I try as hard as possible to hang on to summer; one last dinner on the patio, one last walk through the perennials…but today it’s becoming clear I had better get ready. It’s a nice sunny day outside but there is definitely a chill in the air, my feet are freezing (socks…really, is it that time already?) and it’s definitely time to think of all things warm and spicy. This recipe does that for me; the smell of apples, cream cheese and spices in this bread are permeating my kitchen while I write and are just absolutely perfect for a fall day. With friends coming for coffee in a bit; this is the perfect accompaniment!
I’ve had this recipe on a card in a recipe binder I’ve had since before I had children; I think it came from my grandmother who also had it on a card in her recipe file. I’ve made assorted adjustments along the way; adding cream cheese and walnuts was done a couple of years ago when I started making it as part of my holiday gift baskets…why not go over the top a bit for friends and family who look forward to that gift basket more than anything I could ever buy them?
I wished I loved the photo more but in Denver, despite making some subtle changes to the recipe (I never revise recipes on the blog for altitude; I make adjustments from what is listed); it’s always a challenge to NOT have a cake or bread cave in the center. Even if I think I’ve finally found that perfect balance of leavening vs flour, no matter, it can happen anyhow! So, I’m used to it as are the people who come to literally break bread with me and all that matters is that is it unbelievably good and a perfect use for the bounty of apples during this fall season.
For the Bread:
- 4 oz butter
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 Cups of flour
- 2 tsp of baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 4 Cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped, I like big pieces about 1/2 by 1/4 inch or so.
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
For the Topping:
- 3/4 Cup flour
- 1/4 Cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Butter two standard bread loaf pans.
- Peel, core and slice the apples. Cut into good-sized chunks, about 1 inch in size.
- Cream the butter and cream cheese until thoroughly blended.
- Add the vanilla and sugars and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices with a whisk and add to the mixture a cup at a time and beat until just smooth. The resulting batter will be very thick.
- Fold in the chopped apples and walnuts and mix by hand so the apples do not get broken up. Divide the mixture between the two pans.
- To prepare the topping, combine flour, sugar and spices in processor or bowl. Pulse or cut the butter into the mixture with a fork until all ingredients are moist and crumbly. Sprinkle equal amounts of topping on each loaf.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes; test with a toothpick. Remove and place on a cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans; this is a VERY moist dough and I've found it helps to make a day ahead and let cool thoroughly before handling.
I love having the apple pieces be a good size, it can make for a less than perfect slice when cutting the bread, but I think it's worth it to bite into nice size apple chunks!