Fall is in the air this week, with cool weather to release the hidden colors of tree leaves and gusty winds to swirl them all over the neighborhood. Farmers' Markets have already transitioned into this new season, offering late harvest produce, tempting me with multi-hued piles of crisp peppers and chilies, mounds of sturdy greens and oh! so many varieties of apples.
Apples! just the thing to use for the September #TwelveLoaves project.
#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess. #TwelveLoaves runs so smoothly thanks to the help of the lovely Paula from Vintage Kitchen Notes and Renee from Magnolia Days. Our September baking mission is about baking bread with something sweet or savory you find at the Farmers Market. Share your September Farmers Market Bread (yeast or quick bread). Let's get baking!I delayed this month, considering one apple recipe after another, but never did commit to baking any of them. With the month ending soon, procrastination had to stop. Right now. Immediately. Today.
I woke early, well before dawn, and decided to play with a Spiced Apple Bread recipe I had found online at about.com SouthernFood. I halved the recipe, tweaked the ingredients a bit, and wished I had baked this delight weeks ago. The flavor was amazing, in a good way. Think apple pie hiding in a cakelike loaf that is called a quick bread. Right.
The recipe came together easily enough and the house smelled divine as it baked. I sipped a morning brew and waited impatiently for it to finish baking and then cool. It looked so tempting when it came out of the oven. Drat! My loaf was not so pretty after it cooled a while on the wire baking rack. Like a sway-backed old nag, it sagged in the middle. Oops, it should have baked a bit longer. No matter, we still enjoyed half a loaf for breakfast, despite the issue with a too-moist center.
Next time I will use smaller bread pans or muffin tins, adjust the baking time as needed, and be more attentive when I poke it with a tester. There definitely will be a next time, maybe even tomorrow. Fresh Apple Quick Bread is our new favorite Fall treat. It's terrific as a warm breakfast slice, or even crisped up under the broiler. Top a thick slice with a dollop of mascarpone or Greek yogurt with honey for a tasty dessert or snack. Bake in mini bundt pans, then drizzle with a loose powdered sugar frosting for an attractive presentation. Yum.
Fresh Apple Quick Bread
based on the Spiced Apple Bread at about.com Southern Food
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Penzey's Apple Pie Spice
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped in chunks
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)
zest of 1 small lemon, grated
1 teaspoon sugar mixed with 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (for topping)
- Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Use cooking spray to coat a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Cover the two long sides and bottom of the pan with a strip of parchment paper (to help with pan release and lifting out). Spray the parchment paper.
- Use a small bowl and combine the flour, salt, baking soda and spices.
- In a larger mixing bowl combine the sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and almond extract until well blended.
- Stir in the apple chunks, raisins, cranberries, chopped nuts and lemon zest.
- Add the dry ingredients and use a large spoon to mix until the flour is thoroughly incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
- Place in the preheated 325 F oven and bake for 20 minutes. Slide out the oven rack and sprinkle the mixed sugar and cinnamon topping mixture over the top of the loaf. Bake for an additional 45 to 60 minutes, or as long as it takes for a cake tester to come out clean.
- Remove to a baking rack to rest before removing from the loaf pan. Let the loaf cool before slicing... if you can wait that long.