Peach Cobbler filling for camping cookouts

camping_peach_cobbler2

As I wrote a few days back we had grabbed some fresh, local peaches and have been making things with our little crop – this time a Peach Cobbler filling. We are freezing this back for future use so I’m only focused on the filling part of the recipe.

When I was being pro active about batch cooking and freezing items back we were having the best home meals. It makes it easier to make decisions about dinner when there is lots of food to pick from, easier to meal plan, and provides choices when you are feeling in the mood for something but don’t know what.

I also know we are going on a trip in early September, staying at a cabin, where I’ll want to have a few goodies for meals and this would be awesome with ice cream sitting out on the deck! I also like to have cobblers during Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, when I can use my Dutch Oven on the back porch and keep my oven free for Turkey.

tinycarrot

I do prefer to blanch peaches to retain the color and to make it easy to peel them. It goes pretty quickly if you just prepare your ice bath while waiting for the water to boil but before you put any peaches into the water. After blanching, we did trim off the overly ripe areas 😉 and then cut them into chunks.

To peel peaches for cooking or freezing:

  • cut a cross in the bottom of each
  • dunk in boiling water for 30 secs, then put in ice bath.
  • remove skin & pit, chop or slice.
  • toss with lemon juice (1 tsp per peck) to keep color.

Next, we used this peach filling recipe.

Peach Cobbler Filling Ingredients:

  • 8 medium-size fresh peaches, sliced into thin wedges or bite size chunks – about 9-10 cups (we ended up using 10 large peaches)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

In a large glass bowl, combine peaches and coat with lemon juice. Then stir in all the other ingredients and thoroughly coat.

This made one large family batch but we divided it into 3 smaller batches in air tight baggies and popped these into the freezer. BTW we don’t use Ziplock type baggies; we prefer to use the FoodSaver food packaging system which gives a far tighter, airless, spill proof baggie.

If you live alone, you could freeze one cup portions in baggies to use as mini-cobblers as you wish.

camping_peach_cobbler

The plan is to use this on our camping trips in our Dutch Oven so I’ll try to make the crust topping beforehand and put in a plastic baggie for use on the trip. Or if you are not keen on making dough, you can use premade pie dough found at the grocery store (it’s just not the same though as homemade 😉

If using a Dutch Oven for cooking bread or something that needs a bit of browning on the top, make sure you put coals on the lid.

I also use a foil liner in the bottom of my Dutch Oven before putting in the filling to keep it easier to serve and to clean the Dutch Oven.

NOTE TO SELF: I would double or even triple this batch to make 4-6 peach cobblers to be used throughout the year.

Making Peach Jam

autumn_peach_jam2

This marks our second year for making jam. It takes time. It takes equipment. It sometimes doesn’t work out the way you expected. Pricewise, it’s probably about the same as buying a jar of jam at the grocery store.

So why do it?

Part of it is nostalgia. Our grandmothers always had jams and jellies which they made from scratch in their cupboard. It’s reliving a part of our childhood.

Another reason is the Farm to Table concept. By buying from the farmer, we are putting money into their pocket – no middleman. As a small business person myself, I like to turn my money around and give it back to others who are small businesses. This is my personal preference when I can (and often I can’t because of the thing I want has to be manufactured or produced elsewhere).

Most times the produce prices are no cheaper then the grocery store, but the product is usually 100% better because it is fresher. No traveling in a truck for months; no sitting in a warehouse until it “ripens” enough to be shipped to a store; no moldy strawberries because they kept watering the produce trying to keep it hydrated during it’s road trip and in the store.

For example, the fresh corn we bought last weekend at the Farmer’s produce stand was melt in your mouth delicious with huge kernels versus corn at the grocery store which was puny in flavor.

Price isn’t always the reason for doing things – quality and where you spend your money is also equally important to me and our family.

tinycarrot

We grabbed some fresh peaches from Porter and with one of the overripe 1/2 pecks ($6) we made Peach Jam. These were over ripe, which I wouldn’t choose if you want to freeze peaches for eating but for making this jam, which we prepped the same day, it went great.

First, we blanched the peaches which goes pretty quickly. Blanching keeps the color of your peaches so personally, I would go the extra step. Just prepare your ice bath while waiting for the water to boil but before you put peaches into the water. After blanching, we did trim off the overly ripe areas 😉

We adapted our Peach Jam from this recipe. I used 20 small/medium overripe peaches (1/2 peck) which made about 14 cups peeled and diced. How much produced is going to be determined by the sizes of your peaches.

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

The “Jell point” for this recipe was  220 degrees but like many of the other reviews on that recipe, our jam did not set. We boiled for 1-1/2 hours and it never got over 115 so we added 1/2 cup pectin + 1/4 cup sugar and boiled for 1 min more, then jarred it and processed in a hot water bath for 5 mins.

We ended up making 7 cups (7 jars); two of which are set back for Christmas gifts.

We always do a hot water bath for our canning jars. It’s not difficult once you get the right equipment. If you have an Atwoods near you, that is where we bought our Canning equipment – they also sell individual lids to replace your old ones (lids cannot be reused as the seal is never the same). You can also buy this equipment from Amazon or sometimes Target or Wal-mart if you catch them at the right time in the summer.

Once you get the system down it really isn’t as difficult as you might think. It does though take time as this was a half day project. If you still feel uncertain about how to can, check out Youtube for videos or attend a local canning class (see your Home Extension Office for details).

Battle of the Brownies

brownie_battle_pinterest_recipes

These are four of the most highly pinned Brownie mixes on the Pinterest. We decided for husbands’ birthday we would do a Battle of the Brownies and see which one comes out on top. Just comparing the recipes weeded it down pretty quickly so let’s compare and see why:

Main Ingredients #1 #2 #3 #4
Sugar 1 1 1 1 ¼
Flour ½ ½ ¾ 1
Cocoa ½ ¼
Butter/Oil ½ ½
Baking Powder (tsp) 1 1 2 1
Vanilla (tsp) 1 1 2 1
Eggs 2 2 2 2
Water (Tbsp) 1 0 2 0

All of these recipes can be mixed with the dry ingredients and stored back. Wet ingredients (i.e. oil, butter, shortening, Vanilla, Eggs and water) would be added prior to baking. See the blog link for the actual recipe!

#1 The Best Brownie Mix by Crazy for Crust. This bloggers gives a lot of detail on her website about using the recipe and provides 5 more Brownie variations using this mix (i.e. Reeses Brownies with Oreo Crust, PB&J Brownies, Cookies and Creams Brownie Bites, One Bowl Brownies with Almond Joy, and Nutter Butter Truffle Brownies).

#2 Homemade Brownie Mix by Raining Hot Coupons. As you can see #1 and #2 are pretty much the same recipe except #2 has more cocoa. BTW this website has a ton of ads. It’s the primary reason I won’t return to the blog no matter what the information is.

#3 Brownie Mix Recipe by Creative Homemaking. This recipe increases flour, vanilla, baking powder and water but decreases cocoa. Probably the increase of vanilla, baking powder and water is due to the increase of flour.

#4 Homemade Brownie Mix by Chef in Training. This recipe is probably pretty delish but I decided to pass since it uses vegetable shortening, which I rarely keep on hand in my pantry (usually only at Christmas when doing holiday baking). It’s interesting that this recipe has an increase in flour and sugar but decreases cocoa (the smallest amount in comparison with the other recipes). This recipe would also have the highest amount of calories due to the fat and sugar numbers.

Just analyzing the ingredients, I tried #1 and #3. Both had the same brand of flours, sugar, cocoa, etc…, baked in similar pans, and in the same oven. We tried them side by side so we could see and taste the difference immediately.

Wow! I expected #1 to be well, number one, but #3 was the clear winner of all four of us samplers.

#1 had a more cake taste (Brownie on the left in photo). Honestly, it tasted like a cupcake not a brownie. It didn’t rise well and the color was a bit less Brownie-like. The fat used in this recipe was melted butter – it might work better with oil, which the second recipe used.

#3 Brownie Mix Recipe by Creative Homemaking had that crust that Brownies get (you can clearly see it in the photos – it’s the Brownie on the right) which makes them appealing. Even though the recipe had less cocoa it still had a rich chocolate fudge taste you get with brownies. It also had a more pleasing aftertaste – maybe that was due to the increase of vanilla…?

Whatever the reason, #3 was a clear winner for our family!