Joy in Mudville

Sunday, March 6, 2016

"The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game."

- from "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

I always love this time of year. Nothing feels like new beginnings more than spring training, when baseball players report to their respective camps. It's a time of innocence and of hope, when every team still has a chance of winning. I remember the first time I went to spring training, and was amazed by how close the fans got to the field, and how much fun the players were having.

After the Blue Jays had their first meaningful October in her lifetime, my youngest daughter is passionately following their spring training exploits, periodically texting me to say, "Pompey walks!" or "Goins 2 run triple ties in bottom of fourth!" (One hopes these updates are interspersed between intense rounds of essay-writing.)

Today's recipe is for apple walnut squares, a recipe that started out as a cake but works perfectly as squares to take to church or book club. And the outcome is extremely brilliant for these lovely squares, even if that church or book club is located in Mudville.

Apple Walnut Squares
(adapted from Epicurious)

Cake

1 Tbsp unsalted butter (first amount)
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" pieces
2 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature (second amount)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1 cup dried currants

Icing

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

For cake:

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add all apples; cover and simmer until apples are juicy and almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. Uncover and simmer until almost all juices evaporate, about 6 minutes. Using potato masher, mash apples in pan. Cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and butter and flour a 9" x 13" baking dish. Whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 3/4 cup butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in flour mixture, then all of apple mixture, then remaining flour mixture. Mix in 1 cup toasted walnuts and currants.

Pour batter into pan and smooth top. Bake until tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Cool on racks for 5 minutes, then turn out and let cool completely before icing.

For icing:

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, and beat to blend.

Spread icing on cooled squares. Chill until icing sets before cutting into squares.

21 comments:

I Wilkerson said...

How fun for your daughter! Your squares look delicious and I was just taking stock of my (gallons of) frozen apples, so I think some of these may be in my future!

Angie Schneider said...

Apple and walnut are a classic combo. These squares look scrumptious!

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay for spring training! (but not for $50 million demands!! - hope they can figure that one out!)
Think I'll have to find time to make these for my mom!

Marcelle @ A Little Fish in the Kitchen said...

That icing!!! Yum! These bars look like a delicious treat :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm definitely trying this recipe soon.

Julie said...

Those bars look delicious. I'm all about Spring Training, too. Meeting my son in AZ to catch two games of "our team", the world series champion ROyals. We've been fans through thick and thin (lots of thin) so it's been very fun these past couple of years.

That Girl said...

Since we're firmly ensconced in t-ball, I very much appreciate this post.

That Girl said...

Since we're firmly ensconced in t-ball, I very much appreciate this post.

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Ooh, these squares look amazing! I can totally taste the icing from here, and I'm SO wishing I had one to nibble on right now. Delicious!

Monica said...

What an excellent treat, for any occasion.

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Hi Beth, many of the baseball teams come to Arizona for spring training, always many great games to watch. Your squares look mouth watering, delicious!

Laura Dembowski said...

These bars are so right up my alley. Love all the textures and of course that heaping helping of frosting!

Cakelaw said...

Yum - these squares look and sound fantastic.

Gloria Baker said...

Beth I love these Apple waltnut squares !! Look delicious !!!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Spring training is always fun, isn't it? Every team is starting fresh, so there's loads of hope. Anyway, these look just excellent -- so much flavor. Perfect for munching on while watching a game!

Katerina said...

These squares are so perfect, I could just eat them all and then feel a bit guilty about the calories haha!

handmade by amalia said...

My kind of treat. I like anything with apples.
Amalia
xo

Caroline Taylor said...

What a great idea for using apples, these look great!

grace said...

wonderful treat--i especially like the proportion of frosting to cake! :)

nancy at good food matters said...

I remember when I caught baseball fever as a kid--it was fun to follow a team, learn all I could about the players their strengths, their tics. Joy in Mudville serving those yummy apple walnut squares (looks like they work really well as squares over layer cake)

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, your Apple Walnut Squares look like such a decadent treat - moist,ladden with those warm spices I so love and with a creamy frosting! Who could ask for more?!
Andrea

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