Apples and ba-nay-nays
Sometimes baking is an excuse to get rid of some fruit or milk that's about to expire. I know that statement isn't entirely logically (you're going to use flour, butter, and sugar just to make sure you don't waste one banana?) I know it's illogical, but sometimes inspiration comes in mysterious ways.
I had originally thought about making plain old banana bread, but it turned out I only had one banana sitting on top of my fridge. I realized that I had two gravestein apples (which are supposed to be great for baking) and a jar of applesauce. A-pples and Ba-nay-nays, I knew I could do something with that!
Apple Banana bread smells like cinammon, spice, and everything nice.
I searched the internet for some recipes involving apples and bananas and came across "Mom's Apple-Banana Bread". When I saw that the recipe involved adding caramelized apples to the batter, I knew it would be a winner. This recipe also appealed to me because it incorporates two treats that my mom and dad make really well - banana bread and apple cake respectively. My dad doesn't put on his baker's hat too often, but his apple cake has become a family staple. And my mom's banana bread just tastes better than any other banana bread I've tried. This recipe is essentially a combination of the two! The bananas and applesauce make for a very moist bread, and the caramelized apples add lovely bites of sweet and tart. The warm spices just scream fall. With the cooler weather approaching, I beg you to try this one.
I tweaked the recipe a little to accommodate the ingredients I had in my pantry (who uses that word?)
1 stick plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter (JAM Note: 1/2 stick butter, plus 2 tbsp, plus 1/4 c applesauce)
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 in dice (JAM Note: used Gravestein apples)
1 tsp cinammon (JAM Note: used 1 1/2 tsp)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (JAM Note: used 2 tsp)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves (JAM Note: used 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (JAM Note: used 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup) (JAM Note: used 1 ripe banana, 1/2 c applesauce)
1/4 c orange juice (JAM Note: used 1/4 c applesauce)
In a large skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter with brown sugar. Add the apples and cook over moderate heat, stirring until tender and golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon and 1/2 of vanilla and transfer apples to a plate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5x4 in loaf pan. In medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, nutmeg (JAM Note: allspice, pumpkin spice) and the remaining cinnamon.
In a large bowl, using the handheld electric mixer, beat the remaining butter (half stick) with the granulated sugar (JAM Note: beat in 1/2 c applesauce after). Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time until smooth. Add in bananas (JAM Note: and applesauce), orange juice, and remaining vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Using a rubber spatula fold in apples.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hr and 20 minutes (JAM Note: my bread was done in 50 minutes). Let the loaf cool and turn onto rack to cool completely.