Apple Bread

Apple breadIt’s January, winter is a time we all seem to need some comfort food to warm our bellies and our souls.  To quote Oprah, “I love bread!”.  The other day I was in the mood for beef stew and, of course, that requires tasty, crusty bread.  Remember bread machines, the “hot” food appliance of the nineties? breadmachineIf you don’t have time to knead, rise and bake by hand…….

1 package yeast
2 ¼ c. bread flour (I prefer King Arthur)
¾ c. whole wheat flour
½ t. salt
4 T. sugar
½ t. cinnamon
¼ t. nutmeg
2/3 c. warm applesauce
1 T. unsalted butter
½ c. warm unsweetened apple juice
½ c. apple, peeled and chopped fine

Put all ingredients in bread machine pan, in order as listed in your instruction guide, or as listed above.  (some machines prefer the yeast added after dry ingredients)  Use the white bread setting on your machine and press start.  This bread is not suitable for the delayed timer mode.

If you have the time and love to make bread, you can mix the dough and hand knead until smooth and silky, about 10-15 minutes.  Let rise until double in size, about 1-1/2 hour.  Shape into two loaves.  Let rise a second time, until double, about 45 min.  Bake at 350 degrees, about 40 minutes.

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Spiced Apple Cider Bites

Ingredients for batter                                                                                                               5c.flour                                     spicedappleciderbites            2 t. cinnamon                                      ¼ t. nutmeg                                          1 t. salt                                                 ½ t. baking soda                                   1 c. butter, softened                             1-3/4 c. sugar                                       4 lg. Eggs                                             1 T. vanilla                                             2 lg. Apples, peeled, chopped (2 cups)

Apple Cider Buttercream Frosting                                                                                          1 packet Spiced Apple Cider Instant Mix                                                                                1/3 c. milk                                                                                                                              ½ c. butter, softened                                                                                                              4 c. confectioner’s sugar                                                                                                      ½ t. vanilla

Prepare a 11”x15”baking pan by lining it with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and spices.  Set this to the side.  In another large bowl, using a mixer, cream butter until light.  Add sugar and cream for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.  Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to fully combine.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture, about a third of the mixture, at a time, beating just enough to combine with each addition, until almost incorporated.  Finally, mix in the apples until just combined.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan, working it out until evenly spread.  Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Place pan on wire racks until completely cooled.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.  Measure the milk in a one cup liquid measuring cup.  Add the cider mix and dissolve it in the milk.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating with each addition.  Alternate adding the milk mixture and sugar, ending with sugar, and beating until all is smooth.  Add the vanilla and if necessary for spreading consistency very gradually add additional milk.

When the cake bar is completely cooled frost with the buttercream frosting and allow to set.  Cut into bars.  Makes approx. 60 1-1/2 inch bites.

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