I think the first time I tried to make an apple dumpling I was about 26, give or take a year. I don’t remember cooking much during that particular time in my life, but what I did cook has stayed with me — for better or worse. A successful pot of chili verde qualifies as one of my better accomplishments, and apple dumplings one of my worst.
I’ve been back from my trip East for a couple of weeks now and think I’ve finally caught up with sleep and processed all my memories along with the more than 500 photos I took. It’s a relaxing task to process photos after a trip and I find myself grinning like a sap as I work, time passing much more quickly than I’d like. Laundry, dishes, and other chores are waiting, but to be so engrossed in a task that little else interferes with is a good thing — something that confirms I enjoy what I’m doing. It helps when the photos I’m processing are of good things as well: lovely places, good times with people I care about, and great food, of course.
When you live in San Diego near the coast, it’s easy to have a hankering for a visit to a small, old-fashioned town at this time of year — one you might find on a drive through the mountains and tucked up against the peaks amongst a few pine trees. In an hour’s time, it’s quite possible to fulfill that desire with a trip to Julian to shop for antiques, enjoy a hearty country meal, and take home a Julian Apple Pie. Situated just outside the Cleveland National Forest at an elevation of nearly 5,ooo feet, it does snow there from time to time, so if you’re lucky and have chains for your tires, you can check a snow day off your list as well — or better yet — get snowed in so you can stay at one of the cozy B&Bs there.
On the way to Julian, if you blink, you’ll miss the tiny town of Santa Ysabel, but rarely does anyone miss Dudley’s Bakery which has been an institution there for nearly 50 years. At one point in time, the only way anyone could enjoy their amazing selection of bread was to wait in a line on the weekend with all of the other city dwellers out on a weekend drive. Now, their bread is available in a wide variety of locations across Southern California. Lucky for me, our local Henry’s market sells it, and once in a blue moon, I’ll see my favorite Julian Apple Nut bread — a slightly sweet, rich brown boule of bread I love to toast and butter for breakfast.
With that in mind, I decided to make some apple nut bread and was surprised to find that unless I wanted a non-yeasted batter bread, it might not be all that easy. I wanted chunks of apple, the nice crunch of nuts, and cinnamon, of course. Something not all that different than a loaded cinnamon roll or even raisin bread would be perfect — no glaze.
p.s. I’m supposed to be posting Christmas cookies, but am left posting things I baked before my knee surgery. With good luck, I’ll be in the kitchen soon, or coerce my husband to do it. We’ll see!
I think one of the nicest aspects of the food blog world is meeting people and having someone take the time to say, “I like your blog.” It’s not expected even though ultimately, that’s what most of us are working for, isn’t it? Maybe it’s not what we began blogging for, but it seems that in the long run, it’s a lot of work if no one’s enjoying what we produce.
Keeping a non-digital scrap book would be far less time consuming, but oh, so quiet. At this point, I could never give up the spirited noise that greets me each day that I sit down to work — whether it’s from twitter, or reading blogs, or responding to comments made on mine, the positive energy that greets me is invaluable!
Recently, I was tagged by Karen of Mignardise to share six random things about myself, and I’m grinning, because I like to have fun with these things. But I’m thinking you may need the bribe of a nice bowl of some warm Maple Apple Crisp and a cup of coffee to go with my random nuggets of information. I have a tendency to blather on a bit.
Does it count that it’s now ten until midnight on Saturday and that this is the day that a few cyber baking buddies were supposed to post a recent foray into yet another cinnamon roll recipe? Wait. They HAVE posted it. I’m the one who is missing. I know. I’m weak. Whatever. I was talking about cinnamon rolls.
But not just any cinnamon roll recipe. A CINNABON recipe. You do know about Cinnabons, right? THE Cinnabons you smell while shopping at your favorite mall? The ones whose aroma permeates the walkways, and then your car should you decide to pack one up and take it home before sinking your teeth into it? Yes. That one.
The Daring Bakers took on cinnamon rolls a couple of months ago. Delicious cinnamon rolls, with a few sticky buns for good measure. And although the cinnamon roll recipe was an excellent one, somehow, at least for some of us, lingering memories of an oh-so-gooey, and oh-so-buttery cinnamon roll infiltrated our taste sessions to remind us that there was another cinnamon roll that just maybe couldn’t be beat.
Lis of La Mia Cucina, the incomparable co-conspiratress of the Daring Bakers decided to glam onto a recipe for the famous Cinnabons and with said recipe in hand conspired to hold a bake fest to see if possibly it was true. That the mighty Cinnabon was the king of cinnamon rolls. That it might, just might be better than Peter Reinhart’s recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
It didn’t take too much convincing for me to head in this direction because Cinnabon had me by the short hairs a very long time ago. Surely, I might take this opportunity to try one and just see whether it might come close to the real McCoy.
And so the day dawned. We (Marce, Lis, Mary, Helene, Sara, Chris and Laura) were all to bake at the same time on the same day. Quite the feat when one considers that we’re all over the
freakin’ globe world and in different time zones. But still. We conspired. We planned. We finagled. And then we got out our ingredients, rolled up our sleeves and were shocked to find (well, at least one of us….) that Yahoo! didn’t quite meet the expectations for a conference bake session. And let me take this moment to say that you will have to pry my beloved Mac from my fingers after I take my last breath so don’t even get started on that whole debate about which is better…okay? It’s not quite a year old and is currently running Leopard. Ahem.
Please let me tell you that I was able to get the web version of Yahoo!. But to this day, and to my knowledge, there is absolutely no way for me to download any kind of Yahoo! email anything that would allow me to consort baking wise with my cyber foodies in any kind of conference. Lo siento.
What a shame. And so much for getting up at 7 am on a Sunday after a great dinner party where too much wine was imbibed. I think I actually got around to getting my ingredients measured around 11 am. How sad is that?
But I did have a trick up my sleeve called ustream.tv. So I set about to broadcast my baking of the before mentioned Cinnabons on the internet….LIVE. Do you have any idea how uncharacteristic this is for me?
Yet I did it. Cooking and chatting away with anyone who stopped by. Answering questions and blathering about whatever came up. It was so much fun. Helene of Tartlette showed up to talk, and so did Mary of The Sour Dough and Sara of I Like to Cook. Helene stuck around to chat with the visitors, throw in her expertise when needed (so needed, and THANKS, Helene!) but was somewhat under the weather on that day. It’s all quite a blur, so I apologize for not remembering exactly.
Except Lisa couldn’t make it. Quite the let down. QUITE. Like, seriously. I wonder sometimes why things work out the way they do and just let it all go with a heavy sigh and flip a "bird" to the wind that things couldn’t go the way I would have liked. Freaking Yahoo! More like Phuck-ewuu-hoo! Yanno? Erm…Excuse me.
But as I was saying. Cinnabons did emerge from my oven. Cinnabons that were made live on the Internet. Cinnabons that were loaded with cinnamon, and butter, and the next day, gooey in the middle like my family likes them. Cinnabons that were not shared at my husband’s office and that were snarked up one at a time by us. Of course they were without calories — snort! I wish.
Regardless, if you’re one to enjoy cinnamon rolls that are full of cinnamon and butter, and like the topping rich and creamy, then this is the recipe for you. Give it a try and let me know what you think about it.
And if you ever consider baking with your cyber buddies, don’t use Yahoo! Well, unless you’re all planning on using the web version, that is.
The recipe can be found here. Give it a shot. It’s a true crowd pleaser. Really. It’s finger lickin’ good.
Wait. Isn’t that KFC?