Do you ever have those days that seem to glue themselves to your brain? A set of moments that hang out in your memories like they’ve lived there forever? Earlier this week, the kids convinced me to relinquish my indoor post at the nursing chair to come play outside. Surprised by the unseasonably cool weather, I sat in the grass with Charlie laid back on my lap. He kicked his little feet and looked upward with wide eyes that I could tell were taking in the noises and sights before him. Birds chirping. The wind in the trees. A lone cricket singing somewhere far off. We’d kept inside for most of the summer, so the outdoor elements were new to him. I followed his cue and tried to take it all in too.
A few yards away, Aimee and George were playing games in the yard. They’d disappear into the garage and return with various balls and rocks they found along the way. When they tired of the toys, they raced around the yard chasing each other’s shadows until they ran out of grass. “Mama, look at us! Look how fast we are!” The sight of them running toward me, legs flailing and heads tossed back in laughter, was akin to something you’d see in the movies.
I started to get my phone to take pictures but hesitated for fear that I’d disrupt the beauty that was unfolding. It was the single most peaceful and pure moment we had experienced all summer. I knew it was something special and immediately tried to lock it all into my brain: Aimee’s eyes glittering in the glare of the sun; the way Charlie smacked his lips when his searching eyes caught mine; the hair at the crown of George’s head that flopped up and down as he ambled about the yard. This was my entire world making magic in our backyard, and I took in the details of the scene with wonder that I got to be apart of it all.
To be fair, someone was crying within minutes. We eventually went back inside, ate supper, and resumed the bedtime circus, but for just a second, the near-fall air and a patch of grass afforded me a memory I plan to hold onto for a while. This past summer gave us a lot, but I’m still longing for the change of pace that fall will bring. So maybe that’s why you’re getting English muffin bread and homemade apple butter today. Yes, there’s still room for summer berries and ice cream cones, but I’m hoping this small peek into autumn recipes will spur on the shift I’m longing for. So let’s talk about the recipe.
Do you love English muffins? Apple butter? I can remember disapproving of both as a child. The dry texture of the muffins seemed far less acceptable that a toasted slice of white bread, and apple butter came in second to the option of store-bought jelly. Now, as an adult, I adore the way an English muffins’ deep nooks serve as a pool for whatever topping you’ve slathered on and I appreciate the rich apple and cinnamon flavor in the apple butter. Both elements are cozy and seem appropriate for fall.
English muffin bread is surprisingly simple to make. It’s a no-knead recipe that is stirred together in a bowl and dumped in loaf pans for a short rise. The whole process takes less than an hour, so you can have fresh crannied bread within the length of a lazy Saturday morning. The apple butter is similarly simple although it does take a bit longer to prepare. Apples, maple syrup, and a generous amount of spice are cooked low and slow in a crock pot until the mixture is soft enough to puree. After a quick whiz in a blender or food processor, I like to cook it down even more to thicken the mixture. The blend keeps well in the refrigerator and serves as a great alternative to your morning peanut butter or jelly toast.
I’m sharing today’s recipe with my friends at Stemilt. Stemilt is is a leading Washington state grower, packer, and shipper of fruit including apples, pears, cherries, and more. Each quarter, I’ve been developing recipes for their blog using their best in-season fruits. This month, I got my hands on their fuji apples, and thought a sweet and simple apple butter would make for a delicious treat to spread all season long. Head to their site at the link below to read all about it and give the recipe a try! I can’t wait to hear what you think. Enjoy this change of season and happy baking!
If you like this english muffin bread you should check out:
English Muffin Bread
Just like the original English muffins, but in loaf form!
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 60
- Yield: 2 loaves
- Category: Bread
- ¼ cup (60 gm) lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2-1/4 cups milk, lukewarm
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Combine the water, honey, and yeast in a large bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the yeast to dissolve. Add in one cup of flour and the milk, stirring to combine. Add in the remaining flour, the salt, and the baking soda, and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Lightly grease two 8”x4” loaf pans and dust them with cornmeal. Dump half of the thin dough into each prepared pan. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm spot in the kitchen until the loaves dome an inch outside of the pan.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the loaves have risen, bake in the preheated oven about 20-22 minutes or until the tops are golden and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and cool about 15 minutes in the pan. Remove from the pan and cool completely. Serve bread toasted and sliced.
This apple butter is made in a slow cooker and sweetened with maple syrup!
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 240
- Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups
- Category: Condiment
- 2 pounds of apples (I used fuji), peeled, cored and roughly sliced
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of cloves
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Combine the apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a slow cooker and set to high for 4-5 hours, stirring hourly until the apples are soft and juices are starting to get sticky around the edges of the pot. Carefully remove the mixture from the slow cooker and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return the apple mixture back to the slow cooker and cook for an additional 1-2 hours or until desired consistency is reached. Add the vanilla extract and taste for sweetness. Add an additional tablespoon of maple syrup if desired. Allow to cool prior to use.