Spiced Apple & Oat Bread

Autumn in Minnesota is an incredibly beautiful time of the year. The colors, the smells, the crisp air…it leaves me in awe every year. It’s also a fantastic time to utilize the fresh apples that are bursting with flavor. One of my favorites is the Honeycrisp variety and we typically go through a dozen a week in our house.

This recipe is bursting with flavor and mimics the vibrance autumn in Minnesota so vividly boasts. My kitchen smelled amazing as it cooked – as mentioned on Instagram, it smelled like autumn sucker punched me in the face {and I kinda liked it.} The smell of apples, spices and oats wafting through the kitchen and a cool evening breeze from open windows; what more could a girl ask for?

These would be fantastic muffins. In fact, these were meant to be muffins as I created the recipe, only to remember we packed up our muffin tins since we are moving in just 2 weeks. Packing 6 years of life, kids and memories in 3 weeks is a wonderful feat we are conquering with gusto…until a girl needs a kitchen item. Improvising has become a new norm, and in this case it worked out quite nicely. These are also dairy free for those who run in that crowd. Enjoy and happy Minnesota autumn, friends!


For the Apples 

  • 2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 1.5 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

For the Bread

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. organic Maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 cup unbleached all purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1.5 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Graham crackers – crushed well for topping
  1. Preheat Oven to 350. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. If making muffins, line muffin pan with liners.
  3. Peel and dice apples so the pieces are consistent in size. Add the sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice and stir to coat the apples. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile in your Kitchen-Aid mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together wet ingredients well.
  5. Add dry ingredients until combined. Do not over mix. Stir in seasoned apples and transfer to your loaf pan.
  6. Crush the graham crackers and sprinkle atop the batter. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let cool 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Mojito Shortbread Cookies

There’s something about a mojito that takes me back to the pre-kids years and traveling with my hubby. Warm sandy beaches, a beautiful ocean kissing the horizon and sitting hand in hand sipping a mojito: these are a few of my favorite things. Call me fräulein Maria.

These cookies are the confectionary equivalent of a mojito. The whole house smelled like sugar cookies and mojitos as they baked in the oven. Bring these to your next cookie exchange and you’ll be a crowd favorite; or serve at a cocktail party. {With a mojito, of course.}
Yields 2 1/2 dozen depending on how thick you roll out the dough.
• 3 sticks of room temp butter
• 1 cup of sugar, plus another 1/4 cup for sprinkling
• 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
• the zest of 2 limes
• 20 mint leaves, chiffonade
• 3.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
• 2 tbsp clear rum (I used Bacardi Silver)
• 1/4 lime, juiced
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with silpat liners or parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the butter and 1 cup sugar. Then add the vanilla, mint leaves, lime zest and rum. Add flour and salt and mix until combined. The mixture will be crumbly.
  3. Using a sharp knife, slice the log into 1/4-1/2″ thick slices and place onto lined baking sheets. Mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 of the juiced lime together and sprinkle atop each cookie prior to baking.
  4. Bake 13-15 minutes.

Peach Oatmeal Muffins

I don’t know about you, but peach season makes this girl pretty happy. My family loves them too, and right now we go through about a dozen per week.

Breakfast is a hard meal around here…it’s always hurried and quite frankly outside of bacon, my oldest daughter and I aren’t really breakfast food fans. So anything that is a grab and go or quick option is a good choice. These muffins are so good! Moist, packed with flavor from fresh peaches and just the right amount of sweetness. They’re also packed with a lot of that “peachy-ness” my family loves. May you enjoy them as well!
• 1.5 cups unbleached AP flour (I used King Arthur)
• 3/4 cup rolled oats
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• a pinch of salt
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup canola oil
• 1/2 cup applesauce
• 3/4 cup almond milk
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 2 small to medium sized peaches, diced
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Line muffin pan with liners.In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir. Add wet ingredients and stir until combined. Don’t overmix, the batter will still be lumpy.
  3. Dice peaches into small pieces.
  4. Line the bottom of each muffin liner with just enough batter to cover the bottom. Add diced peaches into each muffin (enough to cover the initial layer of batter.)
  5. Pour an additional small amount of batter atop the peaches and bake for 12-15 minutes. Yields 12 muffins.

Cranberry Apple Sharlotka

I don’t have any Russian heritage, but there are many things I love about Russian cuisine. Sharlotka is one of them. {And vodka. I appreciate a good vodka as well.} Sweet, airy cake and fruit combine together so delicately yet so easily; what’s not to love? 

This cake would be a lovely alternative to the classic apple pie on Thanksgiving. It has the spices and apples – but I added beautiful, fresh tart cranberries to brighten the flavors. The sweet apples, combined with the classic cinnamon pair perfectly with the cranberries. I also added some pumpkin pie spice and a hearty dose of homemade vanilla extract. The smells in the kitchen were fantastic and the end result didn’t disappoint either. 

The prep was minimal and cook time just under an hour. The cake can be made in advance for ease – but this really is the best served warm from the oven. Finish it with powdered sugar and you’ll be loved for bringing something new to the table {but not bucking the system completely.}

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I am blessed to be able to share my passion of cooking with you. Cheers to you and yours.


  • 3 Honeycrisp apples (or a similar tart variety) peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9″ springform pan and set aside. Slice the apples into thin pieces and add with cranberries into a bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and 2 tbsp. of sugar. Let sit for 15 minutes.

In your Kitchen-Aid mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the eggs, vanilla extract and remaining 3/4 cup of sugar for 8 minutes until the mixture thickens and forms yellow ribbons or coats the back of a spoon.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture until incorporated.

Add the fruit to the bottom of the springform pan and pour the batter atop the apples and cranberries. Spread the batter atop the fruit and gently tap the pan to allow the batter to settle into the fruit and reach the bottom of the pan.

Bake 45-60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean from the middle of the cake. 

Let the cake sit 15 minutes and remove the springform. 

Transfer to a serving plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.

%d bloggers like this: