It’s that time of year again! Leaves change color, baristas can’t hear the word “pumpkin” without feeling a little sick, and ovens start working overtime. And who doesn’t love a good banana bread recipe to ring in the season?
Me, actually, as I’ve never been particularly fond of bananas. That was, until last year, when my housemate Ally, who is an amazing baker, made the rest of us a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread. It was a rare exception to my aversion, so I asked her for the recipe—she sent me this one from The Salty Marshmallow.
I continued to bake it myself for a while, usually one loaf for my housemates and another for my coworkers. Bananas tend to taste a bit strong though, so I wondered if applesauce would work instead. (Apples are the superior autumn fruit anyway, and that’s coming from someone with a mild apple allergy.) Conveniently, one standard cup of applesauce is about the same volume as a mashed whole banana, so I started trying different ratios of bananas to applesauce.
The recipe tasted good and produced consistent results, but I still wanted to keep experimenting. So, I ditched the bananas entirely. Who’s got the time to wait for them to ripen anyway?
And luckily, my new recipe was a hit at work. I started using my apple cinnamon bread recipe as the base for several iterations—gluten-free, with walnuts, with peaches, anything goes.
After much trial and surprisingly little error, here’s the best apple cinnamon bread recipe, including a gluten-free substitution.
Apple Bread Recipe
- 1 stick butter
- 1 ½ cups applesauce (= 3-4 oz. cups in a standard six-pack)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon (at least!)
- Preheat oven to 350℉.
- In a medium-sized bowl, melt the whole stick of butter in the microwave for 10-15 second increments to prevent burning.
- Once it’s just melted, add in the applesauce. Mix thoroughly with the melted butter with a whisk or fork.
- Crack two eggs into the bowl. Mix until the egg is fully blended, checking for clumps of egg white or streaks of yolk.
- Add the vanilla extract, mixing everything again until no streaks of egg or vanilla are present.
- In a separate large bowl (the bowls will be mixed later—keep this in mind when choosing this bowl!), add the flour and sugar. Mix well with a fork, making sure to crush any sugar or flour clumps, or use a sifter to skip this step.
- Add the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the flour and sugar and mix until fully incorporated. Be generous with the cinnamon if you prefer a stronger cinnamon flavor!
- Pour the contents of the medium bowl into the larger bowl and mix with a rubber spatula. Repeatedly fold the batter in on itself, making sure to scrape the bottom and edges of the bowl and scooping in the middle of the mixture so no flour pockets remain.
- Add your toppings and fold them in! Don’t underestimate how much batter there is—pour heavy handedly. I usually do chocolate chips, but I’ve used roasted walnuts and fruits before, too.
- Line a baking tin (I use this one from Amazon) with parchment paper and pour in the batter.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes. The original recipe says 45-55, but I’ve had this loaf take a bit longer, depending on the topping. You’ll know it’s done when you insert a knife and it comes out with crumbs on it instead of raw batter.
- Let it cool for as long as you please, and enjoy!
Gluten Free Apple Bread
For a gluten free apple bread, simply follow the above recipe and replace the 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 1 ¾ cups of rice flour.
About the Author/s
Alex Kenney is a third-year Journalism and Media Studies student at Rutgers University - New Brunswick. Having lived in Bergen, Essex, and briefly Hudson County, she calls anything north of Newark home. She is a big fan of NJ Transit and knows most major highways in her area like the back of her hand, even though she doesn’t drive.