Dear Fellow Bakers and Friends,
Welcome to the September 2022 Issue of Betterbaking.com.
If you’ve been following my newsletters over the years you know I used to have a like/dislike relationship with summer. For most of my life, I dreaded summer right off the mark. In mid-June I’d begin protesting the hot, dry days I knew lay ahead that were only underscored by the frigid air conditioning blast of indoor malls. I never felt as inspired to cook or bake and I would feel guilty staying inside. Summer says: do something, make hay, follow the sun and fun which is fine for most people. But I’m autumn and winter folk in my soul and I only pretended to like summer because who wants to seem like a party pooper?
As the years have gone by, I gave summer amnesty and got into it more and more and simply gave up the fight. Around July I begin luxuriating in the warmth, having morning tea on the deck, visiting garden centers and taking long walks just before sunset. I read in the parks or cafes and take trips to outdoor markets and drown myself in corn on the cob. And then just as I decide summer and me are friends what do you know - it’s fall, my favorite season! Somehow it just sneaks up on you and here we are on this lovely September lst morning. But you know what? For a few minutes on the first nippy morning, I’m sad. I miss what I thought was endless summer or perhaps it’s part of life – learning to say goodbye to something before putting out the welcome mat for something new. Happily the overlap between dreading it and loving it is getting smaller leaving more of a seasonal vista to enjoy without fretting.
As for the fall-now-officially-here, I spent last weekend bringing in my geraniums to see if they’ll adapt to inside life. I also created a new autumn fireplace mantle from my stash of fall splendor, i.e. all the elements that are symbolic of this time of year. I still have a lavender wreath on my door but I’m at work on a new one that’s replete with maple leaves and the pinecones I brought from my former house to this one. Squirrely person that I am I knew I’d one day have a purpose for them. Just to be clear, doing the mantle and making wreaths is as crafty as I get. I only knit if I am anxious and I’m delighted to confess I haven’t ever finished so much as a scarf. I failed at crocheting, and forget about painting or pottery and I am so-so on needlepoint. But baking (and wreaths I can do.
That being said (to quote YouTube influencers’ parlance), ‘let’s jump right in’ and showcase the baking for this month. It’s a bit early for bake-to-school treats as well as Rosh Hashanah so I thought I’d simply share some seasonal flavors which translate as cinnamon and apples.
The Ukrainian Babka is wonderful but I couldn’t find much more information on it although I put a shout-out to the Ukrainian (new and old) in Montreal. If anyone knows more than me please let me know. You can also check this link: https://www.ukrainianclassickitchen.ca/index.php?topic=1263.0&fbclid=IwAR0ScTSweo1_nKE9MswjDgk3wKRAFptzYTTzyTIdd8OEWO9AArz_BYaxna0
Otherwise you can expect this beautiful coffeecake to taste like the love child or a babka and a brioche. The duet of loaf cakes I couldn’t resist. Quick breads are so amazing and when we make one it’s general a banana loaf. But the Cranberry Loaf and the Cinnamon Ripple Loaf are two for your repertoire and a lovely entry into fall. The Apple Strudel is because it’s about time we stepped up to the plate and made real strudel. It’s the stretch type and it’s easy – I promise. I use a combination of Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Cortland Apples for this. You can choose some sweet, soft apple and add in a few cups of grated, tangy Granny Smith if you like.
As for Rosh Hashanah at the end of the month, there are tons of New Year’s recipes on my website as well as in my two Jewish cookbooks and I’m happy to suggest something if you need any assistance.
As we approached the mellow and honeyed days of early fall, I’m sending you warm wishes from my kitchen to yours,
Master Baker, Author
1997-2022 25th Silver Anniversary Year
This issue of Betterbaking.com is dedicated to the beloved memory of my Aunt Beryl Cowan Goldman, May 16th 1924-August 31st 2022
Zavyvanets or Ukrainian Babka
Free!! Old Fashioned Stretch Apple Strudel
Cinnamon Ripple Quick Bread
Cranberry Orange Tea Bread