It was more than a week since I had strained my back this Thanksgiving. I hadn’t even entered the kitchen let alone cook anything decent. Thanks to caring friends, we had hot home cooked meals served for lunch and dinner right at our table all throughout. Personally, that was a thing of true Thanksgiving for me, to have had timely help.
I couldn’t wait to heal. Just when I was feeling a lot better to do things by myself, all of a sudden this intense urge to bake something nice took over me by surprise. I wasn’t going to rationalize. I gave in. Baking made me feel normal once again as if nothing had happened in the first place. It was liberating. Sounds weird but true.
I had all the right ingredients – an unopened box of cornmeal, few organic apples, a brand new bottle of molasses and some unfinished applesauce. And quickly when I tinkered with my i-phone apps, I fished out a recipe that I felt confident enough to tweak on my own terms. The result was 200 miles opposite of disappointing.
Chocolate lovers, don’t be surprised. The seductive dark chocolate color is the work of a slow and sensuous molasses. Baking with molasses was a first for me and I was thrilled with the color and the mellow sweetness that sugar just does not offer otherwise.
Operation success. Patient Happy.
APPLE ALMOND CORNMEAL BREAD RECIPE
recipe reference – Vegan Apple Almond gingerbread from Whole Foods Recipes
Things you’ll need:
1/4 cup almonds, coarsely crushed
2 tbsp slivered almonds, for topping
4-5 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp cane sugar or raw sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup stone ground cornmeal
1 tsp aluminium free baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup (4 oz) all natural unsweetened applesauce
1 cup or 1 Fuji or Gala apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
two 5 inch loaf pans or one 8 inch loaf pan
How it’s done:
Grease two 5 inch mini loaf pans or one 8 inch loaf pan with oil or butter.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Put slivered almonds in the bottom of pan and then rotate pan to distribute them around the bottom and sides so they’ll stick to the greased pan and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon, salt and crushed almonds with a whisk.
Microwave the butter for 10-20 secs and not more to just soften slightly.
Whisk together butter and sugar until creamy in another mixing bowl. Now, whisk together the remaining wet ingredients – buttermilk, molasses, applesauce and vanilla extract.
Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients bowl and fold in chopped apples gently until just combined. Do not over mix. Spoon batter into the pan(s) using a silicon spatula for near zero batter wastage. If using two 5 inch pans, place them at least 2 inches apart for uniform hot air circulation.
Bake until cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes for 5 inch pan and 45-50 minutes for 8 inch pan. Do not over bake.
Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes and then invert onto a plate.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
When buying molasses, make sure it has unsulphured molasses as the only ingredient. I have used Grandma’s brand all natural molasses.
Add an additional tbsp of sugar if need be. The cake was mildly sweet which is how I prefer mine.
Skip the APF altogether and use whole wheat flour if you feel awkward about APF. You might have to up the buttermilk or applesauce by 1 or 2 tbsp if so.
You could consider swapping baking soda and baking powder quantities as I felt that the loaf was a bit crumbly.