Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving and Candied Yams

We spent Thanksgiving at my Dad's and Amy's house. Lisha, Junior, Adam, Marie, Sebastian, Cindy and Jackson were all there. Grandpa W joined as well as a few of Dad's friends. After dinner we were able to talk to Jared on the phone and hear about he and his family were doing, it was really nice to catch up.

There are those in my family (and others I am sure) who believe it is not really Thanksgiving until the candied yams are ready. In fact I know one person who likes a little yams with her marshmallows. I have been asked many times how I do the yams and finally had the forethought to take some pictures as I went.

Here is the thing about my candied yams, I just do them. I have the basics down but there is no measuring in any way, shape or form. Trial and error is the best way to figure it out. How bad can it be with yams, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, maple syrup and marshmallows. Give it a try, it is definitely worth it.

Peel, wash and slice the yams (I used 12).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the sliced yams. Cook until just barely fork tender. You want them to hold their shape, not fall apart (they will be really mushy that way), but definitely cooked through. Drain the yams and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Spray a baking pan (I used a 10 x 15 inch pan) with cooking spray. Lay one layer of yams on the bottom of the pan and dot with very small dots of butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and grate fresh nutmeg very sparingly over the layer. You should only taste a hint of the nutmeg when eating the yams.

If you like nuts throw them on, I used chopped pecans but almonds or walnuts work well also.

Using your hand sprinkle dark brown sugar over the yams, how much you use depends on how sweet you like them. Then very thinly pour real maple syrup over the yams.

Repeat this for as many layers as you have yams.
Starting my second layer:

And the third layer:

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 45 minutes until butter and sugar are bubbling on the bottom of the pan.

Top with marshmallows and bake until puffy and light golden brown (watch them close).


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Apple Cake

Okay, so I have been really bad about updating this blog. Between work, family and planning Young Women in Excellence I have been a little busy. But enough with the excuses! Here we go.......

For Young Women in Excellence we did a garden party (sorta of) theme. One of the desserts we served was an apple cake. I really like this cake. It is not to sweet and full of apples. I made one for family and friends and one for the program.

This cake takes time to make and bake but it is definitely worth it.

Apple Cake

6 apples, I used Braeburn apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar

2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.