My upstairs neighbors brought us a giant bag of freshly picked, upstate apples: gala, mackintosh, pink ladies, and big crisp, golden delicious. When opening the bag, the crisp aroma of fall filled up the room like a cloud, taking me back to my undergrad years in Ithaca. The air, dry, the temperature low, and the mood angsty. I wish I could remember more about those days, but my memory is clouded by all-nighters, Red Bull, and super-glue fumes, when my diet consisted of lettuce and rice cakes. The ins and outs of each day seem vague and repetitive -wake up, go to a couple classes, then glue my ass to the studio stool until enough work was produced.
For the quick jolt of energy they provided, amplified by the gallons of green tea, I quickly fell for the tart-sweet crunch of apples. I must have eaten at least a couple a day. I was obsessed. The few apples that made their way to Puerto Rico were far from tasty: the skin dry, the flesh gritty and flavorless. Lucky for me, the apples I had now access to at the campus cafeteria were fresh and as sweet (an addcitive) as candy.
Food has a funny way of reminding you of specific times in your life. I will forever associate my obsessive apple eating to college. Almost as if I didn’t want to go back to those days, I can’t bring myself to diving me teeth into raw apples as much as I used to back then. It’s not that my love for apples has dissipated, but I am more curious about the unexplored, undiscovered potential flavors that might forge new memories.
This is the kind of recipe I want to remember my 30’s for. One that celebrates effort and complexity only time can develop. I am not in it for the quick jolt of energy, but rather the complexity of flavors; the shit that makes hard work worthwhile.
Today I am sharing two delicious recipes that celebrate just that: slow cooked apple butter and a scrumptious Apple Butter Cinnamon Bread.
I had just bought a jar in the farmer’s market a few weeks back. It tasted like sugar and I wanted to try making a more interesting, less sweet, apple butter that I could use to top toast and more importantly, bake with.
While baking with apples, or apple sauce for that matter, is great, apple butter adds the kind of flavor complexity only time can achieve.
In this recipe, apple butter serves as a base to a batter of ground oats and almond flour, that is perfumed with cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup, this cake . Once baked, this bread is then drizzled with a glaze of maple sugar, tahini, and cinnamon. A light sprinkling of pistachios and sesame seeds adds crunch. Crumbly, light, and delicate, this bread is a tasty treat that is best when eaten warm with either a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a giant mug of piping hot tea. Eat it for breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert, as for this recipe is the kind that gives you courage to get out of bed and into the day. As for the apple butter, it is delicious all to itself. Stir it into oatmeal, spread it over toast, or whisk it into yogurt and savor fall.
Cook time 2 ½ hours
Makes 3-4 Cups
- 10-12 apple
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- maple syrup to taste
- Wash apples, then cut into quarters.
- Place apples in a large pot. Add water and apple cider vinegar. Cook for an hour, until
- Transfers cooked apples and liquid into a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
- Transfer back into pot. Add cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup. Cook over low heat for another 45 minutes, until golden brown and thick!
- Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer into jars and store for up to four weeks, refrigerated.
Apple Butter & Cinnamon Bread
Cook time 60 minutes
Ingredients for the Bread
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 cup apple butter (feel free to use homemade or store-bought, but make sure you adjust maple syrup based on you sweetness preference)
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 2 dates
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
Ingredients for the Cinnamon & Tahini Glaze
- 2 tbsp. maple sugar
- 4 tsp. tahini
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. water
- ¼ cup pistachios, to garnish
- 2 tbsp. sesame seeds, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan with 1 small knob of coconut oil. Line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place gluten-free oats in a food processor, pulse until fine. Transfer out of the food processor and into a bowl.
- Add apple butter, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, and cinnamon to a blender. Pulse until smooth and well incorporated.
- Add oats, almond flour, salt, and baking soda into the wet ingredients and pulse until well incorporated.
- Pour batter into greased pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a sharp knife into the center of the bread. Bread is ready if knife comes out clean.
- Once ready, remove from oven and let cool completely before transferring out.
- As bread cools, prepare glaze my whisking together maple sugar, tahini, cinnamon and water in a small bowl.
- Once bread cools, drizzle glaze, then sprinkle sesame seeds and pistachios.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.