Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Mar 4, 2014

Brown Butter Apple Bread

Libations used: 3 Tbs apple brandy
Libations left over: None, but make yourself an American's as American as this apple bread...
We're finally getting rain here in Southern California and it's been coming down with a vengeance. So on these rainy nights, I'm either making soup or baking bread.  Bread won out this week, and it was this recipe for Brown Butter Apple Bread from The Kitchn that won me over.  This is probably some of the moistest bread I've ever had and there are oodles of apples and pecans in it. You really can't go wrong when you see crème fraîche and apple brandy in a recipe for baked goods — and you do taste the brandy in this recipe.  I'm a fan of Laird's Applejack, but if you don't have any apple brandy in the house (I'll be sad for you), feel free to sub in regular brandy or bourbon.  For the apples, I used a combination of Granny Smith and Pink Lady.  Always do a mix of tart and sweet apples when you're baking, as it varies up the texture and the flavor.  In addition to the above varieties, The Kitchn also recommends Braeburn, Gala, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, McIntosh, and Honeycrisp.  I brought this bread to work the next day, and it was perfect paired with everyone's morning coffee, and a great way to kick off the week.  I can't wait to make this bread again with pears and other stone fruit too.

Brown Butter Apple Bread - makes 1 loaf
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 3 Tbs apple brandy (I used Laird's Applejack)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 3 apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used 1 Granny Smith and 2 Pink Lady)
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a large loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray.
- Place the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, and melt until it turns golden brown and takes on a nutty aroma (swirl the pan around to prevent it from burning).
- Set pan aside to cool slightly (you don't want scrambled eggs).
- In a large bowl, add the white and brown sugars, and eggs.
- Add the butter into the large bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine.
- Add the flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, stirring until just combined.
- Add the crème fraîche, apple brandy, vanilla bean paste, apples, and pecans and carefully stir to combine.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth out the top.
- Bake for one hour, and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before removing from the pan.