Happy Friday, friends. How was your week? Snow is in the forecast for the weekend, and while I have to reserve time to pack and prep for the start of the semester (daily calls unfortunately don’t send themselves), I know I’ll also be baking up a storm with these last few days I have at home. If your weekend plans look similar, let me suggest a new recipe favorite: Ginger Apple Crumble, from Deb Perelman’s terrific cookbook Smitten Kitchen Every Day. Crumble goes by many names, but any combination of fruit with a topping of butter, sugar, and flour is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, especially as the temperatures fall, meals linger on, and the call to bake and savor a warm dessert is hard to resist.
In fact, you could consider this a cozy winter afternoon in a dish. The flavor profile is certainly reminiscent of one, pairing a heavy but delightful dose of ginger with tart, cinnamon-dusted apples. You could make it for the spices alone, but part of a crumble’s appeal too, I think, is the simple comfort in putting it together: the peeling apples and zesting lemons and sprinkling dough. Needless to say, a recipe this rewarding begs to be tested.
That in mind, before you start, a small kitchen note: I like crumbles served warm right from the oven—you could say I’m a touch impatient—but my family has found this just as tasty stored in the fridge and warmed again when the craving strikes. Not that it lasts long in our kitchen—nor, do I imagine, will it in yours!
Ginger Apple Crumble Loosely adapted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman
ingredients for the apple filling
- 3 large, tart baking apples (I used Granny Smith!)
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- A pinch of ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- A pinch of salt
ingredients for the topping
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon candied ginger
- Heat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-by-13 inch baking dish.
- Peel, halve, and core the apples. Cut pieces into one-inch wedges, and arrange in a single layer in prepared baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, sugar, and salt. Pour over apples and mix to coat them. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large bowl. Stir in the sugars, salt, baking powder, and ginger.
- Slowly mix in the flour and candied ginger. Clumps should naturally form with the addition of the flour, but if not, add a tablespoon of flour and continue to mix.
- Sprinkle the crumble on top of the apples.
- Bake crumble for 40-45 minutes. Crumble should be lightly browned.
- Let cool for ten minutes, and then enjoy!
Have the most wonderful weekend!
Call it the dining hall blues, but every time I return to school after a trip home, I wish for a kitchen in which I can whip up my own meals. I’m grateful, of course, for the convenience and variety of my meal plan selections, but after a long day of classes and activities, my heart sometimes longs for a serving of homemade mac-and-cheese or a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven. I suppose my cravings speak to the power of comfort food and its ability to transport and soothe simultaneously.
For a prime example of such dishes, one can do no better than a loaf of banana bread — except, perhaps, by adding a bit of chocolate! When I saw this rich rendition of the household favorite, I knew instantly that I’d need to make it for myself. The recipe delivered: the bread is decadent, fudgy, and flavorful. It’s, in short, comfort food at its finest, a recipe that could easily make a sweet surprise for a friend. With all this said, it’s no wonder that today, as my sister recently informed me, is National Banana Bread Day. A dessert this beloved deserves a holiday to itself.
As always, some kitchen notes to keep in mind. First, you can keep this in the fridge (my family simply heats up slices in the microwave), but I find it best enjoyed the day it’s made. Second, you’re free to skip the sliced banana on top if you fear too sunken of a bread, but I love the look – and taste! – of it. And finally, I haven’t tried this with chocolate chips, but I imagine it would be an utter delight. If you’re feeling adventurous and try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes.
Fudgy Banana Bread Adapted from Alison Roman’s Dining In (via A Cup of Jo)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, separated
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (alternatively, use 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- 5 ripe bananas, four mashed and one sliced in half lengthwise
- 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray or grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan, then sprinkle the pan with 1/4 cup granulated sugar so it is coated. Tap out excess sugar.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla for 3-5 minutes. Mixture will be light.
- Add the egg, and beat two minutes more.
- Slowly stir in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Mix in the mashed bananas and sour cream by hand.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Place the banana halves, cut side up, on top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar on top.
- Bake for 90-100 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (save for a few moist crumbs).
- Let cool before slicing, and enjoy!
Have a lovely Friday!
When I was little, the end of December marked the end of winter magic. Christmas decorations stored away and holiday break only a memory, all that was left to January and February was school and snow. Now, however, I revel in the coziness and quietness of the winter months. If the change is a result of growing older, I’m not sure, but it’s nevertheless the time of year where I crave chances to write and bake (you can only imagine how I’ve spent these past few weeks at home).
It was on a recent chilly evening that I whipped up a batch of Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies. I shared a different recipe for these a while back, but ever since I saw a salt-sprinkled and chocolate-heavy version in a recent issue of Bon Appétit, I’ve been meaning to revisit it. Whether you have a case of the winter blues or you look forward to January as much as I do, let this be a reminder that sometimes, it’s just cookies, in all their brown butter and chocolate toffee bit goodness, that you need.
Two kitchen notes, before we begin. First, you may be tempted to rush the chilling of these cookies – I don’t blame you – but this dough requires thirty minutes to an hour in the fridge for best results. Second, you can, of course, skip the toffee bits and simply use whatever leftover Christmas chocolate you have on hand. The cookies will still be delicious (I promise!). With that said, if you have the ability to splurge on ingredients, this is an instance where it’s entirely worth it.
Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies Loosely adapted from Bon Appétit
- 1 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup dark brown sugar (alternatively, use 1 cup light brown sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses – works like a charm!)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 chocolate toffee bars (such as Skor or Heath), chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
- Coarse salt, for sprinkling
- Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently, until it foams, browns, and smells somewhat nutty, five to seven minutes. Pour into a separate bowl and let cool slightly.
- Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until combined. Scrape down the bowl, then mix in eggs and vanilla.
- Reduce speed to add flours, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the toffee pieces and chocolate chips by hand.
- Let dough chill for thirty minutes to an hour. (I haven’t tried it overnight, but I’m sure results will be similar!).
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease or line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough into small 1-inch balls and place in rows. Sprinkle each cookie with salt.
- Bake cookies for nine to eleven minutes, or until golden brown and firm at the edges. Let cool before transferring to a baking sheet, and enjoy!
Have a lovely Wednesday!
Psst. If you’re asking, “Bella, is that a bandana with cookies on it?!,” you’d be correct. It’s from the wonderful Madewell x Milk line, and it’s my current go-to accessory when styling my tote! If you’d like it for yourself, you can find it HERE.