Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chocolate Truffles!

Chocolate Truffles make for a wonderful gift!
If you want to create something that will send your taste buds into their own private party, you must make Truffles! Not only are they pretty easy as far as directions, but this time of year they make for a wonderful gift. It only appears that you devoted hours to making them! The reality is that it's just a few steps, some wait time, and *voila* you have such a delightfully delicious treat!

This recipe will make 12 large truffles or 24 small ones. The ingredients that I used are as follows:

  • 16 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (one small carton)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 tablespoons butterscotch schnapps
  • 4 Heath Bars ground (or use the bag of toffee bits)

Put the chocolate in a bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the cream to it, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil. Pour the cream mix over the chocolate and shake the bowl gently to settle the cream. Cover with plastic and let it sit until the chocolate melts (about 5 minutes). Whisk the mix until it is smooth and shiny, whisking in the liquor. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minmum of 30 minutes. The longer it's refrigerated, the better it will be to work with.

Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Remove the bowl of chocolate from the refrigerator. I used a small cookie scoop that I kept on ice to scoop out chocolate balls and place them on the parchment paper. I put these back in the refrigerator overnight. 

Using a small glass bowl, empty a few of your crushed toffee bits into the small bowl. Chill your hands (I discovered that the frozen butter worked great for this) and roll each drop into a neat ball. Drop it into the small dish with the coating and toss it gently until it is thoroughly coated. Place the finished truffle into a small baking cup. Repeat this process until all are coated and set in place. I keep them in the refrigerator until I am ready to give as a gift. 

As pointed out to me, there are so many FLAVOR variations of this recipe. Pick flavors that are appealing to you. One batch I made, I used Peppermint Schnapps, and rolled them into crushed peppermint. Use your imagination and have fun!

Happy Eating!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cranberry Cheer Cocktail

This is a beautiful cocktail to serve to your guests for the holidays!

First, you need to make cranberry liquor. I used this recipe from Creative Culinary. The liquor requires a minimum of 3 weeks, so plan in advance! I'm told the longer it soaks, the more potent it is!

We created this beverage doing the following:

1-2 Teaspoons of fermented cranberries 
2 oz. Raspberry Vodka
2 oz. Cranberry juice
finish with 7up (or club soda)
twist of lime or orange

It's light, and refreshing - not to mention such a beautiful color! 

Enjoy & Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet Potato Soup can be served Chilled, too!
Chilly outside always spells SOUP inside! Having a couple of extra sweet potatoes that needed to be used, I decided on sweet potato soup.

First, quarter your sweet potatoes and put them in water to boil. When they are soft, drain and let them rest. The peelings come right off!

Meanwhile, dice up some onion, carrot and celery (I added garlic to the mix, also) and saute them in about 2T of butter. When this was absorbed, I added 1T of olive oil, a can of chicken broth, and the peeled sweet potatoes to the mix. Season with some dried oregano, thyme, ground cumin and a pinch of fresh nutmeg. Let this simmer down. The recipe called for it to be pureed in a blender, but I prefer some chunky substance, so I simply took my potato masher and smashed it up. Let this all simmer together for about an hour, and then serve. It's truly simple and really yummy (for lack of a more appropriate adjective).  I sprinkled some truffle salt over the finished soup which added a true *wow* factor!

Happy Eating!


4 pounds large sweet potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
5 cups chicken broth
1 T olive oil
2 T butter
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt & pepper to taste

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Horseradish Jello Salad

Horseradish Jello
Horseradish Jello Salad is a tradition in my family. It's a recipe that has been handed down, and now I pass it on to you. This is a beautiful salad in presentation. I used to get mad at myself because every year I'd think, "Maybe this year it will taste better"... it never did. Ah, but I was drawn to it's inviting color and festive look. And, thus began my love/hate relationship with Horseradish Jello Salad. I loved the way it looked, hated the taste...

I believe that something happens to us as we develop appreciation for flavors, though. At one time, bleu  cheese crumbles were thoroughly obnoxious to me and now they are a delicacy I don't want to be without. It's this same phenomena that has occurred with my love/hate relationship with Horseradish Jello Salad. I find the punch that comes from the horseradish, blended with the mello flavor of the lime jello is - well, amazingly refreshing! The cucumber provides a cooling and satisfying crunch!

It is critical to select a good quality of Horseradish. Look for PREPARED Horseradish and NOT Horseradish Sauce. The better the quality, the hotter it will be. Use your own taste when adding the horseradish. Start with 1/4 cup and go from there!
Prepared Horseradish and NOT Horseradish Sauce

Follow the directions on the lime jello package. Allow the jello and hot water to slightly cool before adding the vinegar, salt and lemon juice to the mix. Place jello in the refrigerator until partially congealed. (about 35-40 minutes).
Allow Jello to rest in the refrigerator until slightly congeal

While waiting for the jello to partially set, chop cucumber, green olives and black olives. As an option, you can add a bit of green onion and/or celery to the mix
Chop your ingredients while waiting

Remove the partially congealed jello from the refrigerator, and beat it until it is frothy (about 2 minutes).
Beat Partially Congealed Jello Until Frothy

FOLD in 1 cup of Cool Whip, or slightly more, to create a light foamy texture. I use a wire whisk to remove lumps and get it smooth, but not a mixer. A mixer will make it too runny.
Fold in Cool Whip

When the mix is smooth and fluffy, fold in your chopped vegetables, blending slightly. You do not want to stir, just blend it. Last, add the horseradish to your preferred taste.
Fold in the chopped veggie

Pour the mix into a jello mold and cover with wax paper. You may want to put a dish on top of it to keep the wax paper in place. I like a mold that has a center cut out. Refrigerate overnight for best results. Unmold just before serving onto a plate and garnish with black olives and parsley. 
Pour the mix into a jello mold

Horseradish Jello Salad


  • 2 pkg. lime jello
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1+ cups cool whip 
  • Horseradish - start with 1/4 cup adding more to taste
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber

Prepare jello according to package directions. Let the lime jello and hot water cool a bit before adding lemon juice, vinegar and salt. Set in the refrigerator to partially congeal (about 20-25 mins.) Remove from refrigerator and whip with a mixer until frothy. Fold in the cool whip until it is a light fluffy texture. Add the horseradish, green and black olives and chopped cucumber.  Pour into a mold and let it rest overnight.

Release the molded jello onto a plate. Garnish with black olives.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Turkey Sausage Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce

Sausage Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
First, I want to disclose that I've never actually made my own sausage before. A friend of mine bragged that she made her own turkey sausage thus, throwing down the gauntlet. I knew I had to make some, also! 

I was surprised by how easy the process was. 

Turkey Sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

I added about 1/2 cup of finely diced apples. Mix all of this together, then roll it in wax paper. I froze it without cooking it for later use. Rummaging through my freezer, I re-discovered it and wanted to use it... but for what? The idea for Lasagna started tip-toeing around my head!

I love Lasagna. Tomato or Marinara Sauce doesn't love me so much. One of my favorite twitter people @onlinepastrychf (Jenni Field) suggested I use Bechamel Sauce. Well, THAT peaked my curiosity because it sounded oh, so Italian, and oh so exotic. Thank you SO much, Jenni! I now have a new FAVORITE recipe!

I found a recipe on by Mario Batali that was wonderful!

Bechamel Sauce
5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • Directions
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.
  • Follow these directions to a *T* and it is wonderful! 

  • Next, preheat the oven to 325. YES, 325. 

  • For my Lasagna, I browned some onion and garlic in a little olive oil, and added my turkey sausage. I also added fresh sliced mushrooms, a bit of Italian Seasoning, a pinch of fresh Thyme, a tiny bit of fresh Rosemary, and a little white wine. I let this simmer while preparing the glass baking dish - starting with fresh spinach spread out, topped with grated Italian cheese blend cheese. Lay the Lasagna noodle across this and top with Ricotta Cheese. Make sure you mix an egg in with your Ricotta. 

  • Now the sausage is ready to be added to the mix. Sprinkle it generously over the Ricotta. Add more grated cheese, and drizzle some of the Bechamel sauce over this. Layer one more time with Lasagna noodles. And repeat the layer starting with fresh spinach, Ricotta cheese, and the sausage mix. Then, empty the remaining Bechamel sauce over all of it. I topped this with more shredded cheese, and then decorated it with black olives (optional)

  • Bake this for 45 minutes @325. Remove it from the oven and add more grated Italian blend cheese. Increase the oven temperature to 350, and bake it for 20 minutes longer. Remove and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

  • As always, be prepared to receive a myriad of fabulous compliments! Happy Eating!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Pumpkin Trilogy

Pumpkin. It's not just for Halloween. Conducting my own experiment, I wanted to see if I could combine three recipes using the same pumpkins. Well, by gollie, it CAN be done!

Pumpkins ready for roasting
Start by gutting the pumpkins. Remove the seeds, and soak in a bowl of water for later use. Place pumpkins face down in a glass dish or a deep tray filled with 1 inch of water. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. I used the smaller pumpkins that are easier to clean out, and also with three of them, I can fit them on 2 trays.

When they come out of the oven, let them sit for about 10 minutes. Then, scrape the insides into a bowl. I used my Cuisinart to make the puree. Hold onto 4 cups of it for later use!

Pumpkin Puree
I transferred the puree to the crock pot, and begin adding the spices to make Pumpkin Butter.  The recipe follows:


6 cups mashed pumpkin
4 Tablespoons butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Finished Jars of Pumpkin Butter
Mix all together and turn crock pot on high. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 hours. While it was cooking, I turned my attention to the next project: roasting the pumpkin seeds.

Remember, the seeds have been soaking in a bowl of water. Run them through a colander, removing what I call pumpkin shrapnel - this is all the loose fragments of pumpkin stuck to the seeds.  Once you have them all clean, drain and pat them dry. Now you're ready to make Pumpkin Seeds. My Savory recipe is as follows:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
In a sauce pan,  add 1/4 cup of water and
3 teaspoons of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
DASH cayenne powder

Simmer the above for 10 minutes, then add the cleaned pumpkin seeds. Let them cook for another 5 minutes. Drain, and spread on a baking sheet. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Stir, and bake for about 10 more minutes. Seeds should be lightly browned and crunchy. As an extra *wow* factor, I added Sun Dried Tomato Salt for a finishing touch.

The last thing in my trilogy that I wanted to make was a traditional pumpkin pie. I retrieved the 4 cups of puree that I had reserved prior to making pumpkin butter. For the sake of time, I love using the Pillsbury ready made crust found in the dairy case. Yes, MY pie crust will always be the best, I find that this is a wonderful dough to work with. Ok, here is my pumpkin pie recipe:


4 cups of pumpkin puree
3 Tablespoons molasses
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons Flour
3 eggs, separated
Milk, combined with 1 can of evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 Tablespoons Captain Morgan Rum

Separate eggs. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until slightly foamy. In a measuring cup, add 1 can of evaporated milk, and add regular milk until the level reaches 2 cups total.  In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except egg whites. Beat one minute. Gently fold in egg whites. Pour into your pie shells. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. At this time, be sure to COVER THE EDGES of your crust. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and continue baking for 30-35 more minutes.

Meanwhile, back to the Pumpkin Butter. By now, it's all flavorful and looking really creamy. A final sweep of it with your emulsion blender ensures total smoothness.  Prepare your jars, and ladle the pumpkin butter into hot jars. Process them in a water bath for 15 minutes. Do not disturb them for 24 hours.

I know there are MANY uses for puree, once it's made. Yes, it is a bit time consuming; however, the taste is so much more dramatic than canned pumpkin. This Trilogy Experiment was a perfect cloudy/snowy Saturday activity for me. My house had a fantastic aroma ALL day, which made it feel warm and cozy. The oven temperature only varied off the 350 mark one time, and that was for the initial baking of the pie. I encourage you to put it on your "to do" list for your rainy day!

Happy Eating!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shrimp & Crab Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Pepper served on a bed of crispy potato straws

I promise you, the seafood lovers you invite over will rave about this! I prepared these Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Peppers for my Halloween Dinner Party and it sure didn't disappoint anyone! You don't NEED to do this over two days, however; I found it easier on time to have most of it prepared ahead of time.

I prepared the shrimp a day ahead of time, but you can do it the same day if you prefer. My "no fail" boiled shrimp is by far the tastiest I've ever made. In a large pot of water, add Old Bay Seasoning and 1 bay leaf. Bring this to a boil. Add the shrimp, and let it cook for exactly 3 minutes. Immediately drain and run cold water over it. I also have a small container of ice that I put it on. If cooked shrimp is left standing, it continues to cook! Slice the shrimp into chunks and put in a bowl. 

Living in the high deserts, I purchased lump crab meat. I do not like the canned crab meat at all. While the lump crab is a bit more expensive, taste-wise, it's SO worth it! Rinse this well. And I mean well. If you think you've rinsed it long enough, do it again for a little while longer. Pat it dry, and add it to the shrimp. I sprinkled just a hint of Old Bay over it, covered the bowl and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, I got out the rest of the ingredients to complete the recipe:


Cut the tops off the peppers, rinse and remove seeds. Blanch them in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Ingredients for Stuffing: 

  • 2 Shallots, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • 2 Celery Stalks, chopped
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I use Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth)
  • 1 Cup bread crumbs - divided
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (if desired)
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice (according to directions)
  • 2 T. Butter
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Place the peppers in a glass baking dish in about an inch of water. 

In a skillet, brown the onion, shallots, and celery in the olive oil. Let it cook until the vegetables are slightly wilted. Add the shrimp and crab and stir in the white wine and tomato paste. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper.  Stir in 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, wild rice and transfer to a bowl. Melt the butter in the skillet, adding the remaining bread crumbs. Stir until they are lightly browned and remove from heat.

Fill the peppers with the stuffing, and top with the browned breadcrumbs. Bake for 35-45 minutes. 

Stand back and wait for the avalanche of compliments! Enjoy!

Happy Eating!

Monday, October 31, 2011

You Know You're a Foodie IF....

  1. You auto-tune your favorite food shows
  2. EVERY conversation you engage in ALWAYS evolves into FOOD
  3. You want to read MENUS instead of news
  4. You plan dinner the minute you wake up (after coffee, of course).
  5. You tune into your Twitter account or FB page first thing in the morning to see if anyone has posted links to new recipes.
  6. You take three weeks to plan a dinner party for your 5 casual friends and you write out a time schedule for that dinner party
  7. You buy Saffron just BECAUSE it looks GOOD in your spice cabinet (you have no clue YET what to do with it, but by gollie - it's going to be in your kitchen!)
  8. You gravitate to the kitchen gaget aisle and justify purchasing the latest and greatest gizmo.
  9. Your iPad and iPhone have every conceivable app for recipes
  10.  Your default browser is FoodNetwork

I did not choose to be a Foodie... I am sure I was born this way.  While I try to maintain normalcy, it's really difficult sometimes to be around my non-foodie friends. I am so very grateful for the community of Tweeples and #FoodieChat that make me feel NORMAL.

Happy Eating!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Savory Sweet Pumpkin Soup

To ME, Pumpkin Soup should not be liquid pumpkin pie served in a bowl. I want just the right balance of sweet & savory. Googling recipes for Savory Pumpkin Soup turned up a litany of boring, boring, boring.  Googling Pumpkin Soup gave me more "liquid Pie" recipes...Therefore I knew I had to create my own...using everything but the *Kitchen Sink*. This is my interpretation for the perfect combination to create:

Savory Sweet Pumpkin Soup


1 tablespoon butter
2 chopped shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
3 cans pumpkin puree
2 cans chicken broth
1 can vegetable broth
1 cup half & half
2 small sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small sprig fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar (a little more or less, depending on your taste)
Salt to taste


In a small sauce pan, sauté  the shallots, garlic and ginger in butter until soft. Set aside. Add all the other ingredients to a crock pot and stir until blended. Turn crock pot on high, cover. After 30 min stir in the shallots, garlic and ginger. Cook on high another 2 hours. Turn to LOW, and cook for an additional 9 hours, stirring occasionally.

If you serve it in small hollowed-out pumpkins, bake the pumpkin shells in the oven for  about 30 minutes @350. You do not want to cook them thorough, just until they are slightly soft. Ladle the soup into the warm pumpkin bowls. The cooked interior of the pumpkin will continue to lend flavor to the soup.

Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds or a fresh sprig of thyme. If you're feeling really edgy, use both!

Happy Eating!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Port Balsamic Vinegar Jam

Exciting... Well, maybe not SO exciting that it merits a huge font; however, just the name of this jam had my creativity going.  I saw it and thought: "Interesting flavors in a jar". Being one that loves to experiment with *interesting*, I just knew I had to make this.

The recipe is relatively easy to follow. I always read through a new recipe a few times before actually attempting to do it.  One of my favorite tweeples on Twitter @exceptionalfoods highly recommended thoroughly reading a recipe two or three times. While it may SEEM rather elementary, it isn't. How many times have you given a cursory glance to something, then accidentally omitted a critical ingredient? :::gulity:::

I acquired this recipe from

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup strips orange rind
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups port or white port
  • 1 pouch liquid pectin
In small saucepan, simmer vinegar and orange strips until reduced to 1/4 cup. Cover and let steep until cool. 

Meanwhile, in a bowl, cover 4 canning jar discs with hot water; set aside.

Strain vinegar into large saucepan; stir in port and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. At rolling boil, cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in pectin, mixing well.

Pour mix into hot 1-cup (250ML) canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jars, cover with prepared discs. Screw on bands until resistance is met; increase to fingertip tight. Boil in  boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Let cool on rack. Check that lids curve down. 

The NEXT time I prepare this recipe, here are the adjustments I will make:
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup strips orange rind
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups port
  • grated orange rind
Following the same directions as above, I want to increase the vinegar, decrease the sugar. In my initial batch, I thought the sweetness of the port to provide more than enough "sweet".  The sugar is needed for texture and consistency. I also will seep the vinegar and orange strips longer than 45 mins (until cool). I want to add some grated orange rind to the actual mix for sparkle, color and a tinge of flavor. 

This jam will be perfect on cheddar cheese biscuits, or served along side a corned beef or some equally salty beef. Please feel free to post any of your suggestions, too!

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Better Apple Butter Quest

Starts HERE 
Tis The Season...well, no, not THAT season yet. But, I am preparing for it now with jars of Apple Butter to give to my friends. Nothing says "Sweet Dreams" like a jar of homemade apple butter...right? 
Bring the Haul Home

I have made several adjustments to a recipe that I found using the crock pot.  Finally, I just decided to give up on the recipe.  It was coming out either too sweet or WAY too sweet, calling for 6 cups of sugar to 12 Cups of apples. Today, I made a crock pot full of apples, adding just one cup of sugar  and it tastes awesome. I'll be processing it later today. Here's what I've discovered: Pack your crock pot full of apples, and add about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of liquid (use apple juice or water. I used water). Set it on High, and let the apples bake down. As they bake down, stir and add more apples. When those bake down, add about 6 tablespoons of cinnamon and 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cloves. Stir, and add more apples to fill it to the top.

Pack your crock pot with cored/sliced apples
It gets a little tricky at this point. The main question is: "To sugar or not to sugar?" The sweeter the apple, the less sugar (I feel) is required. I sure wish I knew what variety of apples I'm picking, but the trees in my area don't have signs on them, and no one seems to know either. So, it's hit and miss...luckily I've had a hit. I made my last batch with just one cup of sugar and it came out fabulous! Rich and thick, just the right amount of sweet.

Finished jars of Apple Butter
After it all cooks down, I prepare the jars accordingly. I then take my emulsion blender and start mixing like crazy until it's nice and smooth. The color is a rich brown and the texture is well, like butter. I feel that a little apple jack Brandy in it is good, too, just for some added flavor. Pour into the jars and process in a hot bubble bath for about 10 minutes. Remove, and wipe the jars. Let them set out overnight. This is a wonderful gift to friends, great to keep around in your pantry, and a super use for a lot of apples! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Heavenly Dessert! Apples, Pears & Praline oh my!

Apple Pear 
Praline Pie

Arizona isn't all about deserts! I live in the Rim Country, approx 5600 ft. and about an hour and a half Northeast of Phoenix. Ponderosa Pines stand tall, and fruit trees of all varieties,  are generously scattered everywhere! Thanks to the weather we had last winter, this summer brought an abundance of apples, pears and plums!  So many apples, and so many wonderful ways to prepare them!

I stumbled on this Apple Pear Praline Pie recipe while searching for a nice apple/pear combination. My friend has an Asian pear tree, and I was able to pick a few of the ones the birds had kindly left alone.  I found this recipe on the site, and of course altered it just a little bit. My additions are italicized in blue to distinguish them from the original recipe.  If you do make this pie, I promise you,  it is a huge hit, and gone before you can think how to store it! Enjoy!


cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apples **(I used a nice variety of apples ranging from Red Delicious to Macintosh)
cups thinly sliced peeled pears ** (I used 3 Asian Pears and one Red Pear)
cup granulated sugar
cup all-purpose flour
to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
teaspoon salt
box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box **(Pillsbury pie crust is absolutely wonderful if you're pressed for time!  When I bake, I love to do everything myself!)
tablespoon all-purpose flour
tablespoons butter or margarine
cups (1 bag - 8 oz) almond brickle or toffee bits **(I had to substitute crushed Heath bars)
cup butter or margarine
cup packed brown sugar
1/4    cup half-and-half (Fat-free Half & Half )

cup chopped pecans
  • about 8 caramels 
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of Apple Jack Brandy - or more...

1Heat oven to 350°F.2In large bowl, gently toss apples, pears, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup flour, the cinnamon and salt. Let stand 15 minutes. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate; sprinkle lightly with 1 tablespoon flour. Spoon apple mixture into pastry-lined pie plate; dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the almond brickle. Top with second pie crust. Flute edges as desired. Cut slits in several places in top crust to allow steam to escape.3Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until golden brown; remove pie from oven. Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter over low heat. Stir in brown sugar and half-and-half. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. **(stir in the caramels, and the Apple Jack Brandy) Remove from heat; stir in pecans. Spread sauce over top of hot pie; sprinkle with remaining almond brickle. Cool 2 hours before serving.