Breakfast / Muffins & Cupcakes

‘Twas the morning after Christmas…

…And everyone is sleeping in, but I got up at 5 AM so I decided to put together an apple pecan loaf for breakfast.

Oh yeah, I also did a bit more cleaning up, because I’m just such a helpful daughter. Right? …Right?

We do Christmas at my Grandma’s house every year. Luckily, a lot of relatives live nearby, so it makes for a great meeting place. My mom does the majority of the cooking (and usually makes way too much food, so there’s more than enough leftovers) and I help where needed. Yesterday was spent in the kitchen, peeling vegetables and making appetizers and cleaning dishes…lots of dishes. By the time everyone left around 7:30 (we did an early dinner), it felt more like 10:30.

Anyways, after trying to pick up a bit more (quietly, because the last thing I want to do is wake up my brother early) I figured I’d make one of my favorite recipes: Apple Nut Bread. I don’t make it too often, mainly because I don’t want to eat a whole loaf of sweet bread by myself, but it’s perfect for breakfast and there’s enough people in the house to make it worth putting together. My other grandma, who lives in Cincinnati, actually introduced me to this bread after I visited her this summer. She’d made it and I had some for breakfast every morning; I was so glad when she emailed me the recipe so I could make it myself!

Typically, I like to put walnuts in the bread, but we had some pecans here, so I’m trying it with those this time. I guess you could make it without the nuts, but they give the loaf a really nice crunch that complements the big chunks of apples. This bread seriously has everything I look for in sweet bread; it’s moist, has a lot of texture, and it’s super flavorful thanks to the spices that go in it. It’s perfect for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert!

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The original recipe for this recipe comes from my Grandma’s sister, Audrey. My Great Aunt Audrey’s original recipe is to die for; she won a ribbon for it years ago at a county fair, and it was certainly well-deserved. I’ve made a few changes (not that it needed any) to personalize it to my liking a bit. There are lots of apple nut loaf recipes out there, but this remains my favorite. It’s easy to put together quickly (I put the ingredients together in about 15 minutes, tops) and it smells delicious when it’s baking in the oven!

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The loaf I made this morning unfortunately turned out a bit too dry. It might have been because I only used a bit more than a cup of apple pieces, and I baked it for 55 minutes. The edges were crispy, so I probably could have taken it out at 45, maybe 50 minutes. It’s so important to make sure you use enough apple as well, the apples help keep the bread moist, as I was sorely reminded today. Nevertheless, it was still good enough for me to eat 3 slices (so much for keeping it light today), and my usually- critical mom gave it a thumbs up as well (she also said the scrambled eggs I made were good, woo-hoo!).

APPLE NUT BREAD (makes 1 loaf)
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour, sifted
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
dash of ground ginger
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
about 2 cups peeled & coarsely chopped apples (I like to use Braeburn & Fuji)
about 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (or both)

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, spices, salt). In a separate bowl, beat together sugar with oil, eggs, and vanilla.
3. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Don’t over-mix. Stir in apples & nuts until just combined, and pour dough into the loaf pan.
4. Bake for 50-60 minutes on the center rack. Check with a toothpick for done-ness at 45 minutes; depending on your oven it may be done then, I’ve found it takes about 50 for me.
5. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

You can serve this warm or at room temperature; I love it best when it’s fresh or heated up a bit, but it’s just as good cooled.

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