December 2012


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A couple of years back, I decided to make bourbon balls out of butter biscuits. They were a big, buttery step up from the classic Nilla wafer ones. But now, it seems Bahlsen butter biscuits (and/or their butter leaves) are harder to find. Sure, you can order them on Amazon, but sometimes there’s no time to wait.

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Enter Bahlsen’s chocolate-topped butter biscuits, Choco-Leibniz: my very favorite store-bought cookie, hands down, no question. I stock up whenever they’re on sale. On my quest for butter biscuits last week, I hit three different stores before finding Choco-Leibniz on sale at Stop & Shop, 2 for $4. Hmm, they’re you’re favorite cookie and they’re ON SALE. Now is the time to find out if they make bourbon balls just as tasty as their plain cousins. Know what? I think they’re even better.

CHOCOLATE BUTTER BISCUIT BOURBON BALLS

3 boxes Bahlsen Choco-Leibniz*–crush them in a food processor or blender
1 1/2 cups pecans–take these for a spin in the food processor as well so they’re finely chopped
1/2 cup bourbon (you can use rum, too, but you’ll get more bang from bourbon!)
1/4 cup light corn syrup (I used Karo with vanilla)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-5 turns of coarse ground salt

*I used milk chocolate Choco-Leibniz, but they make a dark chocolate variety, too, if you like.

TO COAT THE BALLS
Sift together onto a plate:
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

I used my small Zeroll 60 scoop to make 42 (forgive me) big balls.

Ready to roll!

Ready to roll!

Roll each ball in the cocoa sugar to coat.

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The extra chocolate bits inside truly make these treats even tastier–please, what is not to like about more chocolate? Now we can make bourbon balls whenever we wish. YAAAAAAAY! Happy holidaze! CENT’ANNI! Let’s celebrate!

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My mom makes the best apple pie. Sure, you may think YOUR mom or your grandma does, but I’m fairly confident Janey’s pie beats ’em all.

Up till now, I’ve never learned to make pie. Thus, I’m sharing my development opportunity with you here, so we can watch and learn–yes, with videos, even–and replicate the deliciousness that is my mom’s apple pie.

A quick note about apples–“Northern Spies for pies,” so says my farm stand friend at Berruti’s Harvest House in Glastonbury. But, as they were out of them, I picked up Macouns, our go-to apple for eating, baking and dipping in caramel. OK, off we go with the dough!

PEGGY’S OIL PIE DOUGH

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup cold water
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon corn oil

Grab a 9″ pie plate and cut wax paper to overhang the plate. You’ll use this as a template to roll the dough.

Whisk together flour and salt. Make a well at the bottom of the bowl. Pour water into oil, then pour both into flour mixture. Stir together with a fork until just combined and dough begins to pull away from the bowl. At this point, you may have a few bits of flour at the bottom of the bowl. You can gently, and briefly, knead the dough by hand to get it all combined. But once it is, stop–don’t overwork it! Divide the dough in two.

Now, it’s time to roll. This is the part where I really need to learn, so I documented with video. Here’s Janey to show us how–part one.

And if you’d like to decorate your pie with cut outs, check out Janey’s very cool apple pattern. Here’s how it all comes together, watch and learn in part two. 🙂

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Of course, what would apple pie be without apples, so here’s the filling part. You can get the apples ready before you make the dough or vice versa. Me? I think it makes sense to get the apples ready before you start with the crust. That way, once the crust is ready, you just pour the apples right in and top it with the crust. Easy as pie. Or easy as my mom makes pie look, anyway!

MA’S APPLE PIE
adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook

5-7 tart apples (we love Macouns), peeled and cut into chunks
3/4 cup sugar (half granulated sugar, half light brown sugar is nice–that’s what we did)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 a lemon, squeezed

Whisk together dry ingredients in large bowl, add apples, squeeze lemon; toss to coat and combine.

Place bottom crust in 9″ pie plate. Fill with apple mixture. Over the apples, dot with about 2-3 tablespoons of butter all around the filling. Top with top crust. Pinch to seal the two crusts– see video. 🙂 Sprinkle top of crust with 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, then dust with a teaspoon or so of granulated sugar.

Bake in the center of the oven at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F and bake an additional 30 minutes. The pie crust should be a light golden brown. If necessary, the pie may need to stay in the oven an additional 5 minutes or more.