Fall means baking! I love summer (salads, garden veggies, tomatoes, sunshine), but fall is my favorite season because I get to start baking again. Turning on the stove in the summer is something I am loathe to do, so come fall, it is baking time!
Using my trusty donut pan, I used this very easy recipe—with modifications (used olive oil and regular dairy). You can really dress these up with just about anything. Get creative! Our toppings included:
- melted chocolate mixed with a bit of bourbon and topped with chopped dried figs
- apple butter with homemade granola sprinkled on top
- cinnamon & sugar
We had some yogurt that was nearing its expiration date in the fridge and I remembered the amazing Gâteau au yaourt from Chocolate & Zucchini. An oldie, but a goodie, this cake is easy, delicious and extremely adaptable. I used nonfat plain yogurt, used bourbon instead of rum and glazed the top with some apple cider and sprinkled toasted coconut flakes on the top of it for the last 10 minutes of baking. You could throw some jam in between the layers, top with whipped cream, glaze with chocolate and sprinkle with hazelnuts….the possibilities are endless for this moist and tangy base. You could also eat it plain, with a cup of coffee, for breakfast. Cake for breakfast may help dieters. Seriously!
And now we are at the last of our apples. Thanks apples, you had a good run. We made Very Lazy Fall Apple Butter, an apple crumble, Butternut Squash & Apple Soup, Apple Onion Spicy Chutney and for the finale, this Apple Onion & Butternut Squash Tart. Serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner or cut into thin slices for a great appetizer – I bet it would go fabulously with a dry prosecco. This is a super versatile and delicious tart. The onions, apple and squash cook down to form a great caramelized base that contrasts nicely with the buttery/herbed crust and the salty cheese.
Apple Onion & Butternut Squash Tart
- 5 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 apples, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ cubes and roasted (we had this leftover from the soup, you can add the cubes in when you add the apples to save you a step, I’m sure it will be fine)
- olive oil
- apple cider (vegetable broth or water would do in a pinch)
- 1 Rosemary Tart Dough
- 1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
- Make your Rosemary Tart dough and be sure to refrigerate it overnight or for at least a couple of hours.
- Heat up the olive oil in a large pot and add the onions. Cook until softened, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the apples (and butternut squash if it’s not roasted) and 1/4 cup apple cider or water. Let everything simmer with a lid on the pot until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Give it a stir every now and then and add more cider or water so nothing gets burned. Give it a taste. Taste good? Great? Need more salt and/or pepper, season away!
- Heat oven to 375F. Roll out your tart dough and press into a tart pan (f you have leftover dough roll them into twists, sprinkle with parm and bake them – extra treat!). Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork a few times. If you have some spicy chutney, spread it along the bottom and bake for about 10 minutes. If you don’t, sprinkle the bottom with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese or pecorino and bake for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the tart dough from oven and pile on the onion/apple/squash mixture. Spread evenly throughout the pan and top with some more cheese. Your call on how much cheese – remember these are salty cheeses.
- Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until the tart dough and cheese are a beautiful golden brown.
Kinda, sorta, baaa-aack. Don’t worry, we’re still being super frugal. So frugal, in fact, that in an attempt to get rid of some starting-to-get sour milk, I made some of this beautiful Irish soda bread. The recipe is super easy and if you have milk that is just beginning to turn (please DO NOT use curdled or rancid milk), use it instead of buttermilk! This bread is best day-of and the next day – it doesn’t keep too well, so eat up or tightly wrap and freeze a loaf or give one to a friend! Delicious with cheddar cheese, sweet butter, soups and just about anything.
Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour OR 2 cups all-purpose and 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon bakin soda
- 1 cup golden raisins, soaked (if you have time, do this overnight, if not, just start when you decide to bake) in a mixture of half hot water and half bourbon (or just all water)
- 2 cups just-about-to-turn milk or buttermilk or homemade sour milk (2 tablespoons vinegar + 2 cups milk)
- Mix together the dry ingredients. Strain raisins, pat dry a bit, and stir those in too.
- Add milk and stir until the dough forms.
- Turn dough on a well-floured surface and knead with your hands or use your dough hook on a stand mixer to mix for a minute or too.
- Half the dough and with floured hands shape each bit into a ball and smush down.
- Transfer bread to a lightly greased baking sheet and cut an X on the top of each loaf.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Place on racks to cool. Slice and enjoy!
The fall brings brisk weather, beautiful leaves and crunchy APPLES. We made this last night as a quick dessert for dinner with friends and had the leftovers today with some oatmeal for breakfast.
This got thrown together at the last minute, so please bear with the haphazard directions. You can’t go wrong with a crumble!
Preheat your oven to 350F. Chop up two apples (if you have 3, go for it), sprinkle lemon juice over the pieces and throw in a pie dish. Mix together about a 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour, a pinch of salt, a generous handful of brown sugar, a teaspoon or two of honey (or sugar) and a whole bunch of oats – probably 3/4 cup. Take 4 (or more) tablespoons of butter and massage into the flour mixture until everything is crumbly. Put on top of apples, add some maple syrup or other syrup on top of the whole mess and bake at 350F for about 40-45 minutes. Serve warm!
Thank you King Arthur Flour for this amazingly moist, easy and delicious cake!
I made this in celebration of Phil’s return from a work retreat and it is super simple. The King Arthur’s Baker’s Banter Blog runs through the recipe, step-by-step, so head over there for great instruction.
I also whipped up a peanut butter frosting – a bit of peanut butter, some powdered sugar and coffee – whipped until smooth, spread on top and then saved for later use.
Does anyone else see it?
This odd cake was created the other night from a huge ziplock freezer bag of frozen berries that a friend gave us when she left Brooklyn. I made a basic quickbread batter and then threw in the thawed berries. ALL OF THEM. I think there were four cups. The batter turned purple, it looked crazy, I was skeptical and threw it in the oven.
Anyways, it came out OK! Definitely a rich, berry bread suitable for breakfast. Must have a ton of anti-oxidants.
A very nice co-worker gave me her apple yesterday as she doesn’t like fruit and I also got about a cup of OJ from an event work hosted. I decided that these two things could equal a quick-bread and did some hard-core cook/baking tonight (more posts to come tomorrow). Things made in about an hour (not including overall cooking time): freezer veggie stock, apple-n-carrot bread, granola and a swiss chard and egg-topped tart. Busy evening!
So, on to this very moist quick-bread!
I got the basic recipe from Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and tweaked it since I didn’t have much butter. Time to get some more.
Apple-n-Carrot Nut Bread
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or regular AP is fine)
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- .5 teaspoon baking soda
- healthy pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup juice (apple, orange) or milk
- 1 grated apple
- 1 grated carrot
- handful of raisins (optional)
- 1/2 cup toasted hazlenuts (or no nuts, or whatever nut you prefer – we had this buried in the freezer)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix together the dry ingredients.
- Whisk the egg, oil and juice together.
- Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Fold the shredded fruit, raisins and nuts into the mixture.
- Oil (butter or vegetable oil) a loaf pan and coat with flour – shake out all excess flour.
- Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean when it is done.
- Eat with a nice cup of tea or coffee (I am sure this freezes well too!)
My awesome friend Monica is in town and I decided to make a little treat this morning before heading off to work with the aforementioned puff pastry. I tried to thaw a sheet in the fridge overnight, but it wasn’t quite thawed out when I woke up – oh well.
Cut a sheet into 4 squares and then spooned some almond filling (food processed almond slivers, dash of cinnamon, about a tablespoon of vanilla sugar and butter each) on top and rolled. Brushed the tops with a beaten egg and baked at 350F for about 20 minutes. They didn’t look super pretty, but smelled good and were delicious warm out of the oven.
I’m sure if it wasn’t first thing in the morning and if the puff pastry had thawed properly, I could have made them look better, but who cares? Monica and I didn’t.
Muffins can be a tiny, perfect package for breakfast or a snack, when made correctly. Too often muffins are sugary messes – think of blueberry muffin topped with brown sugar crumble. Delicious, but not nutritious.
I think these muffins are great! They are not too sugary and the coconut and raisins add a delightful texture and sweetness of their own.
The recipe is loosely adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites Cookbook. I happened to have some canned pumpkin leftover from Thanksgiving time in our cabinets and used that instead of what the recipe called for – as well as some other modifications (see below).
Pumpkin Coconut & Raisin Muffins
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour or AP flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 eggs
- 1 can of pumpkin pie mix (15 oz)
- 1 cup soy milk
- 2 tsps vanilla
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons fruit preserves (we had some peach jam that my mom canned over the summer)
- 1/2 cup coconut
- 1/4-1/2 cups raisins
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Grease a muffin tin or use paper liners.
- Process the oats in a blender or food processor until they become the consistency of cornmeal (you can also just squish them with a rolling pin – it’s OK).
- Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and oats together.
- Beat the eggs, pumpkin, milk, oil, vanilla, brown sugar and preserves together.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. Add the coconut and raisins and mix just a tiny bit – don’t overmix or else the muffins will be tough.
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out dry and clean.
- Cool for a few minutes in the muffin tin and then take out muffins to cool completely. Serves 12 muffins.