Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Breakfast with Marie

I am sad to say that I never knew my mother's parents.  Fortunately, her father's sisters worked very hard to make up for that loss, making sure we knew a lot about our grandparents and their history.  They always made our visits special, and that included as many delicious treats as my brother and I could eat.

As a kid, I wasn't a big fan of breakfast.  I wasn't willing to sit down and eat just anything in the morning.  I did, however, love the apple bread my great-aunt Marie made for me.  In fact, that was pretty much the only thing I would eat for breakfast during my visits.  Well, there was the Apple Jacks cereal phase, but that's another story.

Aunt Marie worked hard to make us happy and always feed us what we wanted to eat, and there was always a loaf of apple bread waiting for me when I awoke.  I'd sit at the huge kitchen table and watch the boats in the bay and talk about life and what I wanted to do with my day.  Our aunts were both generous listeners who could make my brother and I feel like we were the only thing that mattered.  We all know we are very lucky to have them a part of our lives, and we still miss them.

I made a loaf recently and shared some with my mom.  The smell and taste of Aunt Marie's apple bread brought back a lot of great memories for both of us.  I know Aunt Marie would be proud.

Aunt Marie's Apple Bread
Makes 2 medium-sized loaves (or 1 large and 1 small)

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups peeled and diced apples

4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, mixing well.

Stir in flour, salt, and cinnamon.  

Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk and add to batter, mixing well.  Stir in vanilla and apples.

Spoon batter into well-greased and floured loaf pans.  

To create topping, mix together all ingredients until consistency of coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle the batter in pans with topping and bake at 325 degrees F for about 70 minutes.

This bread freezes beautifully, making it a perfect treat for the holidays.  You can keep some on hand in your freezer for unexpected guests or to give as gifts.  It doesn't keep past about 2 days at room temperature, so definitely put it away in the freezer, if you don't eat it before then.

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