~Eggnog & Butter-Rum Cinnamon-Apple Fritter Bread~
There's a lot going on in the title of this recipe, but, trust me, after I peel back the layers and get to the heart of it, there will be a moist, quick-bread resemblant of everything one could hope to taste in both their favorite apple-fritter (a deep-fried doughnut sans the hole) and cinnamon bun -- in bread loaf form. There are many recipes for apple fritter bread. They vary a bit from cook to cook with one common thread: the way the batter and the primary ingredient (apples) get layered into the loaf pan. It's signature is a pretty layer of apples in the center and on the top too.
This brings me to the real-deal reason for my making apple-fritter bread today. A few days ago, on Facebook, an apple fritter bread recipe came across my newsfeed. While it was a well-written recipe on a big site, the ingredients were not layered. In essence, that omission rendered it a generic quick bread recipe. In my food world, the devil is in the recipe's details, and if you're not layering the ingredients, you're not making apple fritter bread. It's a step you cannot skip.
The devil is in the details. Not layering the ingredients?
A bit about fritters: Here in the United States, fritters are small cakes made with morsels of one primary ingredient (a meat, seafood, fruit or vegetable) that gets mixed with a thick egg and milk batter then deep-fried. All-purpose flour or cornmeal (or a combination of both) are the most common binding agents. Examples: Sweet corn fritters are made with corn kernels, apple fritters are full of diced apples, and, if deep-fried, crab cakes are also considered a form of fritter. I learned how to make fritters from pages 242 and 243 of the 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking.
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. 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, then quickly stirred together, just until the ingredients are moistened, to form a rough-looking batter, just prior to baking. Biscuits, cornbread, muffins, pancakes, scones, soda bread and waffles all fall into the quick-bread category. That said, a"quick bread" is not a "batter bread". Batter bread is a yeast bread in which the batter gets beaten for several minutes.
Eggnog. It's one of my favorite holiday things, and, every year, I add a recipe containing eggnog, to KE. Over the years, I've shared recipes for eggnog malts and milkshakes, eggnog brioche, eggnog French toast sticks, eggnog pancakes, eggnog cookies, and, eggnog shortbread. This year, it's eggnog quick-bread. That said, while I'm using eggnog and butter-rum flavoring today, because they indeed enhance the finished product, feel free to make this recipe using whole milk and vanilla extract, but, if you do, increase the amount of granulated sugar by 4 tablespoons -- I decreased it because store-bought eggnog is sweetened, milk is not.
No more frittering around. Quick-apple-fritter-bread:
12 ounces peeled, cored and small diced Granny Smith apples (about 3 medium-sized apples
6 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the wet ingredients:
1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature, very soft
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup high-quality, store-bought, pasteurized eggnog
2 teaspoons butter-rum flavoring
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup high-quality store-bought applesauce, or homemade applesauce
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons high-quality, store-bought, pasteurized eggnog
2 teaspoons butter-rum extract
~ Step 2. Spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan with no-stick cooking spray and preheat oven to 325° -- I like to use a glass loaf pan, so I can keep an eye on what's going on while this quick-bread bakes. If you're using a metal pan, increase the oven temperature to 350°. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
~Step 3. In a large bowl, place the butter, eggs, granulated sugar, butter-rum flavoring and vanilla extract. Over medium-high speed of hand-held electric mixer, cream these ingredients together, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a large rubber spatula, about 1 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and fold in the eggnog, followed by the applesauce. Set wet ingredients aside.
~ Step 4. In a medium bowl, place and stir together the light-brown sugar and cinnamon. Remove and set aside all but about 1/4 cup of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Peel, core and dice the apples as directed, placing them in the bowl with the 1/4 cup sugar mix. Toss the apples to coat and set aside.
~ Step 5. Add the dry ingredients (the flour mixture) to the wet ingredients (the butter mixture). Using the rubber spatula, fold the two mixtures together, just until moistened. There will be 3 cups of batter -- I did the measurement for you.
~Step 6. Place and evenly distribute one half of the batter (1 1/2 cups) in the bottom of prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Distribute half of the apples across the top, then, using your fingertips and a light touch, press the apples down a bit. Repeat the performance, topping with the remaining batter, sugar-cinnamon mixture and apples, lightly pressing down on them too.
~ Step 7. Bake on center rack of 325° oven, 55-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack, 1 hour, prior to inverting onto a plate, then inverting again, back onto cooling rack to cool completely, 2-3 hours, prior to glazing as directed below.
Bake on center rack of 325° oven, 55-60 minutes:
Special Equipment List: 9" x 5" loaf pan, preferably glass; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; cake tester or toothpick; wire cooling rack
Cook's Note: One bowl, a whisk and a spatula -- no mixer required. Yep. Those words accurately sum up my recipe for ~ Nice & Easy No-Nonsense Quick-Mix Apple Bread ~, 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, don't let its monochromatic appearance fool you. It's dense but not heavy, has a delicately-moist crumb, and, it's bursting with appleicious flavor.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)