Dreary rainy weather, check. Urge to make bread, check. Soft cozy blanket, check. Kettle of tea, check. Time to make bread. This is the kind of bread that will have your neighbors stopping by for no good reason; like they got your junk mail and thought they should bring it by. Uh huh. Trying to sell your house? Make this bread right before your showing or open house-the house smells divine while it’s baking. With apples being abundant right now it sounded like the perfect type of thing to be baking in the oven with the rain falling outside. Cuddled on the couch with your favorite soft cozy blankey, rain falling, sipping a cup of hot tea. What could be more perfect. You might even have all the ingredients on hand. I tweaked the original recipe a bit and added apple pie spice to the batter and a little cinnamon to the streusel topping. Enjoy~
Apple Pie-Spice Bread
recipe: adapted from Better Homes and Garden “Baking” cookbook
yield: one standard loaf (9x5x3- inch) pan
1/2 Cup butter, softened
1 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup buttermilk or “sour milk”
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. apple pie spice (such as McCormick)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Cup raisins (I used golden)
1 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted
2 Cups shredded, peeled apples (about 3-4 medium-I used a mixture of not too tart and not too sweet)
1 recipe streusel-nut topping* (see below)
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F or (180° C). Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and apple pie spice mix with a fork and set aside.
2. In a stand mixer or large bowl cream together the 1/2 Cup butter and 1 Cup sugar until fluffy; about 1 minute. In a glass measuring cup combine the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla with a fork. Add the milk mixture gradually to the mixer with the running on low and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the flour mixture all at once and beat on medium low (careful if using a hand mixer) until combined, being careful not to overbeat. Stir in the raisins and walnuts. With a rubber spatula fold in the shredded apple along with any juice that collected. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Prepare the streusel topping and sprinkle over the top of the bread.
3. Bake at 350° F for about 60-65 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Let the bread cool in the pan over a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the bread from the pan and continue to cool completely over the wire rack. Note; this streusel falls apart easily when cutting; to help prevent this, wrap the loaf in plastic wrap first and cut it the next day. If you can wait that long!!
Streusel Nut Topping:
1/4 Cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. slightly soft butter
Last week Seth and I went to the farmers market for a fruit run, and also to have a quick Sunday breakfast. The market has quite a gathering of food stalls. I was in the mood for something savory, and Seth was in the mood for something sweet. Seth decided to wait in the line for a Belgium waffle. While Seth was waiting in line for his waffle, I quickly grabbed a mushroom empanada at a nearby stall and joined Seth again while he waited patiently in line. As I was munching on my empanada, it got me thinking about hand pies. I love to make hand pies. These blackberry-apple hand pies would be perfect for a Spring picnic. Gather your posse, pack some fried chicken, potato salad, iced tea and these sweet little pies. They are the perfect end to a great picnic.
Who’s ready for a Spring picnic?
Blackberry-Apple Hand Pies
recipe adapted from fine cooking
yield ~ 1 dozen (3 inch) hand pies
One recipe of my “fearless pie crust” or pie crust of your choice
6 oz. container fresh blackberries (washed, dried) and cut in half
1 Lg. pink lady, fuji, or gala apple, peeled, cored and diced small
1/2 Cup lightly packed golden brown sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
For egg wash: Mix 1 lg. egg yolk + 1 tsp. water in a small bowl
For sprinkling: coarse sugar
1. Prepare pie crust ahead of time and let it rest (by chilling in fridge) at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
2. In a medium bowl combine all of the filling ingredients except the egg wash and coarse sugar. Roll out pie crust until thin. Using a 3-4 inch cutter, cut out rounds of crust. Place about 1 heaping tablespoon of filling onto each round and brush along outer edge lightly with egg wash. Try not to get the edges too wet or the crusts will not seal. Place another round on top and crimp with a floured fork to seal. Brush with egg wash and cut 3-4 vents in top of pies.
3. Bake pies in a 400 degree F preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until crusts are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Apple, spice and everything nice. That is what fall baking is all about. I made this cake for a very dear friend of mine; Annie who loves spice cakes, and she has a lot of spice herself. A three layer moist cake with grated apples in the batter, notes of caramel and lots of spice. Fill and slather this wonderful cake with a dose of rich indulgent cream cheese frosting, top with a generous caramel drizzle and you will make friends fast. The apples are made by tinting marzipan into various apple colors, shaping into small rounds and gently pierced with a chocolate jimmy. Happy Birthday Annie!
Notice the dark green apple top left with the worm sticking out of it? that was Seth’s idea. He is so creative. Hmmm, I wonder where he gets that from…..
Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 Cups unsalted butter, room temp
1 Cup brown sugar, packed
2 Cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 Tbsp. golden syrup (such as Lyles Golden Syrup)
6 Lg. eggs, room temp
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 Cups cake flour
1 1/4tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 Cup sour cream
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and shredded
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
Purchased Caramel topping (for drizzle)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 3 nine inch pans by spraying with nonstick baking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugars on medium high-speed until light and fluffy. Add in the molasses and syrup. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Add in the vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and alternate with the sour cream in 2 increments. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition and end with flour addition. Stir in the apples until fully combined.
3. Divide the batter between 3 prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack about 15 minutes and then remove from the pans and allow to cool completely. Fill and frost with cream cheese frosting. Drizzle with purchased caramel topping.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
2 (8 oz. packages) (1 lb. total) cream cheese, softened
1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 Cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
(optional)* 8 oz. white chocolate melted and cooled
Beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Fill and frost cooled cake or frost cupcakes with frosting.
* Suzie variation: Sometimes I like to add the white chocolate. It gives the frosting a little more body and adds a really rich flavor.
Fall is my favorite baking season. Quite frankly Fall is my favorite everything when it comes to living in San Francisco. I love San Francisco and where I live; I can walk to the bank, the library, the park, and if I don’t feel like driving, all I have to do is walk 3 blocks and the street car will take me downtown. Some days though it’s a bit hard to put up with the dense thick fog that blankets my neighborhood during summertime, and I do mean blanket. When you look out the window and everything is white and cold, it’s hard to get motivated. The temperature gauge reads 52 more than it does 72. During the entire month of July and August I sleep in flannel pajamas and the heating blanket is on almost every night. If you’ve never experienced the San Francisco fog you probably think I’m talking crazy talk but for reals this is the truth. Ever since I moved to San Francisco 14 years ago; I now worship Fall as it means a serious change in weather. Fall in San Francisco means no more marine layer. It is actually our Summer in terms of normal weather. The biggest secret I can share is that October is THE BEST month to visit San Francisco, but September holds promise as well. The ever-present fog lifts and the sun breaks through. Apples of every type start filling the market and this means the precursor of serious baking season. Welcome the apples. Bring on the apple fritters. I might even eat one while sitting in the sun in my summer pajamas in the backyard….
recipe: adapted from Cook’s Country
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups vegetable peanut oil
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1. Spread prepared apples in single layer on paper towel–lined baking sheet and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels. Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in large bowl. Whisk cider, eggs, and melted butter in medium bowl until combined. Stir apples into flour mixture. Stir in cider mixture until incorporated.
2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F. Scoop one tablespoon size of batter into the oil. Fry, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 325 and 350 degrees, until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet. Bring oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining batter. Let fritters cool 5 minutes
3. Meanwhile, whisk confectioners’ sugar, cider, cinnamon, and nutmeg in medium bowl until smooth. Dunk each fritter in glaze. Let glaze set 10 minutes. Serve.