RECIPE: Apple Maple Swirl Breads with Caramel Drizzle

Fall bring many things into the kitchen. Pumpkins, nuts, and APPLES!
So now we are up to our ears in apples! And yes, I love apples. I have been having so much fun in the kitchen with them. I was very lucky to have visited an orchard this year that had Ida Reds. They are not a typical apple but oh are they worth it for baking! 
One Sunday, I really wanted to make something special. The leaves were golden and so was the sun. Audrey Hepburn was on the kitchen TV. The house needed some serious-smelling fall comfort. SO I came up with this swirl bread using yeast. 

Yes, yeast bring some labor into things, but don't good things take a little time? And the beauty of this recipe is the work you do here pays "4-fold"...meaning, you will have 4 lovely swirly loaves of apple-deliciousness for you to eat and dole out. With the holidays around the corner and these babies tucked in your freezer -you are ready for anything! Carolers, Santa, neighbors? Pull this out and defrost it. Drizzle some glaze and voila! Your urban-domestic-diva-self strikes again.


Apple Maple Swirl Breads with Caramel Drizzle (makes 4 long loaves)


2 tablespoons of active dry yeast 
1/2 cup of warm milk (around 110°)
1/4 cup +2 tablespoons of sugar
3/4 tsp of salt
1 cup of butter, softened
3/4 cup La Crema (Greek yogurt or sour cream works too)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 to 2 tablespoons of warm water or extra milk while kneading

Apple filling
6 Ida Reds (or other tart apples) peeled, cord and shredded PLUS 2 Golden Delicious apples (or other sweet baking apple) peeled cord and shredded
half a lemon, juiced
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
dash of salt
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
maple syrup (at least 1 cup or so)

1 teaspoon apple butter
2 tablespoons of caramel topping


Make the dough. In a large bowl dissolve yeast in the warm milk. Let's sit for 10 to 15 minutes, until things foam up. You are proofing and softening yeast. Once proofed, add the sugar, salt, butter, cream, eggs and 3 cups of flour into a large bowl. Using a stand mixer with a kneading hook, mix the ingredients until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour and drizzle with warm milk or water if you need to, until soft dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. Using nonstick cooking spray, spray a large bowl and place kneaded dough within it. Cover with a lint free towel, and place in a cool dry place to rise until doubled. (I usually use my oven as the place to rise my dough, turned off of course!) This rising time usually takes about an hour, though mine took about 1 1/2 hours to double. 

Meanwhile macerate your shredded apples. Toss the apples with lemon juice, sugar, almond extract, vanilla extract, salt and spices. Let's sit for 30 minutes, until the apples release their juices. In a large saute pan, melt down a quarter cup of butter. Cook the apples down on high heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Liquid will become syrupy and bubbly, and when that happens add the cornstarch to the apples to thicken completely. Give everything one final stir and take off the heat to cool slightly. While the apples have been cooking and cooling your dough should be ready. So it's ready to assemble!

Give your work surface a light dusting of flour. Divide your dough into 4 equal balls. Take your first ball and roll into a 12 x 10" rectangle. I do this by roughly shaping the dough into a thick rectangle with my fingers. Then I roll it out with a rolling pin in vertical and horizontal directions to stay within the rectangular shape. With the back of a spoon, spread a thin layer of maple syrup on the dough. Then spread 1/4 of the apple filling within 1/2" of the edges. Roll up jelly roll style starting with the long side. When you get to the end, pinch the seams to seal it in place. Lay seam side down on a foil lined baking sheet. 

Continue with the rest of the dough by filling and rolling in the same way. I used two baking sheets, two bread loaves on each. Cover with lint free towels and allow loaves to rise one more time until double. This takes about 30 - 45 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350°, and when loaves have doubled uncover them and place in the oven, baking until golden. This takes about 30-45 minutes. Remove from the pans to wire racks to cool. Because this recipe creates 4 loaves, I usually freeze two of these at this point, holding off on the drizzle until I am ready to defrost and serve the stored ones.

For the ones you wish to serve immediately, heat the apple butter with caramel topping in a small ramekin until of drizzling consistency. This took about 30 seconds on medium power. Using a fork, drizzle the caramel icing along the cooled bread. Serve warm with some nice tea



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