Happy Endings

This time of the year, I'm either snuggled up inside and keeping warm and toasty or out blazing trails with my snowshoes. Either way, there comes a time when a break is needed and something warm is desired for your tummy, too. When winter is at its coldest, I favor a mug of hot cocoa or a bowl of hot fruit cobbler. Cobblers are special because of the way in which they are put together. A layer of hot, flavorful fruit is covered with a crust or biscuit-like topping. Sometimes there are additional toppings, but that's the basic formula.

This month, I'm offering an apple cobbler and a cherry cobbler recipe. Enjoy putting them together, warming the house, making it smell divine and having a great treat ready to share with a crowd after winter activities, indoors or out.

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Apple and Maple-Walnut Cobbler

  • 4 medium-to-large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick (5 to 6 cups)
  • 8 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

In a lightly greased 9-inch square pan, place the apple slices. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the buttermilk, flour and the next four ingredients. Beat again until smooth. Spoon the batter (it should be rather stiff) over the apples in the pan using a spatula.

Pour the maple syrup over the batter; sprinkle the nuts over it all. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes, covering the pan with aluminum foil, shiny side up, after the first half-hour of baking. Remove the cobbler from the oven and let it cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve plain or with ice cream or whipped cream.

  • Yields: 10-12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes

Sour Cherry Cobbler

Biscuit Topping:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 T. sugar, plus 2 T. for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Filling:

  • 4 (24-ounce) jars Morello cherries, drained (about 8 cups drained cherries), 2 cups juice reserved
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar
  • 3 T. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract

For the biscuit topping, in a food processor, pulse the flour, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 one-second pulses. Transfer to a medium bowl; add the buttermilk and toss to combine. Using a 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-cup spring-loaded ice cream scoop, scoop 12 biscuits onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the biscuits evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and bake in a preheated 425-degree oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

For the filling, meanwhile, spread the drained cherries in an even layer in a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish. In a medium nonreactive saucepan, stir the sugar, cornstarch and salt together. Whisk in the reserved cherry juice and wine; add the cinnamon stick. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture simmers and thickens, about five minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick, stir in the almond extract and pour the hot liquid over the cherries in the baking dish.

Arrange the hot biscuits in three rows of four over the warm filling. Bake until the filling is bubbling and biscuits are deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes; serve warm.

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 60 minutes

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