Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Praline Apple Bread



It was the photo of Praline Apple Bread in Betty Crocker’s Fall Baking recipe booklet that made me want to make it and eat it. Creamy caramel glaze overflows the top of a brown loaf studded with pecans.

I read the recipe and was instantly suspicious of the glaze -- it seemed like too few ingredients. But I proceeded, wanting to give the recipe a fair trial. I melted the stick of butter and stirred in the ½ cup of brown sugar and boiled it for a minute. The glaze was still separated, with the sugar clumping in globs. I decided to go my own way and make a quick caramel frosting I’ve made before that I knew would be creamy and look like the photo. I stirred in ¼ cup of milk and about 1/3 cup of powdered sugar, which is all I had. You really need to use more powdered sugar than that. I poured the glaze over the bread and it ran down the sides to puddle under the cooling rack on the baking sheet. That was OK. What pooled on top the bread around the pecans formed a crunchy topping that was delicious. Its flavor reminded me of JanuaryThaw.

I have made a lot of candy and cooked frostings and glazes in the past few years. You will not achieve a glaze that looks like the one in Betty Crocker’s picture unless you follow my alternate recipe and instructions. They follow the bread recipe.

We enjoyed this bread for breakfast and as snacks and dessert. It’s great and well worth the 3 hours 45 minutes it takes to make and cool it. I would absolutely make it again … with my alterations.

PRALINE APPLE BREAD  


1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 8-ounce container sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups finely chopped peeled Granny Smith apples (about ¾ pound)

Heat oven to 350F. Grease 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with shortening; lightly flour. Spread ½ cup pecans in ungreased shallow pan. Bake 6-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown.

In medium bowl, beat sour cream, granulated sugar, eggs and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed 2 minutes. Beat in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt just until blended. Stir in apples and toasted pecans. Spoon into pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup pecans; lightly press pecans into batter.

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, covering with foil during last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning, if necessary. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack.

QUICK CARAMEL FROSTING

8 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 whole milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted -- very important or it will be lumpy, not smooth
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

Place the butter and brown sugars in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until the mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, stir, and bring the mixture back to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until the frosting is smooth.

Use immediately (while still warm) to frost the cake of your choice or frosting will harden. If it does harden while you're frosting the cake -- this happened to me, place the pan back over low heat and stir until the frosting softens up. 

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