Friday, March 08, 2013

Petite Treats:Classic Bites,Apple Pie Cookies

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"Classic Bites" is the next chapter in Petite Treats that is inspired by all the classic desserts we all grew up enjoying.This chapter includes many enticing recipes for cakes and pastries, which made it quite difficult to narrow down just one to test out.However one special recipe really interested me to the point I really wanted to know if an "apple pie cookie" could really measure up to an apple pie?. Its was a really creative idea that I just had to test out for myself.

Well to start with I had a lot of fun with this recipe and I learned that it takes a lot of time and patients to create even just one of these apple pie cookies.Just like a full size pie your dealing with a fragile pastry that could shrink and break. So with knowing that you have to be quite careful with how you make your pastry and how you work with it.Luckily I had a great recipe that created a really pliable pastry,which helped in the process of assembling 24 mini apple pie cookies.I also learned that you must give yourself a lot of time for preparation and baking to put your best work into this recipe.Time goes by really fast,especially with a brand new recipe.

For directions and ingredients we have two recipes.One is for the pastry and the other is for the apple pie cookies.The pastry is the most important part to these treats and is made first.This pastry has a simple ingredient list and is really easy to make.This recipe also gives us some tips on how to store leftover dough and how to make the pie crust vegan friendly.Its definitely my go to recipe for pastry.

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Now for the Apple pie cookies the ingredients are pretty simple;however it does involve a pretty expensive ingredient called cardamon that I think could easily be removed.Its used very little in this recipe and is hardly detectable in the flavor.If you choose to do this recipe your perfectly fine with just going with the other spices.In the ingredients there is also an oddly written statement written that could easily come off as a double meaning.When it says "2 recipes Perfect Pie Crust dough (page 89) many could think they want you to make a double batch of the pastry or that its  two pie crust doughs.Its a written statement that could of been easily edited to something simpler because I found out that the second meaning is the correct one only after making the pastry twice. I was just lucky that it was an excellent recipe and that pastry freezes really well for future use.Just make sure to really watch what you read because books are not always completely right.

Now the directions to these cookies are pretty straight forward and most of it is a lot of prep and assembling.The prep is mostly towards the apples because you have to peel, wash,slice and cut them into shapes.Its really delicate work and you seem to end up with a lot of leftover apples.This is because you get small pieces and then the leftover shape cuts.The leftovers do not get used in this recipe and you actually end up with 24 shape cuts that are not given any idea for another use.This was disappointing that this recipe would waste that much apple and I was no way going to throw away perfectly good fruit.So I ended up making another apple dish along with the leftover pastry after cutting the shapes. This recipe overall does pretty good at explaining what to do ;however it suffers from wasting way to much product.

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Now for assembling these cookies its definitely tedious and fragile work.There is a lot of layer,fold,seal and imprint that goes on with these cookies.Its definitely fun to create these once you get the hang of it, but those first couple tries can make you crazy that you feel they don't look right.Once you comes to terms that these are your own unique cookie pies they become really cute.Overall,this recipes does pretty good with explaining on how to assemble these;however pictures might be a good way to some that need visual help and tips can't hurt either.

Now on to the flavor and texture which is definitely the best part of reviewing. Because we all want to know if these apple pie cookies really measure up to the all popular apple pie? These cookies were surprising spot on with their flaky sweet pastry and sweet tart apple filling with the unique spice blend.It was just a miniaturize version of the beloved apple pie where they can be good warm or even cold.They were well worth the time,effort and even a bit of frustration to create something so unique and delicious.They were gone in no time and I'm glad I made that extra pie crust because I know I'll be making more in the future.They are the cutest little suckers with their puffed up golden tops and I already have co-workers requesting the recipe from me.I guess they are a hit!

Overall, I love these cookies for their flavor and texture.I only wish their was some slightly more ease in the recipe. So since it lacks some tips I added my own into the recipe to help everyone out.Enjoy!

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The Recipe

Yield:2 balls

Apple Pie Cookies

Perfect Pie Crust

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
6 tbsp cold shortening
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
6-8 tbsp ice water

Dice butter and shortening into small pieces.Place in the freezer to chill. (My Tip: Can place on a plate, bowl or container to chill till cold)

Place flour,salt and sugar in a large bowl.Mix thoroughly to evenly distribute ingredients.Cut in shortening until bread crumbs form and then add butter one at a time until bread crumbs form.(My tip:Can use a processor or pastry cutter for these directions)

Add 1 tbsp ice water at a time until mixture comes together in a ball. (My Tip: 7-8 tbsp is the best choice)
Divide the dough into 2 balls. Flatten each ball into disc.Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm.

Leftover dough can be kept in fridge or frozen for up to 3 weeks.

Apple Pie Cookies

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cardamon (My Tip: Can be optional)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 tbsps brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar,divided
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large granny smith apples
2 recipes Perfect Pie Crust Dough (Advice: Might be confusing.Means that the recipe makes two pieces of dough for 24 cookies.Does not mean make two batches)
1/4 cup soy milk or dairy milk

Preheat the oven to 350F.Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray the paper with cooking spray.

Mix cinnamon,cardamon,allspice,brown sugar, 2 tbsp of the granulated sugar,lemon juice and vanilla extract in a large bowl.Set aside.

Peel granny smith apples.Slice apples upright about 1/4 inch thick slices vertically through apple.Stop when you reach the core.Use 1 1/2 inch scalloped cookie cutter to cut the apple slices into discs. (My Tip:Using a flower fondant cutter that is the same size works just as well too) (My Tip: Do not discard the apples because you can use them for the end creation)

Place apple discs in the sugar spice mixture and toss to combine. Set aside.(Do not discard leftover sugar mixture)

Roll pie crust about 1/8 inch thick.Cut 12 circles with 1 1/2 inch scalloped cookie cutter and 12 circles with 2 inch scalloped cookie cutter.(My Tip:Using the flower fondant cutters with the same size work just as well) Large ones will be the bottom of each cookie,smaller ones the top.In the center of each smaller top piece you can make a tiny decorative shape on top.Can use a tiny cookie cutter such a heart or make your own mark.(Do not discard leftover pastry, use it for the leftover apples)

Place dough circles on the prepared baking sheets and refrigerate for 5 minutes to help become firm.

Work 1 sheet of dough rounds at a time. Take larger circle and place it on a floured surface.Spread a little water around the edges with your fingers.This helps seal the cookies.Center an apple disc on top of the bottom crust.Place a smaller top crust on top.Using your fingers,seal the bottom crust to the top by folding the bottom layer up and over the top and smashing them together around the apple discs.Go back and imprint the edge with the tines of a fork for  a decorative look. (My Tip:This is very fragile work so don't get to frustrated with how they look and to make it simpler you can just cut a small X on the top of the crust.This will help prevent breaking.)

When assembled.Return the cookies to the baking sheet and making sure the pan is spray with a good amount of cooking spray.Using a pastry brush,brush a little soy or (dairy milk) over the top and sprinkle on sugar with the 1/4 cup amount.

Repeat for the remaining cookies until all are assembled and ready to bake.Bake 1 sheet at a time,until the cookies are puffed up and lightly browned at about 25 minutes.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the pan.Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely Store in a airtight container for up to 2 days.

My Tips:  Use the leftover ingredients such as pastry,apples and sauce and create a cobbler pie.Super easy.Cut the apples and place them in a casserole dish.Sprinkle on brown sugar and pour the leftover sauce on top.Then re roll out the leftover pastry down and place on top.Cut a design on top for venting and spread the leftover soy or milk on top and sprinkle sugar on top.Preheat the oven at about  375F or higher and bake until golden brown and apples are soft.Serve when warm.

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