Folks, if you’ve been keeping up (or, if you’ve been within a three foot radius of me in the past few weeks) you will know that I am a lover of all things Fall. Well, here’s another (not so secret) confession. Not only does Fall bring out the plaid-wearing, 20-something-year-old in me, but it also brings out the internal 80-year-old Granny in me. Why? BECAUSE IT’S CRAFT FAIR SEASON, THAT’S WHY. Now, even on a normal basis, I’m an old woman. I love lemon curd and shopping at Shop Rite at 7AM on a Sunday. But, craft fair season really puts me over the edge.
It is because of this passion that I am so sad to report that my first fair experience of the Fall was a tad disappointing. Last weekend, I walked into an unnamed event hall, ready to buy hand-knitted pot holders galore. But, first, I had to stop at the church sponsored bake sale, of course. After setting my eyes on a small loaf of apple bread, I knew it was destiny. Hours later, I sat down to eat said loaf. As I took a bite, the cinnamon flavor hit immediately. “Okay”, I thought, “this has potential.” For bite after bite though, I found myself still searching. Searching. Searching. Searching. Where in the Sam heck are those apples?! Nowhere, friends. They were nowhere.
This got me to thinking. How does one guarantee there being a reasonable amount of apples in their apple bread? After a bit of contemplation, it came to me: strategic placement. I mean really, it should have come to me earlier…I’m a teacher. How do you get a student to do what you want? Set them up for success without them knowing! All of this led to this week’s recipe: Cinnamon Apple Zucchini Bread. This bread embraces those last few summery zucchinis we can find in the store, and combines them with a flavorful bread, as well as a layer of soft apples in the middle. Let’s get started!
You’ll start by working with your apples. The secret to this bread is cooking the apples in advance. First, it ensures that they are super soft by the time the final product is finished. Second, cooking the apples with the sugar and cinnamon creates a syrup that will compliment them nicely in the middle layer. Despite it’s importance, this step is quite simple. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and butter together in a pan with the apples and cook over medium heat until they are softened, about 7 minutes.
Up next, the crumble. You’ll be sprinkling this over the top at the end. Put together the flour, sugars and salt in a medium bowl and cut in cold pieces of butter. Combine so that it looks like there are little pebbles of butter throughout the mix. You could use a pastry blender to do this, but I found I had better luck just using my fingers. Place the crumble in the refrigerator to hang out while you make the rest of the bread.
Now, for the main attraction: the bread batter. Like all of my other bread and muffin recipes, this bread uses the creaming method. You’ll cream together the softened butter with the sugars until the mix is smooth, about three minutes on a medium speed. Next, you’ll add in your eggs, one at a time, followed by your vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together your dry ingredients.
With your stand mixer on low speed, alternate adding the milk and dry ingredients in small amounts. Once your batter is thoroughly mixed, fold in the zucchini. Remember, the zucchini should have all of the water squeezed out of it, or else it will add too much moisture to the bread.
Strategic assembly time!! Now, because I was going for precision here, I used a scale for this next part. Essentially, I aimed to use an 1/8th of the batter at a time. Basically, you’ll be creating a bottom layer in each cavity, and then spreading a 1/4th of the apples onto that layer. After, you’ll top each loaf off, using the rest of the batter.
Last but not least, sprinkle on that crumble!
And, there you have it folks! A warm cinnamon bread, with a layer of soft apples throughout. A guaranteed home run! And, it’s guaranteed, because you made it that way! AND, there’s a fruit and vegetable in here. That’s GOT to mean it’s healthy, right? Let’s go with that.
Next week, get ready for the perfect brunch recipe. Why is it perfect? It will take you about 10 minutes to make, but will look like you spent hours in the kitchen.
Until then, stay tuned and stay hungry!
- 5 tablespoons butter
- .5 cup brown sugar
- .5 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- .5 tsp baking soda
- .5 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1.5 cups flour
- .5 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup grated zucchini
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¼ cup chopped apples (2 apples)
- 2 TBS brown sugar
- 1 TBS butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 6 TBS flour
- 3 TBS brown sugar
- 1 TBS granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 3 TBS cold butter, cut into small pieces
- In a small saucepan, cook apples, sugar, butter, and cinnamon over medium heat until soft, about 7 minutes.
- In a standmixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together the sugars and butter on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes
- Add eggs, one at a time, to the creamed butter. Mix until combined.
- In a separate medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
- Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to butter mix. (milk, dry, milk, dry, milk)
- Add drain zucchini, and mix until it is uniformly dispersed.
- In a pan with four 6x3 cavities, make the bottom layer of your loaves by scooping about 3 tablespoons of batter into each compartment.
- Disperse apples over bottom layer, so that each loaf has an equal amount.
- Finish by covering the apples with the rest of the batter, divided into fourths.
- Cover each loaf with crumble.