The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday October 3rd 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman. This column also appeared in “The Shelbyville News”.
Deanna Sparks’ Caramel Apple Bread, Perfect for Fall
When developing this recipe, I wanted to create something inspired by not only local flavors and seasons but also by local people and friends. Deanna Sparks is a dear friend of mine and has been for many years. We first got acquainted when I was in junior high school and she was my bus driver. Believe me when I say that she put up with a lot from me! Ha! Without going into details, let me just say that she also got acquainted with my parents, by way of me riding her bus. Throughout the years we really built a friendship that still lasts today. She is a woman of many talents and someone loved by all. She is one of the sweetest, kindest, compassionate, most understanding women I have ever known and has a sense of humor unmatched by anyone. Her and her daughter, Hannah, have helped me through times that I am not sure I would have been able to survive without them. I am so thankful, every single day, that I have both of them in my life and love them both. There is nothing that will lift my spirits faster than a conversation with Deanna and Hannah. Laughter is always the best medicine.
When I thought about what type of recipe I would like to dedicate to Deanna, and Hannah too for that matter, I wanted something that all of us love, something that would be appropriate for the current season and of course something delicious. I immediately thought about a locally made caramel apple bread that we all loved, that is no longer made locally. I set out trying to duplicate the recipe but ended up making something that was even better than the original! You can use your favorite apple in this recipe, I prefer a Granny Smith, just be sure to use a firmer crisper apple. The ground nutmeg is optional, but I really feel that just a pinch really brings out the overall flavors of the apple and the caramel. The final step of mixing the white all-purpose flour with the diced apples, ensures that the apple pieces will not sink to the bottom of the batter when baking. I love this recipe, not only because it is delicious and simple, but because it reminds me of great friends and great times. Try it and let me know what you think by filling out the contact form on my website at http://trailblaise.com Enjoy!
Caramel Apple Bread
Leftover bread can be kept stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for 4 days.
For the bread…
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup white granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 cup peeled, cored and diced fine apple
For the caramel topping…
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a regular sized loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.
In a large bowl combine together the unsweetened applesauce, white granulated sugar and packed light brown sugar. Beat in the eggs until bubbles appear in the batter.
Beat in the vegetable oil, pure vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda and ground nutmeg until smooth and combined.
Combine the white all-purpose flour with the prepared apples. Gently fold into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour.
Remove and cool before topping with the caramel topping.
To make the caramel topping, combine the melted unsalted butter with the caramel ice cream topping. Stir in the powdered sugar, pure vanilla extract and salt until combined and smooth. If the consistency is too thick, microwave on high for 30-seconds to loosen the mixture.
Drizzle the topping all over the top of the bread. Let set for 1 hour before enjoying.
Ask and Answer: So many people have written to me asking about a substitute for the instant butterscotch pudding mix I included in a recipe for zucchini bread in one of my previous columns. Unfortunately, there is no substitute that can be used. If you can not find the instant butterscotch pudding mix in your local grocery store, try ordering some online!