Flaky Apple Hand Pies

 Happy 2019! 2018 brought a whirlwind of changes – new moves, new jobs, new friends, in fact, it’s almost overwhelming to think of them all!  It’s simultaneously been the hardest year, but the happiest year.  Isn’t it funny that life can be like that sometimes (and it seems, almost all the time?). I hope that for you, 2019 brings all the happiness that was in 2018, and only keeps getting better 😊


On the topic of better, I’ve been aspiring to be better about staying home and cooking with what I have, instead of falling prey to the wonderful app that is Grubhub.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking and being in the kitchen, but after 8 hours of school and a seemingly endless pile of homework, the thought of even sautéing some veggies makes my head spin.  So, creating the simplest and fastest recipes are always at the forefront of my mind when I’m creating something new.


The recipe is actually from awhile back, but I’m finally getting to blogging about it now (talk about being behind! Haha, I’m just a year late).  Anyway, one of my bestest friends from my work came over to my itty bitty apartment this past Thanksgiving to make some apple hand pies.  We had originally set out to make cherry almond croissants, but upon realizing the both of us had no tools and barely any ingredients, we had to quickly change plans.  She brought some honeycrisp apples (shoutout to Minnesota for creating them!), and I supplied the puff pastry, voila! We had all the ingredients necessary for apple hand pies.  It’s that easy, I promise!  And it will bring smiles to anyone you serve them to, cause really, who can resist some pipping hot, cinnamony sugar and buttery pastries? 


So let’s ring in 2019 with some flaky apple hand pies, maybe a glass of champagne, and if you’re me, some R&R with my faithful buddy, netflix (lol).  Back to reality though, I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions, and I really only have two this year, okay, maybe three, but the first is the most important.  I want to be kinder to others, because you can always be kinder and you never, ever know another stranger’s full story.  So often I find myself quickly jumping to conclusions and judging others harshly before I even take a moment to put myself in their shoes.  What are the other two? You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.  In the mean time, grab some apples, some puff pastry and sit down with a hand pie (or two). 

FLAKY APPLE HAND PIES | Makes 8-10 hand pies 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 honeycrisp apples (or any other baking apple) – cored and diced into small pieces 
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp butter – melted 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 sheet puff pastry (I get mine from Trader Joes) 
  • 1 beaten egg (for egg wash) 
  • 1 tbsp milk*
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar*

DIRECTIONS 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 (F)
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together diced apples, white sugar, melted butter and cinnamon.  Combine together and set aside. 
  3. Take thawed puff pastry and cut sheet into 8-10 rectangles, depending on how big you want your hand pies to be (remember, your hand pies will be half the size you cut your rectangles into, because you’ll be folding them in half to seal in the apple). 
  4. Take each piece of puff pastry and spoon in about 1-2 tablespoons of apple into the middle of the puff pastry. Make sure to leave out the juices that have pooled to the bottom of the bowl with the apples, this will make your hand pie extremely soggy. 
  5. Brush edges of the puff pastry with the beaten egg and seal together.  
  6. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (you’ll want the parchment paper since the apples tend to leak their juices a little bit, it makes clean up easier). 
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes.  Remove once the top is golden brown and puff pastry has puffed!
  8. Once cooled, create an icing by combining milk and powdered sugar together.  Drizzle over hand pies for just the slightest hint of sweetness to complement the apples.  
  9. Hand pies will stay fresh for just a couple of days.  To extend their shelf life, simply freeze and reheat in the toaster! 

Enjoy! 

Old-fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits

As a kid, did you ever pretend rocks were “cookies” or “cakes” while playing outside in the yard? I remember that my sisters and I would always throw extravagant tea parties full of “mud pies” and “rock cakes”, and then come home covered in mud and pebbles, much to my mom’s annoyance (sorry, mom!). Well, I’m not sure if it was because I missed these tea parties so much, or if I was just a terrible baker, but for the longest time, my biscuits were truly as hard and tough as rocks.
I recently tried my hand out at making biscuits again because I’ve had a hankering for some biscuits and homemade jam (more to come on the jam!). After scouring the internet, I came across Bon Appetit’s buttermilk biscuits but then realized that I didn’t actually own a food processor… which you know, like any good cook does, I proceeded anyway. Turning this food processor needing recipe into one that doesn’t has been quite the adventure (picture 3 butter knives in each hand whirring in circles in an attempt to simulate a food processor, among other hilarious ideas).
I promise you the final recipe does not require 6 arms and it definitely can be done in under 20 minutes.  Pair them with jam, butter, honey, gravy or honestly just plain, everyone will be happy. Trust me, give them a go!

IMPORTANT: Do NOT over work this dough, otherwise biscuits will turn out like my childhood rock cakes. Also, frozen butter is MUCH easier to grate and will not melt into the dough while you are working with it. Cold butter is essential for creating pockets of steam while baking ==> soft and fluffy biscuits.

OLD-FASHIONED BUTTERMILK BISCUITS | Modified from Bon Appetit | Makes 12
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter – frozen
  • 1 tbsp butter – melted (for brushing on top of biscuits)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk

DIRECTIONS

  1. Using grater, grate 2 sticks of butter on the coarser setting. If you don’t have a grater, simply take a knife and chop the butter into 1/4 inch cubes. Put butter back into freezer if it is starting to melt.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and baking soda. Mix well with a whisk.
  3. Place grated butter into flour mixture. With hands, gently work butter pieces into flour until mixture looks like coarse sand and the largest pieces of butter are smaller than peas.
  4. Make a well in the mixture and pour buttermilk in well. Use spatula to incorporate dry and wet ingredients until a shaggy dough as formed.
  5. Turn dough onto floured surface and pat into a 1″- thick square. Using a knife or bench scraper, slice dough into four equal pieces and place on top of each other (this creates more flaky layers!). Gently press to flatten the layers.
  6. Roll dough into a rectangle 1″-thick. Take knife or bench scraper and cut into 12 equal slices – there should be no leftover scraps.
  7. Place dough pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet and place in freezer for 15 min.
  8. Preheat oven to 425 (F).
  9. Right before baking the biscuits, liberally brush the top of each biscuit with melted butter
  10. Place biscuits in oven and reduce heat to 400 (F). Bake for 20-25 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.

Enjoy!