Today I am looking out on a winter wonderland! We are in the midst of a blizzard that has dumped an amazing amount of snow as far as the eye can see. One of those days to sit by the fire with a hot cup of tea and a slice of warm Apple cranberry bread.
We still have apples in the refrigerator from our fall harvest which are in surprisingly good shape – the one I munched on while making this bread wasn’t fresh from the tree, but still crisp and sweet. We also were given a large quantity of cranberries from a local bog, so it seemed like a good use of the two to put them together in a quick bread. We are always looking for different morning snack ideas to serve at our community work time break. I tried a couple of different recipes and actually left the peels on the Apple’s to give the breads a little more texture. Here is one variety that I thought the most flavorful and moist.
- Heat oven to 350 degree F. Grease bottom only of an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan
- In large bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar, the oil and egg.
- Stir in apple, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in cranberries.
- Spoon batter into pan.
- In small bowl, mix 1 Tablespoon sugar and the cinnamon; sprinkle over batter.
- Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack before slicing.
- For glaze, combine confectioners sugar and half and half or milk, drizzle over bread.
I grew up in an agrarian area with a mother who appreciated the seasons and food that came with them. We lived next to a highly farmed area. I remember fields stretching as far as the eye could see. Hadley produced mostly tobacco, but also lots of asparagus, and of course butternut squash and apples in their season. Every spring, about this time, my mother would go looking for wild asparagus, since she had noted where the fronds were the previous summer. I think I am a little spoiled, because I have tasted asparagus when it was harvested the same day, and there is nothing like it. We can get asparagus any time of the year now. I love it just blanched, with some butter and salt and pepper. Below is my favorite recipe for soup, which celebrates the intense flavor of the asparagus itself.
- Trim the tips from the asparagus.
- Cut the woody stems ends from each spear and reserve.
- Cut the remaining stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. In a medium pot, bring the stock to a boil.
- Add the woody stems and lower heat to simmer, cook 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and discard, reserving the stock.
- Add the tips to stock and blanch until tender about 1 minute.
- Remove with a strainer, and plunge directly into an ice water bath.
- Drain on paper towels and reserve for garnish.
- Reserve the stock.
- In a medium stock pot, melt the butter over medium high heat.
- When foamy, add the shallots and leeks, and cook until just tender.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, then add the chopped asparagus stalks and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes.
- Add the reserve broth and simmer until the asparagus are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat. With an immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor, puree until smooth, adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Return to medium heat and add the half and half and reserved asparagus tips.
- Cook, stirring, until warmed through, about 3 minutes.
Years ago when I was younger and had more energy, I frequently made a marvelous chocolate cake. It was really superb, but very labor intensive and time consuming. For example, it had to be baked in a pan lined with a well buttered brown paper bag cut to the exact size of the pan. This was essential to its success.
It required sour cream, butter, lots of brown sugar and many squares of dark chocolate melted to a very specific temperature and then carefully beaten for just the right length of time into a rich velvety fudge frosting.
At the moment I am unable to locate this precious old recipe originally clipped from a worn yellowed newspaper. I am sure it will show up again someday. Until then I have put together a recipe I like making. It doesn’t begin to compare or compete with Miss Simpson’s authentic prize winner, but it is fast, easy, has ice cream baked into it and satisfies many chocolate lovers who have never tasted the old favorite one I used to make.
Suppose we just call it Chocolate Marshmallow Ice Cream Sunday Cake.
Chocolate Marshmallow Ice Cream Sunday Cake
Chocolate Marshmallow Ice Cream Sunday Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Follow cake mix directions on box.
- Bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and while still hot cover top with at least 20 marshmallows sliced in half crosswise.
- Let melt and cool.
- Remove to serving plate and pour hot ganache over the top and down the sides.
- Sprinkle with your favorite nuts.
- Heat half and half in top of double boiler to scalding point. Do not boil – add chocolate chips and stir until thoroughly melted.
- Add flavoring and pour immediately on to cake.
- Tip: If you melt the chocolate chips first and then add cold half and half the chocolate will seize up. The half and half needs to be the same temperature as the chips before heating or warmer.