It started with a drop in temps, and a photo.
After two days of highs in the 40s, gray skies and off-and-on rain, I could feel that old familiar urge coming on–the urge to kick that oven, lying dormant all summer, into high gear and make something really yummy.
This morning, I sliced up three huge red, vine-ripened tomatoes, made from-scratch bread crumbs, grated cheese, snipped herbs from the garden, chopped green onions, added other savory things and produced a yumelicious tomato pie for our noon meal. The house smelled like comfort food for hours.
Not any more, though. Because after that I saw a picture on Facebook. One of my friends had made THREE loaves each of zucchini and apple bread. There they were, lined up in that photo, brown and chunky and tempting.
I immediately thought of the bag of apples that had been sitting for too long in my fridge. I’d used some of them for applesauce a couple times, but that had been a while ago. It was use them or lose them. Maybe an apple pie? I make a mean pie crust, but neither George nor I need that around the house very often.
That bread, though, that I could do. It can be sliced and wrapped and kept in the freezer indefinitely. It makes a nice side to a cup of tea in the evening, or an extra treat if I have to pack George’s lunch when he’s off at a music gig.
I mentioned the idea of apple bread to George as we were having a quick, light supper. He was due to leave for the show he’s playing in for the next six weeks, and his eyes widened at the thought of coming home late at night and finding fresh apple bread. That means, of course, that I had to go through with it. I couldn’t get distracted and decide to make it another day, not when I had planted that epicurean seed.
So, as I type this, two loaves of apple bread are cooling on the counter.
The house now smells of apples and cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla. I know I’m going to give in and have a piece of that bread long before George makes it home.
If all this is making you hungry, too, here’s the recipe. Feel free to tweak it any way you’d like.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts, or a couple healthy handfuls
3 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 300°. Prepare 2 loaf pans with cooking spray. (I don’t like what’s in those sprays, though, so I pour a little olive oil in the pan and use a brush to coat the surfaces.)
Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, walnuts and apples in a large bowl. Whisk oil, sugars, eggs, and cinnamon together in another bowl, then add to the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Pour half into each of the 2 loaf pans.
Bake in oven 60-90 minutes, until toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the finished loaves cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack.
This is also good if you add a little rum flavoring, or even maple. Experiment! That’s what makes each recipe your own.
Now, take a picture, post it on Facebook, and see how many other people we can send scurrying for their baking supplies.