Caramel Apple Bread

Ah, another recommended recipe, and just in time to cherish the last month of summer. To many, autumn is already beginning because it's August and schools are going back. Technically, we have until September (unless you live in Florida, where we really can't tell when summer ends), but since Autumn makes me think of golden, brown leaves and this recipe feels like something you'd find at a state fair, seeing it put me in a boots and scarves kinda mood. And that's how my brain functions. Like a rock tumbling down a hill.



The caramel apple bread recipe was suggested by a friend who needed a pick-me-up, and one can't turn down the opportunity to brighten a day with baked goods.

To elaborate on that thought a bit, I bumped into a photographer colleague I hadn't seen in some time last week. You don't always see people consistently in this type of work, and it had been a few months since we spoke. The interesting thing she mentioned was that she received a complement from our team the last time she worked with us, and had kept the e-mail set aside to review on days that didn't shine as bright as others. The small feat of writing a quick e-mail to give feedback was nothing to the writer, but everything to the reader.

Sometimes the little things we do are actually big things to another, and that's one of many reasons I love baking. I can make someone feel special and appreciated for a few moments, and that brings me joy.

The recipe was fairly simple, though it called for apple sauce and I did not have any on hand. As I was also down to one apple, making apple sauce wasn't an option either; I needed to chop up my last one and mix the chunks right in the bread. Greek yogurt has come to my rescue in more than one cake and muffin recipe, so that became the swap.

It was easy enough. I beat together the white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, coconut oil, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract, then stirred in the dry ingredients, just enough to mix it but not too much. I added in one cubed apple (I used a gala), then stirred to combine.


Instead of a loaf, I went with mini bundts. More personalized and more caramel (say no more!). The individuality makes for easier serving, too.

Though I greased the pan lightly with some shortening, I still occasionally have some cakes stick to the pan. I took this one next level and placed the bundt pan on top of a water-filled jelly roll pan. The result was a little bundt that stayed soft inside and out rather than browning significantly on the outside.


While my little bundts were baking, I started the caramel. This was a variety I'd never tried and was definitely the easiest and fastest yet. It's made with brown sugar (which advances the coloring of the syrup) instead of white, and takes only a few minutes to whip up. I melted the butter, then added the sugar and half and half, heating it until it boiled for two minutes. I stirred in the vanilla and set aside the caramel to cool.


The recipe suggested allowing the caramel to cool and then reheating it. As an evening baker - as in, one that works all day, does her evening stuff like work out and make dinner, then finally bakes - I took a shortcut and just let the caramel cool slightly, then poured some over the cooled cakes. It worked out just fine.


Pure love. I'm sure with a quick scroll through my recent blog posts, one can tell that the scarcity of posted recipes has increased dramatically the past two years. For me to take the time to put this together means it was dayum good. I felt like I was eating a soft candy apple. It was great.

Of course, the best part was, as expected, the sharing. I made enough to share some samples with a few folks and got good feedback. What's it matter what I think if I'm partial? The original requester was happy and that's what really mattered to me.

Based on my survey results, this is a thumbs up, gotta make it for fall bread (it's a cake, if we go by softness and dessert-ability, but I'll stick with the original title). Yum.

Caramel Apple Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

For the bread:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 apple, diced

For the caramel glaze:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon half and half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

For the bread, begin by heating oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, coconut oil, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Gradually mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then stir until just combined. Gently stir in the apple cubes, then spoon into a greased loaf pan or pan of choice. If baking as a single loaf, cook for 1 hour. If baking muffins, check after 25 minutes. After baking, cool to room temperature before adding glaze.

For the glaze, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in brown sugar and half and half, then whisk as the mixture heats to a boil. Keep stirring and boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Once muffins are room temperature and caramel has cooled slightly, spoon glaze over top of bread. Allow glaze to finish cooling, then slice to serve.

adapted from caramel apple bread

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