Hot, soft, fragrant apple bread with walnut cinnamon crumb topping.
It was a cloudy, sleepy Saturday. My apartment was quiet, kitchen clean, dog and M up in the loft snoozing . What to do?
I looked around. Tart, bright green apples sat patiently, expectantly in the large Italian ceramic fruit bowl. I swear that my oven silently begged me to open its door, to fill it with goodness and let it work its magic. Before I knew it, my kitchen counters were not so clean anymore and those apples were not where they had been sitting. The oven was starting to warm, its occasional click and creak like the chatter of company as I silently leveled scoops of flour, whisked eggs, measured cinnamon.
Before long, the apartment was filled by the most comforting smells. The scent of tangy apples, toasty walnuts, sweet brown sugar and hints of spices being baked together into a pan of pure goodness.
I couldn't wait to steal it back out of the oven and slice it right up while it was at its most soft and warm. Perhaps I would top it with some slowly melting vanilla ice cream. It took all of my will to let this loaf cool properly enough to wiggle it out of the pan.
I eagerly scooped up any cinnamon crumb toppings that just happened to drop off the top in the process of turning it over. Boy, were they delicious!
Then, I wrapped it up and let it sit overnight to allow the flavors of the bread to settle together and develop an even greater complexity. Yes, I really did.
And it was just as good, if not even better, the next day than I even imagined it was going to be. I ate a thick slice on its own. The walnut cinnamon crumb topping sat thick and high on the top of each slice of moist, sweet apple bread underneath. And then I topped it with vanilla ice cream and let it melt slowly over each side. Bite after bite I could not tell which way of eating it was better, so I may just have to try it all over again. And again, and again....and again.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. ground nutmeg (I used apple pie spice instead)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups finely shredded, peeled apple (I used Granny Smith, but you can mix any varieties)
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped and toasted walnuts or pecans, optional
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan and set aside. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Make a well in the center and set aside.
In another medium bowl combine egg, sugar, shredded apple, and oil. Add the wet mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened, the batter should be lumpy. Stir in nuts if desired, spoon batter into prepared pan and sprinkle the crumb topping over the top (see below for recipe).
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes or until it can be gently loosened with a knife. Invert from pan gently and turn right side up again onto cooling rack. Cool completely and then wrap and store overnight before slicing.
Walnut Cinnamon Topping:
1/4 cup flour
3 T. brown sugar
1 T. cinnamon
2 T. butter
4 T. chopped walnuts
Directions: In a small bowl combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a coarse crumb. Stir in the chopped nuts.