LA MIA RICETTA PERONALE… Cinnamon Hazelnut Bread Buttons!

by valentinalucia

I am so proud of this new concoction of mine – I can’t even begin to tell you! I took the idea of baking a quick-bread and decided to make the loaf as mini “bread buttons.” I love making quick-breads, but I always find myself wishing I got more slices from each loaf. This recipe for Cinnamon Hazelnut Bread Buttons takes care of that problem by taking a fluffy, moist loaf recipe and yielding over 58 mini slices – or bread buttons – so you can have more than one and feel no guilt!

If I haven’t said this enough in previous posts – I love cinnamon. I put cinnamon in my coffee, on my cappuccinos, in my cereal, on my fruit – pretty much everywhere you could think of, I can find a way to incorporate this flavor-packed spice. I love it because it’s so versatile, and gives such strong flavor with little used. Cinnamon is earthy, spicy and sensual – I just can’t get over how well it melds into recipes, especially baked goods. The combination of cinnamon with unsweetened applesauce in this recipe creates a lovely flavor and aroma – and the applesauce keeps the buttons nice and moist for days after you bake them.

The hazelnut topping was an extra addition I wanted to try out. Hazelnuts are probably my favorite nut, so naturally I wanted to mix them with my favorite spice! Nutmeg and cloves add that, “hmm, what is that?” factor to the buttons, too. I find that nutmeg does that in many recipes – it complements the flavors of the other ingredients, but remains hidden under a cloud of spicy mystery as well.

You will not be disappointed with these little treats! I highly recommend them for anyone who wants something quick to bake and tasty to eat. They’re perfect for parties and get-togethers with a larger group of people, too!

Cinnamon Hazelnut Bread Buttons (yields about 4 1/2 dozen)

Ingredients:

Bread Buttons

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup and 2 tablespoons white whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup almond milk*

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Nut Topping

1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, skinned

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

*Note: Regular milk can be substituted.

Preparations:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 3 muffin top sheets with cooking spray and set aside (if you don’t have muffin top sheets, regular baking sheets are just fine).

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together applesauce and sugar on medium speed, about 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time until each egg is completely incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl before moving onto the next step.

3. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a different bowl, whisk together the almond milk, water and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, alternatively add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to applesauce mixture, until blended. Spoon the batter by the tablespoon into the muffin top sheets (or on the regular baking sheets, leaving an inch or two between each). Set aside sheets when finished.

4. Make the nut topping: In food processor, blend together hazelnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Sprinkle the surfaces of the muffin tops with the topping. Bake until until either the tops of the buttons feel firm or until a toothpick inserted into a button comes out clean – about 10 minutes. Remove and serve once cooled.

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