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I created this recipe recently when my attempts at baked apple cider doughnuts failed miserably. One batch of doughnuts emerged from the oven with a crumb way too delicate for a doughnut. As I grumbled that the doughnuts tasted like quick bread, I realized...the doughnuts tasted like a quick bread! I stopped grumbling and poured the remaining batter into a mini-loaf pan. Sure enough, it made a perfect loaf of bread.
To ensure the bread tastes like apples and not just of cinnamon and nutmeg, start by reducing two cups of fresh apple cider down to three-quarters of a cup. While a little time consuming, this step is worth the trouble. Loaves made with regular apple cider didn't taste like apples. However, I wondered if I could save time by using commercial boiled cider, a thick sweet-tart syrup that's popular in Vermont. The resulting loaf tasted too strongly of caramel and didn't contain the complex apple flavor the homemade reduced cider brought to the recipe. So plan on spending about forty minutes reducing the cider before making this recipe.
The finished loaves capture the sweet-tart flavor of apple cider with cinnamon and nutmeg acting as supporting players. Since the recipe makes several loaves, I recommend freezing one or two. This way, you can enjoy a taste of fall long after the season passes.