to help celebrate apple-picking season, i offer up a family recipe that i’ve spice-tweaked and garnished because that’s what i do (can’t leave well enough alone). it’s called bread, but it’s so soft/sweet/tasty that it don’t even need butter. more like a loaf-shaped brownie-cake thing.
In a large mixing bowl (i highly recommend a kitchenaid upright mixer) combine the following:
2 cups sugar
1 cup veggie oil (canola works fine)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
3 (yes, 3) eggs
sift together the following and add slowly to the bowl:
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
any spices you want (see note below)
once that’s all done, stir (probably by hand) in the following:
2 cups diced apples (size depends on how apple-obvious you want your bread)
1 cup chopped nuts (i skip the nuts and +1 cup apples)
pour into two standard sized loaf pans (see note) and bake for 50-60 minutes. may need more time. freezes well (so they say, but mine never last that long)
spice note: i cannot give you exact amounts, because i do not use them, but i can give you what i’ve found to be a good flavor ratio.
2 units ground cinnamon
1 unit ground ginger/nutmeg/allspice (any or all)
1/2 unit ground cloves
this basically turns into “some” of the 3 single units, “a bit more” cinnamon and “a bit less cloves.
pan note: i use disposable aluminum pans that come with their own lids. makes it really handy for cooking/cleaning/giving away. also, i found that garnishing the tops with sliced apple wedges makes it pretty. make sure you use two rows down the length, otherwise it splits funny on top.
this recipe only needs about 3.5 apples, so you have to bake several loaves to really make a dent in your apple-day pickings. i suggest the following supplemental recipe which still tastes mighty good even when the apples have aged a little.
8-10 medium apples peeled and cut into chunks (a bit bigger than the bread size)
1-1.25 cups water
1ish cups of sugar (to taste/tartness of apples)
“some” cinnamon and other spices (about 1tbsp of cinnamon is decent starting point)
put the apples and the water in a crock-pot on low. simmer about 8 hours or so, stirring when you feel like it, until it’s cooked down to a brown mush. feel free to leave this overnight.
dump in the sugar. cook for another 30 minutes or so.
sprinkle in the spices (don’t slow-cook with the spices-makes them bitter) and serve/store.
if i’ve got the straggler ingredients left over from christmas, i might just replace the raisins in my spicy oatmeal raisin cookies with apple bits and see how that works.