As I sit at my desk typing this I’m quite full and content after enjoying a bowl of oatmeal with baked peaches mixed in. Today was overcast and cool which made it perfect for baking! I went to a farm market this morning with my mother and picked up one quart each of Gala apples and peaches. I also picked up some black pepper cheddar cheese which is one of my favorite “indulgent” snacks. I choose spicy things for snacks quite often because I can only eat a little at a time before my mouth says “okay, stop!” It’s a system that works for me.
I realized it’s past time I share some of the recipes I use to make my favorite baked goods and treats. It’s silly to keep such yummy things to myself! Most of the recipes I use came from something written by someone else that I modified to suit my tastes. I can’t just whip something up with flour and sugar knowing the exact proportions. I imagine I might have that ability someday if I keep this kitchen experimentation up. Feel free to modify my recipes as you see fit to suit your own tastes. Even the littlest change makes them uniquely your own and something you can pass down to future generations.
This first one is for my baked peaches. I modified it from Plus One Recipes: Peach Cobbler with Oatmeal Crumble. I made the original version of their recipe with half the proportions and found it quite delicious. I recommend trying it if you’re looking for a cobbler recipe. After making their cobbler I discovered I had a lot of delicious peach-flavored cinnamon-sugar-vanilla sauce in my pie plate. I decided to spoon the crumble into a bowl of oatmeal one morning and it was amazingly good! That’s when I had the idea to just bake some peaches in a pie plate to use in my oatmeal. I’ve also poured them over vanilla ice cream as dessert and it’s so scrumptious I want to lick the bowl!
JulieAnn’s Baked Peaches
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Peel, pit and slice peaches and place in 9 inch ungreased pie plate. Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg over peaches. Mix until peaches are coated. (I actually work it all in with my hands.) Place peaches in preheated oven for 15 minutes then stir. Bake for another 15 minutes or until juices are bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy warm in oatmeal, over ice cream or just as they are! Refrigerate any unused peaches in airtight container.
The next recipe isn’t overly involved and I don’t think it’s how people traditionally make applesauce. I suppose it’s more like apple mush. I mostly use applesauce for baking so the consistency doesn’t really matter to me and I don’t add sugar because I think Gala apples are sweet enough on their own. Feel free to adjust this to your tastes.
6 good-sized Gala apples
1 cup water
Peel apples, remove seeds and slice into small pieces. Place apples in large saucepan with 1 cup water. The amount of water doesn’t have to be exactly 1 cup, add enough to keep the apples from burning during cooking but not so much they’re floating. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15-30 minutes or until apples are soft. Remove lid if necessary to help the excess water cook off. Remove from heat and allow apples to cool a bit. Pour apples into food processor and blend until desired consistency. If you prefer cinnamon applesauce you can add 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon to the apples during cooking or when you process them. I tend to go through applesauce pretty fast so I just pour mine into mason jars and place it in the fridge.
This last recipe is one I modified from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook. The original recipe was for Zucchini Bread but as some summer squash is actually yellow zucchini, I thought I’d give it a try. The squash I use isn’t yellow zucchini though, it’s yellow summer squash. Don’t know the difference? Neither did I! Here’s the online article I found to help clear it up: yellow zucchini vs. yellow summer squash explained. I reduced the amount of sugar used, added honey, replaced the oil with applesauce and used almonds instead of walnuts or pecans. The result is a dense, hearty bread that’s sweet, nutty and irresistible!
JulieAnn’s Yellow Summer Squash Bread
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup organic cane sugar (white sugar is fine too)
1 cup summer squash
3/4 JulieAnn’s “applesauce” or applesauce of your choice
1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease the bottom and sides of an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder and nutmeg. Set aside.
To make the 1 cup of squash, I cut up a small squash and then blend it into mush in my food processor. The original directions say to use finely shredded, unpeeled zucchini.
In a second large bowl (I actually mix it all up in my food processor) combine egg, sugar, honey, squash, applesauce and almonds. Mix until well combined.
Pour squash mixture into flour mixture and stir until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes or until it’s puffed up nicely and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Wait until it’s cool enough to cut a slice without burning yourself and dive in! The original directions say to cool completely on wire rack, wrap and store overnight before slicing. You can do that if you want but I never have the patience! Store the bread in the refrigerator if it’s going to take you more than a day to eat it all.