Tag Archives: applesauce

Applesauce Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup

3 Dec

The time has come to talk about Christmas. If any of you were reading this site a year ago (and if you were, I thank you from the bottom of my flour and butter-coated heart), you’ll recall that I tend to get rather excited about the holiday season. Things get sparkly. Kids get wiggly with anticipation. Eating cookies every single day becomes commonplace. My landy, what’s not to love?

Last year’s holiday recipe fest was a huge amount of fun for me to put together (and not just because I got to eat allllllll that stuff I made while testing out recipes), so I have decided that I will continue the tradition this year. This means that, for the entire month of December, I will be sharing recipes and kitchen-y things that are closely tied to the holiday season. There will be recipes for festive meals both morning and evening based, recipes for treats galore, and perhaps a few kitchen-based gift ideas sprinkled about here and there. But it’s happening, my friends. Christmas is about to explode all over this site. I am so excited, I can hardly stand it.

The holiday feasting kicks off with these spectacular waffles I made as an accompaniment for the heavenly apple cider syrup I wrote about for Portland Farmers Market. Looking for a breakfast-y companion to highlight all the best elements of the cider syrup, I turned to a winter and fall-spiced, barely-sweetened waffle with crisp edges, airy pockets, and the gentle flavor of unsweetened applesauce. As a breakfast treat, I don’t know if it gets any cozier than this, with the warm spices of the waffles playing off of the deep apple tones of the syrup. On their own, the syrup and the waffles can each hold their own, but together they form an alliance of superb deliciousness that will make any morning shine just a bit brighter.

Last Year: Roasted Portobello Mushroom Caps with Apple Pecan Stuffing and Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gravy–this dish is vegan, believe it or not, but universally adored by all.

Applesauce Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup

Apple Cider Syrup

The syrup will need to be made ahead of time, so plan accordingly.

1 or 2 quarts of unfiltered apple cider (the good and cloudy stuff that tastes like fresh apples, not the clear golden juice)

1/8 teaspoon to ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Heat at least 1 quart, preferably 2 quarts (if you want to end up with more than a scant cup of syrup) of fresh, unfiltered apple cider in a large pot over high heat. When the cider begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium and allow the cider to boil constantly until it reduces by about 80% and becomes a thick, syrupy liquid. This process can take anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes, depending on how much cider you are using and how high the heat under the pot. You’ll know the syrup is ready when a spatula scraped across the floor of the pot leaves a clear trail that remains open for a second or two before the syrup runs together again. At this point, you can whisk in a bit of cinnamon to taste (add as much cinnamon as you want, really), then either use the syrup immediately or pour it into a jar to cool.

When cooled, the syrup will become slightly gelatinous, due to the natural pectin content in the apples. The thicker you boil the syrup, the more firm the finished product will be when cooled. You can simply reheat the syrup in the microwave or on the stove top to return the syrup to its thick and syrupy state. Keep the syrup refrigerated when not in use.

Applesauce Waffles

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of allspice

2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated

1 cup milk

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled just a bit

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, milk, applesauce, and melted butter. In yet another bowl (sorry, but you do really need to use three separate bowls), whip the egg whites until they just form stiff peaks.

Gently stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture, stirring enough to just barely combine everything. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, being careful not to overmix. There should still be a few streaks of egg white visible, just to make sure you don’t overwork the batter.

Spoon waffle batter onto your preheated waffle iron, and cook according to waffle maker’s directions.

The number of waffles you end up with will depend on the size of your waffle maker. Serve with warm apple sider syrup.

Cider Pressing and Two Kinds of Cupcakes

20 Oct

A few weeks ago, when summer had let us know it was over by summoning its friend autumn to release the Portland rains, we celebrated the beginning of fall by hosting a cider pressing at our house.  I say that casually, as though we’re used to doing such things, but, for us, having a large group of people over is about as common as having a large group of bears over.  (Okay, so maybe people coming over just marginally wins over bears coming over, being as though we’ve had a bunch of bears over, let’s see, never, and we tend to have people over to our house at a rate of about one instance per year.  So, fine.)

Aversions to entertaining aside, the cider pressing was a huge success.  My husband’s aunt and uncle drove out from the coast with their cider pressing machine, set it up just outside our garage, and, as if by magic, hordes of people began to appear with apples and pears aplenty.  Hordes of people we had invited, but, still, hordes in any case.  One cousin of my husband’s brought several hundred pounds of pears from his own tree.  That’s tree, singular, not plural.  His truck, back bumper slung low to the ground, was filled with bin after bin of pears, and I could hardly believe that one tree had managed to produce so much fruit.  The kicker was, he said the tree had actually produced a fairly low yield that year.  Those hundreds of pounds of pears were a small harvest.

The pears, combined with apples of all sorts, made incredible cider.  Tart and sweet, it was the freshest beverage I think I’d ever had.  The biggest hit of all, however, might have been the cider press itself.  With its efficient design and wonderfully growling motor, it attracted people of all ages.  No matter if you were a child or an adult, there was no better place to be than standing at the helm of the press, feeding it with whole apples and pears, watching the press rapidly shred and pulp the fruit, then slowly and satisfyingly hand cranking the actual pressing plate down upon the pulp, squeezing out the fresh juice.

As the machine was starting to slow its production, we all convened in the kitchen to dish out an enormous potluck meal.  There was a fresh tomato tart, a selection of several incredible salads, grilled sausages, a baked polenta dish, macaroni and cheese made in a crock pot (seriously, did you know you could do that?  ‘Cause I didn’t and now I kind of feel like I’ve been missing out), pesto pasta, smoked salmon, Indian food, a peach cobbler, one gigantic chocolate cake, and, because I like no better excuse to bake than having the promise of many mouths to feed, two types of very fall-themed cupcakes.

Let’s be honest, even before cupcakes became the dessert de rigueur, then quickly became the most maligned and passé dessert on the planet (oh, how quickly food trends come and go), I think everyone could appreciate how wonderfully portable, casual, and delicious cupcakes are.  You don’t need a plate and fork when you eat a cupcake.  You don’t even need a table or chair, since you can eat a cupcake while walking around, kicking a soccer ball, or simply standing in one place and enjoying the company of friends.  But even better than the fact that cupcakes are handy, simple to make, and adored by children every where, is the realization that when you make cupcakes, you can make many types at a time, which means you can then eat many types, which I totally did, with no shame whatsoever.

Applesauce Cupcakes with Penuche Frosting

Applesauce Cupcakes

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground powdered ginger

¼ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¾ cup unsweetened, unfiltered apple juice

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners, or grease and flour the tin.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt, then set aside.  With an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla.  Alternate adding the juice and the flour mixture, beating well after each addition.  Fold in the applesauce.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin.  The cups will be very full.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.  Remove the cupcakes from the tin (if they are too hot and delicate to handle at first, you can allow them to cool for 10 minutes before attempting to remove them from the tin) and cool completely on a rack before frosting.

Penuche Frosting

Adapted from Pillsbury: Best Cookies Cookbook

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

¼ cup milk

2 to 2 ½ cups powdered sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook at a light boil for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until mixture has thickened.  Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.  Add milk to cooled mixture and beat until smooth.  Beat in enough powdered sugar to reach desired frosting consistency (start with 2 cups, beat for a few minutes, then add more powdered sugar if you find your frosting is too runny).  Frosting will remain somewhat loose, as it is not meant to be fluffy.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts

Gingerbread Cupcakes

¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup sugar

½ cup unsulphured molasses

1 large egg

1 ½ teaspoons ground powdered ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners, or grease and flour the tin.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light.  Add the molasses and egg and beat until smooth.  Add the ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and flour, and beat until well blended.  In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water (the mixture will foam up).  Add the baking soda and water mixture to the batter and mix until smooth.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin.  Bake for 20 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.  Cool cupcakes for 5 minutes, then remove from tin and set on a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 ounces cream cheese (a generous ¼ cup), at room temperature

2/3 cup powdered sugar

½ teaspoon finely chopped or grated lemon zest

½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.  Beat in the powdered sugar until fluffy.  Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and beat until smooth.

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