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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TRAVEL TUESDAY - HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS - APPLE TOFFEE HAND PIES

The first time I ever went to Hot Springs was around 1998 - little did I know I would be back to Spa City too many times to count.
My friend, and I, also from New Zealand, made the drive from Lake Charles, Louisiana in our little dark green car, called "Thibodaux". We indulged in a spa, walked along Bathhouse Row, and proudly posed by the large, wooden "Childhood Home of Bill Clinton" sign.
In more recent times, I have explored the flea markets and racing track and relaxed in the Condo, a legacy from my husbands parents.
Our extended family has spent many Thanksgiving weeks in Hot Springs, and our family still returns once a year, for a weekend, to visit family friends and attend the horse races.
This year, our friends invited us down for a long weekend, but unfortunately, as the kids are having to make-up snow days, they were expected in school on Monday. So it ended up being a very quick, but, as always, a fun and fabulous trip for us.
On our arrival into Hot Springs, we had a delicious lunch at "La Huazteca", so authentic the menu was entirely in Spanish,  and our waitress required an interpreter.

La Huazteca, our lunch spot
My delicious Ceviche Tostada
After enjoying our delicious food, and shopping a little in the market attached to the restaurant, my husband met our friends at the Track, and the kids and I visited a flea market, before we all reconvened at the Condo for dinner. Short ribs had been left to simmer all afternoon, and I baked these Apple Toffee Hand Pies for dessert.

APPLE TOFFEE HAND PIES


2 cups peeled, finely chopped apples
2 tablespoons toffee chips
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 package refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces

Heat oven to 375F.
Combine apple, toffee chips, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Unroll the pie crusts on a lightly floured surface, using a 3 inch round cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as possible, re-rolling dough and cutting as needed.
Place half of the dough rounds onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush half of the beaten egg over dough rounds.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of apple-toffee mixture onto each round, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges of the dough. Top each round with 1 piece of butter. Top pies with remaining dough rounds, press edges together to seal.
Brush remaining egg over each pie. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, January/February 2013
www.cookinglight.com/‎

The next day, after the kids had exhausted the play ground at the Condo complex, we drove out to Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery, and walked the track around the ponds, taking note of the abundance of several species of birds, and the large wooden boxes containing different types of pond weed.

Boxes of different types of pond weed at the fish hatchery
We also briefly visited Lake Catherine State Park, where you can rent a cabin, yurt, or a tent site, however, we took advantage of the lovely trails, and the store stocked with snacks.
Unfortunately that was all we had time for during this brief stay in Hot Springs, but I know we will be back again soon.



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