Country Cook News – November 1, 2012

Hi Everyone!


Apple Muffin Puffs are at the top of my breakfast menu this week. Apple Muffin Puffs are more elegant than most muffins because they’re dipped in melted butter and then rolled in cinnamon and sugar while they’re still hot from the oven. They are nothing less than heavenly with a moist, finely textured center that contrasts with the outside crunch of cinnamon sugar and the essence of apple. I often serve them in charming, or theme appropriate, cupcake papers (as pictured) for a prettier presentation along with a steaming cup of hot tea or cider. Served with champagne, Apple Muffin Puffs offer unique fare for a brunch or wedding shower. This recipe is one of over 200 apple recipes in my cookbook, Sweet Apple Temptations.


You’ve Come A Long Way, Bagel is an publication written by a friend and colleague, Rita Sickles, from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her story is a warmly written history of the bagel before Harry Lender opened his own bakery, the “New York Bagel Company” in New Haven, Connecticut.

After reading Rita’s story, I asked her which bagel she likes most. She said, Now you’ve opened a whole mess of bagels! My favorite bagel is a bought-fresh-baked from the bagel bakery, an everything bagel. Seeds on top are poppy, garlic and onion. My favorite ways of making a bagel is with anything and everything: Cream cheese and lox, of course is the old standard. But I’ll also make it with tuna salad and sliced raw onion, bacon and eggs, egg salad with green bell pepper sliced on top, dill chicken salad, chopped liver spread with a bit of mayonnaise and/or plain toasted with butter, sometimes with a slice of American or Swiss cheese added. Take your pick of any of those combinations or use your imagination…eggplant salad goes great on a bagel also. So does liverwurst with mayonnaise and sliced onion. And, black olives, sliced beefsteak or vine ripened tomatoes and fresh sliced onions always make good trimmings. A cup of strong Colombian coffee with or without cream and sugar completes the delight of the palate.

It’s easy to see that Rita knows her bagels! She also has a new website Through the Portal: About the Paranormal for Readers and Writers where poltergeists like to eerily rattle the pots and pans, mess with the recipes and move things around in the pantry. Her other stories and accomplishments can be seen on her website.



Here’s Bagel Storage and Slicing Tips and more Bagel History from


~~Run a cheese plane across cold butter for thin, quick-melting ribbons of butter; perfect for toast or bagels.

~~Bread dough will rise nicely in the microwave placed along side a bowl of warm water.



Seeded Bagels  Yum! Along with cinnamon raisin bagels the seeded ones are my favorite! To me it looks like making bagels is much like making bread: follow the steps, be patient and reap the joy of an especially rewarding baking project. If you make these bagels at home, please let me know how they turned out.


Bolster your immune system. Foods rich in soluble fiber, like apples, can reduce inflammation and give your immune a boost, University of Illinois studies show. Woman’s World Magazine, Oct. 22, 2012, Number 43


Marty’s question: I love to make pies and sometimes the bottom crust does not bake into that flaky melt-in-your-mouth texture. I bake my pies at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then lower the heat to 350. Do you have any suggestions?

My answer: There are a few things you can do to try and solve your pie crust predicament.
1) Using a fork, generously prick the bottom (raw) crust before adding your pie filling and top crust. This should be done to all pie crusts to ventilate the bottom crust for better baking.
2) Pre-bake pie crust for pies without a top crust: Prepare your bottom crust as usual, DO NOT add pie filling. Bake the crust without filling for 7 to 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven; cool completely. Add pie filling and any topping the recipe might call for; bake as usual.
3) Also, you might consider lowering your oven temperature for 2-crust pies. Perhaps skip the 400 degree step and bake longer at 350 degrees because the 400 degree step quickly bakes the top, which does little to cook the filling or the bottom crust. Hope these tips work for you. Good luck and thank you, Marty, for your interest in Ask Cynthia a Question.
Till next time…

Cynthia Briggs

Bumper Crop: Beginning w/ Apples
Now available at the Kindle Bookstore
Pork Chops & Applesauce
Sweet Apple Temptations


This entry was posted in Newsletter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.