Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Savory potato bites...

As I said yesterday, we made two items for Jeff to bring in for treat day today - to accompany that pineapple loaf, I also prepared this Praline Apple Bread.

This quick bread is a little unusual as there is no butter or oil to be used in the batter - the main source of fat comes from a full cup of sour cream. When you're mixing the eggs with the sugar and sour cream, be sure to beat the mixture for at least two minutes so you incorporate enough air to add to the lightness of the cake. We of course used pecans in this apple bread, but I added a step to provide an extra boost in the flavor department. You will need a cup of chopped pecans in total, but take a few additional minutes to toast the half cup that will be folded into the batter - this lures out their delicious nutty flavor and helps them retain some texture while sitting in the moist batter. The remaining half cup is sprinkled on top and will be exposed to direct heat, so you'll want to add those in their raw state so they don't burn.

While the praline element to this bread comes in a fairly untraditional form, gild the lily and pour this liquid gold on top. The mixture is simply butter and brown sugar melted down to form a thick, sweet syrup that is drizzled over the golden loaf. Go back and forth in lines across the top so it won't form a giant puddle - you'll also get those luscious drips that slowly wiggle themselves down. As soon as the butter mixture boils for a minute, work quickly as it will begin to set up and be too thick to drizzle (not that I did that intentionally so I could eat a little with a spoon or anything...). I do suggest that you try and keep the apple chunks on the smaller side or they might be a little too firm to enjoy in the bread. While we thought the bread was sweet, we found it was not cloyingly so with the inside being studded with tart Granny Smith apples and the toasted pecans.

The other day I ran out of time to talk about it, but I made these Twice-Baked Potato Bites as a side for dinner and didn't want to forget about them! Think a big twice-baked potato that was shrunk down into little poppable bites!

So the potatoes didn't fall apart, we used sturdy red new potatoes that we first halved. Because these little guys like to roll around, take a sharp knife and slice a very thin layer off the bottom of each potato half - this give them a little base to sit on as they bake. Drizzled with oil and lightly seasoned, the small potatoes are perched on their new flat bottoms and baked until they soften just enough to be easily pierced with a knife. Since you need to handle these pipping hot potatoes, don't forget to set aside enough time for them to cool down a bit. I think it took them about 5 or 10 minutes before they were cool enough for us.

To get the divot and enough flesh out to make the filling, we used a small melon baller to scoop the round out from the center of each half. We then smashed those scoops of potato flesh with tangy sour cream (the amount of sour cream we've used over the past few days was a little crazy!) and onion-y chives. You can either pipe or spoon the now creamy filling back into the potatoes - we just slipped an open star tip into a zip-loc bag and they were assembled in the blink of an eye! Now, at this point, you could stop, cover and refrigerate them for up to a day if you want to prep them ahead of time. If not, they go back into oven for their second bake to warm them through and crisp up the tops a little. Served with additional chives on top for flare, these would be a fun make-ahead appetizer or a tantalizing side for a variety of main dishes.


  1. Joe, that praline apple bread would have been perfect with my morning cup of Java. You always come up with recipes that I like.

  2. That loaf sounds delicious! I like things with different texures, like the crunch of the nuts and the meatier feel of the apple. I only wish we could get pecans here... Potatos look fantastic as well.

  3. Never thought I'd associate decadent with a quick bread! Which one was your favorite? Have you ever thought about mail order?

    Those potatoes. Nope, can't do it, can't even think about making them. They look way too tempting! And since I'm not making them (yeah right) I may as well enhance the cholesterol with a little cheese......

  4. Both look mdelicious! I will have to try that bread. Do you think low fat sour cream would work just as well?

  5. I feel like I am going to get a bill everytime I click on your site because the recipe as so delicious. :-D

  6. Helene - Yes, it would be a perfect (though a bit sweet!) breakfast snack!

    CC - I know what you mean! How come you can't get a hold of pecans?

    Quinn - Hmm, hard choice! I think the apple bread just because of that topping. However, I really liked that pineapple and coconut combination!

    Lisa - Yes, as with most of our recipes, using a low-fat sour cream would work well. I wouldn't suggest using a fat free version though.

    Jeena - hee hee!

  7. That praline apple bread sounds really good!

  8. The Praline Apple Bread is to DIE for! I made it last night and took it into the office today. It was FABULOUS!

    I used salted butter - the topping had that salty/sweet taste that plays with your tastebuds. The texture of the bread was wonderful too.

    My family thanks you, my friends thank you, my co-workers thank you and most of all I thank you.

  9. Teri - Awesome! Thanks for giving it a try!