Away in a Manger

Away in a Manger

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tradition

Tradition can get you in hot water. It can also be as soothing as a hot "bath." It's that delicate balance that's the tricky part.

Sometimes people look at tradition as an impediment to change. We get comfortable in our old, comfy shoes, and we don't care if they make us look dumpy. We know a new pair would give our whole look an update, but they might squeeze our toes.

But tradition can also be a way to build the future, while honoring the past. Since 1923, the women of the Stafford United Methodist Church have organized some kind of fundraiser to support church missions. The first fundraisers were banquets, since the church basement was one of the larger places in town. Nobody seems to know when the annual bazaar started, but it's been more than 30 years (since I've been around that long)!

It's pretty amazing when you think about it: For nearly 90 years, United Methodist Women (and some men these days) have worked together to accomplish a common goal.

One of those long-time traditions is UMW Apple Butter. At the end of September, we again got together to make apple butter flavored with red hots.

When I first joined the workdays in the UMW kitchen many years ago, we started the process from scratch. We peeled apples and cooked them down to applesauce. Then we turned it into the brightly-colored spread.

But as lives have gotten busier and there are fewer helping hands, we now start with canned applesauce. I'm sure it was a hard transition to make for people who've been doing it the other way for decades.

But, in the long run, I don't think people can tell the difference. It's still our red-hot colored, cinnamon-flavored spread.

This year, the bazaar will be a little different. We won't have the "treasure" room or the used clothing room. But we will still have some of those hallmarks that make the bazaar the bazaar - like apple butter, frozen apple pies and chicken & noodles.

But if you come to the Stafford UMW bazaar on Saturday, November 12, from 9 AM to 2 PM, you'll still see tradition. It might even be wearing new shoes.

***

I always have to pick up a few jars of apple butter so that I can make one of our favorite coffeecakes. We had a Sunday School party after worship on Sunday, and I brought Apple Butter Coffeecake as one of my offerings.

Enjoy!
Apple Butter Coffee Cake
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup apple butter
1 cup dairy sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Topping (see below)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Mix dry ingredients together, and add alternately with sour cream. Add vanilla and apple butter. Put half the batter into a greased 13- by 9-inch pan. Sprinkle with topping. Place other half on batter on top and sprinkle with rest of the topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Topping
1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped nuts
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and sprinkle over batter.

If you want a "fancier" presentation, you may put this is a Bundt or tube pan. I usually put half the batter into the pan and sprinkle with half the topping. Then I use the rest of the batter and sprinkle on the remaining topping. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing onto a pretty serving platter.

I usually glaze the coffee cake with a thin frosting made of melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and a little milk. This time, I made a brown sugar icing by melting butter and brown sugar together until the sugar was dissolved. Then add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk to make a frosting glaze.

If you're making a Bundt or tube cake, drizzle the frosting in "swags," creating a decorative pattern. You will need to wait for it to cool a little before frosting, so the frosting stays in place and doesn't puddle on the plate.

I have a large tube pan. So I made 1 1/2 recipes for our Sunday School event.

When I make this recipe, I use the UMW Apple Butter. The red hot cinnamon candies in the recipe give our version the distinctive pink color. But you may use any apple butter. It just might not have that lovely pink tinge.


Fresh from the Farm Recipe Swap with Farmchick

2 comments:

  1. Kim
    Have fun at the church bazaar! What a neat tradition ... apple butter.

    We are seeing similar trends. It is sad that we are all so busy making a living that we don't take as much time with the people in our community.

    Your cake is beautiful!

    Robyn
    http://theranchwifechronicles.com/

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  2. My late mother-in-law loved the bazaar and was a central "character" in the crafts portion of the event. On her refrigerator, she had a photo of our son "helping" wash dishes in the church basement during one of the workdays when he was about 4. I still have that photo on my refrigerator, where it reminds me of the importance of our immediate family and our church family.

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