So, as a follow-up to my last post about mixing up the college cafeteria food, I decided to try inventing my own recipe using ingredients that I could find at the campus eating options.
I know it is not quite fall weather yet, at least not here in Tacoma, but I have been seriously craving apple pie. Since I was too lazy to leave campus (I have no car) I decided I would attempt to make a little something on my own. What I ended up doing was making tiny apple pies in a muffin tin!
First, I gathered my ingredients:
I’m not real big on measuring when I make my own recipes, so the measurements I have provided are approximations.
I had intended to use graham crackers for the crusts, but I couldn’t find any on campus. I did, however, find a mini box of Nilla Wafers, and figured those would work just as well. Next, I picked up two apples from the caf, and orange, a couple packets of sugar, a few little packages of butter, and headed back to my room.
I already had cinnamon on hand, since I love it, and use it in a lot of baking, and I discovered brown sugar in the kitchen of my house!
The first thing I did was use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the apples. Next, I sliced the apples thinly, and cut them into chunks. I sprinkled about 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon over the apples, squeezed a bit of orange juice over the apples, added a spoonful of brown sugar, and mixed it all up, and let it sit overnight in the fridge.
The next day, I dumped the box of Nilla Wafers into a Ziploc bag and crunched them up into a fine powder, and added about a 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Next, I melted the butter in a glass bowl in the microwave. I mixed the butter and the crumb mix and then using a spoon, pressed the mix into cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
I baked the crusts for about 10 minutes at 350, then removed them.
I then spooned the apple mixture into the crusts, and baked them for about 15-20 minutes at 350.
I had hoped to sprinkle some more of the crust mix on top, but ran out. Instead, I ended up sprinkling brown sugar on top of each one before I baked them.
I was pleasantly surprised that these turned out so well! I set them out in front of a group of my friends while we were watching Pride and Prejudice, and they were gone in less than a minute! One of my taste- testers commented that they tasted almost caramel-y. They were pretty easy to make, didn’t require any off-campus grocery shopping on my part, and were a fun taste of fall 🙂
Recipe for Mini Apple Pies
Yield: 8 mini pies
- 24 Nilla Wafers
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups apples
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, plus some to sprinkle on top
- approx 1 teaspoon orange juice
slice the apples thinly, and cut them into chunks. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the apples, squeeze orange juice over the apples, add brown sugar, mix, and let it sit overnight in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350.
Dump the box of Nilla Wafers into a Ziploc bag and crunch them up into a fine powder, add sugar, and cinnamon. Next, melt the butter in the microwave. Mix the butter and the crumb mix and then using a spoon, press the mix into cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
Bake crusts for 10 mins
Spoon apple mixture into crusts, sprinkle brown sugar over the tops and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let cool. Serve and enjoy!
As much as I love being back at school, living in my sorority, and being with my friends, coming back to the cafeteria food was a rude awakening, and pinterest recipes are killing me right now as I salivate in front of my computer screen.
Now, I know that my school’s food is not that bad (or so people tell me), but it gets old real quick. So, for all of you other college students out there who struggle with yucky college food, and have some culinary inclination, I’ve been brainstorming some ideas for making the experience a little bit more pleasurable.
So here’s what I have come up with:
- Lots of schools have various themed “stations” within the cafeteria. What I have found helpful is to mix things up. For example, I have gotten plain pasta, and then put fresh spinach, tomatoes, and olive oil from the salad bar on top. Mixing and matching options from the various stations can break up the monotony of eating the same things all the time.
- If you have a kitchen in your dorm, house, or suite, you can always use the cafeteria to collect various ingredients and come up with your own recipes. This takes some time and creativity, but it is a fun way to get a bit more variety, and not waste money if you already have a paid for meal plan.
- I almost always have some snacks in my room, like cereal, yogurt, cup o noodles type of soups, carrots and peanut butter, and Annie’s mac and cheese, for those times that I just don’t feel like walking to the cafeteria, and then I do a bit of grocery shopping every couple of weeks to replenish.
- And for those of you who think you can’t cook now is a good time to learn! It is a life skill you are going to need! My roommate just asked me yesterday how to cut an apple. . . and that doesn’t even require any cooking! While it can be faster to just grab something out, it will be a lot easier on your wallet if you lay off eating out all the time and cook a bit o your own 🙂
Now, for a little bit of inspiration I will leave you with some deliciousness from pinterest
And on that note, have a good week!
Since my dad has both his birthday and Father’s day in June, Father’s day is usually pretty low key for my family. But, I still like to do a little something for him, since it’s the thought that counts and all.
So this year, I had a brilliant plan. A few months ago, while scanning pinterest, I saw a picture of little cookies that looked like tea bags, shortbread dipped in chocolate mmmmmm. My dad is Irish, therefore, he has a high level of tea consumption, and as such, I knew these cookies would make a fun little gift for Dad’s day.
I’m not really much of a planner, I generally just get an idea and go with it, which is how I made these cookies. So, as a disclaimer, this is not a foolproof way to make tea cookies, but it worked well enough for me 🙂
So here’s how it went down:
First, I found a simple recipe for shortbread. I only wanted to make a few cookies, so I cut the recipe in half. Even then, it made a good 2 dozen tea bag cookies, plus I ended up with extra dough, so it is now sitting in the freezer waiting for when the shortbread mood strikes.
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
For chocolate dip:
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp shortening
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
cream butter and sugar until fluffy
Stir in the vanilla, add the flour, and mix well.
Collect the dough into a ball
I originally attempted to put said dough ball on floured counter, it didn’t work so well. Instead I would suggest that you use parchment paper and flour that.
Also, rolling out the dough was rather difficult, so I used two pieces of parchment paper, and rolled the dough out in between the two pieces of parchment paper.
To get the tea bag shape, I used the wrapping of a Lipton’s tea bag to use as a form. I ended up tracing the outline onto parchment paper, cutting it out, and then just cutting the shapes out of the dough using my tea bag shape to trace around, but You could probably just free hand it if you do not have tea bags laying around
Next, using a skewer stick, I poked holes in the tops of the cookies
I lined the baking pan with parchment paper before laying out the cookies, by the way. After all your cookies are cut out, placed on the baking sheet, and poked with the skewer, bake them for 10-12 minutes.
Let the cookies cool, and in the meantime melt your chocolate chips with the shortening and stir. After the cookies have cooled, you can dip them in the chocolate. I found that what worked best was to drizzle the cookie with chocolate, and then let the excess drip off, since dipping resulted in a few broken cookies
After dipping all the cookies in chocolate, lay them back onto the parchment lined baking sheet and place in the fridge to harden. I left them in overnight (because I made them late the night before Father’s day, but they need to be in there to cool for at least 1-2 hours.
Optional: make a little tea tag to tie onto your cookie. For dad’s day I made little tags that said “Happy Father’s Day,” attached them with thread, and stapled the tag. This could work for pretty much any occasion, just change your message to fit the day 🙂
I was happily surprised by how well these turned out 🙂 They were delicious (ok, I may have sampled some of the broken ones), and my dad loved them, and had two with his tea that night 🙂
Happy belated Father’s day everybody!