MINI APPLE PIES + FOXHOLE FRIENDS + DOG MOMS

One of my best friends went apple picking (one of my favorite fall activities) and offered to share her bounty with me for a baking date. Another friend had just sent me a recipe for mini apple pies and he has never steered me wrong, so we went with it! They are ideal to share and it made dividing up our goods really easy at the end of the night. It was the perfect way to catch up with a good friend, our dogs, and cover the entire kitchen with flour. My friend’s dog Moose joined us and it’s safe to say Winston enjoyed her more than Moose enjoyed him. I was impressed that Winnie shared his toys and he knew Moose was the boss.

It has been fun to see both of us become dog moms. We met freshman year of college at IU and we have seen each other through the good and the bad. She is the kind of person that will tell it to you straight every time and you’ll never get any BS. She’s the most genuine person I know and she can read me like a book. We all have those friends that just ‘get us’ no matter what and she is that friend for me. I would pick her to be in my foxhole. Not only would she have super helpful skills like creating handy gadgets out of toothpicks, but she would also keep me laughing. We also share a health bond. If you’ve experienced a health situation, you have a new perspective. I am not the same person before and I can guarantee you that she isn’t either. I am a much stronger, self-assured person with more empathy for other people. That ‘weirdo’ that has to sit down because they are dizzy? That could be me. I’d like to think I am an exceptional weirdo and all of these experiences make you YOU!

Back to the dogs – it’s an incredible experience to have your first dog. Not a dog you share with your parents, but a dog that relies on you to eat, drink, and do their business outside. Waking you up at 4am to play squeaky toy, taking my bikini away from him for the umpteenth time, putting him in the bathtub after he runs around in mud, and on and on. These are the moments I cherish with Winnie – it’s loving something other than just yourself. It also prepares you for kids someday because let’s be honest, Winnie is basically a furry toddler. Not everyone is cut out for dog life (my neighbor rolls her eyes whenever she sees us outside), but I have a lot of respect for all the dog owners out there. It’s like a secret cult club when you see other dog parents at Starbucks on pup cup outings.

Moose and Winston’s first meet and greet

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So, make these mini apple pies and cuddle with your furry friend. And yes, you can use store bought dough to speed up the process, but nothing beats homemade dough. I have been making dough in my KitchenAid mixer instead of my food processor lately because the lid takes all day to get off and then you have to perfectly align the holes and by that time, you’re so exhausted that you don’t even know what you were attempting to make in the first place. If you are really ambitious, you can make the dough with your hands, just as you would scones. Also, use a large mason jar (turn it upside down) to cut out the dough circles – they will be the perfect size for the average muffin tin!

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Moose and Snoopy

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MINI APPLE PIES

Recipe via a Passionate Palate

CRUST (Martha Stewart is my go to recipe):

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling dough
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons ice water, plus 2 more, if needed

FILLING

  • 4-5 apples
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsps flour
  • 2 tsps cinnamon (I overdo it a bit)
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter

CRUMB TOPPING

  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsps unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

CRUST: In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar several times to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces remaining. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Turn dough out onto a work surface; form dough into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Roll out into a large, flat circle and cut out into smaller circles to fit inside a muffin tin. Spray the muffin tin with nonstick baking spray first. Press them down in each muffin cup to create the crust for the mini apple pies.

FILLING: Peel and core the apples and cut them into pieces. Combine the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in a medium bowl and gently toss to combine.

CRUMB TOPPING: Combine the flour,  sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the butter, and cut it into the flour mixture with your fingers, until the mixture resembles small crumbs.

ASSEMBLE THE PIES: Divide the apple mixture between the 12 pies, filling each all the way to the top of the cup. Sprinkle each pie generously with the crumb topping. Bake the pies at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until the crumb topping and crust are brown and the apple filling is bubbly. Let the pies cool completely, then gently remove from the muffin pan. Serve the pies at room temperature, or reheat them on a baking sheet before serving. Pies can be refrigerated for 3 days, or wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 1 month.

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