Applesauce Bread

Applesauce Bread

Applesauce Bread is moist and slightly sweet with a walnut and brown sugar topping to put it over the edge. This is the perfect afternoon snack or early morning treat.

This post is sponsored by Diamond of California, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that help make this site possible.

Applesauce Bread

Sometimes, during the summer, I start wishing for fall.

Up until recently, I did not have to wish so much here in Chicago – the weather was uncharacteristically cool. In the past couple of weeks, however, the temperatures have been pretty standard for the end of July – meaning not just hot, but also smotheringly humid. Someone get me a snorkel, I feel like I’m drowning.

At any rate, I now find myself wishing for cooler temperatures again. Nothing drastic – just cool enough to casually throw on a cute scarf with my outfit and actually look put together again, or to bake a loaf of bread to enjoy with a mug of tea and a good book on my imaginary front porch. That’s my kind of weather, right there.

And when fall appears, this is the first recipe that is going to be on my bucket list to make. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you made banana bread with applesauce instead of bananas? Delicious things, that’s what.

Applesauce Bread2

This is a recipe that originally came from my aunt and I only made a couple of tweaks to it:

1. I added 1/2 cup of oats to the batter and swapped coconut oil for vegetable oil. Not because I thought I could market this loaf as “healthy” if I did so, but because they both boost the flavor of the bread in their own way, without either one overpowering the flavors of the applesauce or the nuts in the batter.

2. I effectively balanced out any potential health benefits of #1 by increasing the amount of sugar-and-nut topping on the bread. Because crumbly brown sugar and nuts – use walnuts or pecans, whichever you prefer – on top of bread is pretty much a dream come true in my book.

Once the heat breaks, go forth and bake, my darlings. You’ll be glad you did.

Applesauce Bread3

5.0 from 1 reviews
Applesauce Bread
 
Yield: 1 9x5-inch loaf
Ingredients
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ cup Diamond of California Chopped Walnuts or Chopped Pecans
For the topping:
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Diamond of California Chopped Walnuts or Chopped Pecans
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the coconut oil, applesauce, milk, eggs and granulated sugar.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Add the wet ingredients and the chopped walnuts or pecans and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the topping ingredients until well combined. Sprinkle evenly over the bread batter.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Wrap tightly in foil and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Marry classic pineapple upside-down cake with macadamia nuts and subtle coconut flavors for a bite of tropical cake paradise. 

This post is sponsored by Diamond of California, but – as always – all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that help make this site possible!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I don’t mean to boast, but I think I really hit the jackpot when it comes to in-laws.

I know it is a cliche for everyone to complain about their in-laws, but I truly cannot join in that game. Alex’s parents welcomed me with open arms from the very first time they met me and have made me feel like a part of the family every single day since. I love them deeply and feel honored to be a part of their family.

Believe me, I know how blessed I am to feel this way, and it is not something that I take for granted – I am always looking for little ways to show them how much they mean to me and how glad I am that they’re my new family. So when my father-in-law, Jeff – upon finding out that I was serving as a culinary ambassador for Diamond Nuts – made a request for a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake crusted with chopped macadamia nuts, I filed that request away in my memory bank.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake 4

Pineapple upside Down Cake

I think from now on I might just consult Jeff any time I am looking for good recipe inspiration, because this cake was downright phenomenal. I went with a fairly traditional base of butter and brown sugar, added some chopped macadamia nuts to the crushed pineapple party, and baked that underneath a traditional cake flavored with a bit of coconut milk. The addition of the coconut milk and the macadamia nuts add a subtle tropical touch that pairs well with the pineapple without overpowering it. The best part is that this cake looks very fancy – as all upside-down cakes tend do – but is actually far quicker and easier to make than a frosted cake.

I even had the chance to make this cake for my father-in-law during the family’s Memorial Day BBQ this past weekend. It was a hit – especially with Jeff and my 2-year-old niece. I am to please all ages.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake 3

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Yield: 1 9-inch cake
Ingredients
For the topping:
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup Diamond of California Macadamia Nuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 8-ounce cans crushed pineapple, very well drained
For the cake:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent any leaks during baking.
Prep the topping:
  1. Pour the melted butter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Brush some of the butter up the sides of the pan to lightly grease them. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the melted butter in the bottom of the pan; top with the macadamia nuts, followed by the pineapple. Set aside.
Make the cake:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix until combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Add ½ of the coconut milk, mixing until just combined. Repeat until all of the flour and milk are added, ending with the final ⅓ of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Spoon the cake batter on top of the prepared topping, spreading evenly. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  4. Allow cake to cool for a few minutes after removing from the oven, then run a paring knife around the edges of the cake pan and (carefully) turn cake onto a cake plate while the cake is still very warm. Allow to cool before serving.
  5. Cake will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

Chess Pie Bars

Chess Pie Bars

Perfectly rich, custardy chess pie portioned into bars – perfect for serving just two people!

Chess Pie Bars

I am highly overdue with this post.

I took these photos weeks – nay, months – ago when I made this recipe, yet I have failed to share it with you. Perhaps I was waiting for juuuust the right moment.

You see, this recipe comes from my friend Christina’s cookbook – the aptly named Dessert For Two: Small Batch Cookies, Brownies, Pies, and CakesChristina was one of the very first “established” bloggers to befriend me when I started this site, and she remains a dear friend several years later. I was thrilled when she first told me that she had landed her first book deal – I knew that it would be positively amazing, because every recipe she cranks out is nothing short of mouthwatering.

As for my timing in telling you about this book, Christina just gave birth to her and her husband’s first little girl (joining their two babies of the four-legged variety) five days ago, so it seems only fitting that I should post this recipe now. (Make sure to pop over to Christina’s Instagram to check out some cutie-pie pictures of her newest addition – she’s a cutie for sure.)

Chess Pie from Dessert for Two Cookbook

This cookbook makes me happy because it contains all of the home-spun recipes you could want, sized down to serve just two people. I love chess pie, but that stuff is rich – there’s no way I could ingest an entire full-size pie and survive to tell the tale. So instead, I turned to Christina’s Chess Pie Bars recipe – Christina makes them in a loaf pan, with a shortbread crust like lemon bars. They’re easy to cut into 2 large or 4 smaller bars, and don’t leave the leftovers calling to you from the fridge every time you go to get a drink of water. (Don’t tell me I’m the only person who can hear her dessert taunting her from the other room.)

In short, you need to buy this cookbook. I would tell you more, but I’m too busy plotting what recipe I want to make next.

Chess Pie for Two

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chess Pie Bars
 
Yield: 2 large or 4 small bars
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
  • ½ teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons water
For the filling:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 1½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1½ teaspoons cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
Instructions
Make the crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter, and kit it into the flour using a pastry blender or two knives until evenly incorporated. Add the vinegar and 3 tablespoons of water, and stir with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. If the dough doesn't clump together nicely and there are dry bits at the bottom of the bowl, add up to 2 more tablespoons of water.
  3. Press the crust into the bottom of an ungreased 9x5-inch loaf pan. Bake for 10 minutes and remove the pan from the oven. Then, turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.
Make the filling:
  1. Sir together all the filling ingredients. Pour over the parbaked crust. Bake for 40 minutes. The pie bars are done when the top is nicely browned and dry.
  2. Let cool completely in the pan, and chill overnight for the prettiest slices. Serve chilled or warm, whichever you like.
Notes
While the instructions call for an ungreased baking pan, I lined my loaf pan with a "sling" of parchment paper across the bottom for easy removal of the bars once cooled.

 

French Breakfast Puffs

French Breakfast Puffs

These light, buttery pastries are rolled in cinnamon-sugar for the perfect breakfast treat or party sweet.

French Breakfast Puffs

Today is a very special day around here! And no, not just because I am actually posting 4 days before I get married – although, believe you me, that is pretty miraculous in and of itself. No, only a handful of things could persuade me to post this close to the wedding, and today it is because I am joining with some of my blogging friends to throw a virtual baby shower for our friend Christina from Dessert for Two!

Baby Shower Badge - Dessert for Two

Surprise, Tina! (Are you surprised? I hope you’re surprised.)

Christina was one of the very first “established” bloggers to befriend me when I started this site, and has remained a dear friend ever since. We bonded over our common understanding of southern grandmothers and remained friends because of our love of dessert. (Ok, maybe there are a few more elements to our friendship than just that…but baking is a pretty solid cornerstone.) Alex and I adore both Christina and her husband, Brian, and we could not be more excited for them as they welcome their first child – a baby girl! – into the world.

Cinnamon-Sugar Breakfast Puffs

For Christina’s big day, I dove into the family recipe files and pulled out this recipe for French Breakfast Puffs, which is a recipe my mother acquired during her junior high Home Ec class. This recipe is a cinch to make, and makes the most perfect little breakfast puffs dipped in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon-sugar.

Heaven help me.

Make these puffs for a breakfast, brunch, or even a baby shower. If the butter and cinnamon-sugar don’t automatically make you the most popular person at the party, I don’t know what will.

Make sure to check out all of the other recipes from Christina’s friends:

Fizzy Grapefruit Margaritas from Well Plated

Earl Grey Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream from Country Cleaver

Mini Bourbon and Bacon Tater Tot Casseroles from Climbing Grier Mountain

Maple-Chia Overnight Oatmeal from Feed Me Phoebe

Lemon Cake for Two from Keep It Sweet Desserts

Mini Raspberry Pavlovas from The Baker Chick

Almond Berry Cake Parfaits for Two from Edible Perspective

Peanut Butter Bourbon Blondies from The Frosted Vegan

Mixed Berry Mascarpone Scones from Bluebonnet Baker

Greek Yogurt Funfetti Cupcakes for Two from The Housewife in Training Files

Bourbon Barbeque Sliders with Bleu Cheese from Saucy Pear

Steak Fajita Tacos for Two from The Sweetphi Blog

Mango Madeleines from Stetted

Citrus Salad with Mint, Honey, and Lime from Rachel Cooks

Parfaits for Two from Order in the Kitchen

Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse with Coconut Whipped Cream from Joyful Healthy Eats

Blueberry Vanilla Cream Hand Pies from Eats Well With Others

Banana Pudding Cheesecake from The Domestic Rebel

 French Breakfast Puffs 3

PSA: When your nails match your dishes, you might have a problem. 

5.0 from 2 reviews
French Breakfast Puffs
 
Yield: 10 muffins
Ingredients
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup milk
For the topping:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
  3. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add alternately the dry ingredients with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Fill the muffin cups ⅔ full (should fill about 10 of the cups). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. While puffs bake, mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
  5. Upon removing from the oven, immediately roll puffs in the butter, then then cinnamon-sugar mixture. Best served hot, but will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Speaking of showers – A couple of weeks ago, some of my dear friends (Christina included!) threw me a surprise virtual bridal shower! I was so touched and adored all of the recipes, as well as everyone’s kind words. No one told me that getting married meant having all of the people say beautiful, touching things about you! Check out the posts from my friends as well – love and recipes abound!

The Cooking Actress – Chocolate Shoofly Pie with Pecan Whole Wheat Crust
Girl Versus Dough – Mini Meyer Lemon Coconut Scones
Sarcastic Cooking – Mini Buffalo Blue Cheese Chicken Pot Pies
The Roasted Root – Sweet Potato Rounds with Guacamole and Bacon
A Cedar Spoon – Strawberry Mint Mascarpone Crostini with Lemon Honey Drizzle
Very Culinary – White Chocolate Raspberry Parfaits
Rachel Cooks – Broccoli and Bacon Beer Cheese Dip
Bluebonnet Baker – Maple Bourbon Balls
Nutmeg Nanny – Broccoli Bacon Salad
Laura’s Mess – Spiced Apple and Buttermilk Cake
Seaweed and Sassafras – Herb and Cheese Scones
Stetted – Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie
All Day I Dream About Food – Chocolate Fudge Crumb Bars
Dessert for Two – Mini Lemon Cakes
Foodie with Family – Smoked Salmon Cucumber Pizza

Cranberry Ginger Cream Scones

Cranberry Ginger Cream Scones

Cream scones studded with dried cranberries and candied ginger are simple to make with an impressive taste.

Cranberry Ginger Cream Scones

TGIF, people!!

Did anyone else have a weird, stressful week? I am headed home this afternoon for my first wedding dress fitting this weekend and am so glad for a weekend full of things like best friends, no-chip manicures and Cranberry Ginger Cream Scones after a week like this one. Can I get an “amen”? (Hashtag: Priorities.)

Freaky Friday Blog Hop

In case you are looking for a little bit of an internet-retreat from the “real world” this weekend, I’ve got an extra surprise for you: Today I am joining several of my blogging friends for a fun “Freaky Friday” blog hop. Each of us made a recipe from another blogger in the group and are sharing that recipe on our sites today. Visit each of the blogs to learn more about all of us and snag some really great recipes!

Today’s recipe for Cranberry Ginger Cream Scones is a variation on a Cream Scones recipe from Debi over at Life Currents. Much like myself, Debi is an advocate for “getting back to real foods and methods.” Many of her recipes are healthy, but even those that are more indulgent – like these scones – are made with real ingredients. She is a big believer in home cooking, hates celery (preach, sister!), and loves using seasonal, local produce as much as possible. I’m definitely going to have to try her Smoky Cheese Chowder recipe soon (because cheese), as well as this super easy Pizza Tarts recipe (pizza.tarts, people!).

Cream Scones

So now, let’s chat about these Cranberry Ginger Cream Scones. I have shared some scone recipes with you before – Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Scones was one of the very first recipes on my site, and Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Scones are, frankly, pretty hard to beat – all of which used butter in addition to your liquid (usually buttermilk). While I will always love this method (because butter), cream scones are even easier to make, as the heavy cream provides both the fat and the liquid for the recipe. Seriously, these scones couldn’t be easier and yet the light, airy texture and indulgent taste are sure to fool your family and friends into thinking you spend hours slaving away to make them. They’re the perfect weekend brunch treat!

Head on over to Life Currents to see what recipe Debi made, and be sure to check out everyone else’s sites as well! You’ve got a lot of great recipes in your future.

A Dish Of Daily Life 
An Affair from the Heart 
Aunt Bee’s Recipes 
Big Rigs ‘n Lil Cookies 
Café Terra Blog 
Full Belly Sisters 
Honey & Birch
Life Currents
Pic Nic
Simply Sated 
The Foodie Affair 
Who Needs A Cape?

Cream Scones with Dried Cranberries

5.0 from 6 reviews
Cranberry Ginger Cream Scones
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Cream scones studded with dried cranberries and candied ginger are simple to make with an impressive taste.
Yield: 8 scones
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1 heaping teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • Additional cream + turbinado sugar, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the dried cranberries, candied ginger and orange zest. Gently stir in the cream, mixing until just combined.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 5-10 times, until the dough just comes together and loses some of its stickiness. Gently pat the dough into a circle about 8 inches wide and ¾ inch thick. Cut the circle into 8 wedges.
  4. Place wedges on the prepared baking sheet, about ½ inch apart. Brush the tops lightly with additional cream and sprinkle with a bit of turbinado sugar. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Move to a wire rack to cool or serve warm.
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

Granola Cookies

Granola Cookies

Stuff your healthy granola into a perfectly chewy Granola Cookie. You can thank me later.

Granola Cookies

I mean, c’mon.

Do I really need to go into a long description about these cookies? Do I need to write you paragraphs about how chewy they are? Must I tell you that the brown sugar and butter do magical things to the already-magical granola? Is it necessary to tell you that a smidgen of almond extract take these beauties over the top?

The name really says it for itself, doesn’t it?

Granola. Cookies.

If you think you like oatmeal cookies – which I do – then you simply must try making Granola Cookies. They are everything an oatmeal cookie should be, taken to the next level.

It truly is one of my greatest gifts to be able to take something perfectly healthy for you, such as last week’s Coconut Ginger Almond Granola, and turn it into something…well, significantly less healthy.

But sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. And some days, you just need a cookie.

Granola Cookies

5.0 from 1 reviews
Granola Cookies
 
Yield: 18 giant cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 cups granola
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until lightened in color and creamy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract; beat on medium speed until well combined.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the granola and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop about ¼ cup of dough at a time onto the prepared cookie sheet. These make very large cookies, so leave at least 2 inches of space between them - you will likely be able to fit no more than 6 cookies per sheet.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the edges are golden and the centers are set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Store in an airtight container for up a week - if they last that long.