All posts tagged “apples

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Caramel-Apple Bread

Apple Caramel Bread recipe

I had to make some caramel sauce last week for my latest How-To on Snooth Eats, and I immediately wanted to pair it with some of the apples I received from my first CSA pick-up here in Berlin (more on that to come!). Wilde Gärtnerei harvested these apples last fall, keeping them in a cool storeroom to help feed their community all winter. The apples are surprisingly still crisp enough to eat raw, but I wanted to bake.

I ended up playing with a favorite banana bread recipe, subbing in caramel sauce for most of the sugar and using grated apple instead of the mashed banana. The result, a rich, moist cake, was phenomenal—I can’t wait to make it again. The caramel gives a slightly bittersweet undertone, the apples create a moist crumb, and walnuts are always a nice crunch. I forgot to add cinnamon into the batter, so I sprinkled a line down the center with some brown sugar for the perfect crust.

Caramel, apples, walnuts, sounds pretty fall, huh? Well, it’s still pretty chilly here in Berlin, so this bread was a nice, comforting treat and a hit with our house guests. It’s delicious anytime of the year, but if you have better weather than Berlin and are already enjoying the sweet fruits of spring, save this recipe as a pick-me-up for a cloudy day.

Caramel Apple Bread

Caramel-Apple Bread
Serving: 1 9×5 loaf pan, 8 to 10 slices

3 apples, peeled and grated
¼ cup brown butter, cool
¼ cup sugar
½ cup caramel sauce
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup toasted and chopped walnuts
Cinnamon and sugar for topping

Preheat an oven to 176°C/350°F.

In a mixing bowl, mash together the apples and brown butter. Mix in the sugar, caramel, and eggs until completely combined, then add in the baking soda and salt. Fold the flour in last. Grease a 9X5 loaf pan and pour the batter inside. Smooth top with the back of a spoon and sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar down the center.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick pressed into the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.

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Weekend Inspiration: Apple Picking

Apple Picking

While I loved traipsing through New York City during the hottest of hot summer days, sipping on Watermelon Punch and eating ice cream, I’ve been smiling all week, now that it finally looks like fall has come around. The sun is still shining, but there is a cool breeze in the air, a slight crispness that turns chilly in the evenings. Summer may be the time for backyard barbecues and lazy beach days, but autumn is just as exciting. I can’t wait to get cozy with a Hot Toddy and some warm apple crisp.

And when the weather gets cooler, an apple orchard visit is a must. We recently took a trip to Virginia to visit my mom, and spent one morning picking apples. She lives in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, an area that has been focused on apple growing since Thomas Jefferson first planted his orchards at nearby Monticello.

Today the area is still lined with orchards (Virginia is the sixth largest apple producing state), and crowds often gather on sunny fall days to fill their bags and picnic in the scenic hills. And nothing beats a warm, cinnamon-dusted apple doughnut after a few hours of apple picking. The restaurants around my mom’s house specialize in them, but I’ll share a recipe on Monday for a home version, just the thing to use your fall apples with!

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Oak Glen: Apples bring a little East to the West

Oak Glen: Apples Bring a little East to the West

Traveling east into the San Bernadino Mountains, the palm trees and roaring waves of the Los Angeles coast fade out of memory. In their place, tall voluminous mountains appear. The red leaves and crisp air  transport visitors to this Californian New England country side. Oak Glen Road, spotted with apple orchards and village stores, invites families from all over to pick and buy apples, press fresh apple cider, and purchase an array of homespun wares.

After an unfortunate dry season, u-pick apple picking at Oak Glen’s many orchards is scarce this season. Busy with families everywhere, the many orchards swim with visitors. In every direction, people grab at the trees with tall pokers, trying to reach the highest, just out of reach apples. The village stores consolle apple appitites  with heavy barrels and bags of Spartan, Gala, and Rome Beauties. Hay rides bound through the orchards, carrying laughing children, while mothers by apple butter and cider from the orchard store.

Oak Glen Country Store

At Riley’s Apple Farm(12261 S. Oak Glen Road), families pick through large wooden crates stacked with apples, choosing those perfect for cider. Children wash the apples and turn the large wooden crank that pushes the apples through an old fashioned cider press. The cider is strained and poured into jugs and cups, a refreshing drink and souvenir of the day.

Juicing ApplesMaking Cider

When the sun begins to set, visitors travel further down the winding mountainside to Oak Tree Village(38480 Oak Glen Road.) Here shops offer homemade fudge and treats, traditional Native American and Southwestern leather and turquoise ware, and apple collectibles. Children snack on apple doughnuts as they run around the animal park and go on train rides.  At the Parish Pioneer Apple Ranch(38651 Oak Glen Road), hungry families, tired from a trek through the orchards, enjoy smoked barbecue, apple pie and live music at the village eateries. Although the cold winds of winter bring an end to the apple picking season, the picturesque mountains of the area are enough to bring visitors back for a visit, with some Christmas shopping to be done in the country stores. And fall will come again next year, when apple picking at Oak Glen can bring a little East Coast autumn to sunny California once more.

Apples are abundant as the chilly weather takes over and this Apple Cake is a great way to turn fresh fruit into a warm treat. Served warm, with a scoop of cream cheese ice cream, this moist cake is certain to please.

 Apple Cake

 Apple Cake

3 apples, pink ladies, or any preferred variety
3 oz butter, room temperature

8 oz brown sugar

2 oz granulated sugar

2 eggs

9 oz All Purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 

1 C sour cream

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and sugar the sides and bottom of a 9″ pie pan(a spring form pan with help for easy removal)

2. Peel two apples. Cut the apples into small dice and place them in a heavy bottomed small saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and place over medium low heat. Cook until apples are soft( you may have to add a little more water if the water boils off, in order to avoid burning the bottom of the apples.) In a food processor, or with a hand held blender, puree apples into a smooth paste.

3. Cream together the butter and sugars in the bowl of a standing mixer until well combined and slightly fluffy, around 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until completely incorporated and scraping down the bowl as needed.

4. Sift the dry ingredients together. Add one third of the dries to the mixing bowl, mix togther, and scrape the bowl to incorporate. Add the apple puree, mix in completely, and add another third of the dry ingredients. Add the sour cream, scrape the bowl down, and add the rest of the dry ingredients, just mixing until the batter is completely combined.

 5. Peel the last apple. Cut the apple into quarters, and using a mandolin, carefully slice the quarters. In the center of the pie pan, fan out the apples in a decorative circle pattern. Carefully pour the batter on top of the apples. Using an offset spatula, spread the cake batter evenly.

6. Bake the cake until the cake does not jiggle when moved and a toothpick comes out cleanly from the center, around 45-50 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack and carefully un-mold the cake. Re-warm to serve.