Some people decide to go on a health kick when their birthday rolls around. Make a resolution for their big day. I am not against that, but it is as if this year I unconsciously decided to do the opposite this year. Instead of walking a few extra miles each day to keep the hands of time from spinning past me, I dove right into a week of sweets, frozen confections and pie.
I am not much of a sweets lover by nature. I like a small slice of cake every now and then but it has to be just right. I don’t eat sweets just for the sake of eating sweets. I like a nice homemade pie or cake made from scratch. I can hold out until I see something I like.
The spent the day of my birthday at the Country Living Magazine Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I was surrounded by high end antiques, home decor and fine foods and the highlight of my day was the deep dish cobbler that I get there every year. I have never had anything like it. It is made, on site, in deep cast iron skillets over a wood fire. Later that evening we drove a few miles from our hotel to visit Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream shop. Jeni’s is a small chain of handcrafted ice cream shops that boasts such flavors as salty caramel, goat cheese and cherry ,and corn and blackberry. I sampled over 15 of her different flavors that day before I settled on dark chocolate and salty caramel.
We even went back the next day. I felt like I should live a little. We were out of state on my birthday after all! Who knew when I would be near another Jeni’s again? Later that day my kids and I toured the Graeters Ice Cream factory outside Columbus. Starting to see a theme here I decided to skip the tasting portion of the tour.
A few days later when I gathered with my family to celebrate my husband’s birthday, my mother came bearing pastries in honor of his special day. Not only had she made a deep, thick cheesecake, but she had also made me a Texas sheet cake! So of course I had to have some. I vowed that day that I would not eat another sweet for a month to balance out the fact that I had overindulged so much that week.
I had neglected to remember that I had been asked to be a “celebrity” judge for an event to raise money for Indianapolis School on Wheels, an educational charity to help homeless children in Indianapolis. I was asked to judge all of the pies in the fruit category. Well, my dessert hiatus would start after that.
My kind sister brought me over a bushel of ripe pears this week as well. I made a few dishes for dinner incorporating them but when I had 6 left over that needed to be used I thought of no better way to consume them than making a pear upside down cake. Just one slice and I was off the wagon again.
My kids and I visited Taylor Farm Market for some Fall corn and I left with a few large apples. I had an old recipe I wanted to revisit for this column, so I put the apples to good use. This easy Apple Brownie is really good topped with vanilla bean ice cream or some of the Best Boy & Co Bourbon Barrel Caramel that I have. This is the last baked good I am making for a while.
At least, until next week.
As seen in Martha Stewart October 2012
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 C of all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 C sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 C chopped walnuts
- 2 large, firm-sweet apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center position of oven.
- Butter an 8x11 baking dish.
- Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
- In another bowl, beat together the cooled butter and sugar for 1 minute or until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and combine.
- Add walnuts and apples and stir by hand to combine.
- Add the flour mixture, and stir until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Spread batter in the pan, and bake until golden brown and firm, about 40 minutes.
- Allow to cool, cut and serve.