October 27, 2011

Apple-pecan spice bread

I'm getting down to the last of our apples from apple picking (except the ones we've stashed in the refrigerator crisper for snacks). I love to make quick breads and muffins, even though they aren't necessarily the healthiest of foods, but I try to make them with good ingredients so I don't feel as bad... I like this bread because it has chunks of apples and lots of my favorite cool-weather spices. This part is perfect for right now because I saw the first snow of the season this afternoon. It was a short, wet snow that melted right away, but it's still very cold and damp outside. There's something magical about the first snow of the season, even here in western NY where we have a long winter. I'm not ready for fall to be over yet, but this is perfect weather for a slice of this bread and a hot cup of tea. Plus the baking will warm your home with the heat of the oven and the aroma of spices. This recipe will make one loaf of bread. 

Apple-pecan spice bread
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 teaspoon set aside
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar, plus 1 tablespoon set aside
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups apples, peeled and diced 
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or rub olive oil in a standard loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through allspice). In a large bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients (eggs through vanilla). Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir using a wooden spoon until almost combined. Then gently fold in the apples and pecans until all the ingredients are just combined.

Pour into the loaf pan and spread the batter evenly. Sprinkle to top of the bread with the remaining teaspoon of cinnamon and tablespoon of brown sugar. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out cleanly.

Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then remove the loaf and place it on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container (refrigerate because the moist apples may mold if left at room temperature).

What was I cooking one year ago?: escabeche (pickled jalapenos) and beef and Guinness pie

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