Apple-Cranberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

Right now I have 2 kinds of muffins in the freezer and there's banana bread in the fridge, and yet, I still felt compelled to make this oatmeal bread.  Maybe I have EBD…excessive baking disorder.  It’s possible, but I think maybe I’m mostly sane and just really love this bread. 

I’ve made this oatmeal bread quite a few times, but then last week in my  flurry to add cranberries to just about everything, I threw some into this batter, and now I may just have a new favorite breakfast bread.

There’s no doubt that with Christmas bearing down on us we’re going to need to have a few  things at hand that are as good for us as they are delicious, and this here is just about as perfect as it gets in that regard.  Whether we’re talking about breakfast, afternoon tea or midnight snack, there will be no need for guilt or recriminations.  No, sir… we’re talking whole wheat flour, oats, cranberries, applesauce, raisins and any other dried fruit you’d like to toss in.

If you’re anything like me (minus the EBD), you really love having a surplus of baked goods lying around this time of year.  And heck, one or two of them might as well be mostly good for you.

Apple-Cranberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

Click here for a printable recipe

Adapted from a recipe by Dorie Greenspan

For the topping:

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the bread:

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower

1/4 cup buttermilk or whole milk (I’ve also used plain yogurt with good results)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

pinch ground cloves

1/2 cup dried figs, apples, apricots, cranberries and/or raisins (I used cranberries and raisins)

1 cup old-fashioned oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan, and tap out the excess flour.

In a small bowl, use your fingers to toss together the streusel topping ingredients (brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.) Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil and buttermilk (or milk or yogurt) until they’re well blended.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir in the oats.

In a separate small bowl, toss the dried fruit with 1/2 tsp of the flour mixture, just to coat. Set aside.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture in the large bowl, and fold with a spatula just until they’re combined (try not to overmix.) Fold in the dried fruit, just until distributed throughout the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Scatter the streusel over the top, and lightly press it onto the surface of the batter with your fingers. Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet (just so it’s easier to lift out of the oven when it’s done), and place in the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes; I usually take mine out around 50 minutes. You can check that it’s done by inserting a sharp knife in the middle of the bread; no batter should stick to the knife.

Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then carefully run a knife around the edges of the pan and unmold the bread. Invert it back to right-side-up and cool it completely on a rack before you cut it.