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With fall just around the corner and apple season at its peak, it's the perfect time to tackle the art of pie making. Here, Chris Kimball makes two foolproof recipes for skillet apple pie and chocolate chip cookies from the "Cook's Illustrated Baking Book."
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4‑inch pieces and chilled
- 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2‑inch-thick wedges
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons sugar
For the crust: Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined, about 4 pulses. Add shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand, about 10 pulses. Sprinkle butter pieces over top and pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about 10 pulses. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.Sprinkle 3 tablespoons ice water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if dough does not come together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.For the filling: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Whisk cider, maple syrup, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cinnamon, if using, together in bowl until smooth. Melt butter in 12-inch ovensafe skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times, until apples begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. (Do not fully cook apples.) Off heat, add cider mixture and gently stir until apples are well coated. Set aside to cool slightly.Roll dough out on lightly floured counter to 11-inch round. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over apple filling. Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. With sharp knife, gently cut dough into 6 pieces by making 1 vertical cut followed by 2 evenly spaced horizontal cuts (perpendicular to first cut). Bake until apples are tender and crust is deep golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through baking. Let cool about 15 minutes; serve warm.
- 1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
- 1 1/4 cups (7 1/2 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
- 3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.2. Melt 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly, until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter and stir until completely melted.3. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla to melted butter; whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk; whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using. Give dough final stir to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.4. Working with 3 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll into balls and space 2 inches apart on prepared sheets.5. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer sheet to wire rack; let cookies cool to room temperature.