"No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize." - Julia Child

Friday, January 22, 2010

Apple oatmeal quick bread

If you're anything like me (and don't think I'm implying that you are), you might be feeling somewhat overindulged, bloated, and downright blarghy after the bingefest that was the holidays, and you've resolved to be healthy. But if you're anything like me, you also don't want to give up on certain pleasures in life, because honestly, you only live once, and woman cannot live by bread alone.

Although if it's this apple oatmeal quick bread I recently discovered, then perhaps you could feel like you live by bread alone. It's that good. I've always loved quick breads, which—let's face it—are just cake in loaf form. But because of their intrinsic cakeyness, quick breads are also often loaded with sugar and butter—two things you don't necessarily want a lot of when you're trying to be healthier. Enter the apple oatmeal quick bread.

I love this recipe because the butter is replaced by low-fat vanilla yogurt, which clearly has a lot less fat than butter, but which also adds a moistness and softness to the cake. The oatmeal and whole wheat flour give it a really hearty, tasty feel, but it doesn't feel heavy. The apples also keep it moist. I discovered this recipe on the back of a Stonyfield yogurt container, and I did do a few slight modifications (adding raisins, using a little more apples, and adding more cinnamon and introducing nutmeg), but it's not very different from the original recipe.

Remember to make sure your egg is room temperature before beginning the recipe, although if you're using just the egg whites, it'll be easier to separate your eggs while they are cold and then allow the whites to come to room temperature before combining. (Stash the yolks, covered, in the fridge for another use; they will keep for a couple of days.)

Apple Oatmeal Bread

1 cup Stonyfield Organic Low Fat French Vanilla Yogurt
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 egg or two egg whites, slightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups finely diced unpeeled apples (I use Granny Smith, which are tangy and lovely!)
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries (I haven't tried it with those yet, but what's better than cranberries and apples together?)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together yogurt and oats and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together egg(s), oil and brown sugar.

In another bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir into the egg mixture. Add yogurt mixture. The batter will be lumpy and it will feel like you're stirring a bowl of cement. Do not despair! Put your back into it and fold in apples and raisins or cranberries if you decide to use them. Trust me, the batter will become light, moist, and scrumptious. The first time I made this, I too doubted that this could become something other than concrete in a pan. Pour into greased pan and spread about evenly.

Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan immediately. Wrap it up in foil; it'll stay moist and soft for about a week and doesn't need refrigerating. I like eating this with some apple-cranberry butter or other fruity jelly or jam on top. It is also a tasty and filling breakfast when you're on the go.

I'll probably be trying some more yogurt baking and cooking in the weeks to come, so stay tuned for the results, good, bad, and everything in between.

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