Saved since her college days by food writer April Hamilton, this recipe for a toasty, tart after-school snack is just as fit for a grownup indulgence, especially as temperatures finally start to drop. Though Cortland apples are recommended, Honeycrisps also blend well with the buttery, sugary goodness laid out in the steps below. And click on the recipe title for even more comfort food ideas courtesy of Hamilton.
MRS. LUPIEN’S APPLE BREAD
6 oz. unsalted butter (1½ full sticks) at cool room temperature, plus a little extra for pans
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 tsp. fine salt
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. lemon juice or white vinegar
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
3 cups unbleached flour, plus a little extra for pans
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced to make about 4 cups
2 oz. unsalted butter (½ stick) at cool room temperature
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
¼ cup unbleached flour
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in center. Butter and flour 2 medium loaf pans (7.5 x 3.5 x 2 inches), tipping out extra flour.
Cream butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, a hand mixer and large bowl can be used). Stop mixer and scrape sides down to bottom of bowl once or twice. When mixture is light and fluffy, beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each. Stir in vanilla.
Place milk and lemon juice or vinegar into a small bowl. Stir in baking soda to dissolve. (Mixture will foam up). Add to creamed mixture, beating on low to combine. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating just to incorporate and avoid the “flour cloud” that happens when it goes in all at once. Beat on low until no streaks of flour remain. Scrape bowl well. Fold in diced apples, and divide batter evenly between pans.
Make topping: Combine topping ingredients in a medium bowl, and blend together with a fork to make a crumbly mixture.
Sprinkle cinnamon topping evenly over loaves, and bake until a tester inserted in the center of a loaf comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes. Let cool in pans on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from pans. The bread is delicious warm, though it may crumble a little as you slice it. Let cool completely before wrapping tightly for storage. Loaves keep 3 days at cool room temperature but usually vanish on the first day.
Makes 2 loaves.