5 Ways to Use Speculoos (video)

Hey y’all, happy August! I’ve been playing around with beach snacks and fast sweet treats. Cookie butter, also known as speculoos spread, is one of my favorite things that comes out of a jar. Check out the video I made about how to eat it!

If you have some cookie butter in the cupboard and you don’t know what to do with it, here are the five things:

1. Dip sliced apples into it like peanut butter. Quick, easy, sweet, kinda nutritious.

2. Spread onto toast. Really lets the speculoos flavor come through.

3. Put it on ice cream. If you microwave a small bowl of the spread until it liquefies, it will harden like a chocoalte shell once it hits the ice cream. Textury delight!

4. Make it a filling for cookies. If you’re making a batch of cookies, or even want to spice up some store-bought cookie dough, a speculoos filling will surprise friends and taste great.

5. Eat with a spoon. Why not? Fewer calories, right?

Looking for more ways? Check out my speculoos rice crispy treats here!

Easy Apple-Cran Crisp

     It is now clear to me that Fall is here to stay. Prepare for scarves, hoodies, and beanies on campus/elsewhere. I wanted to quickly share a really easy recipe for those still with some apples hanging around the kitchen from that one time you went apple picking. We have to make room in the fridge for pumpkin everything anyway. While you wait for an updated cookie recipe, here’s some soft-yet-crunchy apple-cranberry crisp! Really, the hardest part is cutting the apples.

Apple Cranberry Crisp, from Better Homes and Gardens
Here’s to recipes turning out the same as their picture!


Ingredients

5 cups thinly-sliced peeled apples
1 cup cranberries(frozen or fresh)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine apples, cranberries, and granulated sugar. Transfer to a 2-quart square baking dish or a 9-inch pie plate.
  2. In a small bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over apple mixture.
  3. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream. Makes 6 servings.

     In other news, the (no longer) new school year has brought a new food blog! I’ve come together with other college bakers/cooks to bring you varying recipes and kitchen adventures. We call it College Bakers’ Collective, and you can find it right here. It’s been really cool getting to see what other college kids, who are just as busy as the next kid, are up to in their kitchens. Come say hi; if you’re waiting for something new from me, there’s a good chance something has already been posted @ CBC. Stay warm, kids!

Apple Fest 2k14

     Here’s 25% of the reason I studied abroad in the spring instead of the fall: Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival. Here are all things fall and festive, appl-y, pumpkin-y, yummy, and generally happy.

     On my usual list of things to find are maple cotton candy, kettle corn, a baked good from the Mennonite community, lunch, an apple ice cream sundae from Purity Ice Cream, and, of course, an apple cider doughnut or two. Unfortunately, this year was a bit of a disappointment. First off, Purity Ice Cream wasn’t there this year 😦 I was very upset by this. And maybe the rest of my disappointment came from being at Apple Fest for the fourth year in a row, as well as the construction in the Commons, where the vendors usually stay. But it was a lovely day out of an awfully wet and cold week. I started off with lunch from Star Truck, celebrating their grand opening as Ithaca’s first vegan food truck.

     If you were wondering, I did not in fact know “Star Truck” had an all-vegan menu until I ordered the Mac n’ Chili with cornbread. All things that should have some animal product in it, right? Well I was pleasantly surprised by the mac and “cheese” and the soy proteined chili. The cornbread could definitely have been less dry. But this is saying a lot coming from the last person to sacrifice her meats for beans, and dairy for…other.

     They could do with some remodeling of the truck, but vegan joints beware! There’s a new truck in town and they’re coming to ball.

It may look kinda green, but it filled me right up, and I’m sure it was way healthier for me. And not bad at all.

     Though I went with some hearty food for lunch, I didn’t pass on the opportunity to chat with the server behind “Collegetown Crêpes”. This is another new cart in Ithaca that hangs out by Cornell during the second half of the week for lunch. I think there’s been a law passed recently in town allowing food trucks to slowly come back to the streets. They had been previously prohibited, because politics. Will keep you posted on that one.

     Little Tree Orchard’s good ol’ stand with their good ol’ cider doughnuts. You can’t leave without getting at least one.

     Never forget them. Always worth it. Unless there’s a 30 minute wait, in which case just find them next week at the farmer’s market.

     For the last couple years, I had heard about this one thing that everyone was trying and loving. So I added to my list one more treat. The new go-to apple fest carnival food: pumpkin funnel cake. Consensus: a most poor life choice. I split this with Danielle, and I felt quite awful very soon after. I should have known it was a bad idea when I noted the powdered sugar discolored by the grease seeping through. Not worth it, ya’ll. Sorry.

Pictured: Two pairs of earrings from a couple of the many crafts and artisan booths, kettle corn from a new place because my usual place wasn’t there, some pumpkin whoopie pies.
Not pictured: cold cider.

 Maybe once the Commons is back in action, I will return for round five.

Incredibly Whole Wheat Apple Crisp Muffins

I need to think of shorter names for my creations.

 I also need to think of a way to make money off of these creations, because they’re coming, they’re awesome, and they’re trying to compete with my picture taking for time. Culinary school gap year, anyone?
(Joking!) (I think!)
We had a lot of apples the week I was home after returning from Nigeria, and I wanted to do something with them. I combined the Fannie Farmer muffin recipe and Joy the Baker’s apple crispiness (I’m getting all food bloggy as of late…but really just Joythebakery) and voilà! Apple crisp muffins – with only whole wheat flour, because healthy lifestyles are the best lifestyles. Also, I have to make up for the diet that is Nigeria: meat n’ starch. So here! Replace the healthy with white, if you must.

Incredibly Whole Wheat Apple Crisp Muffins
Inconveniently makes 15 muffins…sorry


Apple filling
2 large apples, chopped into large pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
1 dash ground cinnamon

Topping
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 dash ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 handful crushed walnuts
2 tablespoons rolled oats

Muffin
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease 2 muffin pans

Cut the apples and place in a small bowl. Ad the sugar and cinnamon to coat all pieces. Set aside

Mix the dry topping ingredients together in a second small bowl. Add the butter and work into dry ingredients with hands until evenly distributed. Set aside

Place the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg, milk and oil, only enough to dampen batter, not making it smooth. Incorporate apples to batter.

Spoon batter into muffin pans, filling each cup two-thirds of the way. Top each muffin with brown sugar mixture, then place in oven to bake for 20 minutes.

Hearty
Cookie cameo
The world needs less hunger and more scrapers
I had a fun time juggling the apple pieces with the muffin batter due to their large size but it was quite worth the struggle, as I happily encountered an acceptable ratio of apple-to-muffin. But the size you cut the apples into is ultimately up to you…
I could totally make a living off of this right
Super healthy AND super tasty!

Halloweekend (#1): DIY Dinner

 A fine meal. Ghetto? Noo, resourceful…
Happy Halloween! Despite the diminutive “kitchen” in my dorm, and deficient collection of appropriate cooking tools, I am not always discouraged from making/helping make a meal for myself and friends. Really anything is better than cooked broccoli and soft beef tacos from the dining hall. This past weekend Rebecca, Tommy, Wei En and I got together at Shyla’s apartment to make dinner. Definitely on the top 10 list of potluck dinner-making events…if I had more than 10 occasions to rank. Rebecca started us off with tubed (tubed? already processed, perhaps) polenta. I’m still relatively unfamiliar with the dish as it was the first time that I know of that I had it. Rebecca put some balsamic vinegar on the pieces and finished them off with some goat cheese and craisins. She also made a salad with raspberries, homemade dressing and more of the craisin-cheese topping. Then Tommy made this baked brie dish thing covering a block of brie in a brandy and brown sugar glaze. Toasted some appropriately French bread to ingest with; what a concept. There was pasta…I was “cooking” it, though no one seemed to trust my see-if-the-pasta’s-soft-or-not skills…-_____- Red sauce and pesto were made for the pasta. The one thing they apparently did trust me in (and rightly so mwahaha!) was dessert. Dessert would definitely be my area of expertise…not that I can’t produce an exceptional pan-cooked lamb kebab dinner, either 😛 Aanyway…appreciating the season and preferring health over grease and simplicity over effort (or so I thought…oops), I made a satisfyingly sweet finale. I have to credit Tumblr for this brilliant idea of apple donuts which were legen-wait for it….dary! You slice apples horizontally and core them to cover them in peanut butter, and top them off with chocolate chips, raisins, dates, sliced almonds, or whatever your heart desires. So no, there were no real donuts involved. And of course you can use whatever spread as well, like NUTELLA! My budget did not make space for such luxuries, but next time…definitely next time…
Hard(er) at work
Rebecca & her polenta
This will be happening again…
Brie in the making
My masterpieces – don’t be fooled: harder than they look!