TWD – Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

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This bread is deceptive in every way. The name isn’t particularly appealing (unless you’re an oatmeal FREAK) or eye catching (I would have skipped right over it). The ingredients aren’t anything special, just your run-of-the-mill staple ingredients plus the addition of applesauce and oil instead of butter. It tricks you into thinking that this bread is nothing short of plain jane.

Wrong-o!

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This bread is PHENOM! It is wonderfully aeromatic: spices that waft together to remind you of that snowy day during Christmas season. It is moist and keeps well. And the flavor OH THE FLAVOR! So simple yet divine. But the star, was the simple addition of pecans and brown sugar pressed atop the loaf prior to baking. It makes ALL the difference.

I subbed apple butter for the applesauce (which gave it a little extra kick in the spice department) and I added rum soaked raisins, just cus I could.

You should try this bread. I promise, you won’t be sorry.

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A big thanks goes out to Natalie of Oven Love for choosing this delightful recipe. Get the recipe here. I will be making this again and again.

Up next week: Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart — I’ll be scaling way down as peach desserts pretty much hate me, but I am excited about this one!

Extra Credit Ann Brettingen’s Swedish Apple Cake

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Hooooly geez, this is good.

Now I’m sliiiightly biased (because I friggin’ LOVE baked apples) but if you thought the Swedish Visiting Cake was good, check out this bad boy! It has all the goodies of the SVC with some small nips and tucks.

This mixes up quickly and bakes beautifully. Oh the aroma!! Trust me, it’s good!! Next time I’d add some cinnamon and almond extract just to play around with the flavors a bit.

I’m keeping this post short because I just realized that I never posted my SMS Pecan Shortbread post. Doh!!

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Ann Brettingen’s Swedish Apple Cake
- makes 6 generous servings, 10 normal servings -

Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 extra-large egg or 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk (I used 2 large eggs)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 to 1 1/2 apples (I used 2 Granny Smith), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges
Handful of sliced almonds (optional)
Sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Apple, quince or ginger jelly or preserves, for glazing the cake (optional, I used apricot)

Procedure:
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. (Ann says 345°F, which I did) Generously butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate or a similar sized cast-iron skillet (used cast iron skillet).

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, and keep at hand (set aside).

3. Working in a mixing bowl with the whisk, beat the egg(s) and sugar together until thick and pale. Stir in the vanilla, if you’re using it, and then the melted butter. The mixture will be smooth and shiny. Stir in the dry ingredients and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Top with the apples, making a spiral pattern. Leave some space between each slice, so the batter can puff up between the wedges – it looks much nicer with the puffs. Scatter sliced almonds on top, sprinkle with a bit of sugar.

4. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack.

5. If you want to glaze the cake, warm a few spoonfuls of jelly and a splash of water in a microwave oven (or a saucepan) until the jelly liquefies. Brush the jelly over the hot cake.

6. Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes, or wait until it reaches room temperature, before you cut it into wedges to serve.

Storing: Cooled and covered, the cake will keep overnight at room temperature, but it’s best served shortly after it’s baked.

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SMS – Completely askew Double Crusted Caramel Apple Pie (Minis)

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“I’m going to make minis” I say. “I won’t eat an entire apple pie anyhow. Ok… I SHOULDN’T eat an entire pie” I say. “Pie crust hates me anyhow” I say. “My pie crusts always come out slightly crappy. I’ll half the pie dough and make minis” I say.

Sometimes I wish I would just learn to keep my big trap shut. I decided to make minis mainly because my pie crusts have always been nothing short of disappointing. Always. Not one instance where my pie crust has turned out flaky and delicious. Well, until now. OF COURSE!! I swear the baking gods hate me sometimes.

I can chalk my pie dough up to actually taking care to follow the steps and to put everything in the freezer before it was to be used. Cold butter, cold shortening, cold flour even. I used the maximum amount of water that was listed and although I though I needed more, I stopped. Rolling it was a bit of a pain because it wanted to crack on me BUT I didn’t really care because I thought it would suck anyhow. Psh.

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On to the caramel. HA!! The god bless me once and damn me in the same pie. I tried THREEEEE TIIIIIMES (persistent little thing, aren’t I?) to caramelize my sugar and water. And THREE TIMES it seized. It just wouldn’t stay liquidy. I have NO IDEA what I did wrong but I threw the pot in the sink, added cinnamon (1TBSP), nutmeg (1/4 tsp), and allspice (1/4 tsp) to my apples (left out the zest and upped the sugar 2TBSP extra) and went about my pie making.

Halving the recipe left me with 4 ramekins full-o-pie. These are goooood! Eat it waaaaarm and delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and be quickly transported into apple pie heaven. There is simply no other way :)

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Thank you to Susan of Baking with Susan for Choosing this recipe, how’d you know that I have a weakness for baked apples? But honestly, why didn’t you warn me that I should have made an entire pie? ;) Head on over to her blog for the recipe and be sure to head on over to the other bakers’ blogs to see their (complete) pies.

TWD – Cran Apple Crisps

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I think I have a secret apparent love affair with all desserts with funny names. For those of you who need examples:

Crisp

Crumble

Fool

Grunt

Buckle

Slump… Get the picture??

Each incorporates fruits and makes them practically irresistible to me.  Now if only I can invent a fruit dish and call it a “Whoopsy” I think my life would be complete!!

So naturally I was all smiles and sunshine when it came time to make this weeks TWD recipe. I didn’t change much about the recipe: I doubled the cinnamon and subbed the ginger for nutmeg, added some cinnamon to the cran-apple filling, and added chopped almonds to the crumble topping. And boy, let me tell you… this was GOOD!!

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I don’t think I have ever fully appreciated the cranberry in anything except juice UNTIL NOW! I’m a changed woman. Changed I say.

Their tart tanginess dances beautifully with the sweet apples and crunchy-nutty-aromatic crumble topping.

My only regret? Not having vanilla ice cream to top it off with. ;)

You KNOW you want the recipe, so head on over to Em at The Repressed Pastry Chef and take a gander at her delish goodies.

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SMS – Apple Orchard Pecan (and almond) Crumble

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Sometimes my train of thought makes no sense to anyone but me. And it ALWAYS makes perfect sense in my head. It’s that when I write it down that I realize how randomly scattered my thoughts are and I must find the link that connects them all.

I wrote it down and then edited it and then deleted it only to attempt it again. Without any chance of you understanding what the hell I was talking about. So I warn you… this might make NO sense :D

I’m going to link celery to crumbles. Stay with me….

I had these vivid flashbacks of eating a red version of celery with sugar as a child —> I set out to find what this “red celery-like” fruit/veggie/whatever was —> Fall upon a rhubarb crumble recipe and have an epiphany —> Aha! Its friggin rhubarb —> Scour the internets for a ridiculous amount of rhubarb recipes in light of said epiphany —> Run to numerous stores over the course of a few months searching for rhubarb and find none. NONE! —> Finally give up the witch hunt for rhubarb and sulk, sadly —> Pick up frozen bag of blueberries and almost fall to my knees with joy of finding a bag of rhubarb —> Purchase ramekins for personal sized crumbles for the rhubarb —> Never make said crumble —> Pine incessantly over wanting crumbles —> Reads this week’s SMS recipe —> REJOICE in crumbly euphoria.

Don’t look at me like that… I told you. I waaaaarned you. It makes NO SENSE. Mention crumble and I somehow come up with celery. But this is what runs through my head when I hear the word crumble. It makes sense to me. That’s all that counts, right? RIGHT?!

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This crumble is quick to put together (provided you are an expert apple peeler and your nuts are already chopped) and tastes better the next day at room temperature (strictly my opinion). I am sad to report that there was NO VANILLA ICE CREAM or caramel drizzle ANYWHERE in my apartment, therefore my “perfect crumble” dreams…. crumbled. *sigh*

I think my crumble topping went south somewhere because it was more of a uniform-melty-nutty-caramely-crunchy-MASS than what I imagined. BUT maybe that’s what all of you came up with… or maybe I’m just a complete moron who can’t read and thinks of celery when “crumble” is mentioned. ;)

Please visit Cristine’s delightful blog, Cristine Cooks for the recipe. Visit the SMS blogroll to see how the other bakers fared with this crumble.

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Please excuse the pictures. It was night-time and there was obviously NO NATURAL LIGHT to speak of.

TWD – Flaky Apple Turnovers (finally!)

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“I’m late, I’m late. For a very important date!!”   (name that movie)

This post is officially two days late, and I’m sorry for keeping you in such suspense (snork!) but the baking gods were against me for this “assignment” I swear. Some things came up Monday so I was only able to get the dough to its first chill. Then something ELSE came up on Tuesday and I only got the dough to the second chill. THEN late at night I realized that we were out of apples *glares at fiance* and I was much too tired to go to the store, get apples, come home, peel chop, toss, yada yada yada yada. So I FINALLY got my act together, got everything ready and made then last night and finished them! Yippee!! *Wipes sweat from brow*

The only changes I made: I made peach turnovers as well. I used a smidge less sour cream than called for, mainly because the 8 oz package didn’t yield an entire cups worth. Go figure. I also read that the apple flavor was a little lacking so I doubled the cinnamon and added a few dashes of ground clover and nutmeg. Next time I’ll chop the apples up into smaller pieces so I can put  more into each turnover and I’ll leave the dough a bit thicker (its easier to work with and who will say ‘no’ to more flaky pastry dough? Who?)

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My first bite into one of these warm turnovers and my soul smiled. I used all my senses: I inhaled the beautiful spicy aroma, I touched the flaky pastry dough, I listened to it crunch, I eyed the beautiful browning and cinnamon speckled apple bits, and lastly I took a bite and tasted a crisp fall in this adorable little package.

Suffice it to say, they were good! Better than good, they were fan-FREAKIN-tastic!!  With this being my first foray into turnovers and I DIDN’T mess something up… maybe I’m just a bit biased.

But I’m okay with that. :)

For this recipe, head on over to Julie’s blog Someone’s In The Kitchen.

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SMS – Mom’s Banana Apple Bread

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Ok everyone… STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW… yes, everything! Ok, you can keep breathing but RUN (do not walk) to your nearest kitchen and make this bread!!! It is ahhh-mazing!! I just can’t rave enough!!

Rave, rave, rave!!!

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My banana’s weren’t as ripe as I would have wanted them to be, the apples smelled funny to me in the saucepan, did i just add too much clover?, I MELTED my “silicone” spatula, I was everywhere (mentally), I was afraid I over mixed, I was afraid that my loaf pan was too small, I was afraid that  my BUNDT pan was too small…. worry, worry, worry. (I never realized how much of a worry wart I am when it comes to baking, ha.)

There was NOTHING to worry about. Not. A. Thing.

This bread is moist, flavorful, banana-y, deliciousness!! The recipe seems simple enough to put together (although it does require dirtying a few dishes), versatile enough to make cupcakes, a loaf, or a bundt! And you can even add a few things of your own like raisins, nuts, etc.

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If you don’t dream about this bread tonight, there’s just something wrong with you ;)

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*angels sing*

Joy of Hot Oven, Warm Heart chose/hosted this recipe and I can’t thank her enough!! Thanks a bunch Joy, you have given me a go to banana bread!!

I apologize for this post being a day late. I had a little critter to pick up from the HSPCA! This is Madeline. She is 6 years old, likes sinks, meowing and constant lovins.

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Are you STILL here?? GO MAKE THIS BREAD!!

For more pics of this awesome bread, click here.