Apple Betty Pie
Submitted By Lisa Springsteel, Cary

4 cups Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples, chopped
1/4 cup orange juice; freshly squeezed is best
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Mound apples in a buttered 9-inch pie plate and pour orange juice over apples.

In a bowl, combine sugar, flour and spices using a fork. Cut in butter until crumbly. Scatter over apples. Pat down.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until topping is lightly browned or crisp. Top with homemade whipped cream, caramel or vanilla bean ice cream. Serves 9.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
By Chef Jeffrey Bane, The Chef’s Academy, Morrisville

3 ounces milk
2 tablespoons butter
6 ounces canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour

5 ounces brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons melted butter with 1/2 teaspoon  vanilla or almond extract added

Egg wash:  
1 whole egg
2 tablespoons water

4 ounces water
2 ounces butter
2 ounces shortening
2 ounces corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

Warm milk and butter just until warm and butter is melted.

In large mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar and salt. Add milk mixture and beat with an electric mixer until well mixed. Beat in egg and yeast.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine flours. Add half of flour mixture to pumpkin mixture. Switch to a dough hook and beat mixture on low speed for 5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly; dough will be very soft.

Turn into lightly greased bowl, then grease surface of dough lightly. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Punch dough down onto floured surface, roll and stretch dough into a rectangle.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Brush surface of dough with melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.

Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jelly-roll style. Pinch seam to seal. With a sharp serrated knife, gently cut roll into 12 1-inch slices.

Place rolls cut side up in greased 9-inch square baking pan. Cover and let rise to proof 20 minutes.

Crack egg into small bowl; whisk until well blended. Add water and whisk well. Brush on unbaked rolls.

Bake rolls about 20 minutes, or until golden. Meanwhile, prepare frosting.

Heat water, butter, shortening, salt and syrup in a pan almost to a boil. Place sifted sugar in the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the hot mixture while the paddle is moving on a low speed. Blend until smooth. Add almond extract. Adjust consistency with small amounts of water or extra powdered sugar. Keep warm on a double boiler until ready to drizzle over the pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Makes 1 dozen rolls.

Apricot Bars (Ira’s Mandel)
Submitted by Pam Diamond, Cary

“This is my brother-in-law’s delicious mandel bread recipe for Hanukah.”

1/2 pound unsalted butter, keep cold
2 egg yolks
1 1/4  cups sugar; recipe calls for 1 cup, Ira adds extra
2 1/2  cups flour; recipe calls for 2 cups, Ira adds extra. Use matzo cake meal for Passover.
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla
Jar of apricot preserves
1 teaspoon lemon juice
12 or so chopped apricots
chopped nuts, optional
raisins, optional

Cut up butter. Add ingredients through vanilla a little at a time in food processor and make crumbly. Take half the mixture and spread on bottom on 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees F. Refrigerate other half.

While crust is in oven, mix one jar of apricot preserves and cut-up whole apricots. Throw in some raisins, nuts, or whatever you want, and mix with preserves. Add lemon juice to preserves.

Spread apricot mixture on baked crust. Take the other half of crumbly dough and sprinkle on top of preserves. Try to cover it with mixture. Bake another 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool completely, then use a pizza cutter to cut into small strips.

Makes 2 dozen 4×1-inch bars.

Molasses Cups with Chocolate Ganache
Submitted by Marilyn Markel, Southern Season, Chapel Hill

1 3/4 cups cream, divided
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup India Tree Dark Muscovado Sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Scrappy’s Chocolate bitters, plus a dash

Heat 1/4 cup cream until bubbles form around the edge.

Place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Pour cream over chocolate and whisk briefly. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk again until smooth and glossy.

Heat 1 cup cream over medium heat until just boiling. Combine sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, salt and bitters; whisk thoroughly.

Temper hot cream slowly into egg mixture. Return mixture to pan and heat over low, whisking constantly until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

In 2-ounce ramekins, spoon enough chocolate to cover the bottom. Fill the ramekin with the custard and top with another spoonful of chocolate. Chill until ready to serve.

Whip the remaining ½ cup cream with a dash of chocolate bitters, and blot on top when ready to serve. Serves 8, when using 2-ounce ramekins.

Bittersweet Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Raspberry and Almonds
Submitted By Joan Baumer, Whisk, Cary
“The 2011 winner of our Lochside neighborhood cookie contest … they will put you in the holiday spirit!”    

Prep time: 20 minutes

Baking time: 15 minutes

Total time: 2 hours

Makes: 2 to 3 dozen cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, 4 ounces coarsely chopped and 4 ounces cut into ¼-inch chunks. I use Caro Artisanal Dark Chocolate 68 percent.

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ jar seedless raspberry jam

salted and roasted almonds

powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Melt coarsely chopped chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Transfer chocolate mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla; mix on medium speed until combined.

Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks.

Scoop batter using a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop; place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces begin to crack, 12 to 15 minutes.

Let cool 1 minute, then punch with 2-inch round biscuit cutter to give cookie a perfect shape. Press one almond in the center of half of the cookies. Cool cookies on wire rack.

Spread thin layer of jam on wrong side of cookie; top with an almond cookie; sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Individual Apple Spice Cakes
Submitted By Elise Johnson, from You Never Cook Alone: Stirring Memories, Feeding Souls and Building Legacies, A Cookbook for the Well Fed Family
“If this Apple Spice Cake does not knock your socks off into the dryer, I honestly don’t know what will! A delicious butter icing gets soaked up in this amazing spice cake filled with chunks of tart apple. This is one of our family’s most favorite spice cakes. It is out-of-this-world good!”

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups canola oil

3 large eggs, one at a time

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

4 to 5 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Butter Glaze recipe

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup salted butter

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 12 individual (3 1/2 or 5 inch) Lodge cast iron skillets.

In an electric mixer, cream together light brown sugar, granulated sugar and oil. Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. Fold in apples, vanilla extract and nuts if using.

Bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Make the butter glaze just before the cake is ready to come out of the oven. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the brown sugar, butter and evaporated milk to a boil, stirring constantly. Once mixture starts comes up to a rolling boil, immediately remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and salt.

When the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes in it using a chopstick. Pour the icing over the top and watch the cake soak it all up! Allow the icing to harden a bit and enjoy plain or with a healthy scoop of French vanilla ice cream!

South Jersey Pineapple Cheesecake
Submitted By Nancy Pardue, Cary Magazine
“This is my mom’s recipe,and a family favorite for many years. It’s a bit softer than other cheesecakes, and it bakes in a 13×9 pan instead of round.”


2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

pinch of salt

1 stick butter or margarine

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix all ingredients together and press into 9×13-inch baking pan.


2 8-ounce packages cream cheese

2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 cups half and half

1 small can crushed pineapple, well drained

cinnamon, for sprinkling

Prepare crust. Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Beat first 6 filling ingredients together, being sure to blend well. Add half and half and pineapple; stir.

Pour filling into crust and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Submitted By Nancy Pardue, Cary Magazine
“A must-have every year for our Christmas Eve ‘snack tray,’ even now that the children are all grown up!” 

½ cup shortening

1 cup sugar

½ cup peanut butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

11/4 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons milk

12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together shortening, sugar, peanut butter, egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, blending well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until just brown. Makes 4 dozen cookies. 

Orange Hazelnut Biscotti
By Ken McNamee, Chef Ken’s Catering, Cary

2 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon blended oil

1 tablespoon grated orange rind

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup sugar

1 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

In separate large bowl, beat oil, grated orange, orange juice, eggs and sugar until smooth.

On low speed, beat the flour mixture into the orange mixture. Add hazelnuts.

Divide dough in half; shape each log into 10x 1 ½-inch log on floured work surface. Place logs on prepared sheets. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on baking rack for about 10 minutes. Slice diagonally into ½-inch slices. Arrange back on baking racks and put into oven for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

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