Monday, November 29, 2010

Apple Butter Bread

Welcome to our newest challenge:  Do Something Sustainable for the Holidays.

The holidays always present their own time, budget, and sanity challenges, and it is hard to continue to practice sustainable living skills when the garden is finished (for most of us), the weather is cold (ditto), and every message in the world seems to say that your life would get better and your holiday merrier if you just spent a lot of money.

To counter that, between now and New Year's I will be suggesting a few ways you can Do Something Sustainable for the Holidays.  Note that we aren't going to try to do everything; just a few things that keep your sustainable living principles in focus during this busy time. 

Today's idea is
Apple Butter Bread

I've adapted my recipe from the following inspiration:  Rose Manor

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (local if you can)
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 egg (local if you can)
1 cup apple butter (local if you can)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup evaporated milk (one 5 oz. can)

Combine ingredients and bake in two greased loaf pans at 350 for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  (You will note that I pared the original recipe down to one mixing bowl, and I have no negative effects from this time-saving move.)
I chose this recipe because I am in possession of some amazing local apple butter from the Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm, where my in-laws are regular volunteers.  A pint jar makes two batches, or four loaves.  For that matter, so does the large (13 oz) can of evaporated milk, with a few ounces left over that you have to put in your morning coffee so it doesn't go to waste.  (I'm always thinking about you, readers!)  Use local butter and eggs if you can, too, and you have a really local recipe.
The bread freezes beautifully, so for about an hour of effort you can double the batch, make four loaves, and have three in the freezer.  This means you have something already made to take out and serve to guests, take to the office pitch-in, or eat on Christmas morning. 
The Analysis
Fast:  For an hour's worth of effort, you can have a large chunk of your holiday baking done and have the results be sustainable to boot.
Cheap:  This depends heavily on the price of your ingredients; I got off pretty cheaply by having an inexpensive source of local eggs and the gift of apple butter.  Regardless, it won't be an expensive recipe, and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand.  (Many places have fruit butters for sale, although my preference, if you can, is to showcase a local product.)
Good:  This bread is yummy on its own and also good warm with butter.  I plan to try a pumpkin butter version in the future.
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  1. Maybe you ought to term that one Fast, Sweet & Good. By itself or with a bit of honey, would make a great desert.

  2. Delicious Buns! Thanks for the sweet treat.

  3. yum. look forward to more of your ideas on "sustainable to boot"