The awesome folks at CSN Stores have given me the opportunity to offer one of my readers $75 to use in any of their over 200 online stores. What do you think about that? As much as I dream of having a fabulous new table with upholstered dining chairs, that just isn’t something I want to spend money on only to have them ruined by four rambunctious boys. Know what I mean? Our kitchen has about a ten foot island in the middle with attached swiveling bar stool chairs all across it. They are ten years old and before we bought this house were not treated very nicely. (The family in the house before us had four teenage boys and a little girl!) They need replaced and are high on our list of things we want to get for our house. What would you pick if you had $75 to spend at Cookware.com. While we’ll hopefully be able to get the new chairs for the kitchen island soon, hands down my favorite place to spend too much time browsing and too much money is at CSN Stores’ Oh the kitchen appliances, tools, dishes, bakeware and on and on it would be so fun to have.
Want to have a chance to win the $75? Leave me a comment on this post telling me what you would buy if you were the randomly chosen winner. Check out CSN Stores and the millions of products they have to offer. You can enter until Friday, October 8 at 12:00 p.m. MST. Contest open to US and Canadian residents only. Make sure you leave a way to be contacted if you’re the winner. (Thanks, CSN Stores!)
And now—Tuesdays With Dorie for this week. Lynne from Honey Muffin chose Double Apple Bundt Cake (pages 184-185) and you can get this great recipe on her blog. The cake has apple butter in it as well as some grated apples.
I made homemade spiced apple/pear butter! Oh my gosh, it’s so good. A few weeks ago, I made some peach butter and thought that was really good, but in a taste test, I like the apple butter even more. I never realized how easy it is to make! When I decided on Saturday to make the cake and realized I didn’t have any apple butter, I decided to just make some, even though the only apples we had at the time were a few Red Delicious and a couple past-their-prime little Gala apples. I found this super easy recipe on Squidoo.com. I only made half the recipe, which meant I needed 2 1/2 pounds of apples.
I chopped and measured as I went and after cutting up the four sad, little Galas and three Red Delicous apples, I was still short a little, so I cut up two Asian pears I had and threw them in with the apples. This could not have been more simple. Into the crockpot the diced apples and pears went along with some cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. A little apple juice went in as well and the crockpot was set on low. I went to bed and the apples stewed all night. The recipe suggests not adding sugar until the apple butter is finished (or close to it) so you can test it’s sweetness. Well, after blending the apples in a blender and tasting it, I thought it was sweet enough and didn’t add any sugar. So this is also sugar free apple butter.
Easy, Sugar Free Spiced Apple Pear Butter, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Squidoo.com
3 red delicious apples, peeled, cored and chopped
4 small Gala apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 Asian pears, peeled, cored and chopped
(2 1/2 pounds of any apples/pears you’d like)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup apple juice
Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 10-12 hours with the lid vented slightly. Blend until smooth. Taste and add sugar, agave, or sweetener of your choice if desired. Mine didn’t need anything. If you use Granny Smith apples or another more tart apple, you will probably need some sugar.
You can also cook the smooth apple butter to the consistency/thickness you desire by leaving it in the crockpot a few more hours after it’s blended without the lid on, which helps remove more of the moisture.
I made the bundt cake and followed the directions exactly. I love when a bundt cake comes right out of the pan! I omitted the raisins and used walnuts. Interesting fact—kitchen scales are better for measuring ingredients. Example—one cup of walnuts. I normally just put them in a measuring cup to the top of the cup. This time I threw the cup on the scale just for fun and looked on the bag of walnuts to see that 120 grams equals one cup.
The cup was overflowing with nuts before it reached 120 grams. I went with the scale measurement. I prefer weighing ingredients in recipes. Just sayin’.
I called the cake done at 46 minutes. I gave it a light glaze made with about 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar and 3 good tablespoons of apple butter whisked together until smooth.
I served it with a little of the apple butter on the side (Dorie said. ;) and some chopped walnuts and homemade Concord raisins. (I left the raisins out of the cake because I knew the boys wouldn’t like them, but I would have liked them.)
The boys each ate a piece. We called Cindy and asked if she wanted some cake. She came over at 9:30 Sunday night after she got off work and took home half the cake. Yay for sharing! She also got to take home six cream puffs that I made.
Come back for the post to see if the cream puffs worked out better for me than the first week of French Fridays With Dorie last week when we made gougeres (cheese puffs) and mine had a few issues. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to tell me what you’d want to spend $75 on at CSN Stores if you want to be entered to win!