What's Going on Today: Almost finished unpacking! Morning walk to Main Street to get tea and check out the childrens section at the local library.
Naptime Goals: Bake Apple Bread to take to friend's house, organize cookbooks on new kitchen shelves.
Tonight's Menu: Dinner at a friend's house.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: It is truly remarkable how quickly children make new friends.
We've have nearly completed our first week living in Connecticut and so far so good. In fact, it's been pretty great. Of course, I could have done without my daughter smashing her front tooth on the base of the slide at the playground, but that seems to be par for the course with parenthood. Just when you think everything is going smoothly a new injury is sustained and mayhem ensues. Thankfully, we found a fabulous pediatric dentist in town and all has been repaired.
One of the many great things about moving to this town is that we already know a family who lives here. Even better, we know them well enough that they invited us over for casual neighborhood dinner to introduce us to their friends. As the newbies in town we couldn't have been more grateful for the invitation, even my daughter was excited since their is son is exactly three days older than she is. I can already tell they are destined to be playmates.
With my kitchen unpacked and all of my ingredients on hand it seemed only natural that I express my gratitude by baking them a little treat. I wanted to make something that was completely family-friend so I went straight to my favorite Tessa Kiros volume, Apples for Jam, and opened to an old favorite, Apple Bread. Much like banana bread, this loaf is soft and chewy, flavored with sweet fruit and topped with warm spices. It is perfect for adults and children alike and is great for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack.
This bread was the first thing I Naptime Chef-ed in my new kitchen and it was perfect. While it baked any remaining whiff of fresh paint was quickly erased by the comforting aroma of warm cinnamon and apples. Since this recipe usually makes one large loaf I decided to divide the batter into two smaller loaf pans. When they cooled I wrapped one to take to our friends, and let my daughter have a fresh warm slice of the other when she woke up. Our dinner was wonderful and the food delicious. It was a great evening with new friends and the perfect way to kick-off sweet new beginnings.
Apple Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Topping
adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros
10 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cardamom
Pinch Kosher salt
2 Apples, peeled, cored and grated on a box grater
1 t. vanilla
2/3 c. walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped (optional)
2/3 c. walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
1/3 c. freshly packed brown sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 12x4 inch loaf pan, or two smaller loaf pans.
2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then, add the eggs and beat them well. The mixture will still look slightly curdled, but that's fine.
3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon and salt. With the mixer on low add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients bit by bit until they are totally incorporated. Then, stir in the apples, walnuts and vanilla until just combined. Prepare the topping by mixing the walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon in one bowl.
4. Pour prepared batter into loaf pan(s) and sprinkle with topping mixture. Bake for 45 minutes, or until cake tester inserted comes out clean.
Naptime Serving Suggestions: This is a great bread for any kind of day. In the morning try it with a dollop of yogurt of schmear of cream cheese.
Naptime Stopwatch: Preparing the batter takes 15 minutes and then baking is about 40 minutes.Naptime Reviews: This is a great family-friendly bread. My daughter loves it and refers to it as apple cake!