I've never really considered food as seasonal. There are certain foods that I associate with certain times and they're special because of it. However, that doesn't mean that I don't want to eat them at other times of the year or I would enjoy them any less. Maybe it's because I’ve never paid attention to what foods are typically available at what times or, more likely, because I can get anything I want at anytime. To me the idea of “seasonal” food is a little outdated, if I want fall food in the summer I’m going to have it, and I did; and it was delicious.
Apples are my favourite fruit, probably one of my favourite foods, especially granny smiths and Pink Ladys (cripps pink). To me there is something special about an apple dessert. You can always expect wonderful smells, flavours and that warm comfy feeling. And sometimes even in the scorching heat of the summer you want that wrapped in a blanket feeling that only apples and cinnamon can provide. This is why at 10:30PM last Saturday after watching both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and perhaps playing some Lego Batman, and watching a few episodes of Mad Men (I'm obsessed with that show now) I decided to bake a cinnamon apple bread. It was something quick (important given how late it was), something simple, but something that can’t help but be delicious; and it would go perfectly with Sunday morning coffee and breakfast with my parents.
I simplified the recipe by eliminating the need for a mixer (it was late after all) and I made a few changes to the ingredients. I reduced the sugar a bit and swapped out the white sugar for brown. And because I cannot stop eating/using the stuff, I replaced the oil in the recipe with greek yogurt (my yogurt budget is tenfold what it used to be :)). Despite those changes I actually concerned myself most with what I would use for the topping or whether I would use it at all. Eventually I decided on using two tablespoons of only white sugar. After baking, and to my amusement, when I flipped the bread out of the pan, half the cinnamon sugar came pouring off top, though this was probably for the best.
Emerging from the oven the crust that the bread had formed was unbelievable. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be cooled for hours, and with it being so late this meant setting my alarm for 3AM to pack it up for the next morning (er.. later that morning) and of course this also meant no taste test beforehand.
By packing it I knew I would lose the crust, but this mattered little when I began slicing pieces as I awaited my mother's french toast in the morning. With just a glance you can tell that the apples are the star of the bread: sweet, tart, tender; and balanced well with the lightly sweet bread with just a hint of molasses. The spices were also mild, which I was actually a bit shocked at but by no means unhappy about. The texture was soft with a good chew that I can only describe as hearty. The topping gave that extra bit of sweetness, making it seem more like dessert than breakfast, but not in an overpowering way. Although I think it would be just fine without it, and perhaps more suited to the early morning (to me anyway).
I think that this recipe will be a permanent fixture going forward, and may even make an appearance in some other forms. It has all the goodness of an apple cake, but it's a little lighter and a little less of a workout for your palette. This isn't a fall dessert, it can, and should be enjoyed all year round. It's wonderful for a morning treat or after dinner coffee (or after lunch coffee, or mid-afternoon pre-dinner coffee, or after..... breathing :)).
Cinnamon Apple Bread
Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (195g)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup packed golden yellow/light brown sugar (165g)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup 2% plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 medium granny smith apples, chopped and skin removed (2 to 2 1/4 cups)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 8x4" loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, grease parchment paper.
In a medium bowl add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, all spice, salt and cloves and whisk to combine.
In another small bowl (or cup) add sugar and cinnamon for the topping and stir to combine.
In a large bowl add eggs and beat with a whisk until frothy.
Add brown sugar, yogurt, applesauce and vanilla and whisk until completely combined. Add sugar a mix until smooth.
Add the batter's dry ingredients to wet and mix until just combined.
Fold in chunks of apple.
Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar topping evenly overtop. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (took me 50 minutes).
Allow to cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely -- don't be surprised if you lose a bunch of the cinnamon sugar topping when flipping the loaf out of the pan