Saturday, November 10, 2012

Apple Spice Bread

Apples. Cardamom. Flour. Cinnamon. Sugar. Nuts. Nutmeg. Butter. Vanilla. Ginger. Cranberries. Can we get any more fall-inspired than this?

Apple Spice Bread

I was supposed to be walking around right now, enjoying this seasonable warm 60+ degree Chicago fall day. Instead, I'm sitting inside, listening to the rhythmic rain and intermittent crackling of thunder. I was supposed to be exercising without coming up with any more excuses. Instead, I'm sitting inside, because its raining... and I have to catch up on my food blog!

Rain brings excuses.

Bad for me. Good for you.

Unwrapping the fragrant bread.

I made this bread two weeks ago, after I first saw it on the blog My Baking Addiction. She called it Apple Pie Bread, but after making it I didn't get as much "apple" from the bread as I had hoped. What I did get though was the spice. The delicious, wrap-you-with-a-warm-blanket kind of spice.

My dad finally brought over my grandmother's old sewing table/machine. The machine 
doesn't work, but I love looking at it every morning as the light pours into my apartment.

Most recipes call for straight up cinnamon. Which is good. I like cinnamon. But I don't love it. And I think it tends to overpower a lot of foods. Instead, the recipe calls for what she calls "Apple Pie Spice," made up of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. I'm pretty certain I will forever use this apple pie spice blend instead of cinnamon in all future baking projects.

As should you.

I found a bit of jam or butter was perfect on the slightly dry bread.

The bread itself was delicious. The intensity of spice was perfection and its level of sweetness could not have been more spot on. I could have used a more pronounced apple flavor, so maybe next time I'll add in chunks of apple. I would have loved to bite into soft and tender sweetness studded throughout this bread. And while the bread tasted delicious, I felt it was a bit dry. I'm not sure why (perhaps I squeezed too much liquid from the apples? perhaps I overcooked it a bit?). But apparently I'm the only one who had an issue with it. The boy, and my coworkers, absolutely loved the bread. I think part of the reason was I was expecting something similar to banana bread. But this bread is very different. It's denser. Heartier. Fuller in flavor. And ultimately a bit drier. 

If I was more of an experimenter in the kitchen, I'd be interested to see if adding a bit of applesauce or big chunks of apple could add that moistness that I felt missing. If anyone is more adventurous and tries that out, let me know how it turns out.

But if you're savoring a not-too-sweet, perfectly spiced, hearty, breakfast/snack/dessert kind of food- you've found it.

Buen Provecho,

Apple Spice Bread, from My Baking Addiction
Yield: 1 loaf
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 60 min

Notes: Use only the grated apples, not any remaining liquid (depending on your type of apple). If necessary, lightly squeeze the apples to release any excess juice before adding them to the batter. I used Honeycrisp apples (my favorite) and they were super liquidy. The best part was drinking the leftover juice, it's delicious! 

Next time, I think I'll add apple chunks to the bread in addition to the grated apple, using this apple cake as an inspiration. 


For the Batter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons homemade apple pie spice (see below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded, peeled apple (about 4-6 medium or 2-3 large) (see note above)
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries

For the Streusel Topping
1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon homemade apple pie spice (see below)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

For apple pie spice (makes 1/3 cup, save the rest for future recipes)
Mix together:
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed for about 30 seconds. Add in sugars and mix until well combined. Add buttermilk and baking powder; beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until thoroughly incorporated. In a medium bowl, combine flour, apple pie spice and salt, whisk until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture to the bowl and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Fold in apples, pecans and cranberries.

3. Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Prepare the Streusel Topping.

4. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour and apple pie spice. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans. Spoon Streusel Topping over the batter, pressing them gently into the batter.

5. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

6. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight at room temperature (to let the flavors meld) before slicing.


Post a Comment