With the bonanza of mountain apples we had this year, I made lots of applesauce. It was amazing — dark and richly flavored. Even with no added sugar or spices, it was an epicurean experience and I had to try baking with it. Does a dynamite applesauce make a difference in baked goods or does it get lost in all the spices and sugar? I had to know. It turns out that when you have this much spice going on, I do not think so. The cardamom is especially vibrant and carries the dominant note. It is hard to compete with that!
I wish I could credit the originator of this recipe. It’s been around on a scrap of paper and I cannot locate the source. I did alter the recipe a bit to fit our dietary preferences. Originally I wondered if the recipe would work. The wet to dry ratio didn’t look right. The first time Frederick and I mixed up a batch, I looked at the dough and wondered again. It worked but I wasn’t sure why. The second time around I forgot the honey until I was mixing the dry ingredients with the wet. The texture was all wrong. I remembered and added the honey. The dough texture changed completely. The honey appears to be the real key in the success of this bread.
Follow our directions on how to get the tiny cardamom seeds out of the pods for this recipe. It takes a little time, but is so worth the effort. This is a grown-up bread with sophisticated flavor although I had two little guys licking the bowl and beater with great gusto.
Either butter or creamed cheese make a nice addition to the dark moist slices of bread. Consider making little cheese sandwiches with creamed cheese citrus spread.
The following recipe makes 2 large loaves of bread or 4 small ones. Slices of the small loaves are just right for the school lunch boxes.
Applesauce Bread Ingredients
- 3 cups freshly ground spelt flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom seed
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1 1/2 cups sucanat (or brown sugar)
- 1/4 cup runny honey
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
Applesauce Bread Steps
- Generously grease the bread pans. I use coconut oil.
- Place the softened butter in the mixing bowl of a Kitchen Aid or such and whip until the butter is light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar. Add the honey.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs. Whip some more.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the applesauce. Whip to blend in evenly.
- In a separate bowl mix together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom seed. Blend it thoroughly.
- Working with a spatula, not the mixer, gently blend the dry ingredients into the wet. Do not overwork this dough or you will end up with a toughly textured bread.
- Divide the dough between 2 large bread pans of 4 small bread pans. Gently spread the batter in the pans to even it.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes on the large pans, 30 minutes on the smaller ones. Watch closely. The tops of these loaves feel softer to the touch than other breads I’ve baked. Check with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, the bread is done. Trust that more than your touch.
- Remove from oven to a cooling rack. After 10 minutes run a knife around the edges of each loaf and lay they over on one side to let the steam escape. This keeps the bread bottoms from getting soggy.
- Let the bread cool for anther 30 minutes then remove from pans…that is…if you can wait that long!