I woke up last week and discovered that magically, in the deepest black of the night, autumn had subtly made her arrival. The morning sky was grey and foggy, sprays of yellow and red crept into the verdant tree line, and the air was cool, intoxicating, and begging for me to inhale it all voraciously. I smiled and my soul laughed. This is my season and regardless of whatever storms are brewing, I feel my most powerful, most grounded in the autumn.
I took LM out to a local park on this glorious day. He enjoyed exercising his physical limitations on a playground while I watched in awe of how strong his little body has become and how eagerly it collects every bit of mud and dirt it can possibly find. We walked around the lake looking for deer and observing the new colors of wildflowers dancing in the brown, summer-burned fields. They are not as ornate as the spring wildflowers yet are lovely in their own right. The forest was anything but silent as acorns made their descent from towering branches. They “pop” as they hit limbs and twigs on their gravitational ride downward; their tiny percussions echo, piercing the woods with an elegant staccato. Then, as if enticed by the little symphonic beats, the rain began to fall pattering the leaves and puncturing the glassy lake with rippling little circles.
The rain was still drizzling by the time we arrived home a little muddy yet invigorated. Hot cocoa was in order as was baking something autumnal. This impromptu baking urge required something simple and comforting. Ah – Apple Blondies! A household favorite enjoyed only once, or twice, a year. Imagine buttery blondies with their thin, crunchy exterior giving way to a soft, melt-in-your-mouth interior with sweet apple in each bite – perfect for the heralding day of autumn.
½ cup + 1 tablespoon Butter, melted and cooled
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Sugar
1 Large Egg
2 Large Apples, peeled, cored, cut in half, and sliced
Use one tablespoon of the melted butter to grease a 9 x 13” baking pan**. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl, beat together the sugar, egg, and melted butter until pale, about two minutes. Fold in the flour mixture. Pour the batter in the pan and spread to the corners. Place the apple slices on top of the batter, overlapping slightly, and pressing gently into the batter.
Bake the blondies in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 30 – 40 minutes. The blondies will be lovely golden all over and the apples just starting to brown at the edges. Cool the pan on a wire rack for half an hour and then cut into bars.
– Martha Stewart (Original Recipe here)
*When it comes to baking, I usually prefer McIntosh or Granny Smith. For these blondies, being they were a made on a whim, I used Galas. They aren’t as strong in flavor as the other apples but do just as well and hold up nicely. Do you have a favorite baking apple?
** The original recipe calls for an 8 x 11″ pan. I do not own one and find a 9×13″ with a shorter baking time is fine. If you want a thicker blondie then try out the smaller pan and aim for the full 40 minutes.