October 24, 2010

News, Apple Bread, & Giveaway!


Hey Friends, I'm a ball of SHEER EXCITEMENT about the three topics I want to discuss in this post. Bubbling with feverish bliss, Gleefully Ecstatic, overcome with ELATION...happy.

A GIVEAWAY!

The kind people at CSN Stores have offered a $35 prize to be used in one of their online stores for one lucky reader! CSN has many stores with everything from cookware to barstools. Their prices are extremely competitive and they offer free shipping on just about everything! Check it out for more great deals!

To enter, simply leave a comment mentioning what you would spend it on! 

This giveaway is for USA and Canadian residents only--sorry international friends! 
A winner will be selected by random drawing and announced October 31st.

Second, I'm pleased to announce that my 9 month-old (baby) blog just placed in the TOP THREE local blogs in the annual Mountain Xpress "Best of Western North Carolina" competition!!! For those who don't live here--it's kind of a big deal in Asheville. Not only that, A Spicy Perspective is the only FOOD blog listed. So I suppose I could stretch the honor a smidge and say ASP was voted top Food Blog in Western North Carolina! (wry smile)


Jokes aside, I'm honored, humbled, and extremely encouraged! Many thanks to those who voted, and come back week after week to sample my recipes and read my ramblings. Hugs to you!

Third on the agenda, a breakthrough in my apple bread endeavors!

If you happen to read numerous blogs, like I do, you might find you collect a bundle of recipes, project ideas, and improvement tips that you file away with good intentions, but never really find the time to use. I read a LOT of food blogs...a lot. Many of friends and friends-to-be. I find myself in wonder at all the creativity and resourcefulness coming from these blogs. And the food! Holy heaven, the glorious dishes some bloggers produce put many celebrity chef's to shame--honestly.

Yet for every 40 recipes I save, I may get around to cooking ONE. Why? Because I'm constantly tinkering away, coming up with my own recipes to serve to you! These bloggers serve up a hefty side of PRESSURE with their fantastic fare! *wink*

However, on occasion I come across a blog recipe that MUST be made instantly. If lacking ingredients, at least, within a week's time!


A few days ago, I was reading my friend Rosa's blog, Rosa's Yummy Yums, and stopped cold when I saw the photo of her apple bread.

You see, after moving to North Carolina we started going to apple orchards every fall. At the orchard stores I discovered apple bread! Not apple bread that is heavy and dense like banana or pumpkin bread, but light yeasty apple bread with tender apple morsels suspended in its supple folds. I've been contemplating this bread for some time now. What sort of dough could create such a unique and addictive bread? How can it be so light and still hold up the apple chunks?

When I saw Rosa's apple bread, I knew she held to answers to these mystical secrets! Actually Rosa would say, it's no secret at all. She found an Apple Challah recipe from King Arthurs Flour and modified it to her liking. She's a genius, that Rosa. (You really should take a moment to check out her site!)

After making this bread recipe, I've tweaked it slightly as well--to further replicate the famous apple bread haunting my dreams. Rosa's bread is glazed with eggwash before baking to create a brilliant glossy crust. I decided to glaze mine after, with an apple cider-sugar glaze like at Grandad's Orchard.

The bread was outstanding! This is not a recipe to be filed for later--this BEGS to be baked, right away! For Halloween, or a fall party, possibly for Thanksgiving, but really...don't wait that long. You'll smack yourself after tasting it, for not baking it sooner! You can view step by step photos on the KAF site.


Harvest Apple Challah
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour and Rosa Mayland.

Ingredients for the Dough:
1/2 Cup (4oz) Water, lukewarm
1/4 Cup Runny Honey

1 1/2 Tbs Dry Active Yeast
7 Tbs Vegetable Oil 2 Large Eggs
17oz. All-purpose Flour (about 4 cups, but it's best to weigh it)
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Orange Zest

Ingredients for the Apple Filling:
2 Medium/large Apples peeled, cored and diced in 3/4" chunks
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tbs Dark rum (optional)

Ingredients for the Glaze:
1 1/2 Tbs Apple Juice/Cider
1 Cup Powdered Sugar

Mix the warm (not hot) water with the honey and yeast. Allow it to foam for 10 minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients for the dough. Mix and then knead them, using a mixer with a bread hook, or by hand, until you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough (about 8-10 minutes).

Put the dough in a oiled bowl and let it rise, covered, for 2 hours or until it's puffy and nearly doubled in size

Lightly grease/butter a 9inch round cake pan that's at least 2inch deep (or grease a 9inch or 10inch springform pan).

Toss the apple chunks with the sugar, cinnamon and rum.

Gently deflate the dough, transfer it to a lightly greased work surface, and flatte n it into a rough rectangle, about 8 x 10 inches.

Spread half the apple chunks in the center of the dough (see remarks for details).

Fold a short edge of the dough over the apple in order to cover it, patting firmly to seal the apples and spread the dough a bit.

Spread the remaining apple atop the folded-over dough.

Cover the apples with the other side of the dough, again patting firmly (Basically, you've folded the dough like a letter, enclosing the apples inside.).

Take a long knife and cut the apple-filled dough into 16 pieces. Cut in half, then each half in halves, etc ... (This will be very, VERY messy; the dough is slippery, apples will fall out, sugar syrup will ooze... it's not pretty. Don't worry, and don't stress about making all the pieces the same size).

Lay the dough chunks into the pan (Crowd them so that they all fit in a single tight layer - barely. Lots of apple chunks will fall out during this process; just tuck them in among the dough pieces, or simply spread them on top.).

Cover the challah gently with lightly greased plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise for about 1-2 hours, until it's a generous 3 inches high (It should come above the rim of a 9inch round cake pan). Twenty minutes before the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 325° F.

Place the bread in the lower third of the oven. Bake it for 55 minutes, or until the top is at least light golden brown all over and has no white spots.

Remove the challah from the oven, and after 5 minutes loosen the edges and carefully transfer it to a rack.

Let cool completely. Then whisk together the cider and powdered sugar and brush it over the top--allowing it to drizzle down the sides.



Fall Apple Yeast Bread on Foodista

86 comments:

  1. That is beautiful apple bread! I wish I actually had the time to bake every single delightful apple recipe out there. This one is definitely one that must be tried!!

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  2. the apple challah looks so beautiful!congrats for the top of baby blog!

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  3. Congrats on your blog award! I did see Rosa's posts. Thanks for sharing. This looks so yummy, and I can't wait to try it myself with apples from my favorite vendor.

    For the giveaway, I could use a tart pan.

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  4. Congratulations on your award. It is always very important when some people recognize the work, effort and love you put on something. This bread looks scrumptious. Great combo of ingredients.

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  5. Great news about the blog award, Congrats.

    I love the idea of a lighter more yeasty apple bread. I can't wait to give it a try.

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  6. I would buy a salamander. No, really, it's a cooking thing. It's an old-timey cast iron device that allows you to carmelize creme brulee without using a propane torch. Since I wouldn't use it very often it was hard to justify buying, but with a $35 gift certificate.....

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  7. Congrats on the recognition and award Sommer! It is fantastic to be appreciated isn't it? :)

    That is one beautiful apple bread - definitely worth attempting as soon as worthy apples show up!

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  8. Congrats sweet friend!!! Wish you lived closer and I'd be your official taste tester.

    And a giveaway? I'd buy a new knife. I love new knives.

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  9. A very pretty harvest bread!
    I would love a rectangle tart pan or a Madeleine pan. :-))

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  10. Congrats!! Your bread looks lovely as well, I can see why you couldn't wait to bake it, haha.

    If I won the giveaway, I would probably get new loaf pans for baking fresh bread!

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  11. I can see why you chose this one from all the great options out there. It looks fantastic! I love the chunks of apple in there.

    I would definitely put the giveaway towards a new dutch oven. I've been pining over them for months now!

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  12. First of all: congratulations on being on the top3 of the mountain express competition!! Really cool!
    Second: apple yeast bread?! this is for sure a must try! I love yeasted breads
    Third: what I would get if I won the giveaway...my wish list is so long! I think I would go for a torch...I've been dreaming of making creme brulee since a long time. The torch is for sure on the top of my list

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  13. I think that I might put this towards a set of sheets for my bedroom.
    msgb245 at gmail dot com

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  14. Sommer, Congratulations on placing 2nd! That is very exciting.
    The apple bread looks very tasty.

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  15. CONGRATULATIONS Sommer on making it to the top three in the Mountain Xpress!!! Such a HUGE accomplishment! I am so proud of you!!!!

    As for the giveaway, I would absolutely spend it on baby items. As all Asheville Moms know, this town is lacking in great baby stuff! And I would do just about anything to never have to set foot in a babies r' us ever again! How can a store selling baby stuff be so miserable!?

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  16. congrats, friend - you ROCK! def trying that recipe ... we have a gazillion apples right now to use up from the orchard. and i wanna' win your giveaway! i'd spend it on a large pot to make curry in (just like yours!).

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  17. Congrats on the blog award!! I know what you mean about the infinite amount of recipes...everyday I seem to find to find 5-15 more that I feel I MUST try. If only there were more hours in the day...
    This apple bread looks fabulous. I can't say I have ever had a light and yeasty apple bread like this, but I can imagine it is amazing.
    As for the giveaway...I would love to invest some money into a stand mixer or pan of some sort..I'm sure my kitchen is lacking something!

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  18. I do love Rosa's blog and that cake-like apple bread is warming my spirit. Congrats on the blog accolade - that is all so much fun!

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  19. I've been meaning to make apple bread too! I went apple picking a few weeks ago and near the orchard there was a booth selling bread exactly like what you described. I can't wait to try this to see how it compares. Thanks!

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  20. Hi Sommer, first congrats (jumpy clapping) on being Best of Western North Carolina, you so deserve to be there. Second I hope I'm in the middle of your list of friends or friends to be. (because I really think you are BFF potential). You rock girl. I didn't know "Rosa yummy yum" blog...will check it for sure. And for the apple bread I can see why you had to make it. It looks amazing. Must taste delicious. Have a great week.

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  21. Congratulations, that is so great and being the only food blog chosen, wow! Your bread looks perfect I do remember Rosa's too, and I can see why you chose it :)

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  22. Oh Dear! Opsy!!! I forgot about the CSN Stores thingy. I'm sorry...I just woke up and didn't have any coffee. So my brain isn't working full potential. Lolz.....Let's see ....I would buy probably something to do with baking. I'm really into that lately. :-)

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  23. I love the addition of Rum in the filling; it sounds delicious.

    I would use the money towards a good set of knives. I don't have enough of those.

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  24. Congratulations on being named the best blog! That's wonderful recognition. That bread certainly looks amazing! I will have to save it for later (like you, I have about 18 billion recipes saved) but I will definitely keep it in mind!

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  25. This looks amazing! I can't wait to make this bread.

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  26. Love your blog...love apples. A tart pan....

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  27. First off...Congrats on your award. You have a fantastic blog and I am glad you are getting recognized for your efforts.

    The apple bread looks AMAZING. I just wish I had a mixer with bread hooks which leads me to the third thing...

    If I won the gift certificate I would use it towards getting myself a new mixer. :)

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  28. CONGRATS! That's fantastic news, with wonderful recipes such as this, it's no wonder you should receive such honors!

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  29. congratulations sommer! i cant think of a better blog! wohoo!

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  30. ohh! i would LOVE some new cookware for sure!

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  31. Congratulations. I'm relatively new to your blog, but what I've seen I love.

    From CSN I would love new drinking glasses.

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  32. sommer-we just picked about 40 lbs. of apples yesterday at our local apple orchard so this recipe came just in time. i'm making it this week! congrats on your food blog...it's enjoyable to read.
    if i won the giveaway....i would spend it 20 different ways (in my head) before deciding to buy something for my new kitchen. something colorful and useful. :)

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  33. Congrats on the award! That's huge!!
    Lovely recipe.
    I would put the gift card toward a new microwave. We gave ours to goodwill as our current apartment has one. But our new apartment unfortunately doesn't.

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  34. Hi, congratulations on your award! I just recently found your blog thru twitter and it's been a helpful inspiration as I'm kind of new to the whole cooking thing :) Especially excited to try the thai fried rice recipe which is one of my favorite dishes to get at a restaurant.

    for the giveaway I could use some kitchen tools... would love an avocado slicer and a zester.

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  35. CONGRATS!!!! on your award, how wonderful to be recognized on your tasty work..oh yes Rosa's blog is awesome, her creations and photos are awesome...beautiful bread...first tamales, then choc pumpkin bars and now apple bread..wow catching up on your posts have been yummy...take care
    sweetlife

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  36. wow congrats on going through you totally deserve it and wow this apple bread looks amazing

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  37. Got your add on Twitter! This blog is awesome!!

    If I were to win the giveaway, I would spend it on some new cookware or kitchen supplies for my future kitchen. Im' engaged to be married and severly lacking in the home supplies department!

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  38. I feel the same way - I have a notebook stuffed with recipes I mean to try someday along with dozens of cookbooks stacked everywhere. I make challah a lot and add poppy seeds, cheese and chopped onion but I've never thought about fruit (unless you count raisins). I wonder if you used firm pears if you would get a similar result?

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  39. BIG congratulation on your award. You deserve it! And oh my gosh, that Apple Bread does look divine.
    On a side note, I tagged you in the Blog Tag Game, hope you don't mind.

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  40. This looks spectacular! Lovley and Yes Rosa is wonderful. Follow her blog and yours religiously! Also congratulations on your award!

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  41. That certainly is an incredible apple bread....it looks perfect! A great shape and all those wonderful apples!! Congrats on your award, you really deserve that and more!!
    Cheers
    Dennis

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  42. Congratulations on placing in the Top 3! What a wonderful accomplishment, that is certainly deserved :o)
    Your apple bread looks simply divine! Love everything about it and that glaze just takes it over the top for me!

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  43. This bread looks amazing! I love that you put big chunks of apple and included rum! Great recipe :)!

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  44. First of all congratulations! I totally do the same thing with recipes from blogs.. I have over 40 in my inbox right now, about 100 in my foobuzz inbox and those are not including the ones I've already printed :) ha But if this recipe is as good as you say I may have to bump it up on the list!

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  45. Ah! This looks amazing, Sommer, and of course, you have completely earned your award - your blog is the best!!! I just made an apple cake today and was just thinking yesterday that I would love to incorporate apples into a yeast bread I could slice for breakfast - how perfect! As for CSN stores - I'd get a new muffin pan - I love my mini muffin pan but am in need of a great full size pan. ( :

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  46. Thanks for this giveaway...I might use the gift card for some kitchenware.

    ramvinayak_81@rediffmail.com

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  47. Congrats on the recognition!!! As for the bread, it looks out of this world, and if I had $35 bucks towards something from CSN I'd buy an ice cream maker.

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  48. Congrats! That is great about your placing in the top 3!...No surprise here though, I love your blog! :) I love the apple bread...I might have to try this one sometime! And for the contest, I have been in dire need of a good knife sharpener.

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  49. CONGRATULATIONS!!! Oh wow, that makes EVERY minute and effort you spent on this blog worth it, doesn't it? And what best way to celebrate it than to bake some more! This apple cake is REALLY calling out to me. I must make it someday! I have it bookmarked! :-)

    Hm...I would love the $35 to get a rolling pin and a springform pan!

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  50. Congrats on being named the top blog in North Carolina! That's awesome! The bread looks awesome too :)

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  51. Congrats on the award! And this awesome bread. I'd eat an extra slice just to celebrate :) As for CSN...I hear they have yoga mats...not so food-y, but something I've been needing lately.

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  52. If that isn't face first bread, I don't know what is.

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  53. Great recipe, I have loads of apples this year from my trees in my back yard, and I'm always looking for cool recipes that i can use them up with. This looks fabulous.
    *kisses* HH

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  54. Beautiful texture for this gorgeous apple bread!

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  55. So beautiful! It looks so amazingly good!!

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  56. Congratulations on the award! and the apple bread looks definitely amazing!

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  57. Congrats and the cake has been baked to perfection!

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  58. I would buy 2 new spring form pans!!!! Thanks for the chance and for making it easy!
    Have a terrific week
    jacksoncrisman@yahoo.com

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  59. Congrats on such a lovely honor! And I am with you... I bookmark soooooo many recipes but then they just pile up and pile up... which is why my theme for this week is cooking some of those bookmarked recipes in order to clear some of them out!

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  60. Oh, that bread looks divine!

    I would let the kids choose a kitchen gadget they could use to help me bake or cook. They are getting pretty interested in cooking.

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  61. Congrats on being nominated! I hope you win!

    The harvest apple challah looks great!

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  62. Oh my goodness I'm SO happy for you. Congrats! You totally deserve it and I hope you win. Your blog is amazing and it's one of my absolute favorite. :)

    And the harvest apple challah?! WOW that looks soooooo delicious. I want to seriously eat the whole thing, haha.

    Hmm you know I don't know what I'd spend it on, I'm usually have a hard time deciding when it comes to baking/cooking things!

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  63. Woohoo! Congrats on the award. So well-deserved. Tell me there is a huge cash prize for the winner :) Oh, and I've been eyeing a hand crank pasta maker for some time so that'd be my choice :)

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  64. I also read a lot of blogs, and bookmark a whole lot of recipes to try later. This is one recipe that I am going to make right away, as I've been looking for an apple bread recipe. I'll let you know how it turns out. :)

    Something on my wish list would be a pizza peel. So I think I would get a wooden one from CSN.

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  65. Hey Sommer, that's so awesome and I'm glad you're happy about being the best of the best (smile). That really is cool being that Asheville in and of itself is just super cool (smile)!
    Ooh, and Rosa is so talented. I might have to try this bread too, but with pears. I have a lot of them. Do you think their softer texture would be okay in this recipe?

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  66. Congrats! That is awesome.

    Your Challah is splendid and looks so good! Thanks for the kind words, dear. You make my day!

    Cheers,

    Rosa xoxo

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  67. Congratulations Sommer! That is such an exciting honor. You really deserve it! Beautiful challah bread!

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  68. Love the idea of apple challah. That would make a mean french toast!!!

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  69. First, congrats to you!!! Awesome. I know that you are proud and we are proud f you too.

    Second, this apple cake is stunning-the description that it is yeasty put me over the top.

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  70. Congratulations on the recognition you deserve it!
    I love this recipe and agree it's a definite winner in every way:)

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  71. Congrats on your blog being featured - that's a wonderful accomplishment! And this bread/cake/bread looks to die for - thanks for sharing! As far as the giveaway I would put it towards a new set of pasta bowls. Mine have gone from 'well-loved' to chipped and falling apart over night it seems:(

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  72. I love your apple bread! Too tempting! If I got a gift card, I'd definitely put it towards a stand mixer. :-)

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  73. Sommer, this apple cake looks a masterpiece! It is exciting when you perfect a recipe isn't it?
    Congrats on the blog award, too ! This is wonderful news! As for the favored kitchen gadget ... I'd put the certificate toward a stand mixer ... my arm gets tired whipping batters and sauces and mixing doughs.

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  74. The cake looks amazing! I would love to buy some new cake pans!

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  75. Congrats on your well deserved blog award!! Your apple bread looks sooooo good!I am making it this weekend.

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  76. Congratulation on the award, you deserve it.
    The bread looks so good, I like the shape you gave to it.

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  77. That's a great giveaway..thanks...I would like to spend it on new kitchen items if I won...

    ramvinayak_81@rediffmail.com

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  78. Sorry I'm so late to the game - catching up on my reading after being gone for two weeks... Congrats on being the best food blog in WNC and on discovering the apple bread recipe of your dreams! It does look divine and is definitely something I would make.

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  79. this apple bread which looks like a cake looks jaw dropping delicious. i can gulp 3 to 4 pieces in my mouth ! i am loving fruit in baking these days thanks for recipe!

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  80. Congratulations!!!! Beautiful break.

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  81. ah.....make that "bread"....not break. :-)

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  82. I made this for some friends here in Asheville tonight. The recipe was easy to follow and everyone loved it. Keep up the good work!

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I love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for taking the time. If you have a question, I'll get back to you ASAP!