Monday, September 16, 2013

Whole Wheat Salted Caramel Apple Breakfast Pastries

Friday the 13th is not a big deal in my world. 
I do not enjoy being scared. 
Really.
Seriously, though.
If you jump out at me, I will simultaneously pee my pants and punch you in the face. 
You have been warned. 

Superstitions aren't my thing, either. 
Unless you count the whole not washing my socks while my team is on a winning streak. 
In which case, superstitions REALLY aren't my thing. 
Ick.

Somehow (probably because I'm a girl and also because I do what I want so there) I get away with hating being scared but loving Halloween at the same time. It's my favorite holiday! I love the macabre decorations, the costumes (only the scary kind -no smiling pumpkins for me), the flickering lighting, the screaming soundtracks. 

Okay, fine. 
I just really love candy.
Especially oozy, gooey caramel. More on that in a minute.
  But K (my spouse of nearly-nine years) - he LOVES to scare himself silly year-round.
Scary movies, haunted houses, ghost stories in the dark. 
It should tell you a lot that my children heard the "Who's got my toe?" story on a camp-out when they were too young for us to know for sure whether the big "YOU'VE GOT IT!" made them pee themselves. 
You know. Because they were still in diapers.  
 Get it?

Yeah. Neither do I. 
It is pretty sick. 
That my kids love it is the worse part. 
I am an island. 

But, because love is blind (or just dumb), I like to throw K a bone every once in a while and get freaky with him!
Ooh... Dirty. 
You know what I mean. 

So on Friday the 13th I went all out - I rented a super freaky movie, pulled our bedding downstairs for a makeshift "sleepover" feel, set out just a couple of our spookiest Halloween decorations, and, since it's me, made a Fall Feast to ring in some Grim Grinning Ghosts!

Does it surprise you that the food was the best part?
No?
Me either. 
Fooooood.
  Somehow spooky menus and fall always bring caramel apples to mind.
Probably because there really is nothing better than a caramel apple.
Unless it's Salted Caramel Apples.
...in a pie. 
But, since there are just four of us and I have no clue what I would do with leftover pie (and eating it all late at night while everyone sleeps is NOT an option if I want to keep my girlish figure/resolutions/dignity).
Avery has loved having miniature homemade Pop Tarts in her lunch every once in a while as a special treat, and my mom just bought me this toaster pastry mold thing from the sale bin at Williams-Sonoma (also known as HEAVEN), so I knew what I had to do.
And then I did it.

And boy, am I ever glad I did! The crust is flakey and tender, and the insides are packed with the perfect combination of salty, sweet, appley goodness.
Thankfully I fell asleep quickly, before the movie got too scary.
K, on the other hand, was up half of the night jumping at all of the things that go bump in the night and scaring himself silly.
I really don't see the appeal.
But no one could blame me for sleeping soundly, all full of warm toaster pastry (and extra caramel sauce that I may or may not have licked out of the pot).
[Spoiler Alert: I did it. And I'd do it again.]

Whole Wheat Salted Caramel Apple Breakfast Pastries
Hey, I just said that.

Whole Wheat Pie Crust
  • 2 ¼ cup whole-wheat pastry (or regular) flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold cold cold unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • ½ cup ice water

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Measure the flour and salt into a food processor with the blade and pulse it together twice.
  3. Fill a glass measuring cup with ½ cup water and add a few ice cubes to it.
  4. Take the cold butter straight out of the fridge and cut it into small chunks. Sprinkle the pieces of butter on top of the flour in the food processor, spreading out the butter as opposed to letting it all clump together in one piece.
  5. Pulse the food processor about 10 times, blending until the mixture resembles a crumbly meal (you will be able to see butter clumps in the flour - they should be roughly pea-size). 
  6. Then pulse  the food processor while adding ice water through the top very slowly. When a dough ball has formed (dough clumps roughly together at one side of processor bowl), stop and turn out the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, pressing the dough together into a disk shape. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days (or store dough in the freezer [in a freezer safe container] for up to 6 months).
Salted Caramel Apple Toaster Pastry
  • 2 cups small peeled, Granny Smith apples, diced fine (no larger than a corn kernel [so they are sure to cook through])
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons whole wheat flour
  • 8 store-bought soft caramels (like Kraft), roughly chopped
  • Large flake sea salt (Maldon, Pink Himalayan, etc)
  • 1 egg beaten with a splash of water
  • Additional caramel sauce (made by melting 8 store-bought caramels with 2-3 Tbs evaporated milk on low on the stove-top)
Make the filling:
In a small bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and flour, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.

Assemble the pies:
How do you dice them apples?
  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a well-floured surface, rolling it out to a 14x14-inch square. (Alternately you can cut the dough in half, making a smaller area to work with. You know, if you're low on counter space. Which I am. So I did.)
  3. Using a cookie cutter, cup, pastry press - basically whatever shape you want, cut out as many *insert shape here*s as possible. Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting out shapes until you run out of dough, ensuring you end up with an even number of shapes. 
    Oh, this is going to be good.
  4. Place six of the dough shapes on a Silpat, parchment paper, or greased aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet. Spoon a small portion of the apple filling into the center of each shape, leaving enough of a border around the filling. Top the apple filling with a small portion of the chopped caramels and a pinch of sea salt. Place a second dough shape on top of each filled shape, then use a pastry press or fork to crimp the edges together, sealing each pie.
  5. Brush each pie with the egg wash.
    Egg-washed.
  6. Bake the pies for 10-15 minutes, depending upon their size, or until they're golden brown.
  7. Remove the pies from the oven and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Repeat the filling and baking process with the remaining dough shapes.
  8. If desired, top each pie with a small drizzle of caramel sauce, made by slowly melting caramels in a bit of canned evaporated milk until homogenous. 
*Pies will last in an air-tight container on the counter for three days, or in the freezer (without caramel topping) for 3 months. 
**Reheat by toasting in your toaster (without caramel topping) or in a hot oven.  

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