Freshly baked apple bread with cinnamon sugar streusel speaks of the autumn season like no other sweet treat quite does. Fragrant and utterly cozy, my apple bread recipe is deliciously dense yet moist, featuring lots of finely diced, juicy apples, sweet, warming spices and walnuts, all sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar streusel topping!
Apple Bread, the Coziest Dessert of Apple Season
As soon as fall officially rolls in, and our local apple orchards open their gates for folks to come and pick fresh apples and get their fresh-pressed cider, I become so very excited to begin enjoying many of the delicious apple-infused autumn desserts that I've been craving all year!
The options for sweet treats are absolutely endless when it comes to apple desserts, as apples partner magnificently with warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves, bringing a sweet aroma to every delectable goody they're included in.
Over the years, I've enjoyed creating new apple-infused recipes to offer up here on The Cozy Apron each fall season, because I find these treats so comforting and fragrant to bake up and share!
And this year, since I realized that I didn't yet have an apple bread recipe on the site, I chose to create a recipe for one that would have loads of apple flavor throughout. I included some walnuts for crunch, plus a streusel topping brimming with cinnamon sugar to create a bit of a crisp crust to contrast the moist, tender crumb of the bread.
This homemade apple bread is probably one of my most beloved apple desserts I've prepared in recent years, and I can just tell that's it's going to be an official “apple season” goody that I bake up to always have on hand during this time of year, for years to come.
For me, it truly contains everything that I love about the fall—sweet-n-tangy apples, brown sugar, warm spices—in one deliciously dense, moist, sliceable bread!
How to Make Apple Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Streusel
I'm very happy to say that this apple bread is all about the apples, through and through. No skimping here! 😉
This apple bread recipe has loads of finely diced, fresh apples, both Honeycrisp and Granny Smith, quickly sauteed just until lightly softened, then cooled, and folded into the batter for a little burst of sweet-tart apple in every bite.
Unfiltered apple cider (or apple juice) is also used to reinforce that yummy apple flavor, which adds moisture and natural sweetness to the finished bread.
I love the flavor of dark brown sugar for this recipe and opt for that because it has a bit more earthy molasses flavor, but light brown sugar can be substituted just as well, if that is what you happen to have on hand.
Because I like a bit of crunch in my apple bread, I add a small handful of chopped walnuts sprinkled over top of the batter before the bread is baked, alternating them with the streusel topping for a crisp, crunchy texture.
Here's a glance at my apple bread recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- I get started by preparing my streusel topping and keep that chilled in the fridge until I'm ready to top the batter with it.
- Next, I saute my finely diced apples in a pat of butter for about 5-6 minutes, just until softened; then, I allow the diced apples to cool on a paper towel-lined plate. (I like to place this into the fridge to expedite the process.)
- I preheat my oven to 350° and line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper that slightly overhangs, for easier removal of the apple bread after baking.
- Then, the dry ingredients are whisked up in a large bowl, followed by the wet ingredients in a separate, medium-size bowl.
- Next, I add the wet ingredients into the dry, and using a spatula, I fold things together until barely combined; I add in the cooled, diced apples, and fold those in until incorporated.
- The apple bread batter is poured into my prepared loaf pan, and I sprinkle over half of my chopped walnuts, followed by half of my streusel, then the rest of the walnuts and the rest of the streusel.
- I bake the apple bread for about 1 hour and 5 minutes, then cool it in the pan for 10 minutes before lifting out and completely cooling on a wire rack before slicing.
Apple Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Streusel
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 9
Nutrition Info: 364 calories per serving
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Apple Bread Ingredients:
- 1 large Honeycrisp apple, peeled and diced very small (about 1 ¼ cups worth)
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced very small (about 1 ¼ cups worth)
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon melted, unsalted butter, divided use
- ½ cup apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
- ¼ cup raw, chopped walnuts
Cinnamon Sugar Streusel Ingredients:
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided use
- 2 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
- To begin, prepare your cinnamon sugar streusel topping: to a medium bowl add the dark brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon of the ground cinnamon, and the melted butter; using a fork, mix to combine. Add in the flour, and using the fork once again, mix together, sort of “fluffing” the mixture until larger crumbles/chunks form (the texture will resemble wet sand, which is OK). Place into the fridge to chill.
- In a small ramekin, combine the ½ tablespoon of granulated sugar with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, to create a cinnamon sugar topping to sprinkle over the hot apple bread when fresh out of the oven; set aside.
- To prepare the apple bread, preheat the oven to 350°, and line a 9 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper so that it slightly overhangs to help lift the apple bread out of the pan after baking; mist lightly with cooking spray.
- Place a medium large skillet over high heat, and add the 1 tablespoon of melted butter in; then, add the diced apples to the pan and cook them for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened; spoon the diced apples out onto a paper towel-lined plate to cool completely and drain of liquid. (Place into fridge to expedite the process, if desired.)
- To a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg, and whisk to blend well.
- In another bowl, add the brown sugar, the eggs and the vanilla extract, and whisk together until combined. Pour in the ½ cup of melted butter and whisk to incorporate that, followed by the apple cider or juice, whisking to incorporate that as well.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, and using a spatula now, fold together until things begin to incorporate. Add in the cooled, diced apples, and fold those in just until combined, taking care not to over mix the batter.
- Pour the apple bread batter into your prepared loaf pan, and sprinkle half of the chopped walnuts over the batter. Remove the chilled streusel from the fridge and use your fingers to break it up a bit into medium crumbles, and sprinkle over half of that, next.
- Sprinkle over the remainder of the walnuts, followed by the rest of the streusel, and place the apple bread into the oven to bake for 1 hour 5 minutes, or until a tester skewer comes out clean (I like to turn my bread halfway through baking for even baking).
- Once the apple bread is baked and is still in its loaf pan, sprinkle over top of the hot bread the granulated sugar/cinnamon mixture that you set aside, to create a bit of spicy, sugary, crunch on top.
- Leave the apple bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully lift it out using the overhanging parchment paper, and allow it to completely cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
Tips & Tidbits for my Apple Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Streusel:
- Sweet-tangy, fresh apples: I like to add finely diced, fresh apples to my apple bread, using both Honeycrisp and Granny Smith to create that sweet-tangy flavor. To ensure that my apples are tender once the loaf is baked, I first saute them very quickly for only 5-6 minutes with a pat of butter, then allow them to cool completely before folding them into the batter.
- Dark brown sugar for rich molasses flavor: Dark brown sugar has even deeper molasses flavor, and I love that in my apple bread. You can use regular brown sugar or even light brown sugar, if that is what you have on hand. (If you use light brown sugar, feel free to add 1 tablespoon of molasses to the wet ingredients, if you have it.)
- Lots of warming spices: I tried to create a deep, sweet-n-spicy flavor here, using cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Each bring a slightly different note to the bread, and they're really tasty together. However, if you don't happen to have one (or a couple) of these, just substitute more cinnamon.
- Keep the streusel cold, for better crumbling: The texture of this streusel is a bit like wet sand, and when you use a fork to sort of “fluff” it, you create crumbles out of it. Once you prepare this crumble, place your streusel into the fridge to keep it cold, as this helps it to firm up and keep its chunky shape.
- Walnuts, for crunch: Raw, chopped walnuts are my favorite nut to use here, as the walnuts toast as the apple bread bakes. You could certainly substitute pecans here, or leave the nuts out altogether.