People sometimes ask me how to best use Elli & Manos' Gourmet Spreads, since I call them "sweetly-savory" time-savers. I've used them to whip up all sorts of quick and tasty dishes, from appetizers (they're definitely a cheeseboard's best friend) to main dishes (stuff chicken breasts with them before grilling for a really juicy dinner) to desserts (try my easy baked apple recipe). What's unique about these spreads is the splash of balsamic vinegar that Elli adds as a savory twist on such classic flavor combinations. The result is a unique, not-too-sweet all-natural spread that is so incredibly versatile.
I often use the Fig and Walnuts and Raisins and Cinnamon interchangeably, depending on whether someone has a nut allergy or prefers a certain taste (I'm a fig fanatic myself!). I really do love cooking with these to make a special hot snacks, especially now that we're back to full-time work and school from home and these can help you make something really different. One favorite of mine: spread one Gourmet Spread or the other on frozen puff pastry, then sprinkle crumbled feta or goat cheese before quickly grilling - you can even add some prosciutto if you've got hungry teenagers at home, or if you skipped lunch for that umpteenth Zoom meeting!
Of course, that other classic afternoon snack is a delicious quick bread and I'm sure you were all making a lot of those while we were staying home during the pandemic this past spring. I had played around with Sparoza's handcrafted Cooking Blend with Spices and Orange Zest in my quick and easy banana bread, which was a great way to go through all those bananas we had stocked up on. But now that apple season is gearing up, I thought I'd try an apple bread...and of course, crisp fall apples just beg for raisins & cinnamon 😊 I tweaked my regular recipe a little, using less sugar since I was using Elli's Gourmet Spread, and let me tell you, my whole house smelled divine! And our afternoon coffee break wasn't bad either 😉
If you want, you can add half a cup of walnuts or other nuts (we are a nut-free family so I didn't). You can also add extra raisins for more fiber if you want, half a cup would do it. Share your own twists with us!
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup coconut, almond or regular milk
1 stick butter or 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
Butter or oil a bread pan and set aside.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a big mixing bowl and set aside.
Coarsely grate the apple and add to the dry mix.
Add all the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix well with a spatula.
Pour into the bread pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick can come out of the bread without sticking.
Note - if you've got a real sweet tooth, top with brown sugar or mix some chocolate chips before baking. If you're a real spice lover, add 1/2tsp more of cinnamon and/or cardamom, nutmeg, clove.
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