Apple Blackberry Crumble Bars

Good afternoon everyone!! I hope that your St. Patrick’s Day was filled with lots of green, clovers, and hopefully not too many green treats, because to be honest, those kind of scare me. Mine was pretty uneventful, but this coming weekend is going to be filled with lots of news. In the next few weeks, I’m going to be receiving all of my college notifications, which is a little bit stressful to say the least. But, the only thing that I can do at this point is wait, and to help you wait too, I made you something that isn’t green!

-4My last ever state gymnastics meet is this coming weekend. I’m still having a hard time thinking about that, but I knew that this day would come eventually. I’ve been at my gym for 7 years, and it’s sad to think that this is the last time that I’ll be able to wear my leotard and warmups. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to a sport that I’ve spent so much of my life participating in, but I’m hoping that wherever I go I will be able to compete on a club team or even train at a gym recreationally.

-1I always seem to end up with tons of apples at my house. I love to eat them as a healthy after school or gymnastics snack, but there are some weeks where there seems to be an endless supply of apples in our kitchen. I’ve made so many apple desserts that are just so similar, and I wanted something a little different. These crumb bars are a mixture of a buttery shortbread crust, cinnamony apples, and a slightly tart layer of all natural blackberry preserves. While you can use whatever you would like, I love the mixture between these 2 and would highly recommend it.

Apple Blackberry Crumble Bars- From Annie’s Eats


For the base:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling:

  • 4 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored and coarsely diced
  • 5 tbsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fruit jam (I used peach)

For the topping:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened


  1. To prepare the filling, in a large skillet combine the apples, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until apples are tender but still firm.  In a small cup, whisk together cornstarch and lemon juice.  Add to the apple mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.  Line an 8×8” baking dish with foil, leaving overhang on both sides for easy removal later.  Grease foil.
  3. To make the base, in a medium bowl combine flour, sugar and salt.  Mix well.  Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, two forks or your hands, until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven.  Spread the fruit jam evenly on the base while it is still hot.  Top with the cooked apple mixture.
  4. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients for the topping.  Mix well until combined and crumbly.  Sprinkle over the apple layer.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Using the foil, lift out of pan.  Cut into squares and serve.  (If desired, refrigerate before cutting to firm up a bit for easier slicing.)


-Rayna 🙂



Apple Allspice Crumb Muffins

Happy New Year everyone! I just realized that this is my first post of 2013, even though it’s almost February! Life really started to pick up the pace, with midterms and new semesters and preparation for lots of concerts, it’s been a busy few weeks. Not to mention, that I unfortunately was a victim of this year’s flu epidemic, so I spent quite a nice amount of time with a bottle of Tylenol and a box of tissues by my side, barely willing to get up out of a chair, and much less make delicious baked goods. Thankfully, I’m all better now and able to return to everything as usual, but I’m very happy that I conquered the sickness!

I’ve made tons of muffins for RTTC, and it’s because they’re one of my favorite ways to make breakfast better, especially on a school morning. It’s so much nicer to wake up on a cold, snowy, Monday morning (not that I ever like doing that) to a plateful of homemade muffins than it is to have to grab a bar from the cabinet on my way out the door. I made a few adjustments to the recipe that really make it stand out among the others. My favorite adjustment was to the crumb topping. I had used up all of the butter making the muffins, and I obviously couldn’t leave out the crumb topping to I used roasted almond oil! I know it’s not an ingredient that’s found in most kitchens, but as you probably know by know, our kitchen is far from normal. Did I mention that I found it next to a bottle that did not have a single word of English on it? What can I say, that’s how we roll. Back to the oil, it gave the crumb a wonderful, warm, nutty flavor, and especially with the apples and the cinnamon and nutmeg in the muffin, it was just delightful. I would use butter if you don’t have this in your kitchen, because using a plain flavored oil, such as canola or vegetable, won’t give it much of a flavor. But try new things! Don’t be afraid to branch outside what a recipe is saying, you never know what you might get!

Apple Allspice Crumb Muffins- Adapted from In Jennie’s Kitchen


For Crumb Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons roasted almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

For Muffins:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • Pinch of cloves, optional
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups peeled, shredded apples


  1. Preheat oven to 375º.  Grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners.  For the topping, mix all ingredients in small bowl with a fork  until combined; set aside.
  2. For the muffins, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all spice in a medium-size bowl; set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  3. Beat in one third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the sour cream. Alternating between dry ingredients and sour cream, repeat until all ingredients have been incorporated.  Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the diced apples.
  4. Evenly divide batter into the muffin-tin cups.  Sprinkle tops evenly with the crumb topping.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.

What a wonderful morning pleasure. I’m happy just thinking about it!

-Rayna 🙂

Buttery Apple Cake

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope everyone’s week is going well. Mine hasn’t been too eventful, but I’m really starting to get a feel of how this year is going to work out. Most of my classes are in full swing with projects, quizzes, tests, the whole package. Even though it will be a tough year (like most junior years tend to be), I’m really looking forward to learning lots this year without it being too overwhelming.

You can tell fall has really begun once Rosh Hashanah has gone by. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and one of the traditions is to eat apples and honey, to celebrate a sweet new year. Although this cake doesn’t have any honey in it, this delectable delight from Martha Stewart would be a perfect way to end your new year, or just a great way to get into the swing of fall baking. Who doesn’t love that?

Buttery Apple Cake

Makes one 8 inch Cake


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Heavy cream, for serving


  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325. Coat an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread apples in pan; set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, oil, and eggs in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour over apples. Bake until set and pale golden brown, about 40 minutes.
  3. Make the topping: Stir together butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl. Remove cake from oven, and pour topping over cake. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Remove sides of pan, and transfer cake to a serving plate. Serve slices drizzled with cream.

A simple cake that’s sure to make your weekday that much better.

-Rayna 🙂

Apple Pie Muffins

I am not excited for this coming week. After being on school break for a week, I am not exactly excited to wake up bright and early for school on Monday morning. It already felt as if I was bombarded with work this entire break! But now that school is less than 2 days away, I won’t really be able to post regularly until after most of the major testing (AP tests, music school final, etc.) is over, but I’ll try my very best to keep you guys updated on what’s happening over in my kitchen.

Although I may talk about how excited I am for gymnastics regionals and the gigantic volume of schoolwork that I have, something I don’t talk about as much is music. I started playing violin when I was just 3 years old, and 12 years later, I’m still at it. While most other kids get to sleep in on Saturday mornings, I’m frequently in Manhattan by 7:30 in the morning, my viola strapped to my back while I lug around an enormous bag filled with all of my music. Aside from my weekly lesson, I’m also involved in the orchestra (as principal violist), a piano quintet, and I take classes in ear training and music history. I’ll try to keep you guys posted on what’s happening in the music world!

Now to these muffins. Let’s start out with the fact that I love apples. I could seriously eat around 3-4 apples a day. Granny Smith, Gala, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, apples are just an amazing fruit (as long as they’re not the mushy type!). However, I can be picky when it comes to what apples I eat, and as soon as they show a hint of being not a perfectly crisp apple, my desire to just bite right into it just disappears. So, instead of throwing away tons of apples, I just bake with them! These apple pie muffins don’t exactly taste like the real thing, but are a great way to start off your morning and might even make Monday mornings slightly more tolerable. 🙂

Apple Pie Muffins- From My Baking Addiction

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients- For the Muffins

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (decrease to 1 cup if don’t like too too sweet)
  • 2 cups peeled, chopped, granny smith apples (or your favorite type!)
  • Turbinado sugar, for garnish

For the Topping

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin tins.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda. In a large bowl, mix together the buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla extract and brown sugar. Mix until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined. Add in the apples. Sprinkle on the turbinado sugar and the topping.
  3. Prepare the topping: mix together all of the ingredients until a crumbly topping is formed.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top springs back up.
  5. Enjoy!

Summer fruits here I come! 🙂

-Rayna 🙂