Sunday, September 21, 2008

Apple Streusel Coffeecake

Apple-picking is seriously one of the highlights of my whole year. We always go one of the last Saturdays in September, early enough to make sure that there are apples left, but late enough to get pumpkins the same day :). My mom has totally perfected the organization of the apple-picking day - we are serious about apples around here!

Here are a few shots from the day --

I always buy a ton of apples (if you pick them, you buy them!) so I'm always looking for new apple recipes. Last year, I made apple bars, apple crostata, and apple butter. The first recipe to get my interest this year is this Apple Streusel Coffeecake - I was a little nervous making this recipe because I didn't have all the ingredients that I needed, but it was my first Sunday morning with no plans in a long time and I didn't feel like hitting up the grocery store for just a few things, so I used a few substitutions. The results were great! Besides tasting good, it also makes a beautiful presentation would be great with coffee for your next brunch or dinner.

Apple Streusel Coffeecake (adapted from Women's Day Magazine)

1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 stick cold butter, diced
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup walnuts & pecans, coarsely chopped

3 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 ounces low-fat sour cream
2 Golden Delicious apples, diced

Powdered sugar
Water or milk
Splash of apple wine or apple cider (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan.

2. Make streusel first: stir brown sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon with a fork or rub together with fingertips until crumbly and butter is completely incorporated. Stir in nuts.

3. Cake: mix flour, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl. Then beat the butter and sugar in a 2nd bowl with a mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each; add in vanilla and sour cream.

4. With mixer on low speed, beat in flour mixture just until blended, scraping down bowl as necessary.

5. Add approximately 3 cups of the cake batter into pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with 1/4-1/2 cup of the streusel, then apples, then and additional 1/2 cup of the streusel. Add the remaining batter and spread evenly to cover apples and streusel.

6. Sprinkle batter with remaining streusel, pressing down lightly so it sticks to batter (the streusel will completely cover the batter).

7. Bake approximately 45-55 minutes or until a pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes before inverting. Remove pan and cool completely.

8. The glaze is optional, but I think it added a nice little bit of sweetness to the cake. I chose to make mine very thin, but if you made it a bit thicker (added more sugar, less liquid), the white glaze would also look very pretty on the cake. Anyway, to make the glaze, I added a bit of water to powdered sugar and stirred until it had an even consistency. Then I added a splash of apple ice wine that I happened to have in the kitchen - I think apple cider or even another dessert wine/extract/liqueur would have the same effect. I strained the mixture and then poured it over the cooled cake. After it seeped in, I also added some sifted powdered sugar to the top.

I'm submitting this recipe to Joelen's Tasty Tools monthly event. I love the theme this month -bakeware! I can't wait to see all the recipes - fall is the perfect month for a baking theme!

Sandi - I'm sending the below photo to you as my COTM - apples everywhere! My tip is, when you pick them, to leave a bit of the leaves and stems attached. They dry nicely and look beautiful as a fall (edible!) centerpiece.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

End of Summer Picnic

I have been so behind on my blogging these past two weeks, but hopefully my schedule will be opening up a little this fall. Not that I don't love being busy with my photography business (its awesome!), but fall is my favorite season and I'm psyched to get back to regular food blogging too! Today's post has been in the queue since the end of August. I was going to skip it, but I had to just drop you guys a quick note to recommend this recipe. This focaccia is easy, delicious and perfect with the homegrown tomato crop that I know you have in your kitchen right now :)!

I made this recipe for a picnic a few weeks ago; paired it with a salad and some other things like wine, sparkling lemonade, and some cold shrimp with fresh lemon juice. It was delicious. Enjoy the photos and promise to try this recipe soon! It would work great as a party appetizer too if you cut it into smaller wedges or as a great lunch with a salad or some soup.