Seasonal baking

I had been playing around with whether or not I wanted to take part in Canadian Blogging by Post #2: Seasonal Bounty. It sounded fun, but I wasn't sure what I would make, or if I could make something that would provide me with items that could easily be mailed off, especially not items that would break the bank doing so!

Earlier this week I finally made up my mind to participate, so of course I am waiting until the last possible minute to post my recipe entry, and then send it off!

With the theme of Seasonal Bounty in mind, I finally chose to make some apple sauce bread, taking advantage of all the wonderful apples that are available at this time of year. I've made apple sauce bread for my family before - it's something that is nice to make in place of banana bread, and just as simple to make. However, knowing I was going to be doing a "special" blog about this bread, I decided I needed to "kick it up a notch!"

First I decided to make my own apple sauce, which I do every apple picking season, rather than use the convenient jars (which I didn't have, but I also didn't have apples, so had to go shopping either way.) I wanted this apple sauce to be the star of the bread, not the supporter. With that in mind I set out washing and chopping up apples. Not peeling, however. I wanted that pink tinge to the sauce. After cooking down the apples and pureeing them (a hand immersion blender is a handy thing to have), I ran the sauce through a sieve, something I don't normally do. The sauce that came out was smooth and fresh, with the pinkish color I was looking for.

Then I kicked it up some more.

Back to the stove the apple sauce went, with a few additions this time: cinnamon, fresh grated nutmeg, and a touch of cloves. Covered and with low heat, I wanted the consistency of apple butter. Which means patience, something I don't always have alot of. When I was satisfied, the sauce was a darker, thicker apple sauce, with the scents of the spices wafting through my house.

The next notch up involved a bit of an add in - not my families usual favorite of dried cranberries and chocolate chips, but chopped up, dried apples. I felt dried would be better than fresh in this case, hoping they would retain a bit of their shape and texture through the baking, which I didn't think fresh apple chunks would do. I wanted more apple bite in the bread, not just more subtle apple flavor.

Finally I was ready to actually start baking. The batter is easy enough, using the creaming method for butter and sugar. Add in the eggs and vanilla. The usual way to start. This batter had a bit of added milk in addition to the apple sauce, helping to keep the final product moist.

I admit I almost forgot to add in the cinnamon to the batter with the dried ingredients, but caught myself just in time! The last item in was the chopped up apple pieces, mixed in by hand so as not to overwork the batter. I wanted a light textured bread, not a brick!

The two loaves baked up brown and tall, again making the house smell all warm and comfortable (a necessity with the head colds in the family this week!) And as hoped, the pieces of apple were visible throughout the loaves, and still had a bit of a bite to them! Horray!

I am very pleased with how this bread came out. The apple flavor is not subtle, nor are the spices, but neither are they overwhelming. This bread is so much tastier than the original version! I may have a hard time going back to it when I need a quick bread for lunches around here!

Now to send this blog off to Jasmine so I can participate in Blogging by Post!

Apple Sauce Bread (From the Pillsbury: The complete book of baking)
This is a variation on the banana bread recipe found in the book

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup margaine or butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup apple sauce (jarred is okay, homemade is better)
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 - 1 cup chopped up, dried apples

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease bottom only of 9x5 or 8x4 loaf pan (I have no idea what size I have but I always have enough for 2 loaves.) In large bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Bean in eggs. Add applesauce, milk and vanilla. Blend well.
In a small bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add to apple sauce mixture; stir just until ingredients are moistened. Stir in chopped apples.
Pour into greased pans, bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan before turning out on wire rack.

Apples sauce (my grandmother used to have this funky funnel that she used for making apple sauce, which I don't have, but you can make it without.)

spash of water
dash of salt
sprinkle of sugar
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, optional and to taste

Clean apples and remove core. Cut them into big chunks and put into a heavy bottomed pot. If the apples are very wet, you do not need to add more water. Sprinkle a small pinch of salt on the apples, and a bit of sugar, how much sugar depending on how sweet you like your apple sauce and how sweet your apples are to begin with. If you want, now is the time to add spices. Put the lid on the pot and cook over medium-low heat, coming to check and stir the apples every once in awhile. They are done when all the pieces are soft and broken down - some of the apple flesh itself actually looks like it is foaming. Using an immersion blender (or moving in batches to a regular blender if you don't have an immersion), puree the apples until smooth, skin and all. If you want extra smooth apple sauce, strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the bits of skin that don't puree up fine. Store in an airtight container in the refridgerator for about a week - though it never lasts that long with my children. Can also be frozen.


Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you decided to take part! And that bread looks just wonderful!!!

jasmine said...

What a great bread--I've not seen one with dried apples before.

Thanks so much for participating :)


Sam said...

I love that you decided to "kick it up a notch!". I am a fan of comfort food and home baking, your bread looks like exactly what I would want to eat. Thanks for sharing.

Ruth Daniels said...

It's 7:30 in the morning and I'm about to have my first cup of coffee....but where's my slice of apple bread? It would be perfect.

Anonymous said...

I love a moist crumb and this loaf has it all, autumn flavors, feelings of comfort and the perfect texture, yum!