Apple Galette and Chocolate Pomegranate Muffins

I’ve always wanted to make a galette and today, I finally did it! It was pretty easy and I will for sure do it again. It’s a bonus to me that I don’t need to use a pie tin to make it. I wasn’t too happy with my galette crust so I will need to work on that.

When my oldest son saw that I was baking something, he wanted to bake too. So he picked out chocolate muffins to make for breakfast tomorrow.

I am a big fan of Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks, so I used the galette dough recipe and a modified galette filling recipe from her Baking Chez Moi cookbook. My son used a recipe for chocolate chocolate-chunk muffins from her Baking: From My Home to Yours cookbook.

Here is the galette dough recipe that I used:

Blueberry Galette

And then the filling is from her Apple Pielettes recipe, which can’t be found online. I would really suggest buying her cookbooks if you can! Her instructions are very simple, easy to follow, and detailed (for which I am very thankful!)

I think any apple pie filling would work well though. Just make sure you’re only using three apples in the filling because you don’t want to over-fill your galette.

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I chilled my galette dough on parchment paper on a baking pan in the fridge for two hours before I filled it. I used two granny smith apples and one golden delicious apple in the filling. I kept the filling in the fridge also for two hours. I just mixed a splash of lemon juice in with the apples so they wouldn’t turn too brown.

Before putting the filling on the dough, I crumbled up one sheet of graham crackers and sprinkled the crumbs over the dough. Dorie said to use butter cookies but sadly, I had none of those on hand. I think the cookie crumbs help the crust not to become soggy from the liquid in the filling during baking. Or maybe they just provide some extra texture. My kids didn’t even notice the graham cracker crumbs though.

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I sprinkled bits of 1 Tablespoon of butter over the top of the galette once I folded up the sides. After a quick brush of water over the dough and a sprinkling of sugar, it went into the oven at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes.

We were eating dinner while this was baking so I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have. I think it might have been in there a little bit too long.  It probably could have come out at around 43 minutes. Yes, 2 minutes makes a big difference! Let’s just say it is “well-baked!” It was the perfect size for my family of 8 though and there are only 2 pieces left. My two youngest aren’t fond of apple pie.

After baking, I spooned some melted orange marmalade over the fruit to give it some shine. Yes, I did that just so it would look pretty.

Josh says it tastes like McDonald’s apple pies. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment… But I’ll take it!

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Corran, my oldest son, wanted to make something for breakfast that would go with the pomegranate jelly we just canned on Saturday. He saw these chocolate chocolate-chunk muffins. Then, I remembered that I had three pomegranate chocolate bars in the pantry that I had been saving to use in chocolate chip cookies. I donated them to his cause and let him chop them up to use as the melted chocolate and the chocolate chunks in the muffins. I’m really proud of him for wanting to learn to bake. He is also interested in learning to cook something more complicated than grilled cheese or quesadillas.

I think the kids were more excited about the chocolate muffins than the apple galette. They kept asking if they could eat them now. My daughter’s exclamation, “But breakfast is sooooo far away!”

Hopefully, when it comes time for breakfast tomorrow, they will be happy they waited patiently for these chocolate muffins!

-Lynn

 

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Sugar Free Root Beer Ice

For July 4th I made Root Beer Ice and Vanilla Ice Cream for the family gathering.  My mom can’t eat sugar, so I wanted to make a sugar free root beer ice to go with the sugar free vanilla ice cream I made for her.  The root beer natural extract that I bought from The Spice House doesn’t contain added sugar which allowed me to make the sugar free version of the root beer ice.

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I used a Stevia blend in place of sugar in the recipe.

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Bring your choice of sugar substitute, water and lemon juice to a boil.  Stir constantly while the sugar substitute dissolves into the water.  Remove the pot from the heat and add in the root beer extract.

The natural extract I have doesn’t have any coloring in it. My attempt at making regular root beer ice with the natural flavor tasted really good, however, I made a mistake when adding food coloring to turn it brown.  I ended up with pink root beer ice.  The color wasn’t horrible, but it did look odd.  Since the sugar free version was the second attempt, I think I got the coloring better.  Just add about equal amounts of red, blue and yellow food color until you get the brown that you desire.

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Then allow the root beer mixture to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.  Once chilled, mix in an ice cream maker according to the manufacture instructions.

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I slightly over mixed my since it was a really small batch ( I had halved the recipe).  That caused it to look a bit icy when I scooped it out.  The flavor though, was really good especially for a sugar free recipe.

Sugar Free Root Beer Ice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar substitute
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon natural root beer extract
  • Red, Blue, and Yellow food coloring

Directions

Mix sugar, water and lemon juice in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes. Stir in root beer concentrate.

Add equal amounts red, blue and yellow food coloring to make as brown as desired

Refrigerate 2 hours or until chilled.

 

Pour into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

-Joshua

Experimenting With Root Beer Ice: Natural Flavor Extract 

For the 4th of July I made root beer ice and vanilla ice cream for our family get together. I made it first using McCormick’s root beer concentrate. I wasn’t happy with the really dark brown color (the first ingredient is caramel color), though the taste was OK.  I decided to try another batch using an extract made with natural flavors.

I found a reasonably priced extract with good ratings at The Spice House.


I like this extract much better then the first one I used. When I used it, the extract just seemed more like root beer.  It made my kitchen smell strongly of root beer, and the scent spread through the house. My five year old son, came into the kitchen to tell me it smelt like root beer in the house.

I think the flavor of this version was better then that of the one using the McCormicks.  Both taste sufficiently of root beer, but this one seemed to be less chemical tasting to me, which makes sense since it is supposed to be made of natural flavors.

The only issue I had was a minor one.  This extract is clear because there are no added colors.  I used gel food coloring to attempt to make my root beer ice a pleasing brown color.  I had read that an equal amount of red, blue, and yellow food color should be used to get brown.  Unfortunately, I must have done something wrong because my ice didn’t end up brown.  When I was mixing it up, I thought it was light brown.  However, when I took the ice out of the ice cream mixer it was more of a pinkish color.  That was more of cosmetic issue then a real problem.

The pictures actually look a bit brown, but in real life it is more pink.  I definitely didn’t add enough color, and I probably got to much red in the mix.

Using the natural flavor made for a superior root beer ice.  I highly recommend using whatever natural extract you can get your hands on if you make this.  If you can’t get natural extract, then using something bought in a regular store makes for a perfectly good root beer ice.

-Joshua

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Vanilla Ice Cream: Sugar Free

I have been working on vanilla ice cream and root beer ice frozen floats for our family 4th of July party.   My mom can’t eat much sugar, so I wanted to make sugar free ice cream for her.

I used the same recipe as my vanilla ice cream. I replaced the sugar with a Stevia blend.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good this sugar free vanilla ice cream tastes. I do not generally like the taste of sugar substitutes. However, this almost tastes just about like the real thing to me.

If you are cutting back on sugar for some reason, but still want homemade ice cream this is a great recipe. Is is incredibly simple, but still tastes good.

I halved the recipe because I don’t expect many people to want the sugar free version.  I still had no issues with it mixing and turning into ice cream.

Sugar Free Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar substitute
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Prepare the ice cream mixture
In a bowl, stir together the cream and milk. Add the sugar substitute and whisk until the sugar substitute is dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. Test for graininess by tasting a small amount of the liquid; it should feel smooth on the tongue and there should be no sugar substitute visible on the bottom of the bowl when it is stirred or spooned out. Continue whisking, if necessary, to ensure that the texture of the finished ice cream will be smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
Chill the ice cream mixture
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and on top of the bowl. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Churn the ice cream
Prepare an ice cream maker with at least a 1-quart capacity according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the plastic wrap from the cream mixture and bowl. Pour the well-chilled cream mixture into the mixing container of the ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The timing will depend on the type of machine and the temperature of the cream mixture.

 

-Joshua

Vanilla Ice Cream

For the 4th of July, I wanted to make vanilla custard and root beer ice sundaes based on Rita’s Frozen Yogurt Gelatis. Rita’s Gelati is a frozen yogurt and Italian ice.  They have a variety of flavors that changes every day. I have already been experimenting with the root beer ice part of the sundae.

All of the ice cream that I have made in the past has actually been frozen custard.  Custard uses egg yokes and is quite creamy.  Lynn told me that we have way to many egg yokes already.  She has quite a number in the freezer, so she asked me to make ice cream instead.  Since I was going to make a different style of ice cream I had to look up a recipe, my typical trusty recipe wouldn’t work this time.

I ended up learning a little bit about ice cream in this recipe search.  Apparently, the style I was making before is French-style ice cream.  I found a new recipe for something called Philadelphia style ice cream.  It uses less ingredients, and requires less work.  The custard requires cooking, and if done incorrectly can have egg chunks in the custard.  The Philadelphia style doesn’t need cooking, all it requires is mixing.

This is a very easy recipe to make.  I am going to use this one through out the summer and add different flavors to it.  There was so much less mess and work compared to the custard I usually make.

Recipe is courtesy of Williams Sonoma. 

I think the recipe included unnecessary steps, so I omitted those.  For instance it says to chill the ice cream mixture in a bowl of ice.  I didn’t do this because it is a cold mixture that is being put into the refrigerator.  Why waste the time and the ice?  The ice cream turned out well without doing that part.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Prepare the ice cream mixture
In a bowl, stir together the cream and milk. Add the sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. Test for graininess by tasting a small amount of the liquid; it should feel smooth on the tongue and there should be no sugar visible on the bottom of the bowl when it is stirred or spooned out. Continue whisking, if necessary, to ensure that the texture of the finished ice cream will be smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
Chill the ice cream mixture
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and on top of the bowl. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Churn the ice cream
Prepare an ice cream maker with at least a 1-quart capacity according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the plastic wrap from the cream mixture and bowl. Pour the well-chilled cream mixture into the mixing container of the ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The timing will depend on the type of machine and the temperature of the cream mixture.

 

This is a really good vanilla ice cream.  It isn’t near so heavy as the custard, so it is much less filling.  I think it is better for hot summer days when you don’t want to be over full.

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I made another batch of the root beer ice to try with the ice cream.  I don’t want to bring something to a party that I have never tried myself.

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This is a really good combination, and I highly recommend it.  I know I made it, but it is really good. Today, I am going to make the root beer ice with the natural root beer extract we bought. I will probably make a post about it since it is a little different.

-Joshua

Experimenting With Root Beer Ice

Lately, I have been on a sorbet kick. I made lemon, sugar free lemon, watermelon and Valencia Orange Sorbet.

About a week ago Lynn and I went to Ritas, an Italian ice and custard shop. Ritas is a chain that came to our area about 1.5 years ago. Their custard and Italian ice are very good and I highly recommend it.

Will I was eating my Ritas, I realized that the sorbet I make is real close in texture to the Ritas Italian ice. That caused me to want to make my own Italian ice.

One of the Ritas menu items is a Gelati, that is frozen custard with Italian ice layered together. One of the better combinations is Root Beer Italian ice and vanilla custard. Since I already know how to make vanilla custard, I decided to attempt root beer ice to potentially go with home made vanilla custard.

I found it harder to track down an Italian ice recipe then I expected. There are many companies selling Italian ice kits, but not many recipes. The first recipe in a google search was from McCormick. I usually stay away from companies recipes, but used this one this time.

I quickly whipped together the ice. Like the sorbet, this is really simple to make. The only thing I did wrong is we ate it to early. I should have allowed it to be in the freezer longer. That is why my pictures look like brown piles of something rather then nice scoops of Italian ice.


I think this is a recipe that I will stick with. We happened to have McCormick root beer concentrate at the house. I am not sure I like the flavor of it. It seemed a bit chemically and fake. We order some natural concentrate and I will be using that to make my next batch. I am going to be making root beer ice and vanilla ice cream for July 4th, so I am sure you will be able to read more about this experiment in the next few days.

Root Beer Ice

Recipe from McCormick

Ingredients

Directions

  • Mix sugar, water and lemon juice in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes. Stir in root beer concentrate.

  • Refrigerate 2 hours or until chilled.

  • Pour into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

 

-Joshua

Valencia Orange Sorbet 

One of the many things that grows well in San Diego County is oranges. There are many orange groves in the more rural parts of our county. This is a prime time of year for buying juicy perfectly ripened oranges. 

I bought several pounds of Valencia oranges at one of the local farmers market. The oranges actually turned out to be to juicy! Whenever I tried to peal one my hands would be covered in juice. So I decided to put that juice to good use and make sorbet. 

I really wish I had more pictures. I always think that after I am done. I should have taken some of the oranges. 

I first made a simple syrup. Place water and sugar in a small pot. Over medium heat, boil until the sugar dissolves. How long this takes depends on how much you are making. Once the sugar is fully incorporated into the water, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool.

While the simple syrup is cooling, juice the oranges. I ended up with 2 cups of orange juice, so I doubled the recipe. 

Mix the juice into the simple syrup. I like to put the juice mixture into the refrigerator to get cold. This isn’t mandatory, but I think it makes the sorbet chill better in the ice cream mixer. 

Place the juice mixture into an ice cream mixture and churn according to the manufacturer instructions. 

The oranges I used were very sweet, so this ended up being a sweet sorbet. There was a bit of a citrus tanginess, but not much. 

Valencia Orange Sorbet

  • 1 cups water
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 3/4ths cups fresh orange juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar, and boil until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the orange juice. Transfer to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions. When the sorbet has frozen (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. The sorbet will solidify in the freezer.