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Carrot Cake Muffins (18)

Dry ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

Wet ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla


  • 1 lb carrots, grated (use fine shred)
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 16 oz crushed unsweetened pineapple (well drained)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine wet ingredients in large bowl using wooden spoon. Stir in dry ingredients and mix well. Add carrot, coconut, pineapple and walnuts and mix well. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins using 1/3 cup measure, leveled.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until top springs back from touch and toothpick comes out clean. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes in muffin pan, then remove.

Serve with cinnamon sugar butter:

  • Mix together 2 T. sugar and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Whip 1 stick soft butter. Add cinnamon sugar mixture.

Fresh Lodi Apple Bread

(1 bundt pan or 2 small bread pans – double recipe makes 3 standard bread pans)

Lodi apples are the first apples of the season. My West Virginia Grandmother called them June apples. They are thin skinned freckled green apples that are not good “keepers” and not particularly attractive so are not likely to be something you will ever see at the Giant produce section. Their claim to fame, aside from being the earliest apples, is that they make the best applesauce. They are not good out-of-hand eating apples (painfully tart and hard) and the orchard wives around here tell me they are not good cooking apples either because they turn to sauce so quickly. So, we were pleasantly surprised when we successfully substituted Lodi’s for the Granny Smiths in our favorite apple bread recipe. And bowled over when we made it with homemade Lodi applesauce. If you don’t have access to Lodis, this bread is still delicious made with Granny Smith apples and commercially prepared apple sauce.

Dry mix:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp., each, of ground: cinnamon cloves allspice nutmeg
  • 2 cups sugar

Wet mix

  • 1/2 cup homemade Lodi applesauce
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups peeled, cored, diced Lodi apples
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup chopped dates

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk together applesauce, oil and eggs.

Add remaining ingredients to wet mix. Add wet mix to dry, stirring just until combined. Don’t panic – this “batter” will be very dry, almost like a fruitcake batter. Divide evenly among 2 small bread pans (or one bundt pan) that have been well greased and floured. (We routinely line our bread pans with parchment paper, it is just safer that way.)

Bake in 350 degree oven for about an hour for small bread pans -- probably more for bundt pan. Allow to cool in pans for at least 1/2 hour. Remove from pans very carefully. Caution, this bread is addictive!

Lodi Applesauce (8+ cups)

  • ½ peck Lodi apples
  • 1 cup sugar, or to taste
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Wash, quarter and seed apples. Do not peel (this adds flavor and fiber). Apples will turn brown unavoidably quickly, so don’t stress. Puree apple quarters in food processor completely before cooking (this eliminates having to put them through a food mill at the end.)

Put apple puree in pot, add sugar and cinnamon, and cook over low heat until any liquid evaporates. If not tart enough, you can add a bit of lemon zest or juice.

The best way to serve this (either warm or chilled) is with a small pitcher of English Custard (essentially a crème Anglaise made with milk rather than cream).

English Custard (2 cups)

  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat milk in heavy bottomed saucepan to simmer (a film begins to form on top of the milk, bubbles appear around the edges of the pan, and steam starts to rise from the milk). Remove from heat and stir in sugar to dissolve. Pour a little hot milk over the yolks to temper, stirring briskly. Add yolk mixture to the milk, return to the heat, add the salt, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, custard will thicken slightly. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl through a strainer. Add the vanilla and stir a few seconds until the custard is cool. Serve warm or chilled. Even better with just a touch of Calvados or Bourbon stirred in.


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