I am a fruit fiend at this time of the year. One of my favourite weekly rituals is to go the farmer’s market and choose the best-looking produce that I can find. Obviously, this includes a variety of fruit, straight from the Okanagan Valley. I tend to go for berries, which are beautiful, juicy jewels that make my oatmeal and yogurt so much better and stone fruit, which I love eating on their own, as a snack. Despite the fact that stone fruit are far less reliable than berries- is there anything worse than a mealy peach? – they are my absolute favourite. I typically don’t cook or bake with my summer fruit because they are so delicious raw but when I was faced with making a light dessert for a BBQ last week, I couldn’t think of anything more delicious than a stone fruit, hibiscus fruit salad.
I acknowledge that this is the second loaf cake that I have posted here in less than a month. The last one, a pear and dark chocolate gem, is perfect as a special occasion treat. While it might look understated, it is a knockout filled with chunks of dark chocolate nestled in a brown butter cake batter. This blackberry apple cake, on the other hand, is for snacking. It’s amazing how two cakes that look so similar can be made up of such different ingredients. While I certainly love making indulgent desserts every once in a while, it’s way more essential for me to have somewhat healthy, homemade snacks that I can eat throughout the day. Every day between meals, I may eat some pickles, nuts, or squares of dark chocolate (sometimes all within the same snacking session). But, the best weeks are when I have prepared something like this blackberry apple snacking cake. It’s a perfect sweet treat that feels extra special and indulgent but that I know is actually made up of pretty great ingredients.
Around three o’clock, every day, I get a hankering for something sweet. To be more specific, I want something sweet and chocolate-y. Normally I just have a square of chocolate, which is great when all I want is chocolate, but sometimes it leaves me feeling less than satisfied. Sometimes I am also slightly hungry or getting a little sleepy and need something more filling and energizing to pick me back up. Something with some chew, that will satisfy me until dinner rolls around. Nothing in particular really filled that void in the past. But, the past couple of weeks these healthy chocolate cherry brownies have been doing the trick.
This past week at the farmer’s market I bought a five pound box of organic apricots for five dollars. What was I going to do with five pounds of apricots? Good question. All I knew was that I couldn’t pass up such a good deal. Also, there was a catch. The apricots were good for baking but not so great fresh. They were very, very soft (which I knew when I bought them) and this made my options even more limited (because I could definitely easily eat at least one or two pounds of them by the handful). The first pound and a half of apricots were a no-brainer. I made this healthy breakfast crisp, which is perfect to have hanging out in the fridge. I figured I could also freeze some for smoothies. But, I was left with figuring out what to do with the rest. When I think of apricots, I think of apricot rosemary jam right away. In fact, one of the first recipes I posted on this blog was an apricot rosemary crisp. I had apricot rosemary jam for the first time in Scotland a few years ago. The flavour combination was amazing. But, I didn’t want to make jam on it’s own. It’s hard for us to get through a whole thing of jam because we don’t really eat much bread. In looking up jam recipes online I finally came across a winner. My New Roots had sandwich cookies on her website, so I decided that apricot jam sandwich cookies was a pretty good use for the rest of my apricots.