Fairy Bread Muffins

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Happy Monday!!

If you’ve been on Instagram any time recently, and you have some American friends, you’ve probably noticed a couple of trends within our posts:

  1. Women are really stepping up in our political climate (woo!!), and
  2. We’re obsessed with rainbow foods

While the first trend makes my heart soar, the second one is a big “meh” from me.  Although rainbow food is probably the happiest food ever, and it look really nice on Insta posts with a NYC cityscape in the background,  I don’t know if I could handle eating something with those colors.  Does anyone know if those dyes do something funky to your insides?  Do all those foods taste like chemicals?  The amount of food coloring added to get those vibrant colors just has to be astonishing…

However, my opinion has insufficient impact on the subject, because people are rainbow-ing literally everything they can get their slippery food coloring into.  U.S. restaurants and bakeries are a unicorn’s freaking dream – try as I might, I can’t get away from it.  And what do you do when you can’t beat them?  Join them!  And what do you do when you refuse to add entire bottles of dye in your food?

SPRINKLES!!!

– which is a totally acceptable and subtle form of rainbow-ing food.  (I would know.  I have an expansive sprinkle collection).

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Once the rainbow-food-trend got exponentially out of hand, and we Americans claimed it as our own, Australians were kind of like, “yo, wtf?”, because it turns out they’ve been eating a colorful treat called fairy bread basically this whole damn time.  In case you missed it, fairy bread is strictly just white bread + butter + sprinkles, and oh, it also has the cutest name everrrrr.  Anyway, I decided to do some extensive research on the subject, because these are the things that I care about, and I’ve learned a few tips from multiple articles that I have read – basically, Americans have a few things wrong:

  1. It’s never been called fairy toast, it’s fairy bread – a very important aspect.
  2. It’s not eaten as a snack or breakfast – it’s used as a birthday cake replacement at children’s parties.
  3. When making this treat, artisan breads, hand-rolled butter, and organic sprinkles are unwelcome.  Seriously, it’s just white bread, a pat of butter, and nonpareils.

However, many Australians are really being good sports about it all, even complimenting some of the quirks we’ve added to our fairy bread in America – fancy sprinkles, thicker toast, and one article even mentioned that they think eating fairy bread for breakfast is GENIUS.  So, I guess it’s not all bad.

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After hearing about fairy bread, I felt the sudden urge to write a blog post about it before realizing that, hey, you guys are probably smart enough to figure out how to slather butter on some Wonder bread followed by a handful of sprinklies.  And then I realized that muffins are a totally acceptable form of breakfast food and thought “Why not merge the two?”

Basically, I made a dense, slightly sweet muffin, filled it with sprinkles, and added a buttery glaze with extra sprinkles on top.  Is it fairy bread?  No.  Is it inspired by fairy bread?  Absolutely.  Is it just an excuse for me to eat funfetti for breakfast in a socially acceptable manner?  You bet your sweet ass it is.

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Do you know any fun foods that are not well-known?  Comment below, I’d love to hear!

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Favorite Song by Kaiser Cartel

 

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Homemade Bagels

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About once a year, I get a strong yearning for summer.  The long days off, laying on the beach at Lake Tahoe, wearing light sun dresses and messy up-dos to keep the hair off my face, the smell of beer & cheeseburgers on the grill, Slurpees, riding bikes, bonfires when it starts to cool down at sunset, going on holiday, fireworks.  The time normally comes around late January/early February.  The holidays are over, so the snow isn’t lit up by Christmas lights, and comfort food feels too rich and loses its appeal.  Winter break has passed, and I’m back in school for “spring” semester, which is really just a tease, since it’s still 40* or below outside, and I’m tired of wearing the same sweaters and coats I’ve been wearing for months.  I stare longingly at my bikinis and dream of taking a roadtrip and going on hikes.

After a few days of missing summer, I normally resort back to my usual cold-dreary-weather-obsessed self, snuggle in my blanket with some hot tea, and watch a movie while the rain patters outside.  I indulge myself on the weekends with pot pie or roasted chicken, enjoy the cold Reno mornings surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and sip Guatemalas or Perus at the coffee shop.  Once summer comes around, I’m already dreaming of the brisk cold that sneaks in mid-September.

A couple of weekends ago, I went to Tahoe with a *special human* to see the snow on the lake, which I had never done before.  I took some pictures, and we climbed on rocks at Sand Harbor to watch the sun dip completely under the horizon, which was incredible, albeit slightly dangerous.  Kings Beach was filled with cute kids in puffy snow onesies and dogs prancing after tennis balls on the beach.  My faith in winter was restored, and bagels were consumed over coffee the next morning.

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Which leads me to the bagels.  Lately, with stormy clouds blanketing Reno on my days off, I’ve taken to trying out more difficult recipes that I’ve never attempted before.  Oftentimes, I find that the recipes are not as hard as I initially thought, and they taste much better and cleaner than their store bought alternatives.  Such was the case with these homemade bagels.  Seemingly intimidating, but actually so easy, and they take no more than two hours to make.

I’ve been staying off of the internet lately, mostly due to a recent computer update from a certain tech company, let’s call them Schmicroshoft (no names please), that refuses to connect my computer with my wifi, essentially leaving it unusable, and leaving me to try solution after solution to no avail (but also because people keep talking about politics on social media).  Long run-on-sentence short, I spent 2 hours on the phone with said company, and my computer still isn’t fixed, which is why I haven’t gotten the opportunity to share this recipe until now.  But I promise, it’s probably one of the most successful recipes I’ve made, and it’s versatile enough to add whatever ingredients you want.  Use an egg wash, and sprinkle the homemade bagels with seeds, garlic, onion, cheese.  Mix in blueberries or chocolate chips.  Take one straight out of the oven, toast in under the broiler for a few minutes, and smother it with a thick slab of butter or cream cheese.

Don’t forget the coffee.

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*Bagels require high gluten flour, or they do not come out nearly as well.  I easily found bread gluten at my local bulk grocery, but if you cannot find bread gluten, you could also use high-gluten flour.

*If you top your bagels with seeds, onions, garlic, or cheese, you will need to brush them first with an egg wash (1 egg mixed with a little water).  If you want blueberries or chocolate chips, you can mix them straight into the dough!

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XO SaraLynn
*Song of the Day: It’s Real by Real Estate*

 

Cinnamon Rolls

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[Update 1/12/16: I made these rolls last weekend for the first time since I posted this recipe.  I changed the recipe up a little bit for experimentation, and ended up liking the new recipe more.  I added more butter (yikes, I know), tried traditional scalded milk instead of buttermilk, and used a different icing.  The original recipe is in the body of the post, and the new recipe is on a recipe card at the bottom of the post.  The new rolls are more fluffy, but if you prefer the old recipe, it’s still there, no worries!  I also updated some new pictures, since my photography has gotten significantly better (but still left the old ones with instructions and whatnot).  Hope you guys love!  Xo.]

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Guys.

These are so good.

Have you ever had like, a really really really good cinnamon roll?  Not like a Cinnabon one, but a really delicious, homemade cinnamon roll?  It’s a special kind of experience everyone should get to have.

I’m happy to report that you may now make your own if you truly wish to experience the phenomenon of eating an out-of-this-world cinnamon roll.

I have truly done it.  I have created the perfect cinnamon rolls.

They take pretty much all day to make, but they’re super easy.  I promise, you can make these!  Just make sure you have new yeast and everything is going to be okay.  You can do anything.

Sara Lynn: motivator and cinnamon roll goddess.

Maybe that’s a little dramatic.  Maybe it’s not.  Maybe you should make these cinnamon rolls and let me know if you think that I’m a cinnamon roll goddess.

A disclaimer about the following pictures:

1. My nail color randomly changes from red to sparkly pink because I got my nails done while the dough was rising.  I highly recommend you find something time consuming to do while you wait because cinnamon rolls take a long time to rise and a long time to make in general (but still so worth it).

2. The pictures change from good quality to bad quality because, again, they take a while to make and I ran out of daylight.

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Shall we get started?

Cinnamon Rolls:

1/2 c. warm water

1 package instant yeast

1/2 c. + 1 Tbs. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. buttermilk

1 egg

1/3 c. melted butter

4 1/2 c. flour

Filling:

1/2 stick butter

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. white sugar

2 1/2 Tbs. cinnamon

Pinch salt

Icing:

4 oz. cream cheese

2 Tbs. butter

1 1/2-2 c. powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like your icing!)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2-3 Tbs. milk, to thin

Pinch salt

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First, you’re going to want to mix together your warm water, yeast, and a tablespoon of sugar.  Set it aside to double in size!

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Mix 1/2 c. sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl.

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Nice and doubled!  Yay!

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Mix together buttermilk, egg, and butter.

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Add half of the flour mixture until it’s incorporated.

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Add the yeast mixture and stir together.

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It might not mix very well because it’s going to be very lumpy and thin like pancake batter.

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Mix in the rest of the flour and knead a few times with your hands.

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Knead until smooth and beautiful.

Set aside in a warm place covered with plastic wrap or a towel.  Let rise for 1-2 hours.

*insert random photo and nail color change*

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Once it has risen, punch the dough a few times.DSCN4128

Roll until about 1/8 inch thick.

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Brush with melted butter.

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Mix together cinnamon, sugars, and salt for your filling.

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And spread it all around!

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Roll it up.

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Brush it with more butter (sorry cholesterol).

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Cut into rolls that are about 2 inches wide.  You should have about 8 pretty ones.

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And a few not so pretty ones 😦  Oops!

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Brush a parchment lined casserole dish with more butter.

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Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon and sugar.

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Line the cinnamon rolls in the casserole dish.  Set them aside, covered, to rise for another hour or two.

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Look how pretty!!!  (That top left one is so sad.  Poor little guy.  Still delicious).

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Bake at 350* F for about 14-16 minutes, or until a light golden brown.

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Meanwhile, mix together the icing!  Whip butter and cream cheese together until incorporated.  Add sifted powdered sugar and vanilla.  Thin with milk.

(Uhm, is this not just the worst picture you’ve ever seen?  Did I even try?  Just trust me, it’s a delicious icing).

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Yay, they’re baked and beautiful!

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Spread frosting over warm cinnamon rolls.

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Hell yeah.

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Do you see that cinnamon filling?  Oh my gosh.  I might go grab one of my extras from the freezer right now.  They’re sooooo good.

Which reminds me, if you have too many because you made 11 cinnamon rolls and you live by yourself, just go ahead, wrap them in some plastic wrap individually and then place them in freezer bags.  They’ll stay good for a few months and you can indulge in cinnamon bun goodness whenever you want!

Go make these.  Right.  Now.

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* Notes*:  1. I use my mixer with dough hook, but these can also be made with a mixing bowl and wooden spoon!  I’ve done tries both methods and either works! 2. If your dough won’t rise, try heating oven to 250* F, turning oven off, and placing covered bowl of dough in warm oven (make sure bowl is oven proof!).  Leave alone for 2 hours.  3. If dough still won’t rise, your yeast is probably old.  Buy new yeast and start again.  4. Rolls can be made one night, and baked in the morning!  Just form the rolls and let them do their second rise in the fridge overnight (8-12 hours).  In the morning, remove from fridge, and let warm up for about an hour.  They will take longer to bake (upwards of about 30 or 40 minutes, so don’t worry if they don’t bake quickly!  Cover with foil halfway through if they start to brown too much.)

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*Song of the Day: Won’t You Come Over by Devendra Banhart

Healthy Granola Bars

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Aside from crying at IAMS dog commercials and avoiding all conversations involving politics or football, my most common past time of late has included attempting to make the best chocolate chip cookies e v e r.

I know this is a hefty task.  Everybody has their favorite version of the best chocolate chip cookie, and somebody else’s favorite may not match mine.  But if I’m going to own a bakery and coffee shop in the future, I just have to have the best chocolate chip cookies ever.  It’s become an obsession of sorts.

I’m not going to lie, my favorite chocolate chip cookie has always been the Nestle Tollhouse recipe.  They have magic within them.  I don’t even know what they’re doing over at Tollhouse, but I want in on it.  It’s the recipe I grew up with, so I will always love them.  But what if I can make Nestle’s recipe even better?

Yeah, that’s what I’m going for.

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Unfortunately, my cookie labs are only done on the weekends when I feel like my friends can stand trying another batch of chocolate chip cookies (about once or twice a month).  This is also because 1. I don’t have time to bake cookies constantly and 2. Even if I did, I’m sure humans actually cannot function long term on a complete cookie diet.  It’s a sad, but true, fact.

Therefore, I preoccupy myself with other kinds of projects.

Enter healthy granola bars.

I really love granola bars as a quick snack or breakfast.  Sometimes I spend entirely too much time looking at myself sullenly in the mirror because I don’t want to put on makeup and I haven’t had breakfast or coffee yet.  That’s a granola bar in the car morning.  They happen more than one would expect.

Unfortunately, the nutrition facts on the back of granola bars terrify me.  Oh my god.  The mere amount of added sugars alone.  And I don’t want to get into sodium, fat, and chemical additives.

It makes me realize why American food is banned in multiple countries around the world.

Additionally, I cannot justify spending $10 on a box of somewhat “healthy” granola bars that mostly taste like cardboard.  Why is it so hard to get some quick, healthy food for a reasonable price?!  Am I really asking for too much?!

Luckily for us all, healthy granola bars are super easy to make at home!  They’re also way cheaper and freeze-able, and don’t have a bunch of sugars and icky gunk in them!!!

People who care about their bodies, rejoice!

Ingredients:

2 c. quick oats

1 c. raw almonds

1 c. dried cranberries

1/4 c. pumpkin seeds

1/4 c. sunflower seeds

2 Tbs. flax seeds

1/3 c. almond butter or peanut butter

1/2 c. honey

1/4 c. agave

1/4 c. coconut oil, melted

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Pinch salt

*Optional step*: Toast oats, nuts, and seeds in an oven at 350* until you can smell nuts and everything is a nice golden brown.  I left out this step, but you can totally do this if you want less of a “raw” taste.

In a large bowl, mix together the almond butter, honey, agave, coconut oil, cinnamon, and salt until smooth.  Add oats, almonds, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds.  Stir mixture until combined thoroughly.

Press mixture into a greased 9×13 pan.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the granola bars are golden brown on the edges.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Cut into bars.  You can do larger or thinner bars depending on your preference.

*You can do any mixture of nuts and seeds, dried fruits, etc.  You can also do more agave, less honey, etc.  Everything in this recipe is super easy to replace and adjust.  You can make these however you want!*

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Also, I’m just going to throw out there that a small amount of mini chocolate chips would be good in place of cranberries.

Chocolate chip cookie granola bars?!

I’m going to go ahead and stop now.

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Song of the Day: Let Her Go–Mac DeMarco

Chiles Rellenos Casserole

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Hellohellohello.

Like me, I’m sure many of you lovely readers have just recently started classes again.

If you have not started classes, go away we don’t want you here (I’m just jealous please don’t go away).

If you are done with classes (because you’re brilliant and already graduated and are probably head of your company right now) congrats, and also go away, we don’t want you here.  (I’m just tired of waking up early already and being in accounting/economic classes.  Again, I’m just jealous please don’t go away).

Luckily, I’m starting to take classes that I’m actually interested in, and if all goes well then I should be going to London to study for a month this summer!  (!!!!!!!) So hopefully that all works out.

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However, if you’re strange like me, you’re probably kind of okay with being in classes right now.  Although I loved laying in bed watching Netflix and eating tangerines for 8 hours a day over winter break, I also get tired of not having a schedule.

The “wake up, go to school, go to work, come home, do homework, work out, make dinner, clean up, shower, and go to bed” schedule.

Rinse and repeat until spring break.

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This recipe was actually developed last week over winter break.  When I thought I had food poisoning.  Turns out it’s something weird with my kidneys (wtf right?)

Anyways, one particular night where I swear I could actually feel the cramping of my kidneys, I was desperately craving chiles rellenos.  However, I was not about to go to the store at 10 p.m. to get ingredients so that I could spend 2 or 3 hours making them.  Also the Mexican restaurant near my house was closed so the only logical solution was to see what was in my pantry.

And yay, there was a can of green chiles!  And cheese and eggs in my fridge.  It was all looking up.

So I just whipped this up and ended up very happy.

This casserole actually came out more like a chiles rellenos breakfast casserole.  Although I would like to try another recipe, where I use whole chiles (and maybe some mole sauce or something?), this was pretty damn good.

Here ya go.

Ingredients:

1 or 2 small can green chiles, drained

2 eggs

3/4 c. milk

2 Tbs. flour

1-1 1/2 c. jack cheese, grated

Garlic powder, to taste

Onion powder, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat oven to 400* F.  Spray a ramekin or small casserole pan with cooking spray, or olive oil.

Spread out the can of green chiles in the casserole pan.  Use however many you want to use.  I only used one because that’s all I had, but it would be really good with two.  Sprinkle half the cheese over the chiles.

In a bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.  I just sprinkled the spices in according to my taste.  You don’t need very much.  If you eat gluten free, you could probably just leave out the flour.  Or sub with gluten free flour.

Pour the egg mixture over the chiles.  Sprinkle on remaining cheese.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on how fast your oven cooks.  Cover with foil if the cheese gets too browned.

Serve with salsa and tortillas!  Or by itself if it’s 11 p.m.  You know, float your boat.

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Uhh do you see the cheese too?

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Go forth and indulge.  You just started classes again.  Economics is boring.  You deserve it.

XO Sara

*Song of the Day: Still Together–Mac DeMarco

Pineapple Zucchini Bread

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Holiday baking has been ridiculous around here lately.  Ridiculous as in, we. have. not. stopped.

I’m in Vegas visiting my parents so I’ve been taking over their kitchen and making tons of new and old recipes.  This recipe is from a “rodeo cookbook” that my parents bought at a fundraiser back during their high school rodeo days.

The bread is super soft and isn’t too sweet, which is why I like it so much.  It also has walnuts, which I love, but could also be omitted.  Overall, it has all the flavor components, and it’s great for breakfast.

Or snack time.

Or dinner.  I’m not judging.

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 c. oil

2 c. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

2 c. shredded, unpeeled zucchini

1-8 oz. drained crushed pineapple

1/2 c. coconut

1/2 c. walnuts

3 c. flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. nutmeg

Beat eggs until frothy.  Add oil, sugar, and vanilla.  Continue beating until thick and foamy.  Add zucchini, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg until thoroughly blended.  Stir gently into zucchini mixture, just until blended.  Spoon batter into 2 greased loaf pans, or multiple mini loaf pans.  Bake at 350* for 1 hour (regular loaf pans) or about 30 minutes (mini loaf pans).

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This batter is also great for muffins.  We wrapped ours up all cute and gave them as gifts to the neighbors!

Tune back in tomorrow for some of my favorite holiday baking recipes!

XO Sara

Song of the Day: Gold–Sir Sly

Pecan Pie Handpies

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Happy happy happy Halloween!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because I love dressing up and seeing a bunch of kids walking around like Spiderman and Cinderella.  No, I do not find it a devilish holiday.  Halloween is what you make it people!

Rant over.

I decided to dress up as a scarecrow for Halloween.  Originally, B and I were planning on being Daphne and Shaggy from Scooby Doo, but he had work so I had a change of plans.

But the costume only cost me $4 from the dollar store and I had everything else!  Plus, I thought mine looked cuter thanthe store bought ones!  Homemade=good.

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Crow-$1, Leaves-$1, Flowers-$1, Straw-$1

Everything else I had on hand.  And I got a lot of complements!  If you guys ever need a last minute costume, this is the way to go!  You can even add a straw hat, which I didn’t have and didn’t want to buy.

Now on to the handpies.

I think the word handpies sounds really weird.  I don’t know why.  Luckily, they’re just delicious.

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And they don’t take all that much time.  Maybe an hour without refrigeration time?

Also, take my word and make your own pie crust, okay?  Will you just listen to me?  Will you just do it?

Please and thank you.

Ingredients for pie crust:

1 1/4 c. AP flour

1 Tbs. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick butter

1/4 c. ice water

Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together.  Cut cold, cubed butter into the flour mix with a pastry cutter or two knives until they are the size of peas.  Add water and mix with a spoon.  Knead ten times.

Flatten and store in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for about two hours or overnight.

Filling Ingredients

1 c. pecans, chopped

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed firmly

1/3 c. heavy cream

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/8 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Chai Glaze:

1/4 c. powdered sugar

2 Tbs. milk

1-2 Tbs. Chai powdered mix (I LOVE the Costco kind)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Egg wash=1 egg+about 2 Tbs. water whisked together

Directions

To make handpies, roll out the dough until about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut cirlces with a large cookie cutter and refrigerate until you are ready to use them.

Spoon about 2 Tbs. of filling into the middle of each circle.  Fold them over and seal them together with egg wash.  Using the tines of a fork, seal the edges together.

Bake at 350* until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Spoon Chai glaze over handpies.

Serve either warm or cold.  They’re delicious either way!

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Eat them outside with coffee on a cool fall morning.  They scream fall and they are so comforting.

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Make these and then smile and be happy for the rest of your fall.  Or winter.  These are multi-seasonal.

Have a great rest of your Halloween everybody!

XOXO Sara