#Baketogether: Brown Butter Bourbon Apple Honey Handpies + The Give & Take of Extroversion

by kellybakes in


brown butter bourbon apple honey handpies

It's not easy being an extrovert (or green). Despite my loquacious nature, I have a secret wish to be an introvert. I've always marveled at how they can step back and observe the world quietly without feeling an urge fill lulls in conversation or interrupt a peaceful silence by vocalizing their thoughts. Me? Well, I observe, but I have a hard time sitting in stillness. I get itchy, overly aware and awkward. It's a vicious cycle. The more I notice the silence, the more awkward I feel, the more I want to talk to fill the gap, the less I think about what I want to say, the quicker it flies out of my mouth and I end up feeling awkward anyway. Hell, I even feel awkward re-reading that.

brown butter bourbon apple honey handpies

My brain never seemed to learn to rest. To pause. To take deep breaths. To be intentional. When I was working at a poetry retreat, I had the honor of helping to host a group of Native American poets. I listened intently to their words, in awe of their verbal economy & beautiful prose. I wish I remembered more of our conversations, but what stayed was one about breath and how each inhale is an opportunity to absorb a piece of the universe and with every exhale comes the privilege to contribute to it.

As I recount 10,000+ tweets, hundreds of wallposts and millions of silence-destroying verbal utterances over a lifetime, I'm humbled and embarassed by the thoughtless clutter I'm apt to adding to the world. I'm also in awe at how little I've taken in--from lung-stretching, barrel-chesting inhalations to stories from strangers and friends that were silenced by my constant chatter.

Speaking isn't all bad. In fact it's one of the best ways I know to help others. Between the three jobs I've held over the past 6 months, I've spent 45-60 hours a week tutoring, teaching classes, describing menu items, talking to students and solving problems. By the time the new school year began, my brain felt numb from repeating the same words to hundreds of students and I knew it was time for a change. Two and a half weeks, 3 books on mindfulness meditation and fifteen yoga classes later, I have an overwhelming desire to step back and not feel compelled to share so much...

...which of course brings me to these brown butter bourbon apple honey handpies. I made them with friends in mind. I wanted to enjoy them over tea, laughing together while letting a friend pour out their soul as I nibbled and listened intently.

brown butter bourbon apple honey handpies

When my lips first met this crust, I was graced with the brevity of the poets via the brown butter gods. Tender. Nutty. Buttery. Flecked. Subtly sweet. Addictive. Emotions lingered on my tongue and drifted lazily up to my brain before registering in my thoughts and manifesting themselves in words like exhales. As I sat crosslegged on my kitchen floor, I relished in the moment--six perfectly portioned pies on a plate at my feet, sweatpants freckled with crumbs and the sweet realization that I didn't intend on sharing a single one.

[And yes, I do see the irony in posting about not sharing for an event called #Baketogether, but it's BAKE together, not EAT together ;) If you'd like to join in on the #Baketogether fun, check out the sweet and always-gracious [I bet she's a good sharer!] Abby Dodge's site. And for more mini-treats, handheld sweets and things I would most definitely eat, be sure to snag a copy of her new book!]

Brown Butter Bourbon Apple Honey Handpies makes 6 handpies Ingredients

For the Dough
8 T (4 oz / 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 C lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp table salt
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk, for eggwash
For the filling
2 medium firm apples (I like Granny Smith)
2 T butter
2 T honey + more for brushing the tops
3 T apple butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon (omit if your apple butter is spicy enough for your liking. I'm a bit of a cinnamon-fiend)
3 T bourbon (save some for yourself as insurance in case of major kitchen catastrophe that leaves you without handpies)
pinch of table salt
Instructions
Make the dough
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring 7-8 minutes until nutty-brown and dark solids form (you'll see them rise in the butter-bubbles as it boils). Remove from heat and add the brown sugar & salt. Stir until the sugar is almost melted. Let cool five minutes or until just warm (not hot!) to the touch.
Add eggs and vanilla and stir until well blended. Add flour and stir to combine until a smooth, soft ball forms.
Shape dough into a rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap. Let dough hang out on your counter for 2-3 hours, or until it has firmed up. (if it's a hot day, you can put it in the fridge, but check on it every 20 minutes or so--if it's too firm, it won't roll out!)
Make the filling
Wash, peel and chop the apples into 1/2-3/4" chunks. Set aside.
Add butter to saucepan and stir over medium heat until melted. Add honey, cinnamon, salt and apple butter to pan, stirring to combine. Add apples. Continue to stir and cook until apples are soft and carmelized (roughly 10 minutes).
Reduce heat to low. Add bourbon, stirring constantly until all the liquid is evaporated (1-2 minutes). Set aside to cool. (You won't use all the filling, leaving you some to eat :)
Assemble!
Roll out dough into a rectangle slightly larger than 9x7.5" (I am far from precise. My rectangles never have square edges--again, go look at Abby's meticulous measuring/rolling skills on her site!). If you are precise: trim the edges using a paring knife and a ruler to get a 9x7.5" rectangle. Cut into 3 x 2.5" rectangles. Place a scant tablespoon of apple filling in the center of each rectangle, leaving a 1/2" border. With a pastry or silicone brush, brush eggwash around the edge of the rectangle. Lay a rectangle over the top of filled rectangle. Press edges with tines of a fork to seal. Continue with remaining rectangles. Cut two slits in the top of each handpie to allow steam to escape. Bake for 17-19 minutes at 375 or until golden brown. Move to a wire rack to cool. While handpies are hot, brush lightly with honey. Allow to cool until they are easily to handle (aka not scald-your-mouth-so-everything-tastes-like-rubber-for-a-week-hot). Serve warm.
Happy baking! xo

Honey Mascarpone Panna Cotta with Brown Sugar-Ginger Poached Plums

by kellybakes in


Honey Mascarpone Panna Cotta with Brown Sugar-Ginger Poached Plums

For someone who overthinks everything, I have a funny habit of doing things on a whim. I tend to do it moreso with travel [of all things!] than with anything else. From my first time flying alone [destination: England] to a recent trip to Vegas, I've simply had someone propose a trip or serendipitously happened upon an opportunity and have thus taken time off, bought tickets and gone without completely working out the details.

london meat pieInNOut (The best part of London = meat pie. Best part of Vegas = In N Out Burger. duh)

Like my many trips, I seemed to stumble upon Abby Dodge's blog by chance after seeing a retweet of someone's #BakeTogether post. Curiosity got the best of me. I followed the hashtag down the rabbit hole and spent the next hour looking through previous posts and reading up on how it all worked. Though I read for an hour, I had decided that I wanted to participate after reading maybe two sentences of the 'how it works' post. Each month, Abby posts a recipe on her site and invites readers of all skill levels and baking abilities to bake together by adapting the recipe and reposting their version on their personal blogs. It's inspiring to see how creative participants can get by interpreting the recipe to incorporate different methods and ingredients. If you'd like to participate, head on over to Abby's blog for more info!

Honey Mascarpone Panna Cotta with Brown Sugar-Ginger Poached Plums

My take on Abby's panna cotta brezza frescas was inspired by a recent catch up with a dear friend from one of my traveling adventures. In 2009, I found myself in a study abroad program in Galway, terribly broke, living in a homestay as the only graduate student with roughly 20 undergrads. I don't do well with group travel, but luckily, I met Claire, who kept me company and kept me sane. Like me, she has a love for baked goods, an obsession with Skippy peanut butter and a deep appreciation for ice cream. So, after returning to the area after being away for a year, I was grateful to have her back and grateful to chat over the world's best ice cream.

I ordered two gelato flavors: plum and local wildflower honey. The plum was so refreshing it tasted better than eating the actual fruit. The honey was spot on in its flavor, almost like eating cold creamy honey, but not nearly as sticky or viscous. It had a lovely flavor but was a bit too much on its own. For this panna cotta, I wanted to mellow out the flavor with mascarpone. [If you couldn't tell by my last post, I'm mad for mascarpone. I love it so much, in fact, that I named my cat after it!] The ginger poached plums were also a whim. I had my mind made up on a plum topping, but wanted to give them some pizzazz. As soon as I opened the cabinets and ginger was staring me in the face and I thought, 'why not?' The spice packs a bit of a punch, but is complemented beautifully by the brown sugar. Amazingly, the pop of ginger doesn't overwhelm the subtlety of the honey mascarpone and the plums add a nice textural contrast to the delicate, jiggly panna cotta.

Honey Mascarpone Panna Cotta with Brown Sugar-Ginger Poached Plums

Honey Mascarpone Panna Cotta with Brown Sugar-Ginger Poached Plums
Recipe Type: dessert
Author: kellybakes
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 oz mascarpone, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 C whole milk
  • 3 T honey
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 C cold water
  • pinch table salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 black plums
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Make space in the fridge for 4 ramekins or glasses [I always forget about this step!]. If you wish to unmold panna cotta, prepare ramekins by rubbing the insides with a small amount of canola oil.
  2. Add 1/4 C cold water to a small, heat-proof bowl. Sprinkle with gelatin. Set aside to bloom, approximately 5 minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 C water with brown sugar, lemon zest and ginger. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Add plums. Cover and continue to simmer, 8-10 minutes, then uncover and simmer for another 6-8 minutes until liquid has thickened.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool.
  6. Once gelatin has bloomed, microwave until melted, approximately 30-45 seconds.
  7. In a blender, combine mascarpone, milk, honey, salt, gelatin and vanilla. Blend until combined 1-2 minutes, making sure mixture is smooth.
  8. Pour into ramekins or glasses. Refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 2 days in advance.
  9. Top panna cotta with sliced poached plums and a drizzle of the poached plum reduction.
  10. Enjoy!

Happy Baking!

kelly xo