When I go to the store to pick up fruit for lunches, apples are an easy choice. Growing up in Washington State, they have always been readily available–two-thirds of the country’s apple crop is grown here. And more often than not apples are fairly cheap.
Unfortunately, the cost of produce has gone through the roof lately, and I’m not willing to pay $2-3 a pound for apples, so often I’ll buy the cheap ones in the bag. Sometimes, that’s great; other times I end up with old, mealy apples that are past their prime. Then what? I certainly can’t throw them away, and the worms can only eat so many.
A new favorite recipe is Apple Butter in the crockpot from Food In Jars. I love Marisa’s creative canning and no-fuss way of cooking. It’s simply apple slices in a crockpot for hours, puree, add sugar and spices, water-bath can, and call it good. I love the fact that for eight pounds of apples, you use only 1/2 a cup of brown sugar. If you’ve ever done any canning, you know that’s amazing. Jams and jellies require equal parts sugar and berries. I can feel quite healthy adding a dab of apple butter to my toast in the mornings. Check out her recipe here.
Another great apple recipe was one the MR stumbled upon when we were newlyweds. For the life of me, I can’t remember why the MR was making breakfast. I love the man, but he doesn’t cook. The girls have a story that starts, “Do you remember when Dad made pancakes?” It simply deteriorates into giggles at that point.
Anyways in another life (before husband and kids), I was a newspaper reporter, and a cookbook author sent my paper a book of recipes compiled from bed and breakfasts in Washington and Oregon. Two of the featured B&B’s were local, so I went out and interviewed the innkeepers and at the end of the day, the editor gave me the cookbook. We’ve enjoyed some amazing recipes from this tattered green book over the years.
The MR knew where to look when it came to breakfast recipes, and he made Apple Bundt Cake from Mt. Ashland Inn in Ashland, OR. It has become a tried and true favorite with our own special tweaks. He added a cup of chocolate chips the first time he made it. His logic was simply that everything tastes better with chocolate, and to be honest, he’s right. It’s just not the same without those chocolate chips. And the topping that was part of the recipe was way to complicated for the MR’s liking, so he stole the simple one from the opposite page–we like that one better, too. Maybe he should do a little more baking.
No one had signed up to bring treats to ladies Bible study this week, so I offered to help out. I was running low on energy Monday night, and decided to go with this old standby. I made it in muffin tins rather than a cake pan. After all, women will try a “healthy” muffin and skip cake, and I don’t need a bunch of leftover cake at my house. It was a huge success–half a dozen people asked for the recipe–so at their suggestion, I’m sharing it with you.
Apple Bundt Cake (or Muffins)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
3 cups cooking apples, diced
1 cup nuts, chopped
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.
Mix together the flour, salt, soda, and sugar. Add the apples, nuts, and chocolate chips. I don’t worry about the nuts too much and just chop up whatever I have on hand. If you don’t have any nuts or don’t like them–it’s simple, just skip it. I had a few walnuts and pecans, so that’s what I used for the muffins.
In another bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture. Don’t worry; it’s supposed to be quite dense. It should look like cookie dough.
Pat it into a greased bundt pan, or loaf pans, or muffin tins. You are in charge.
A bundt pan will bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, muffins for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile blend the topping ingredients and drizzle on the cake/muffins once they have cooled. If you aren’t patient, the topping will melt away. I had used all my sour cream in a very tasty taco dip, so we just did without.
The cake will cut much better once it’s cooled for 30 minutes. I know sometimes you’re starving and just can’t wait. It will taste just as good, but it won’t look as pretty if you’re impatient.
In researching for this post, I found that the Ashland Inn is no longer in operation, so I feel less guilty sharing with you our modified version of their recipe. The cookbook Wake Up & Smell the Coffee must be out of print. I found it online for $120, and it sold for $12 originally. Consider yourself lucky I’m in the giving mood.
Maybe someday, I’ll share with you Baby Girl’s favorite breakfast from this cookbook: Fluffy Fingers French Toast. Sweet Miss made if for the whole family the weekend before she went back to school. Every now and then, she lives up to her name.
Turned any less than stellar produce into something amazing? I’d love to hear your favorite breakfast dish–share your recipes please.