Friday, December 6, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Bread

How's your Christmas shopping going? Mine is...well, it's still going. That's all I need to say about that. 

But today I'm here to help you spread some Christmas cheer. Do you need a little hostess gift? Something for your neighbor or the nursery worker at church who deals with your crying baby every week? (Not that I would know anything about that last one or anything.) I have just the ticket: Apple Cinnamon Bread. 

If you come bearing a loaf of this bread—a tender crumb, studded with apples, and gilded with an avalanche of streusel topping—your recipient will be thrilled. But you can take it to the next level without too much trouble. You can present your Apple Cinnamon Bread in one of those cute disposable pans. (They even sell Christmas-y ones at Target so you can pick them up next time you're getting Lysol wipes.) Make it even better by pairing your bread with a little jar of cinnamon. (Tie a little ribbon or twine around the cinnamon if you're feeling fancy.) 

If I may, I'd like to recommend Penzeys cinnamon. Besides the fact that Penzeys is a local company with great products, my reason for giving Penzeys a little plug is selfish: I totally pilfered this recipe from them. I come up with most of the recipes on this site, either adapting other recipes or pulling them from the empty space between my ears. This recipe, though, is 100% Penzeys. I thought about tweaking it, but the original was too doggone good to mess with. And it would have been cruel of me not to share something this delicious; I had to tell you about it. Hence the plug. It helps alleviate my guilt. 

So bake Apple Cinnamon Bread! Eat Apple Cinnamon Bread! Gift Apple Cinnamon Bread!

Apple Cinnamon Bread
From Penzeys
Makes 2 loaves

4-5 large apples*, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1" pieces (about 4 cups)
4 large eggs 
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups flour
2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350. Grease to 9" x 5" loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside. 

Beat eggs with an electric mixer on medium high until fluffy. Add oil and beat until combined. Mix in vanilla, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until combined. Add flour and sugar and beat on low until combined, then beat on high until the mixture is smooth. (The batter is very thick.) Gently stir in the apples by hand so they don't get broken up. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans.

Make the topping in a separate small bowl. Stir together flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Use a fork or your fingers to cut in the butter until it's crumbly. Sprinkle the topping evenly on each loaf. Bake for about 1 hour, until the loaf feels fairly firm when pressed in the middle. 

*I used McIntosh apples because I wanted them to melt into the bread a little bit. If you want your apples to remain more firm, try a Granny Smith.

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