Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Apple Coffeecake

Erica and I run every morning, heading out the door somewhere between 9:30 and 10. We got in the habit of walking a mile to loosen up, but it's really just an excuse to gab a bit and postpone the actual running. I mean, who really wants to run? Well, I guess Rick does. But then he's fairly crazy and thinks a 20 mile run is the ultimate in fun things to do. For me, however, 3 miles is like an ultramarathon, but it does give me a good excuse to eat a piece of coffeecake every now and then.

Anyway, Erica and I end the same way we started—with a mile walk home to cool down. In between we run 3 and 4 miles respectively. (I keep cutting down streets to "catch up.") Best of all, though, we're gone the perfect amount of time to cook a coffeecake in the solar oven. I usually put them together before we leave and take them out as soon as I'm home and showered.

1½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter
½ cup milk
1 egg beaten
1 apple peeled, cored, and sliced thin
¼ cup chopped walnuts (chopped to whatever size you like. I like them to be slightly smaller than pea size.)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons extra sugar

Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan.
In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and ½ cup sugar. Cut in ½ cup butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (I usually just cut the butter in small pieces and use my hands to mix it for that crumbly look. I'm all about the hands on method!)
Scoop ¼ cup of the flour mixture and set aside.
Add the milk and egg to the flour mixture, stir to mix (but don't over stir). Pour batter into the greased pan.
Arrange the sliced apples over the top of the batter.
Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the apples.
Add 2 tablespoons sugar plus the ½ teaspoon cinnamon to the flour mixture you set aside. Sprinkle this over the top of the apples and walnuts.

Annalee holds the finished coffeecake. Photo by me!
Set cake in the solar oven and go for a walk or a run. Of course, cooking time will depend on how hot the solar oven got. I'm pretty sure, on this day, it was hovering between 300º and 325º. And between the walking, running, and showering, the coffeecake was in the solar oven for close to 90 minutes. 

For those of you who don't have a solar oven, or you put this together and the sun decided to disappear, preheat your oven to 375º and bake for 30–35 minutes or so until golden brown.

I'm tempted to try this with blueberries or peaches. Next time!

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