Cinnamon Apple Bread

bread(Sorry for the atrocious pictures…soon I’ll be back at home with my brother for the holidays and you’ll get some quality photos, I promise!)

Those of you who are avid readers might remember a recipe way back in 2012 for Apple Cinnamon Bread. Actually, I would be quite impressed if anyone does remember…I’m sure you all have better things to keep track of than my recipe arsenal! The reason I bring it up is to erase any kind of confusion between the two recipes. That back then was Apple Cinnamon Bread. This right now is Cinnamon Apple Bread. No, there is no logical reason for the ordering of the words; I just didn’t want two identical-sounding recipes. Because these are not the same bread. Not at all. The Apple Cinnamon Bread from 2012 consisted of a fragrant, cinnamon-spiced quick bread filled with chunks of juicy apple and topped with a crunchy cinnamon-sugar crust. It had a soft, tender, coarse crumb and was bursting with the flavors of fresh apple pie. My house smelled incredible while it was baking!

The Cinnamon Apple Bread from 2014 consists of a sweet, vanilla-scented bread layered with a thick cinnamon swirl and diced apples. It also has a soft, tender, coarse crumb and is bursting with the flavors of fresh apple pie. My apartment also smelled incredible while it was baking! As you can see, although the two breads are pretty different (one is a cinnamon bread with apple chunks and a crunchy topping; one is a plain vanilla bread swirled with ribbons of cinnamon-sugar and diced apple) you can’t go wrong either way!bread2

Despite the fact that every store in the country seems to have jumped straight from Halloween to Christmas, IT IS STILL AUTUMN. To me, November is very much a fall month. Thanksgiving is still two weeks away, the sidewalks are still covered with orange and red leaves, and our windowsill is still lined with about 40,000 tiny pumpkins and gourds. Yesterday JC Penney had Christmas music playing in their shoe section, and I was forced to jam my earbuds into my ears and blast non-Christmas music to drown out the premature rendition of Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.” Make no mistake–I am a Christmas FANATIC–but not until December. Right now it’s just wrong. Shame on you, JC Penney DJ.

Help acknowledge these last few weeks of autumn by baking a loaf of Cinnamon Apple Bread! Your kitchen will smell like an apple pie, and the resulting bread is soft, sweet, and fabulous. Cinnamon-apple is one of my favorite combos, especially when it’s layered into a tender loaf cake. The holidays will be here soon enough, but there’s definitely enough time for one last fall recipe….i.e. this bread!bread3

Cinnamon Apple Bread

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

1/2 cup milk

1 large apple, peeled and diced (I used a mixture of Gala and Granny Smith)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″x5″ loaf pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. In a larger bowl, beat together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in the vanilla until smooth.

Add in half the flour and the baking powder, mixing briefly. Beat in the yogurt and milk, then the rest of the flour. Mix just until no flour streaks remain.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter half of the diced apples evenly onto the batter, then use a spoon to lightly press them down. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture on top of the apples. Pour the remaining batter over the top, followed by the rest of the apples and the rest of the brown sugar/cinnamon. Press everything down lightly, then bake for 50-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let the bread cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

(Recipe adapted from The Happier Homemaker)

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Apple Cinnamon Bread

As a little girl, I always dreamed of having fruit trees in my own yard.  When I was about six, my family took a trip to a nearby nursery to purchase several small trees for our backyard.  What they had in mind, and what we ended up getting, were three little trees, but if had been up to me I would have ordered an orange tree, a lemon tree, and a peach tree.  Those were the types I had spied in one of the tree catalogs at the nursery, and no amount of logic (such as the fact that we lived in Colorado, not California) would seem adequate to justify my parents’ gentle “no’s.”

Sadly, I had to make do with the single skinny apple tree that grew next to our patio.  After living in our house for seven years, we finally determined its unwavering pattern.  Every other summer, the tree would burst with bright pink apple blossoms that ripened into little, green, surprisingly edible apples in the fall.  I loved going “apple picking,” though it was usually about 5 minutes and 6 apples later that the apple picking of the season drew to a close.   However small our tree’s bounty was, there was still almost always enough for an apple pie.  A big piece of homemade apple pie had an uncanny ability to erase my yearns for that lemon tree!

The following year, however, always proved to be a disappointment.  For some reason our tree had a switch that turned on one summer and off the next.  Without exception, that little apple tree could only handle the strain of producing apples every other year, so every second summer I would gaze sadly up at the spindly, bare branches and wait patiently for the following summer, when it would magically come back to life.  I haven’t lived in that house for nine years, but I wouldn’t be surprised if our determined little tree was still chugging (every other year, that is)!

Ironically, our house on the island is also home to a little apple tree, though it’s even weaker than the first.  To get the apples that I can’t reach, all I have to do is stand under the branches and shake the trunk (yes, the trunk!) and the ripe ones will fall down.  Sometimes right on my head, but that’s beside the point.  As small and scrawny as it is, this little tree is just as determined as our old one.  It manages to produce a few dozen Granny Smith-esque apples every. single. year.  *Gasp*  I went out the other day and came in with twenty-two apples, so I decided some baking was in store!  Enter this Apple Cinnamon Bread, which is full of fall flavors: cinnamon, a touch of allspice and cloves, and tart chunks of homegrown apple.  Add a crunchy brown sugar-cinnamon topping and you’ve got a winner!

Apple Cinnamon Bread

Bread:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

2 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups peeled, diced apples (about 2 medium apples)

Topping:

2 Tbs brown sugar

1 Tbs granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8″x4″ loaf pan with baking spray.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs for about 30 seconds.  Add in the oil, applesauce, and vanilla and beat until well-combined.  Add in the cup of sugar and mix until smooth.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the diced apples.  Spread batter into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, 1 Tbs granulated sugar, and cinnamon.  Sprinkle the mixture over the batter in the loaf pan.  Bake for 50-55 minutes or until edges are golden-brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing onto a wire rack.  Cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 1 large loaf

(Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)