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Chef's Hat: Use apples, pumpkin to bake festive fall breads

Apples and pumpkins are traditional fall foods and go well in everything from cakes to puddings, and of course, make moist and mouth-watering breads. Enjoy the change of seasons with a piece of apple or pumpkin bread and a mug of your favorite hot beverages. Happy Eating! PineandLakes.com Illustration

With the temperature dropping a bit, there is nothing more satisfying than walking into the house and smelling bread baking. Banana bread is a favorite of most people, but there's no reason not to expand your horizons and try something new and different.

Traditional fall foods include apples and pumpkins, so it's a good time to see how these seasonal favorites can be combined into a refreshing and different bread recipe. I began searching online for apple bread recipes and stumbled across this Caramel Apple Bread recipe that was too luscious to pass up.

The recipe does require quite a bit of time to prepare as it takes an hour for the bread to bake and another 30 minutes to an hour to prepare the delicious caramel glaze that goes on top. But this is one recipe that is definitely worth the time that it takes to put it all together. It is a crowd-pleaser and there won't be much left once your family starts digging into it.

Canned pumpkin is available all year long, but most people, including myself, tend to wait until the leaves turn before they start cooking with this orange fruit. The Crumbly Pumpkin Bread is made in "mini" bread pans so they cook fairly quickly. The applesauce and coconut oil combine to make this a very moist bread.

If you don't care for coconut oil, or don't want to buy some to use in just one recipe, you can use canola oil instead. The flavor will be slightly different, but it will not make much difference in the overall taste of the bread.

The last recipe I tried was the Fudgy Pumpkin Bread with a wonderfully sweet butter glaze. Truth be told, this bread is so moist it does not really even need the gooey glaze on top. The glaze does add a touch of sweetness to the loaf, but if you are watching calories it can be left out of the recipe.

Apples and pumpkins are traditional fall foods and go well in everything from cakes to puddings, and of course, make moist and mouth-watering breads. Enjoy the change of seasons with a piece of apple or pumpkin bread and a mug of your favorite hot beverages. Happy Eating!

Caramel Apple Bread

Adapted from butterwithasideofbread.com

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/ 8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup peeled, cored and finely diced apple (1 large sized apple)

Caramel Glaze

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Spray a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray, then set it aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the applesauce, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Whisk well to blend.

Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Stir just enough to combine; do not overmix. Fold in the apples.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the center oven rack until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 60 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and put it on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and place it on the rack to finish cooling an additional 20 to 30 minutes.

To make the caramel glaze topping: Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add in the brown sugar and milk and whisk constantly. Bring to a boil, then boil for 2 minutes while continuing to whisk. Remove from heat and let cool about 30 minutes to 1 hour, until caramel has thickened, stirring every 10 minutes or so. You need to continue stirring while cooling so the sugar fully dissolves into the mixture.

Pour caramel over the top of the apple bread. Let sit 2-3 hours, until caramel topping has set. Cut into pieces and serve.

Crumbly Pumpkin Bread

Adapted from damndelicious.net

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed lightly
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Topping

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat three 5 3/4-inch mini loaf pans with nonstick spray.

To make the crumb topping, combine flour, sugars, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and butter; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together pumpkin, coconut oil, butter, applesauce, eggs and vanilla.

Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Do not overmix.

Scoop the batter evenly into the loaf pans. Sprinkle with reserved topping, using your fingertips to gently press the crumbs into the batter.

Place into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before inverting the cake onto a wire rack.

Fudgy Pumpkin Bread with Browned Butter Glaze

From bunsinmyoven.com

Bread

  • 2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 eggs

Drizzle

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9x5 loaf pans or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, oil and applesauce until well combined with an electric mixer.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, ginger and cloves.

Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.

Pour batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack. Cool completely.

While the bread is cooling, add the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and let melt. Once melted, continue cooking, whisking often, until the butter foams. When the butter begins foaming, whisk constantly until the butter turns a deep golden shade. Remove from the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar.

Drizzle the topping over the bread.

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