Sunday, August 28, 2011

Green Apple Streusel Bars

I bought five green apples with the best of intentions, but they ended up just sitting in a bowl on my dining room table looking pretty. I love green apples, lemons, and even oranges as centerpieces, but when the end of the week draws near it is time to put that fruit to good use. I decided to make these bars with three of the apples rather than eat them one by one. These bars are great with a scoop vanilla ice cream for dessert or with a cup of coffee as a morning treat.

Green Apple Streusel Bars
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, Melted
3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour

Mix together the brown sugar and salt. Pour in the butter and stir to combined, then add the flour and mix with a fork until large crumbs form. Refrigerate until needed.

Apple Mix
3 Green Apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
Pinch of Kosher Salt

Whisk together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the apples and mix to coat. Set aside until needed.

1 cup All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Kosher Salt
3/4 cup Unsalted Butter, plus more for pan
1 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar, plus more for dusting
2 Eggs
3/4 teaspoon Almond Extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the powdered sugar until fluffy. Add the almond and beat to incorporate. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined, scape bowl as needed. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture and mix just to combined.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9 inch square pan with parchment. Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan. Distribute the apple mix evenly over the batter, note there will be some of the flour mixture left in the bottom of the bowl that didn't stick to the apples, just sprinkle it over the apples in the pan. Top the apples with the streusel. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream

I know it is a little early for fall time desserts, but I have an obsession with pumpkin. I usually get the itch to bake with pumpkin in August and it continues through the end of November. Fall baking is my absolute favorite, so I tend to start baking treats with pumpkin, apple, and spice a bit before the fall season officially begins. I came across this amazing looking gingerbread on Oh She Glows, and I have been thinking about making it ever since. Not only does this bread look fantastic, but it is also vegan. I have not experimented very much with vegan baking but I am really interested in learning more about it and trying new recipes.

Pumpkin Gingerbread
1 cup canned Pumpkin
3 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
3/4 cup Organic Pure Cane Sugar
1/3 cup Coconut Oil
1/4 cup Blackstrap Molasses
1 tablespoon Ground Flax Seed
3 tablespoons Water
1 2/3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice (or make your own)
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 cup Walnuts, Toasted and Chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coarsely  chop walnuts then spread them around on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast walnuts for 10 minutes, then set aside until needed. Prepare loaf pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl stir together the ground flax seed and water, then set aside. In a medium sized bowl mix together the pumpkin, maple syrup, sugar, coconut oil, molasses, and flax and water mixture. In a separate bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, then stir in the toasted walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Once baked allow loaf to cool completely before frosting.

Pumpkin Spice Buttercream 
1/2 cup Earth Balance Butter Stick, room temperature
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tablespoon Almond Milk (or enough to reach the desired consistency)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the Earth Balance butter stick until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla on low. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl, increase the speed and beat again until smooth. Add almond milk if needed.  

Recipe slightly adapted from Oh She Glows where it was adapted from Fat Free Vegan