Apple Bread with Spiced Brown Butter and Walnuts

by Irvin on October 7, 2013 · 14 comments

Pin It

Apple Bread with Walnuts by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

“You should really show that to your readers…” said my friend Annelies while we were hanging out in the lobby of a hotel in Seattle. It was day two of a major food blogging conference and instead of going to a session, both of us opted to just hang out and chat. Annelies was referring to a photo I had taken of yellow legal pad where I keep my recipe developing notes. I had quickly taken it with my iPhone because I wanted to write a blog post and I needed to transcribe the recipe to my computer but I didn’t have time before my flight and didn’t want to lug my legal pad with me. I questioned whether anyone would have interest in seeing it, but she assured me that they would. I filed that conversation in the back of my head and haven’t really revisited it until I started developing an apple bread recipe that turned into my Apple Bread with Spiced Brown Butter and Walnuts.

Apple Bread with Walnuts by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

In truth, I’m always fascinated by “behind the scenes” exposés where people explain all the work that goes into the final product. I’m probably not alone in that so it doesn’t surprise me that Annelies would suggest I post about. But does anyone have any interest in learning about how I do things? I’m not sure, mostly because how I do things around here is pretty boring. I start with an idea (Apple Bread!), write down the recipe, start baking, often times adapting or changing the recipe as I bake on the fly. The batter is looking too thin, so I add more flour, the batter is too thick, so I add more buttermilk. Maybe I should use more whole wheat instead of all purpose. Looks like I don’t have any pecans in the cabinet but I do have the package of walnuts instead. Make notes, cross off things off, add things, adjust amounts. Bake. Taste. Repeat. When satisfied, photograph, photograph and photograph some more. Hmmm. Is that interesting? I don’t know. You tell me.

Apple Bread with Walnuts by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

I’m a pretty frugal baker and blogger by nature. It may not seem that way as I have WAY more ridiculous ingredients in my cabinets than the average bear. Whole grain flours, alternative sweeteners, oddball finishing salts and weird extracts, oils and vinegars. My cabinet would put Whole Foods to shame. But at the end of the day, the stuff that I make is usually a last ditch attempt at using up something in the fridge or the counter before it goes bad. As a food photographer, I buy produce for a shoot as props, but I always have leftovers from the shoot. I need to use them up before they go bad. That’s what drives me to bake the things that I do more than anything else. People ask me where I get my inspiration, but the truth is, it’s usually desperation. I can’t throw away perfectly good food/ingredients. How can I make something out of it?

Apple Bread with Walnuts by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

Today it was the abundance of apples I had as leftover from a photoshoot with a client. And the walnuts came in to play because the pecans I thought I had in the pantry amounted to a scant 1/3 cup but that container of walnuts sitting next to it was full. Besides I had that bottle of La Tourangelle Roasted Walnut Oil that they had given to me as a sample and I’ve been meaning to use it (see what I mean about ridiculous ingredients?). What better use of all those ingredients than to whip up a quick batter bread with fall spices that would make the apartment smell like October? If San Francisco had deciduous trees, I’d be out there jumping in the leaves and taking photos of the changing colors of the trees. But since it doesn’t, I’ll content myself with another slice of this apple walnut bread. It’s the closest I’ll get.

Apple Bread with Walnuts by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

Special thanks for La Tourangelle for giving me a sample of their Roasted Walnut Oil to try out. As always, even though they offered me the sample for free, I was not monetarily compensated for this post and all opinions above are my own.

Pin It

Connect with Irvin via Social Media

You can connect with Irvin on a more direct level via his twitter page, his facebook fan page or his page. Just be forewarned that he tweets a heck of a lot.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

penny October 7, 2013 at 8:51 am

This would still work if I were too lazy to grind the nuts and just threw them in? Or do you think I need to make the nut flour?

Reply

Irvin October 8, 2013 at 12:16 am

You know, I’m not sure! I think it would work fine, but I’m not 100% about that. If you try it, I’d chop the walnuts fairly fine and take a look at the batter. If it’s feeling a little thin maybe add a 1/4 cup or so of flour to help thicken it up. Let me know if you make it that way though and how it turns out!

Reply

merri October 7, 2013 at 10:27 am

The way I cook dinner is making random made up food out of whatever’s going bad too. I make a lot of pretty good tasting things that way & it’s made me a better cook! The 3 of us at the house were actually discussing/wondering yesterday how you come up with and create your recipes (& Cavin was saying he’s sad he still hasn’t been able to go to one of your dessert parties), so actually, this is very interesting. It’s kind of how I’d expected you’d do it, it’s just so smart and artistic the way your brain works to think to combine these things and that they come out tasting good!

Reply

Pat October 7, 2013 at 10:52 am

I can (really) almost smell this in my morning-chilly house and would love nothing more than a slice of it to go with a cup of Italian roast! This is one of those classics, Irvin — thanks. And I love discovering the process each baker/cook goes through in each individual life.

Reply

Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes October 7, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Irvin, I love your behind the scenes shots, and thank for sharing. It looks a lot like what I do. I like to type up a hypothesis draft of my recipe and print it out before I begin my first test. I find if I do that I tend to think it out more thoroughly and then end up getting closer on the first test. Even still, it gets pretty marked up. I know exactly what you mean about having left-over from shoots. In the case of apples and that oil, I’d say that’s a great score!

Reply

Arthur in the Garden! October 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Yummy!

Reply

Shikha @ Shikha la mode October 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I’m so glad that desperation is a technique for you because it’s the same for me as well! Living in SF gets pretty expensive, so I can’t often splurge on super-organic extra rare produce/chocolate/oils/etc all the time. But even then, I hope that it always works out!

Reply

annelies October 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Things come down to desperation. I hate throwing food away, so this is why I am a preserver and it sounds like you are too (of the baking variety). PS- I have roasted walnut oil and the idea of that in apple bread is ridiculously tantalizing. I like seeing your yellow notepad memorialized on the blog and the question of process is one I like to ask writers, artists in various forms. Art informs art, so maybe process informs process?

Reply

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar October 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm

There is so much good stuff in this bread!! Yum!

Reply

Ruthy @ Omeletta October 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I LOVE “behind the scenes” from just about anything- movies, television, photo shoot,s and especially blogs. I always mean to include some of my own in blog posts, but I never remember until it’s way too late! Your method of writing recipes sounds pretty similar to mine.

Reply

Shelly (Cookies and Cups) October 11, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Apple bread is definitely the greatest thing ever! Love it!

Reply

Chelsea October 11, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Irvin, perfect! I am looking to make an apple bread this week with oatmeal and maybe sweet potato, and this gives me a really good recipe to start playing with!
Also, for what it’s worth, as a fellow blogger, I always appreciate reading/seeing “the process” of recipe and post creation. It helps me think about how I’m working and not just whether I’m doing it “right,” but ideas for other ways I could approach recipe development and photography. So I’m all in, on that front.

Reply

claudia October 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Brilliant! You are such an inspiration! I riffed a pumpkin bread on this with the browned butter and then steeped chai spices in it. Brown butter shortbread anyone?

Reply

Wedding Cakes in Pune November 25, 2013 at 4:46 am

Gorgeous, yummy, delicious……….love it. I can’t wait a single minute to try this

Reply

Leave a Comment

Current ye@r *

Previous post:

Next post: