Apple Dapple Cake

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Five years ago I spent 3 months on a farm in Tuscany. It was about as magical as it sounds, times 78 billion trillion million. We drank wine from the farm’s vineyards, ate toasted bread with olive oil straight out of the presses, herded pigs (I did less of that and more of the eating), partied with visitors to the B&B, and generally enjoyed all that Italy has to offer. I wrote down a thousand recipes from the cooks, sort-of perfected the art of the pizza dough toss, and crafted so many delicious pillows of gnocchi goodness that I think I passed out directly into the bowl of potato dough. But the one recipe I come back to most?

Apple Dapple Cake.

Is it Italian? Nope. Is it maybe Italian-American? Not even a little. Is there perhaps a Tuscan twist to it? Please stop, it’s pure-blooded American.

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The owners of the farm made this throughout the autumn months and graciously shared it with the 9 interns me. It’s nothing fancy, but it makes my heart sing with joy and gluttony. Apples, cinnamon, and a brown sugar glaze that will make you dissolve into a puddle of love. It requires no adornment but a humble fork and — perhaps– a sink to catch the stray crumbs as they come flying out off the plate as you snarf yourself into an apple dapple haze.

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The only tweak I made was to the glaze, which would curdle if the fat content from the milk wasn’t just right. Subbed in some cream and kablooie– super fab.

Apple Dapple Cake

origin unknown

3 eggs
2 c sugar
1 1/3 c vegetable oil
1 t vanilla extract
3 c flour
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
3 c peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples
Glaze
6 T butter
1/2 c brown sugar
2 T heavy cream
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 and generously grease a bundt pan. In standing mixer beat the eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla, then, with mixer running on medium low, slowly stream in the oil. This should take about 1-2 minutes. Definitely don’t dump the oil in all at once, or else it won’t emulsify properly. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and mix on low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and fold in the chopped apples. Pour the batter into the bundt pan, making sure to even it out with a spatula. Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a knife comes out with no wet streaks. Place on a cooling rack while you make the glaze.

For the glaze: In a small saucepan combine the butter and brown sugar. Heat on medium low until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Add the cream, salt, and vanilla and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes. Poke holes in the cake (while it’s still in the pan) with a chop stick or knife and pour the glaze over the top evenly. Let the cake cool for about 20-30 minutes, invert onto a plate, and serve warm. Then, put your socks back on, because they will have inevitably been blown off by tasty deliciousness.

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Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

You know those sad individuals who are allergic to peanuts? The ones whose noses snivel at the mere mention of their nemesis and don’t even know what they’re missing? I wouldn’t trade places with them for all the light sabers on Tatooine. Peanut butter is the light of my life, the proof that good exists in this cruel world!

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I’ve tried a couple of peanut butter bar recipes lately, but none have been up to snuff and it’s made me question the immense faith I put into Pinterest’s ability to answer my every desire. Nothing keeps me away from that crack-cocaine website for too long, and when I returned with renewed hope I found a promising, mouth-watering, stab your best friend in the back for the glory of it all kind of recipe.

It combines the beauty of a layered bar, with it’s crispy crust and velvety center, with that of an actual piece of heaven. I want to be eating it all the time, so that I can grow to be the size of a house and say “Yes. It was worth it.” Because it WAS.

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Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

from Amandeleine

Crispy layer:
1 3/4 c rice krispies
1/4 c water
1/4 c sugar
3 T light corn syrup
3 T melted butter
Chocolate Peanut Butter layer:
1 c creamy peanut butter
5 oz milk chocolate chips
Chocolate Glaze:
3 oz milk chocolate chips
1/2 t light corn syrup
4 T butter, cut into small pieces

For the crispy layer, grease an 8×8 baking pan. Place the cereal in a large bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, place water and gently add the sugar and corn syrup, being careful not to let it touch the sides. Bring to 235 degrees over medium high heat, stirring gently and frequently (this takes about 5-10 minutes after the mixture boils. Be very careful– hot sugar is one of the worst kinds of burns you can imagine). Remove from heat, stir in the butter, and quickly stir the sugar mixture in with the cereal until completely coated. Press it into the greased pan and set aside.

For the chocolate peanut butter layer, place both ingredients into a mixing bowl and set it over a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir constantly with a spatula until it is all melted together, then remove from heat and pour over the crispy base. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

For the chocolate glaze, place all ingredients into the clean mixing bowl over simmering water and stir until all is melted together. Pour over the peanut butter and refrigerate another hour, or until set. I couldn’t wait and dove into mine well before that.

Nailed it.

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Peach Blondies

Instead of tinkering with the very silly, and very broken, washing machine (currently home to a large portion of laundry from yours truly), I opted to brush off the baking apron and dive into one of the weirdest recipes I’ve seen to date.

White Bean and Peach Preserve Blondies

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Pardon, m’lady. You seem to have placed “beans” into the title of a dessert, which couldn’t possibly be what you meant. Right you are, Jeeves. It sounds downright dumb, right? Placing an item that so clearly belongs alongside the likes of kale and spicy Italian sausage with peaches! Preserves! Honey! Oh, my!

But this kind of blew my freaking mind. It’s not as sweet as a brownie or as decadent as a butterscotch pudding pop, but hot diggity dog: this is a keeper/repeater. And I cannot wait to try other combinations, like peanut butter strawberry or blueberry lemon.

White Bean and Peach Preserve Blondies

adapted from Greatest

1 can (15 oz) white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c honey
1/4 c tahini paste
1/4 c peach preserves (or your favorite kind)
1/4 c flour (I used gluten-free and it was lovely; since it’s such a small amount, substituting any kind of flour would be just fine)
1 t vanilla extract
dash salt
1/2 c cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 c peach preserves
1 egg

Preheat your oven to 375 and grease an 8″x 8″ pan. In a food processor, puree the beans and then add, one at a time, the rest of the ingredients through salt. Spread into your pan. Mix the cream cheese with the preserves until thoroughly combined, then incorporate the egg. Pour on top of the batter in the pan and draw a knife through in swirls to incorporate the two layers together. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is firm, nothing jiggles, and a knife comes out without batter dripping off of it.

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Let cool for 15 minutes, cut into squares, and serve. ENJOY.

You’re welcome.