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It’s all about apples these days. And fortunately or unfortunately, it will be for some time…at least if you head to a farmer’s market in the Northeast in the next 6 months. If you get sick of just munching on them in their unadulterated form, may I suggest one of these two baked goods? Neither of these recipes requires the quantity of apples that, say, an actual apple pie requires. So if you’ve got a bumper crop or have gone apple picking, you might want to look elsewhere.

But, if you like subtly apple-flavored, perfect-for-fall recipes, look no further. The challah is definitely a bit more involved, but totally worth it. Actually, if you’re working from home like I am these days, you may want to think twice about this bread….I have been tearing off hunks every time I walk by the plate and it’s getting kind of embarrassing how much I’ve eaten in the last day. Therefore, I recommend making these for parties — I made the apple cider donut cake for a potluck and mercifully I did not take any home with me.

The Apple Cider Doughnut Cake recipe can be found here, at Serious Eats. My only modifications were to use 1/2 t. maple extract and 1/2 t. vanilla instead of all vanilla. Maple is just such a perfect complement to the other flavors. But it’s not essential. I also tried doing a glaze instead of the sugar coating and I’d say it was a solid “meh” so follow the recipe on that one. You win some, you lose some.

The Apple Honey Challah is from, where else, Smitten Kitchen. I didn’t modify anything in the recipe, but I think my braids were too fat, resulting in a shape that got a bit funky as it rose in the oven. But it didn’t affect the flavor so I wouldn’t stress about it if I were you.

Fall is here people, and there’s no turning back!

This is one of those hybrid recipes that had me wondering, why have I never seen this before?

I am a huge fan of both zucchini bread and corn bread. I can eat both in embarrassing quantities. And both are pretty foolproof. The zucchini acts as extra protection from dreaded dry cornbread syndrome, and it keeps well in the fridge for a few days (best toasted with butter). You can tell how anxious I was to start eating this while it was still warm from the oven given that this is the closest I got to a good picture. Oof.

If you’re hitting the end of the summer with a surplus of zucchini (for those of you lucky enough to have space for a garden), or if, like me, you are a sucker for a quick bread, try this one.

The weather has been shockingly pleasant this past week in New York, and it’s feeling like fall is around the corner. It’s just starting to cool down enough at night to warrant a sweater, and the humidity has backed off considerably. So of course, I’m dreaming of fall ingredients. I bet this bread would be delicious with another savory vegetable, like yams, or you could add some spices and a bit more sugar and take it to the sweet side with apples or pears (and pecans!). I have to admit, although I complain virtually without pause about the New York weather, I do appreciate living somewhere that has real seasons. The transitions from one to the next form natural chapters out of life, and I have a feeling it’s going to be an exciting fall.

The recipe can be found on epicurious. I reduced the amount of sugar by about a 1/4 c. but made no other modifications.

And keep an eye out for more Skillshare classes coming up too!

 

This one has been a long time coming. I love challah bread with a passion, and yet for some reason, had not attempted it at home. Maybe it’s because you can get really amazing challah in the city, and it seemed a bit intimidating. But it’s actually quite simple, requiring just one rise. This bread is tender, moist, slightly sweet, and so tasty you will have to stop yourself from eating the whole loaf at once. I also made homemade ricotta, and spread on a slice of this challah is heaven. in. your. mouth.

The recipe I used I found on food52, here, and I think it was perfect. A few details: I used 1/3 white whole wheat flour and 2/3 white flour, and added some maldon sea salt flakes on top for some salty crunch. Mine took slightly longer to cook than indicated in the recipe — closer to 25-27 minutes than 20-22. I wasn’t quite sure how to tell when it was done, but I think just the goldenness of the crust is the best indicator.

Go forth and make challah. You can thank me later, once you wipe the crumbs off your lap.

I’ve been meaning to make this no-knead bread for a very, very long time. When I worked down near Spring Street and 6th Avenue, Sullivan Street Bakery was a little piece of heaven, where I’d sneak for a special lunchtime treat. At the time, I had no idea who Jim Lahey was, or the significance of his pizza bianca, and everything else from the bakery, in the New York food world. But eventually I put two and two together and realized the crispy, chewy, oily, salty deliciousness I enjoyed for lunch had come from him, and when his no-knead bread recipe surfaced, I filed it away immediately.

Somehow, thinking through the timing of mixing and then waiting 12 – 18 hours seemed difficult to plan for, given the unpredictability of my schedule. But after doing it once, I’m already planning to do it every weekend! Here is the recipe. I suggest you carve out some time and try it yourself because it is as ridiculously easy as it sounds. This weekend, I enjoyed it fresh from the oven with manchego, and then the next day toasted and drizzled with oil, topped with ricotta and flaked sea salt. Who knows what I’ll come up with next weekend!

Food 52 recently featured a story for the New Year, containing a number of food (or rather, cooking) resolutions. One was to bake more bread. Now I’m not really one for resolutions (“I want to contribute to world peace!”), but baking bread has been something I’ve had my eye on. Specifically yeasted breads. I’ve definitely got the quickbreads down, but that’s like saying you are an expert pizza maker when you still buy Boboli pizza crust. (Do they still make Boboli, or am I dating myself as a child of the 80’s?).

I love working with yeast dough, the few times I have. The rising is so satisfying, the punching, the kneading, the smell. A couple of weekends ago I found myself with no plans and the weather report predicting frigid weather. That, my friends, is perfect bread baking weather.

I chose the Food 52 winner for best yeast bread recipe, Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread. It is very simple as far as yeast breads go, no starter, no overnight rise, so it’s a good beginner recipe. The crumb is indeed very dense (as you can see from the picture), which makes it easy to slice and really good as toast. I wouldn’t call it the best bread in the universe, which frankly is probably because I didn’t knead it properly or for long enough….if only I knew more about this! But it was still a success in my book. Now on to the next one!

The name of this is somewhat deceiving – I imagine a coffee cake to have a light crumb, some kind of brown sugar topping, and to distinctly be….cake-like. But this Martha (yes, I refer to her as Martha – is there really any Martha besides Stewart?) coffee cake, a yeast dough studded with lots of citrus zest and filled with cream cheese, is really much more of a modified cinnamon bun recipe. The dough is quite similar and the swirl (though in one large and strangely shaped piece instead of separate pieces) evokes buns.

Unfortunately the recipe isn’t online officially, but another industrious blogger copied the full recipe from Martha’s book The New Classics (or whatever issue of the magazine it appeared in). See the recipe and instructions here. I reduced the amount of poppy seeds by about half (it just seemed like overkill) and skipped the egg wash (hence my end product is not as shiny) but otherwise I followed the recipe completely. It was a huge hit at the brunch party I took it to, and I have to say, quite tasty (given how much work it was to make, I was glad of that). Thanks Martha!

I would say this is a good recipe for New Year’s Day, but who am I kidding? You won’t be making this hungover. Perhaps it will do on January 2?

 

Usually, all you have to say is “browned butter” and I’m game. But browned butter muffins swirled with leftover cranberry sauce? Even better than you can imagine. Gemma’s cranberry sauce (more of a relish, really) had the advantage of including lots of fresh ginger, thus making these muffins a perfect storm of bright cranberry, spicy ginger, and nutty browned butter and pecans.

The only adjustment I made to this Serious Eats recipe was to include about 1/2 cup of chopped, toasted pecans to the mix, stirred in at the last minute. Of course I couldn’t resist topping with a lovely pecan half either, but that’s more for aesthetics than anything. Beware the directions in this recipe — they don’t actually tell you when to add the salt, so don’t forget! I reduced the salt to about 3/4 t. because 1 t. seemed a bit much for only 12 muffins. Mine weren’t any worse for the wear, either.

If you have some useless, jellied cranberry sauce just languishing in your fridge (I bet you do!), then this is the perfect recipe for you. And if you don’t, it’s almost worth making cranberry sauce just for this purpose. If your sauce is more traditional and lacking in fresh ginger or other strong flavors, I might add some orange zest to give these a bit of extra zing.

 


I love to bake in general, but my favorite recipes to bake are quick breads. Endless variety and so easy. Plus, since many of them contain either fruit or vegetables, I can fool myself into thinking they’re healthy! Aah, the power of denial. This recipe is more cake-like than bread-like, but since it’s made in a loaf pan, it’s pretty much a quick bread in my mind, and thus totally acceptable to eat as breakfast.

Since most fruits (or vegetables, for that matter) are not exactly in season right now, you should make this grapefruit cake — citrus is one of the things that gets me out of bed on these miserable, gray winter days, when the thought of fresh corn on the cob and giant bunches of basil at the farmer’s market will just about send me over the ledge. Soon enough I’ll be bitching about how I can’t walk anywhere without sweating profusely, and longing for the days of jeans and boots and turtlenecks. But such is life in New York, where we get about 10 days of absolutely transcendent weather during the year, and that measly quantity somehow fools us into tolerating months on end of misery. Today was more miserable than most, what with the torrential rain, but when you have a tangy, sunny piece of cake waiting for you, it’s not so bad. You can almost pretend spring is on the way.

I found this recipe, like many others I have so enjoyed, on Smitten Kitchen. I’ll just link to the recipe since I didn’t make any modifications. Enjoy!

pumpkinbread

I love pumpkin desserts. I’m always shocked when someone says they don’t like pumpkin pie. Pecan pie I understand, with its cloying, syrupy sweetness. But pumpkin? Spicy, creamy, not too sweet — it’s dangerous when there’s a pumpkin pie in the fridge. You never know when I’ll just stick my head in, wielding a knife, and swipe a little piece.

While it’s a little premature for a pumpkin pie, and I’m not in the habit of just casually baking pies for no particular occasion, pumpkin can be used in so many other ways. A few weeks ago I made this amazing bread recipe from Martha, that had wheat germ, bran, apples, dates, and spices. It was healthy but super delicious. It gave me an idea that maybe apples and pumpkin in a bread would be perfect. So faithful Google sent me to the Amateur Gourmet, and a recipe from the Gourmet cookbook for just that. Pumpkin apple bread.

You can find the recipe here, along with Adam’s ever-charming commentary. The only changes I made were to use gala apples (only ones on hand), cardamom instead of allspice, and just 2 c. sugar (although it could use even less, in my opinion). This bread is awesome. Super moist, lots of flavor, and chunks of apple all throughout. The topping gives it this crispy crunchy layer too. Soon enough it won’t be considered gluttonous to eat some pumpkin pie. Until then, I’ve got this bread.

evobread

People go nuts for Dorie Greenspan (and by people, I mostly mean foodies and food bloggers). Her specialty is baked goods, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. This is possibly the simplest cake you’ll ever make — and it’s mouth-wateringly moist and delicious. The texture is something like pound cake, but made with olive oil instead of butter, and it’s not too sweet in the slightest. I added a simple lime juice and powdered sugar glaze (to complement the lime zest in the recipe), but it would be delicious without.

Here is the recipe at Serious Eats: EVO and Yogurt Loaf Cake

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