up the scraps and repeat rolling and cutting. 
  3. Using a metal spatula, carefully lower a few of the doughnuts into the hot oil, being sure not to crowd the pan. Deep-fry the doughnuts, turning them once at the halfway point, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a wire skimmer, transfer to the rack to drain. Repeat until all of the doughnuts have been fried, then add the doughnut holes to the oil and deep-fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool.
  4. To make the glaze, in a small saucepan, bring the remaining 1/4 cup reduced cider to a boil over high heat. Add the confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat. Holding each doughnut or doughnut hole by its edges, briefly dip it, smooth side down, into the glaze, letting the excess drip back into the saucepan. Place on the wire rack, glazed side up, and let stand until the glaze is set, about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 1 dozen doughnuts and 1 dozen holes.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009).

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

Because I love almost anything made with pumpkin puree and who doesn't love chocolate?!


  • 1 stick of butter, softened (8 TBS)
  • 1 1/4 c eggs
  • 3 lg eggs
  • 1 c canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 c miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 8 inch square baking pan; line with parchment paper
  2. Whisk together butter, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt.  Add to butter mixture.  Add half flour, then milk, then remaining flour, stirring until just incorporated.  Do not over mix!  Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, making sure to scrape sides for all batter.  Bake for 55 -60 minutes until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then invert onto the rack.  Immediately turn right side up onto another rack to cool completely.  Cut into 9 squares and serve.