Applesauce Spice Quickbread with Cinnamon Crunch Topping

applesauce spice breadHappy Holidays!  I hope you are having an amazing season, whatever you celebrate.  I love this time of year… everyone is so happy and friendly, we’re all looking back at the good stuff that happened this year, and planning ahead for a bright future as we start another one.

To keep the good times going, I wanted to share a recipe with you.  My applesauce spice quickbread is so, so good.  It’s also easy to make, and the ingredients are probably already in your pantry.

I wanted to make my neighbors something special this Christmas.  I originally set out to make banana bread, but getting that many bananas to be ripe at the same time was a pain.  Then I wanted to make something with apples and spices because I’ve been on an apple kick lately, but didn’t want to peel, core and dice that many apples.  So I thought “Why not applesauce?”  and set about making it work.

I wish I had thought of this sooner.  It is so good.  It’s soft and moist (ugh, I hate that word!) on the inside, and crunchy on top thanks to that heavenly crumb topping.  I have to be honest here.  After the first bite, my husband and I looked at each other a little confused.  He said “It’s really good, but I don’t really know what it is.  It’s not like anything I’ve tried before.”  and then went on to devour a second slice.  And that’s part of what I love about it.  It’s so unexpected.  It takes you somewhere new and unexpected, but somehow it’s still familiar and comforting because it is, after all, apples and spice – what could be more comforting than that on a chilly winter night?  You have to try it.

This would be great for Christmas breakfast.  Make it the night before, but don’t bake it.  In the morning, add the crumb topping and pop it in the oven before you open presents.  The house will smell all apple-y and spicy and warm.  Talk about tidings of comfort and joy!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 egg
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Cinnamon Crunch Crumb Topping (below)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan.  I usually use the disposable aluminium ones.

In a big bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices (feel free to tweak these to your taste).  In another bowl, mix the egg, applesauce, sugars and oil.

Pour the applesauce mix into the flour mix and stir until combined.  Pour into a loaf pan.  Top with crumb topping.  Don’t be shy about he topping.  I make sure every bit of batter is completely covered. I think skimping on crumb topping is a sin.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with some crumbs.

Cinnamon Crunch Crumb Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more)
4 tbs. butter, melted

Mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Pour in the melted butter and mix with a pastry blender or fork (or if you’re like me, your fingertips) until there are big crumbs and some finer crumbs (kind of sandy).  You might need to add a spoonful or so more of flour to get it to the consistency you like. I like the mix of the big chunks that give you a lot of crunch and the small sand-consistency crumbs that let you make sure that every surface on the loaf is covered.

This crumb topping recipe makes a ton, so I’d double the quickbread recipe and give it to a friend.

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