The 9th Annual Apple Dessert Contest

At the end of August, I saw a contest that STL Today (the online home of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) was running. They were looking for apple recipes in two categories–pies, and other desserts. I entered a recipe in each category, and promptly forgot about it.

Then while Ryan was out-of-town, I received a phone call telling me that my apple-pumpkin bread had been chosen as a finalist in the dessert category! I was shocked, if only because I had put the contest out of my head, and also excited. Today was the big day (the contest was part of the St. Louis Builders Home and Remodeling Show), so after smelling the bread all throughout church, Sunday school, and choir rehearsal (I kept it with me all morning, because it was just too hot to risk leaving it in the car!), we headed west to the lovely Convention Center in St. Charles.

Now, I make this bread at least once a year in the fall, every year. I have done so for at least a decade. But I was really nervous about baking it yesterday, and I was worried that it was underdone and overdone, all at the same time. I also fussed over the presentation, until I came up with this (which I think looked pretty nice!):

If making the bread wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, waiting through the judging process was a nightmare!

But I had the best cheering section there (thank you family, for making me laugh when I felt like I was going to be sick!), and they were just as excited as I was when I placed second!

Even without the prizes (which were a wonderful surprise!), this was a fun thing to do. One thing you have to say about me…I’m always putting myself out there, and sometimes, like today, it pays off pretty well!

Award-Winning Apple-Pumpkin Bread

Every Fall, I make at least one batch of my award-winning Harvest Apple-Pumpkin Bread, and it’s a huge hit with the whole family. Earlier this week, Turkey reminded me that I hadn’t baked any yet this year, so after we got home from the pumpkin patch today, I got to work.

 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (or applesauce, for optimal apple flavor!)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice, cider, or water
  • 1 large baking apple, peeled, cored and diced

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and apple juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 65 to 70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.