Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice ..

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails 
and puppy-dogs' tails.
That's what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
and everything nice. 
That's what little girls are made of.

Cute, huh? I had no idea where this came from, until I found the wikipedia entry ... and realized all of the references to this old rhyme! I still can't pinpoint where I first heard it ... 

While poking around on Blogger yesterday, I found an oldie but a goodie. A favorite blog that contains many recipes that I adore ... including an epic recipe that creates thee most exciting and tasty loaf of bread on this side of the Mississippi (because Cardamom bread ... at least my recipe for it ... is the best recipe on the OTHER side of the Mississippi)!! Cinnamon Swirl Bread ... why yes, it's the blog Mennonite Girls Can Cook! On the front page was the cutest thing I had seen in forever ... and to throw another link at you ... by golly it was a recipe for the cutest, the quaintest ... tiny little apple pies!

Last night I began to think about the Under 1 Play Date that Thomas and I host once a month ... and of course, after stumbling upon the perfect recipe, I concoct an excuse to make it! And what better excuse than for the moms who attend the play date tomorrow?? Typically what happens is I go to great len
gths to prepare a mass amount of snacks and fruit .. and when the guests arrive .. no one eats anything! Not the spectacular cinnamon pull apart bread, not the banana bread (my own super top secret modified recipe!!), not the apples dusted with cinnamon and sugar, fresh kiwi, strawberries ... there is no tempting these mommas! Maybe it's because we are so busy chatting and playing with our adorable babies? I have no idea. I did however, have some success last month ... I actually managed to serve some coffee and ice water ... and the pile of cranberry walnut oatmeal cookies I had made looked a little smaller once everyone left. =) I feel better having known I pleased some appetites. Hahah ... so the point I am trying to make ... by crafting tiny apple pies ... in tiny little jars ... the moms who attend can take them with them! Cool, huh?

After Thomas and I got home from church (we barely made it to communion, lol ... not only was he tired, he was wiggly, fussy AND tired ... the nicest part: as we were leaving there was a woman standing in the entryway of the church with her teen son and I was attempting to dress T in his little hat & blankey and I said, "Ohh man we almost made it to the end, but it's time for us to go!" and the woman looked at us with SUCH a great, warm smile and said, "He is so cute ... and he did so well at church today." in that perfect Mom voice. Melted my heart.)

Needless to say when we made it home it was time to nap little t and get to work ... pealing apples, chopping apples ... by the way, I learned this trick … go ahead and peal your apples into a pot with a little water in the bottom .. throw in those cores, too. Then add some cloves and cinnamon and let it simmer on the back of your stove as long as you’d like, being sure to add more water as the day goes on, and voila! Instant aromatics!

Because my jars are 4oz jars (canning jars can take the heat), I sliced my apples as usual, then just cut them in half lengthwise so they'd stuff in a bit better ... before tossing everything into my bright sunshiny yellow bowl (we needed a little sunshine in our house on this gray gray day!)with a unique spice mix - a pinch of flour, a handful of sugar, a dash of cinnamon, allspice and clove - and giving it a good mix.

I made my pastry dough next .. err .. boring old pie crust from my 1983 Betterhomes & Gardens cook book!! 2 c. flour, 1t. salt, 2/3 c. shortening .. butter flavoured of course! Even though I've added some cheese into my diet I'm too scared to go overboard with little t's digestion ... hahah My pie dough was the perfect consistency for this recipe because it was still soft ... last time I made this dough it was too stiff ... and by leaving it a little soft I could easily roll it out to the desired thickness and still mold it into my Baker's Joy sprayed jars. I used a large coffee cup to cut a circle from my dough, then gently poked it into the jar, pressing and spreading as needed ... smoothing extra dough in where ever it got a little thin inside, or if I needed some extra rise. It worked very well.

Before stuffing my tiny jars, I sprinkled a bit of sugar into the bottom of the baby-pie ... a trick I learned from making juicy-delish rhubarb pies ... it's supposed to help the crust stay crisp! Cool picture, huh? I recruited my husband to snap a picture and the first one turned out the best! See those tiny sugar crystals? hehe

I threw the apple chunks in, topped with a little honey-honey just because ... and used an extra jar to cut dough to fit the tops ... poked them with a knife, and into the oven they went! About 5 minutes later i walks my husband ... "did you make an extra one for me?" ... and I panicked ... because I hadn't..!! And I knew how much he likes to sample my Play Date Baked Goods but have no fear ... I had enough dough left over ... and I'll let you guess which one was for him ;-)

Another glory to baking pies ... is the extra dough. DH (dear husband) likes to nibble on the raw dough ... I lik eto bake it up like my dad use dto do when I was a kid ... roll it out thin, sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar ... cut it with a pizza cutter and in the oven it goes until crispy brown and delicious.

After putting together my favorite left over treat, we put together Ryan's - Apple Crisp. He did a pretty spectacular job describing the flavours as we worked together to make the crumble in the kitchen - something about warm fresh from the oven apple crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on top ... mixing with the gooey apple insides, nutmeg, cinnamon ... then a little line about the hot and cold ... that first bite ... he's so cute =)

It was so nice to spend the day (in leggings!! the perk to staying cozy inside all day hahah) in the kitchen ... filling our little abode with the smell of apple pie, cinnamon and clove, and the warmth from the oven ... with of course t waking up just in time to play when all of the work and clean up was complete! Off ran Ryan to pick up a grande decaff american with 1 pump of caramel (does he know me, or what?) ... oh yeah, and to return the video game he rented this weekend ... and I got to enjoy some apple crisp with my little turkey!! ... who has decided that rolling has its benefits ... as he now rolls to reach for toys and play-play-play. Something new every day, I tell ya. It truly is unbelievable... So don't believe the witches, the wizards, and other nasties who recite that rhyme ... little boys are the ones made of sugar and spice and everything nice ;-)

** I went absolutely NUTS trying to figure out the formatting ... and this is just going to have to do! Lol one ugly post about beautiful, delicious treats.

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