apple, cinnamon & hazelnut loaf

apple, cinnamon & hazelnut loafphoto-2159

We moved house over the weekend and it was the single most stressful experience of my life.

Packing up your entire existence whilst caring for a newborn and almost two year old should be an olympic sport.

It’s tough.

Really tough.

Looking back and considering the feat, we did pretty well.

And I have to say that settling into our new home feels wonderful.

Especially the kitchen.

The first creation to emerge from my new favourite place is this wonderful little apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf.

Loaf cakes have become a bit of a go-to for breakfast of late.  Jam packed with fruit and able to be whipped up and in the oven in less than 10 minutes they’re a great breakfast alternative to the usual toast or cereal routine which can get pretty boring after a while.

Today’s apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf is not only completely delish but really good for the little ones too.  I managed to get 4 apples into this little darling, and because of the natural sweetness from the apples I used a mere half cup of brown sugar in the entire loaf.  If you’re keen to skip the sugar completely, simply replace with a half cup of maple or a third cup of agave syrup which would also work beautifully.

The hazelnut meal in this loaf is genius.  It not only creates a tender and wholesome crumb but a gorgeous earthy nutty flavour that works beautifully with the classic apple and cinnamon flavour combination.  And the smells that wafts from the oven as the loaf bakes to gorgeous goldenness is simply divine.  So much so that Miss G. kept hovering around the oven saying ‘yum yum’ until it was finally cooked.

This loaf is also the perfect texture for little ones just beginning their baby led weaning journey.  The abundance of apple strewn throughout the loaf creates a dense and moist crumb that won’t be too easily squished by little hands making it simple for beginners to hold and nibble on with ease.  Just slice the loaf into thick batons and your little one should have no trouble at all.

This apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf also freezes wonderfully.  Simply slice and wrap individual pieces in a little cling wrap, pop into a freezer safe container and stash in the deep freeze for up to 3 months.  Allow to thaw by simply resting on the bench or in a lunch box.

To create your own apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf simply…

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strawberry & apple oat crisp bars

strawberry & apple oat crisp barsstrawberry & apple oat crisp bars

Oh it feels so wonderful to be back in the kitchen and baking once again.

We’ve just experienced one of the most unbelievably crazy months.

Between teething molars, tummy bugs, trips to emergency (both Grace and I), the flu, spring cleaning, redecorating the house and a family beach vacay we have been completely out of our usual routine.

The good news is we made it through and today we’re back with these totally gorgeous strawberry and apple oat crisp bars.

These bars are amazing and come from one of my all-time favourite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen.  The moment these gorgeously golden fruit layered oat bars hit my inbox I knew Grace and I had to bake them.  They’re everything we look for in a morning tea snack; they’re chock full of oats and fruit, taste incredible and are the perfect portable snack.  We made a few adjustments to the original recipe (mostly in the method so that Grace could get involved in the baking) and we also swapped the rhubarb for apple.

These bars really are a breeze to prepare, Grace and I managed to get them into the oven in less than 10 minutes and only used one mixing bowl, which is great when you’re trying to clean with an eager 18 month old chasing you around the kitchen.

Once baked, I popped a couple of the crispy golden strawberry and apple strewn bars into the lunch box and Grace devoured them alongside a little fruit for her snack at the park this morning.

To create these gorgeous strawberry & apple oat crisp bars simply…

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wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies

wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookieswholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies

This morning we awoke to unseasonably cool, dark and drizzly weather.

With the sky blanketed in a thick layer of grey rain clouds there was little hope of our daily walk to the park.

Surrendering to this much welcomed change in weather, I decided we would spend the day cuddled up at home, playing, reading and baking these beautifully wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies.

wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies

This recipe came from the wonderful website of Teresa Cutter – The Healthy Chef.  Teresa has the most amazing knack for creating unbelievably delicious goodies out of pure, wholesome and totally good for you ingredients.  I have also made a batch of her gorgeous scones, you can find the recipe here.

These apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies are divine.

They’re sugar free, egg free, full of whole natural foods and are the perfect texture for little hands to pick up and nibble on with ease.  In terms of a baby led weaning snacks, these apple and cinnamon studded delights are pretty close to perfection.  Not only are they a fuss-free and non-messy snack (ideal for outings) they’re super simple to prepare and only require ten minutes of attention before being popped into the oven to bake to golden perfection.

The main alteration to Teresa’s recipe that I made was using the food processor to whip up the cookies rather than doing them by hand.  I find the processor binds the dough more thoroughly and makes the cookies easier to shape.  It’s also a huge time saver, ideal when you have an impatient 15 month old on your hands.

And these little darlings make the perfect addition to any lunch box.  I’ve stashed a few away in the deep freeze to add to Grace’s lunch box when we’re out and about over the next couple of weeks.

wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies

Although Miss G. waited quite patiently for the cookies to bake, as soon as the golden darlings emerged from the oven bringing with them the unmistakable fragrance of baked apple and cinnamon her patience all but vanished.

As I photographed the baked golden darlings she plucked a still warm cookie straight from the tray and nibbled away.

wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies

It wasn’t long until I did the same.

Fresh from the oven these cookies are perfection.  Golden and chewy with a soft, fluffy, sultana and dried apple studded centre they really are moorish.

To create this gorgeous batch of wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies simply…

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wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast bread

wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast bread

wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast bread

This wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast bread saved my sanity this morning.

Thanks to eye teeth charging their way through her swollen, red and very sore gums Miss G. was once again refusing to eat.

She was one very cranky little girl.

And rightfully so.

Teething is just awful.

I keep asking myself why the poor little darlings have to endure all of this pain only to lose these teeth a few years down the track.

I hate seeing her in pain, my heart breaks.  Equally as awful is watching her refuse to eat.

This morning I tried absolutely everything but not a crumb passed her lips.

My last resort was to bake.

There is nothing quite like a loaf of gorgeousness nestled in the oven filling the house with the fragrance of cinnamon and baked apple to wet Miss G’s. appetite and interest.  Mine too.

But with an upset snuggly bubby nestled permanently on my hip my hands and time were very limited so I decided to pile all of the makings of a wholesome, fruit filled and sugar free breakfast bread into my food processor and blitz.

The results were sublime.

This bread is dense, moist, chock full of apple and echoes the wholesome gorgeousness of maple syrup and vanilla.

Along with a few slices of apple and a small handful of raspberries Miss G. devoured a still warm slice of the apple packed breakfast bread.

****insert happy face here****

To create this wonderfully wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast bread simply…

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apple tea cake

apple tea cake

apple tea cake

Apple and cinnamon, is there any other flavour combination on this planet more capable of conjuring up soothing, comforting and delicious childhood memories?  For me, these wonderfully homely aromas instantly transport me back to the school yard and right inside my home economics class, where my love affair with baking began as I baked a wonderful tea cake filled with apple, cinnamon and vanilla.

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carrot, apple & yoghurt muffins

carrot apple & yoghurt muffins

carrot apple & yoghurt muffins

I love these muffins for the lunch box. They’re chock full of mum pleasing carrot and apple, are wonderfully light, beautifully fragrant and not too sweet. Perfect mid morning snack for the kiddies.

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