Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks. -Marilyn Wann
There’s been some good kitchen therapy at CasaRock lately – some “I can’t do much but I can do something” time baking treats to share with folks who are working some crazy-long hours right now preparing for Christmas and all that it means at our church. While brown sugar, butter, pecans, and cherries can’t solve the world’s problems, they can put a smile on a tired face. And those smiles are gifts as we prepare to celebrate the best Gift.
So what’s baking in the kitchen? Some little mini-pies, plus a GREAT pecan pie that (is this possible?) doesn’t use Karo syrup. All are heavenly. Enjoy!
Derby Pie Cupcakes
For the shortbread crust
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
For the filling
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Tennessee Honey whiskey
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°.
To make the crust, combine the powdered sugar, flour, and salt In the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until it resembles coarse cornmeal. If you’d rather, you can make the shortbread by hand, using a fork or pastry cutter to blend. Divide the mixture into 24 cupcake liners, and pat firmly. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until very lightly golden.
While shortbread is baking, cream the butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, flour, salt, and whiskey and continue to mix until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans. Pour batter over partially baked crust. Bake until filling is set and the top is light golden brown, approximately 20-25 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan.
Utterly Amazing Southern Pecan Pie
makes one 10″ pie
your favorite pie crust
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups chopped pecans
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon bourbon
Preheat oven to 325°. Fit piecrust into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; sprinkle piecrust with powdered sugar. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until foamy; whisk in brown sugar and next 6 ingredients. Pour mixture into piecrust. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 300°, and bake 30 more minutes. Turn oven off, and let pie stand in oven, with door closed, 3 hours. NOTE: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can still bake this pie beautifully. Just use a regular pie pan, and reduce the final time in the oven to 1 hour.
adapted from Southern Living Magazine
Cherry Crumble Mini-Pies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups finely ground almonds
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, cut up
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
4 cups frozen unsweetened pitted tart red cherries, thawed and drained
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (Mexican vanilla if you’ve got it)
½ cup chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake tins with liners. Set aside. For crust, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, almonds, and brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Remove 1-1/2 cups of the mixture; add chopped almonds and set aside. Divide the remaining mixture evenly onto the bottom of prepared cupcake liners and press gently. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, for filling, in another large bowl, combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lemon peel. Add cherries and almond extract; toss gently to combine. Spoon cherry filling over hot baked crust, spreading evenly (mixture will be wet). Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake about 30 minutes more or until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before removing.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Merry Christmas, and may all your kitchen therapy be heavenly.