Homemade Apple Pie Gelato in a Sugar Cookie Crust

Whew, that title is a mouthful. I may or may not also happen to have a mouthful of this homemade, healthier apple pie gelato right now as I type. I’ll never tell.
Apple Pie Gelato in Sugar Cookie Crust

I love apple pie.
I love gelato.
I love apple pie with gelato.
And now I love apple pie made of gelato.

Whoa baby.

In all honesty, you don’t need to put this gelato in a sugar cookie crust. Between its vanilla base and chunks of apples sauteed in brown sugar and cinnamon, believe me it can hold its own. And just like this Homemade Pumpkin Spice Gelato, there’s no heavy cream at all! A fab, indulgent-tasting dessert that won’t put you on your 2014 resolution naughty list.

Let’s say that’s all well and good, but you’re looking to make something with a little extra somethin’ somethin’. Let’s talk the sugar cookie crust. I quartered my go-to sugar cookie recipe (my Grandma’s!), cut out a circle that would adequately cover the bottom and sides of my ramekin (this one from World Market), pressed the dough inside, and baked along with the standard sized sugar cookies I cut out from the rest of the dough. I kept the ramekin in the oven for a few minutes longer than the cookies, and once done, I let it cool before beginning the gelato. However if you’re looking to spread out the steps, feel free to bake the cookie crust the day before. The important thing here is that you fill the crust with gelato and even out the top right when the gelato is finished in the ice cream maker. That way it’s still soft and easy to handle rather than frozen after spending some quality time in the freezer.

The gelato pie can be served immediately, or placed in the freezer for an hour or two if you’d prefer slices with a more crisp edge. I wouldn’t keep the pie in the freezer for too long though, a) because you don’t want the cookie crust to lose its freshly-baked taste, and b) after smelling the sugar cookies baking and the apples sauteing, you’re going to deprive yourself for much longer? I didn’t think so.

Apple pie gelato

Homemade Apple Pie Gelato in a Sugar Cookie Crust

Sugar Cookie Dough
yields approximately 15-18 standard-size cookies (or mini pie crust here and a few standard-size cookies…for, uhhh, quality-control)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1. Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla extract. Blend well.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

3. Add flour mixture gradually to butter mixture until all combined.

4. Chill dough thoroughly.

Sugar cookie doughWrapped up and ready to chill.

5. Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll dough onto floured work surface to 1/4″ thickness. I freehanded a circular shape a little larger than the ramekin I was using to account for the dough needed to cover the sides. I also used a cookie cutter to cut shapes from the remaining dough. Grease ramekin and press circular shaped-dough against bottom and sides. *Tip – I wouldn’t let the dough extend as far beyond the edge of the ramekin as I did in the picture below. During baking, the edges fell and baked against it, making it nearly impossible to remove the finished slices without cutting that part of the crust away from the pie.

Sugar crust pre-bake
6. Place all on an ungreased cookie sheet – cookies and ramekin. Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges just begin to brown for regular cookie shapes, but pie crust may take longer. My pie crust was in for approximately 12 minutes.

Apple Pie Gelato

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 egg yolks
very small pinch salt
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, divided

2 apples, peeled and diced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided

Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

To make the healthier gelato base, I followed steps #1-6 of my Homemade Pumpkin Spice Gelato Affogato recipe (milk through vanilla extract ingredients above). While your mixture is chilling, continue with steps below.

7. Peel apples, remove core and seeds, and dice them into small chunks.

Dicing apples
8. Saute apples over medium-low heat with butter, brown sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon until apples have softened slightly and are coated throughout with the butter/brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Apples sauteing
9. Refrigerate sauteed apples until they are cold. Both the gelato base and apples should be chilled before continuing.

10. Remove gelato base and apples from the refrigerator. Pour gelato base into your ice cream maker and prepare according to your ice cream maker’s directions. Once you begin to see gelato base thickening around the edges of the ice cream maker, add remaining 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Slowly add apples until all are integrated.

11. Once gelato is done, scoop enough out to fill sugar cookie pie crust and smooth out the top. Scoop excess gelato into an airtight container and freeze. You can serve the pie immediately, or cover in an airtight-container and freeze for an hour or so if you’d prefer a more solid, frozen gelato pie filling. If freezing, run a sharp knife under hot water, blot knife with cloth or paper towel to remove water drops, and proceed to cut into pie. Garnish with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon (optional), and enjoy.

Apple Pie Gelato with Sugar CrustSugar cookie pie crust with gelato right out of the ice cream maker.

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How to Salvage a Recipe Whoops

salvage recipe whoops text

You know what I really hate to do? Waste things. When I was little, I always wanted to save things, because surely I’d need a stockpile of wrapping paper scraps and empty glass bottles. In case of a decoupage emergency or something. Through the years I’ve (thankfully) learned to part with many could-be craft supplies, because while I can have ideas for days, the reality is that I won’t get around to crafting all of my grand plans.

Food, though…food is a different story. You’ve spent money on ingredients, spent time preparing whatever it is that you’re making, and seeing both of those things thrown into the garbage is all kinds of frustrating. Plus if you’re making something, there’s a good chance that you’re hungry, and your stomach has already set its expectations accordingly. Having to abandon your plans and start fresh is apt to pitch even the most even-tempered into the throes of hangriness. Look. out.

So when you first get that nagging feeling that your recipe is headed off the tracks, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Can you cut it into small pieces and bake it a different way?

2. Is the taste spot-on but the presentation…lacking?

3. Can you cover it in frosting and/or sprinkles to make the whoops go away?

4. Can you cut off the offending piece?

5. Is it feasible to rename whatever it is and pass it off like something else?

Regarding point #5, it’s all about managing expectations. Depending on what you’re making (and how much you talked it up beforehand), you may not have much lead time before you realize your recipe’s going south, so sometimes this is unavoidable. For example, if you’ve been raving about a gigantic cinnamon roll for days and have gotten someone else craving it, having them witness you frantically scurrying around the kitchen in search of your muffin pan might dash their dreams a bit (sorry, B!). Likewise, promising to bring a loaf of banana bread somewhere and showing up with a plate of cookies that suspiciously looked like they contained bananas and chocolate chips might be, well, awkward. So, in the ideal scenario, “Hey guys, I made banana bread biscotti crisps!” sounds a whole lot better than “well, I was going to make a loaf of bread, but then x, y, z happened…”. A whoops indeed (but still better than showing up empty-handed).

In the couple of months since starting My Sequined Life, I’ve encountered SO. MANY. kitchen whoops I can’t even begin to tell you. Under-seasoning french toast so it tastes just like eating…soggy bread. Forgetting to grease the pan so the mini loaves that I envisioned would look so cute in a photo turned into a crumby (and unpictured) mess. Breathing a sigh of relief that we had just the amount of eggs necessary for a recipe…and then dropping them on the floor. The list goes on.

Most of the time these whoops go undocumented (for good reason), but here are two recipes I resurrected by using a mix of the techniques above.

Case #1 – Banana bread beer…bread

Synopsis – I saw this beer in the store. Thought it would be all sorts of clever to use it to make banana bread. Not so.

The Whoops – Everything was seemingly fine – the batter looked normal, the loaf was rising in the oven, etc. Took it out of the oven to cool and the thing deflated until it was barely 1″-tall. A dense banana bread brick.

The Fix – Cut it up and bake it again (#1 above). I sliced the loaf into 1/4″-thick slices, laid the slices down on their sides on a cookie sheet, and baked them until the edges were golden brown and they were crisp throughout. From banana bread brick to banana bread biscotti crisps within 10 minutes.

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Case #2 – Cinnamon Roll Cake

Synopsis – This giant cinnamon roll cake on Sally’s Baking Addiction stopped me in my pinning tracks on Pinterest. Doesn’t it look incredible?? I showed it to B and said I’d make it for New Year’s Day breakfast (setting expectations…my first mistake). The problem with a New Year’s Day breakfast that requires rising time? New Year’s Eve festivities, that’s what. I slept in until 10:00 AM (what!) and thought I could have my cake – literally – and eat it too by still making the cake but taking a few shortcuts (my second mistake).

The Whoops – I won’t even share with you my methodology here, but it involved a tube of store-bought dough, a gloppy, undercooked center, and a few tears of frustration.

The Fix – Grab your muffin tin (#2 above). I ripped my half-crispy-half-raw monstrosity of a breakfast into small pieces and placed them into eight greased muffin tins. I popped them back in the oven, placed a loose tent of aluminum foil over the top halfway through so that they didn’t crisp up too much, and removed when everything was cooked through. Drizzled some glaze over top and voilà – Pull-Apart Cinnamon Roll Muffins were born.


Post-ripping, pre-second-bake.


The finished product – Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Muffins. Doesn’t look like such a whoops after all, now does it? In fact, got B’s seal of approval!

Of course there are plenty of times when what you’re making hurdles past the point of rescuing (I will run screaming from unintentionally-curdled milk), but hopefully with an assortment of tools and a dash of creativity you can turn your kitchen whoops into something that’s beyond edible, and maybe even a little delicious.

Mini Gingerbread Chai Biscotti

‘Tis the season for all things gingerbread and a whole lot of cookies. For some reason though this year I’ve been putting off devising my Christmas cookie game plan. I’m not quite sure why, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with The Voice being on twice weekly, another season of White Collar hitting Netflix, and the urge to binge-watch anything with Aubrey Plaza in it. Couple having something on the TV with a cozy blanket and Pinterest, and in a flash my “Oh I’ll start planning after this episode” turns into a “WHEN DID IT BECOME 10:45 PM!?” – in which case it’s Go directly to bed. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

As we’re already hurtling into mid-December I realized I better get myself in gear, and what better way to do so than with the aroma of baking gingerbread wafting through the house? Only one near hiccup happened when the supermarket appeared to be out of molasses, which really would have been game over on the gingerbread that night, but I reached a hopeful hand up on the top shelf and found one jar pushed towards the back. Whew. Let there be biscotti.

Gingerbread Chai Biscotti
Some notes on these cookies: They certainly are crispy, but they’re not rock-hard-break-your-teeth crispy. In other words, you won’t need to dunk them in coffee in order to chew through (but I bet that would taste delicious). They require a little extra baking time, as they take two shifts in the oven (as biscotti do), and the dough is sticky. You’ll see in the pictures that follow, but please flour your hands, work surface, and spatulas judiciously or else you’ll be more Bah humbug than Christmas cheer.

Mini Gingerbread Chai Biscotti

Yields 52 mini cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp chai tea latte mix (dry), plus more for pressing onto outsides
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup molasses

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, spices, and 2 tbsp of the chai tea latte mix.
3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add canola oil, vanilla extract, and molasses. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until well-integrated.

Batter
4. The batter will be very sticky, so flour your hands, spatula, and work surface before removing the dough to work with. Lightly knead dough on floured surface, adding more flour as you need. I worked about 2-3 tbsp of flour into the dough during this process.

Dough Before

Before: The Blob vs. The Flour

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After: The tamed beast

5. Once dough is workable, separate into four equal sections. Working one section at a time, roll into a cylinder. Depending on the stickiness of your dough, you still may need to roll in more flour. Place on baking sheet and lightly pat down so that thickness is even throughout the cylinder. Repeat for 3 remaining sections.

6. Rub some more of the chai tea latte mix onto outside of four sections and lightly press to adhere.

Dough Cylinders
7. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove. Cut each log into 3/4-inch strips, then place each cookie onto its side. Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes so that the edges crisp up.

After first bake
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8. Once edges are toasty brown, remove from oven and let cool.

I almost forgot to mention – the great thing about mini biscotti is that there’s no need to fret over having multiple in one sitting. They just add up to one regular-sized cookie, anyway. 🙂

Healthier Mexican Hot (Dark) Chocolate

Can we talk for a second about this hot chocolate?

Healthier Hot Chocolate

1. It’s DELICIOUS. Creamy dark chocolate, with just enough cinnamon to add a slight spice without overpowering. It’s hot chocolate for a reason (not hot cinnamon, although if that’s what you’re into…)

2. It’s FOR A CROWD. Once anyone in your vicinity gets a whiff of this deliciousness, guaranteed they’re going to want some. And you’re in luck because it’s so easy to make a big batch all at once – just double (or triple) the recipe.

3. It’s OH SO EASY. As in it may be on par with ripping open a packet of hot chocolate mix and whisking with hot water, although the taste of this recipe trumps just about every packet hot chocolate I’ve sipped.

4. It’s NOT SO BAD FOR YOU. 1 cup of the dark chocolate almond milk is 100 calories, and according to Silk, has 50% more calcium than chocolate dairy milk. Tastes indulgent, but your waistline will thank you.

5. It’s VERSATILE.

Dairy-free? Just omit the whipped cream topping (with a hot chocolate so rich and creamy, you’re not missing much!)

Looking to satisfy the masses? Kids will love it straight, and adults can add a little glug-glug of coffee liqueur for a festive cold-weather cocktail.

I took it upon myself to try it at every juncture – straight and with coffee liqueur. Yum and yum (double yum). I know what’ll be on my holiday menu. 🙂

Healthier Hot Chocolate
Yields 2 servings

3 cups dark chocolate almond milk (I used this one from Silk)
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Several shakes of ground cinnamon (or more, to taste)
Coffee liqueur (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)

1. Pour almond milk into small saucepan on stove top and heat slowly over low heat.

Stovetop
2. Whisk in cocoa powder and cinnamon until smooth.

Cinnamon
3. Hot chocolate is done when you just barely notice small bubbling around the edges of the saucepan and hot chocolate becomes frothy.

Frothy Cocoa
4. Ladle out hot chocolate into mugs. Add coffee liqueur if using. Garnish with whipped cream (again, if using – this is so customizable!) and a shake of cinnamon.

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