~ Nice & Easy No-Nonsense Quick-Mix Apple Bread ~
Nice and easy, no-nonsense, quick-to-mix. One bowl, a whisk and a spatula -- no mixer required. Yep. Those words accurately sum up this recipe, and, the end more than justifies the means, meaning: it's hard to believe something this easy can taste this divine. While apple bread isn't the most photogenic (brown food in general isn't), don't let its monochromatic appearance fool you. It's dense but not heavy, has a delicately-moist crumb, and, it's bursting with apple flavor -- perfect for any Fall breakfast or brunch buffet table. Me? I love it toasted (on the rack of my toaster oven, not a conventional toaster) and slathered with soft, creamy butter.
A bit about quick bread: "Quick bread" is an American term that refers to bread that is quick to make because it doesn't require kneading or rising time. It originated during the American civil war, when the demand for food and bread was high. Innovative cooks began rapidly producing bread and baked goods that were leavened with baking soda rather than yeast. Nowadays, the leavening agent is predominately double-acting baking powder, or, a combination of baking powder and baking soda. In the case of baking powder, it is called "double acting" because the rising process starts the moment it makes contact with the liquids, and, gives a second burst of rising power when the bread enters the hot oven. Typically, quick breads contain eggs, flour, salt and fat (butter, margarine, shortening or oil) and leavening. That said, they can be sweet or savory and contain sugar, fruits, fruit purée, vegetables, vegetable purée and various liquids (milk, buttermilk, fruit juice or stock). The wet and dry ingredients are mixed separately, in two different bowls, then briefly stirred together just prior to baking. FYI: Biscuits, cornbread, muffins, pancakes, scones, soda bread and waffles -- they all fall into the quick-bread category too.
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure apple extract (optional)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
3 cups peeled and medium-diced apples, about 3, 8-10-ounce apples
Sugan 'n Cinnamon, for topping loaves
no-stick cooking spray, for preparing loaf pans
~ Step 1. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, extracts and eggs together until smooth. Add the sugar and whisk again, to thoroughly combine. Set aside 5-10 minutes, to give the sugar plenty of time to dissolve, then whisk again.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and apple pie spice. Add half of the flour mixture to the oil mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the flour into the oil. Add the second half of the flour and repeat, folding until the ingredients are just moistened. A thick batter will have formed. Fold in all of the apples.
~Step 3. Spoon and divide batter between two loaf pans that have been sprayed with no-stick. Generously sprinkle top of each loaf with Sugar 'n Cinnamon. Bake on center rack of preheated 325° oven, 55-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place loaves, in pans, on a wire rack to cool for 15-20 minutes prior to inverting them out of pans onto rack to cool 1 1/2-2 hours, prior to slicing warm or at room temperature.
Bake in 325° oven, 55-60 minutes & cool in pans 15-20 minutes prior to inverting onto wire rack to cool completely:
Special Equipment List: wire whisk; large rubber spatula; 2, 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 1/2", 1 1/2-quart loaf pans, preferably glass; cake tester or toothpick; wire cooling rack
Cook's Note: Whether we want to admit it or not, Fall is just around the corner. Pumpkins are synonymous with Fall, and, my husband Joe grows them in our backyard -- the little sweet "sugar pumpkins" as they are affectionately called. If you're so inclined, check out my recipe for Joe's Favorite Roasted-Pumpkin Quick Bread. Paired with today's apple bread, they're a dynamite duo on any breakfast or brunch table.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)