Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Apples and More Apples

The Season for Apples!

The fragrance of apples can't be mistaken when you walk into the produce section of Jungle Jim's International Market. Right now the locally harvested apples are in abundance - so enjoy them while they are at the peak of crispness and juicy goodness. You'll discover new varieties and old friends, like Golden Delicious, just waiting to be transformed into pies, muffins, crisps and quick bread. If you are looking for a special apple treat, try one of Sharon's caramel apples. They are perfection - seriously. You'll find them in the Bakery. 

For the Cinnamon Apple Cider Quick Bread recipe below, you'll need to grab 2 large apples and some apple cider. Locally grown apples will work just fine. They are a bit smaller, so you may want to use 3 instead of the 2 called for in the recipe. The Huber's Orchard & Winery cider captures the essence of fresh, crisp apples and added to the recipe, it magnifies the apple flavor in the quick bread. Give this local Starlight, Indiana, cider a try.

We used a 5-cup bundt pan for the batter. If you don't have a bundt pan, consider using a 12-cup standard muffin tin, a 9x9 inch baking pan or a standard size loaf pan. The baking times may vary, so check the suggested times in the recipes.

You can mix up this recipe by hand in 2 bowls. It is easy - dump and then gently stir together! 

The bread releases from the sides of the bundt pan easily if you butter or spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray before hand. Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

The apple cider glaze is just a little bonus. If you like a bread that is less sweet, omit it. This is a dense, moist bread; it would make a good breakfast selection because it is not too sweet. You could use white whole wheat flour in place of one cup of all-purpose flour to add a whole grain component. 

This chunky, hearty bread is a nice fall treat that you can enjoy any time of the day. 

Cinnamon Apple Cider Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour (can substitute 1 cup of white whole wheat flour for 1 cup ap flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2 small apples (about 3/4 pound), peeled, cored and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Apple Cider Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons (plus a couple teaspoons more if needed) of apple cider

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With nonstick baking spray or butter, grease either a standard 12-cup muffin pan, an 8-inch round, a 9-inch square baking pan, a standard loaf pan or a 5-cup bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Gently stir in the diced apples and chopped walnuts.

In a larger bowl, whisk the apple cider, maple syrup, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and gently combine until just mixed. Do not overmix.

Pour batter into the greased baking pan of choice. Bake until bread is golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Time in the oven varies depending on your choice of pan:  30 minutes for muffins and 45 minutes to 1 hour for a cake, loaf or bundt pan. Our bundt pan was done in 45 minutes.

Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Apple Cider Glaze:

Whisk the apple cider into the powdered sugar until well incorporated. Adjust the glaze with more apple cider if it is too thick. Drizzle over bread.

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