Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Foods - Volume One

Delicious food items on my favorites list these days?

1. I enjoy from-scratch baking. Clearly. When it comes to pumpkin, however, I will opt for the Libby's canned version almost every time over the arduous (and really, not all that much cheaper) process of boiling and processing a pumpkin in my kitchen. The long way is a novelty, sure, but I prefer (even taste-wise) the canned stuff.

From September through November, pumpkin is a very popular flavor at my house. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin bars, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin granola, and the best pumpkin cream cheese muffins in the history of mankind (recipe to come soon!)...they're all favorites!

2. If you haven't tried Pretzel M&Ms yet, we need to talk. I thought it was impossible for any M&M to replace the peanut butter version in my life, but the sweet-and-salty combination that these deliver is enough to make me seriously question my loyalty. I'm not one to randomly pick up candy in the grocery check-out line, but I've slipped enough of these little blue packages into my cart lately that Noah actually pointed at them today and said, "Look! Mommy's M&Ms!" *ahem*

3. Local people - are you familiar with the homemade potato chips at Martin's? If so, why did no one tell me about these before recently? And if not, allow me the honor of introducing you. Mark and I love these, and have made them a bring-them-out-after-the-kids-are-in-bed snack. Not because they're expensive (this small but generously-portioned bag cost me all of $1.28), but because we just wouldn't want to share them. You can find them at the deli counter, and they're available in several flavors, including Buffalo Wing (one of our favorites). Try them soon. You're welcome.

Apple Cake

Apparently I took the summer off from food blogging. Not from baking, of course. Just from documenting it all. With the arrival of Fall (my favorite time to create in the kitchen), I'm very ready to jump back in!

I've had this apple cake recipe from A Southern Grace starred in Google Reader for quite some time. Finding myself with some gorgeous Granny Smith apples this week, I figured it was high time to try it out! It definitely did not disappoint. While not the prettiest dessert on a plate, it more than makes up for it in taste. The cake itself is so moist, loaded with apples and cinnamon. And then when you figure in the glaze - brown sugar, milk, and butter simmered together and poured over the top of the still-warm's pure Autumnal bliss!

Apple Dapple Cake

(from A Southern Grace)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups finely chopped, peeled apples

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the well in the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Stir in apples.
Spread the batter in a greased and floured 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes.
For the glaze, combine the brown sugar, butter, and milk in a small saucepan. Cook and stir until bubbly and all of the sugar is dissolved. Cool slightly. Drizzle warm over cake when it has cooled for 5 minutes.