In two days it's December. Already, since last Friday, the "holiday push" has begun. I hope that you sincerely think about what's important to you this time of year, and that anything that doesn't make the list doesn't bother you.
If you like to show love through food, but time is not always on your side, loaves are great to make ahead and have on hand. They freeze well, travel well, and make great gifts. You can bake small loaves or enormous loaves, and they're pretty adaptable.
|An innie loaf|
This week, I'll be blogging about a new loaf recipe every day. Please share your favorites with me, too!
Tips for Gifting Loaves
To make smaller or larger loaves than a recipe indicates, consult this handy chart to consider various pan's volumes. Change the baking time as needed, paying attention to how a loaf should look when it's done. (Many will be done when "a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean".)
To store loaves for freezing, let them cool completely! This is very important, because if you wrap them up while any heat is left in them, the heat will be trapped and turn to moisture on the inside of the wrapping, making your product soggy. Once cool, wrap the loaf well in several layers of plastic wrap or foil. If you use foil, you might want to consider putting the loaf in a plastic freezer bag, to ensure that no air can get it and give your loaf freezer burn.
To thaw, remove from the freezer and let thaw at room temperature for several hours. If you will be mailing loaves, try to put them in the box straight from the freezer.
Today's loaf is a moist apple banana bread which has apples two ways. If you like cooked apples, I recommend cooking up slices in the oven on a baking sheet (350˚, til soft, about 35 minutes) and keeping the cooked slices in the fridge to dice up and add to things * last-minute. I just used 8 slices from my stash (since I had originally sliced each apple into 8) for this recipe, but I'll give alternate directions below.
Apple Banana Bread
adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook, edited by Barbara Fairchild, p. 493
1 medium apple, cut into 8 slices, cored (peeled if you want) and diced
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
1/4 cup apple butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups mashed ripe bananas
Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add the diced apple and cook, stirring frequently, until the apple is soft. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350˚/180˚. Grease two large (9"x5"x3") metal loaf pans.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground almonds, and spices, until thouroughly combined.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the sugar and butter until creamy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl and beater with a spatula, then stir in the apple butter and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, scraping well after each one. Mix in half the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk, then the remaining portions of each, then scrape again. Stir in the mashed bananas and cooked diced apples.
Scrape the batter evenly into the two prepared pans. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a wooden skewer stuck in the middle comes out clean. Cook loaves completely in pans on a rack. Remove from pans and eat, or wrap up tightly.
|Yummy for breakfast|
*Oatmeal, muffins, warm up and smush for rustic applesauce, layering in parfaits.
Recommended accompaniment: French-press coffee, however you take it