I haven’t baked a coffee cake in years but over the past four days, I’ve baked this apple and walnut coffee cake twice. I was inspired by my mom’s steal on a bunch of black walnuts and the need for something sweet as I push through the pho cookbook copyediting process. She found them in the bargain area of her supermarket, marked down to a ridiculously low price. Black walnuts are relatively hard to find, probably because they have very hard shells that make them tough nuts to crack (ha!). Compared to regular English walnuts, black walnuts have a winey, big flavor. In raw and cooked state, they exude a remarkable fragrance. Mom gave me several bags of her black walnuts because at 55 cents each, she bought all that the store had. I keep them in the freezer.
Last Sunday, I woke up wanting an easy old fashioned coffee cake for breakfast. I found a recipe in a 1994 Sunset magazine cookbook called “Breads” – the kind of cookbook you’d pickup at a grocery store. I loved the older one from 1966 because it was no nonsense and the recipe taught me a lot about American break baking. This one was somewhat of an updated version; I keep it in my collection for when I’m NOT in the mood for fancy, rustic loaves.