improve cooking challenge #1 ~ caramel - apple & cream cheese turnovers

my hubby couldn't resist sneaking one before supper...
I am so excited to be taking part in this very special blog party hosted by Sheryl @ Lady Behind the Curtain. I was so honored to be asked to take part in this event. Thanks Sheryl for thinking of me!

This months challenge ingredient's were apples and caramel, fabulous for fall. We could use them however we wished, sweet or savory. The challenge was on!

There are so many recipes out there that contain these two ingredients that I struggled with the choice. I wanted to make something new to me, that could be easily eaten and most importantly I wanted to choose a recipe where I had the ingredients one hand. That final caveat really helped narrow down my options. Lat week, I handed my husband three choices and this is the one he picked.

My hubby is a HUGE fan of stuffed pastry. Donuts with bavarian cream, cherry turnovers, ham and cheese pockets, spinach and ricotta stuff it...he'll eat it. This turnover has a little bit of cream cheese, homemade applesauce and sweet caramels that all melt together. This creamy center is wrapped up with the buttery, flakey puff pastry crust that acts like a big warm blanket.

One bite and you will know that there is a God and He loves you very, very much because you get to eat one of these yummy little sweet treats. Yes, they are that good...just ask my hubby...oh wait...his mouth is full right now...he'll have to get back to you.  

The Improve Cooking Challenge
dusted with cinnamon and sugar and filled with creamy goodness...
so good!
Caramel-Apple and Cream Cheese Turnovers
from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped coarse
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 (9 by 9.5 inch) sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
Flour for the counter
1/2 cup cream cheese
caramel candies
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Adjust two oven racks to the upper and lower middle positions.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Pulse the apples, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the lemon juice, and salt in a food processor until the apples are coarsely ground, about 5 pulses.  Let the apple mixture sit for about 5 minutes, then drain through a strainer, reserving any accumulated juice.

2.  Unfold one sheet of the puff pastry on a lightly floured counter and roll into a 10-inch square.  Cut the pastry into four 5-inch squares.  Mound 1 tablespoon of cream cheese and 1 tablespoon apple mixture in the center of each square.  Add two caramel candies (each cut into 4 pieces) to each turnover.  Brush the edges of each square with strained apple juice and fold into triangles.  Crimp the edges together with a fork to seal.  Lay the turnovers on a wire rack and freeze for 15 minutes (or refrigerate for 30 minutes).  Repeat with the remaining sheet of puff pastry, cream cheese, apple filling and caramel candy. 

3.  Toss the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the cinnamon.  Remove the rack from the freezer, brush the turnovers with the reserved apple juice, then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.  Lay the turnovers on two parchment lined baking sheets and bake until well browned, 20 to 26 minutes, rotating and switching the baking sheets halfway through.  Transfer the turnovers to a wire rack and let cool slightly before serving.  
Mary L. on Foodista