Thursday, September 17, 2009

Caramel Apple Tea Bread

It's still the height of apple season here in Maine and I continue to be drawn to cooking and baking with these heavenly globes of goodness. Take my word for it, your whole house will become infused with the glorious splendor of autumn when the aroma of this moist, delicious bread floats out of the oven.

The addition of apple butter in the recipe gives it a boost of intense apple flavor that could not be gotten from ordinary applesauce. Also, the caramelized apples in the fruit butter combine with the tiny bit of molasses to produce a slight undertone of rich, creamy caramel. To get this same caramel flavor, traditional apple bread recipes require a cup or more of brown sugar! I think you'll agree that this low-sugar bread has a satisfying level of sweetness without all the added refined sugar that creates havoc on any person's blood glucose level, not just a PWD (person with diabetes). Of course, this bread is perfect for breakfast or with tea, but also it's an excellent snack paired with sharp cheddar cheese or slice it thin to make a wonderful peanut butter sandwich (no jelly needed).

Caramel Apple Tea Bread
(Makes 12 servings)

¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour (or finely ground blanched almonds)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground allspice or cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs + 1 egg white
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ cup Splenda granular (not baking blend)
2 teaspoons molasses
¼ cup apple butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup canola oil
1½ medium apples, peeled, cored and grated
½ medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped
½ tablespoon lemon juice, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Prepare an 8½" x 4½" loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Place the grated apple in a small bowl and sprinkle with half of the lemon juice and toss to coat. Place the chopped apple in another small bowl and sprinkle with the remaining lemon juice and toss to coat. Set both aside.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl and using a handheld or standing mixer, beat the eggs, egg white, sugar and Splenda on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy (do not underbeat in this step because you need to incorporate air into the mixture). Add the molasses, apple butter, vanilla, canola oil and grated apple and beat for another 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl once until fully incorporated. Gently and quickly fold in the chopped apple. Pour batter into prepared pan.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Test at 45 minutes and bake longer if additional time is needed. Do not overbake to avoid drying out.

6. Remove from oven to a wire rack. Allow bread to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and continue to cool on wire rack for another hour. This bread can be left at room temperature for 1 day or overnight, or wrap well and store in refrigerator.

NOTE: This batter can be made into 12 muffins. Bake in 350-degree oven for only 15-20 minutes until golden and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool on wire rack before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving: 163 calories, 15.5 g carbohydrate, 10 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1.6 g fiber, 4.1 g protein

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this compare with other quick apple bread recipes? This recipe is lower in calories and only half the amount of carbohydrate. It is higher in fiber and protein and is a good source of Vitamin E and monounsaturated fat (one of the good fats) from the almond flour. For comparison, the nutritional information for apple bread or a muffin made from a traditional recipe is 225 calories, 30.5 g carbohydrate, 10.5 g total fat, 0.5 g fiber, 3.5 g protein.

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