016I started a new job back in November. Working for a state resource agency is VERY different from working in the private sector. Sure, I don’t make a lot of money anymore, but the people  I work with have surprised me with their collegial attitude. To say thank you for just being a nice group of folks, I’ve made a brandied apple coffeecake for them to enjoy tomorrow. I didn’t use one of my fancy pans because I was going for volume over WOW factor. 

001I altered this recipe. The primary changes were: adding grated ginger (over ground), orange rind, freshly ground cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. After coring and rough dicing the apples, I soaked them with the above ingredients in brandy and brown sugar for a few hours. I then cooked the apples in a saucepan over low heat until the they were a little soft and the sauce became a thick-ish glaze.

The coffeecake should be prepped in three stages:

1. Peel & core apples, get them marinating (see below), then cook lightly and allow to cool.
2. Make the crumble
3. Make the coffeecake batter

Pre-heat oven to 325F. Grease a 9×12 baking dish and place in fridge.

Apple filling:
5 large apples (assortment)
1 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. brandy (as with anything, the better quality, the better the result will be. I prefer brandy but cognac could be used as well)
1 tsp. grated ginger
Grated zest from one orange
1 TBSP cornstarch
2 TBSP lemon juice (to prevent browning of apples)
2 tsp. fresh ground cinnamon
1 tsp. fresh ground clove
1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

Toss apples in large bowl to coat with spices and brandy, cover and let sit for a few hours. If you’re in a rush, let them soak at least an hour – you can make the crumble in the meantime AND clean your kitchen. Ha. Pour entire contents into large saucepan and cook on low, stirring frequently until the apples soften and the marinade because a thickish glaze. DO NOT OVERCOOK YOUR APPLES or they will be GROSS. Just soften them a bit.

004Crumble Topping:
2/3 c. dark brown sugar
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. fresh ground cinnamon
1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1 tsp. fresh ground clove
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. butter – melted
2.5 c. flour

Whisk the sugars, spices, and salt into the melted butter. Add flour and fold in using a spatula. Press the dough-like crumble into bottom of bowl. Set aside.

2/3 c. yogurt
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. almond extract

Whisk these items together in a small bowl and set aside.

Place following ingredients into mixer:
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Once dry ingredients are combined, add 12 TBSP of softened butter (cubed) and mix for 20 seconds. Once the butter is well-incorporated, add remaining yogurt mixture in 2 additions.

In the buttered (and chilled) dish, pour approximately 3/4 of the batter into the pan. Smooth out with spatula. Place apples on top of batter, straining apples a bit (don’t want the batter to become too soupy), then use the place the remaining 1/4 of batter in dollops on top of the apples. Doesn’t have to be perfect and doesn’t have to cover the apples completely.

012Now, the fun part. Using fingers, remove the slightly hardened crumble from the bowl and break into 1/4 to 1/2 inch chunks on top of the batter. You may have a bit of crumble left over which I shared with the pups – who now think I’m awesome.

Place in oven for 40 minutes. Pull out of oven and using a butter knife, make a few holes in the topping – the batter will bubble to the surface a bit – this is a good thing. Place back in oven for another 15 – 25 minutes until topping is golden brown and tooth pick comes out clean.

Cool completely before serving or wrapping up to lug to work. 🙂