Apples with walnuts are the more common pairing, but The Mr. detests them, claiming walnuts taste like soap. I personally like them especially in baked goods, but to keep the peace, pecans became the nut of choice for this recipe. And they do have some redeeming health benefits, such as monounsaturated fats which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
In addition, since pecan nuts are fiber-packed, they improve digestion; are rich in magnesium which is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits; and are an excellent source of vitamin-E, vitamin-A, zinc, folate and phosphorous which play an important role in maintaining good skin. And let’s face it, they taste darn good too!
While on the subject of health, I incorporated whole wheat flour. When baking, you can replace part, but not all, of the all-purpose with whole wheat. Blending equal parts whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour lightens the finished product while maintaining the nutritional benefits of whole wheat. The end product has a slightly coarser texture and less volume, which I prefer.
One slice with a schmear of butter (or maybe apple butter?) with your cuppa joe—or green tea in my case—makes for a perfect start on a busy morning…
Whole Wheat Apple Pecan Bread
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and chopped (yields about 2 cups)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 cup pecans, chopped and divided
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl add the eggs, vanilla extract, melted butter and applesauce. Stir until completely combined. Mix in the sugars. Stir until combined.
- In a large mixing bowl add the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir with a fork to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Add in the chopped apple and 3/4 cup of the pecans, stir.
- Pour dough into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup pecans on top.
- Bake for 45 minutes, top should be golden brown. Insert a toothpick in the center to test for doneness. The toothpick will come out clean with no dough stuck on it when it’s finished. If it doesn’t, continue baking for another 5 minutes and check again.
- Allow bread to cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Turn upside down and remove bread loaf from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack.
NOTE: You can store covered at room temperature for four days. Afterward, store any leftovers in tightly sealed wrapping in the refrigerator. Slice and warm as needed.