After all of the cooking during the holidays, baking might not be at the top of your to-do list this week. But this Oatmeal Apple Bread, which we love for breakfast and snacks, is so easy that it deserves a shot. It’s a moist, flourless bread that’s packed with whole grains and fruit—with a texture that’s soft enough for even the littlest eaters.
This bread is the kind of snack or mini meal that I crave during most of the year (and especially when pregnant!)—which works out well since this stores well in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days. It’s also made with pantry staples, so I can usually make a batch even when I’m short on groceries.
I made this over the holidays to share with my friends and their kids so I could get a better sense of whether little ones would like it. L is at a tricky age where she’s becoming less willing to try new things and she frequently dismisses something if it looks unfamiliar. (I’m sure that sounds familiar!) I’m not in the habit of forcing her to try new foods, though I do encourage it, but I find that it’s definitely harder to get past her skepticism than it used to be. Oh, the joy of 3 year olds. (All of that said, I am pretty sure that she would have eaten this up if I’d put frosting on it and called it cake!)
But back to my other taste testers. On New Years Day we had a lazy morning watching Frozen (which L and I somehow hadn’t seen before!). Lunchtime came quickly and the three toddlers had all suddenly become pretty tired. We set out a muffin tin with cubes of this bread, crackers, thin salami, and strawberries. They all helped themselves and seemed to like the bread—though in all honesty, each of them melted down in their own way pretty soon after sitting down, so getting any other feedback was pretty impossible. A little later, our 10 month old friend gobbled up a piece, which was so fun to watch!
The bread is just lightly sweetened, so you may or may not want to drizzle a little honey on top. (I like it plain, but just in case you want it sweeter, I wanted to mention that). And it definitely has texture, so if you think that your little one won’t love the chunks of apple, or will be distracted by trying to pick them out, feel free to skip them. Just check for doneness a few minutes before the timing mentioned in the recipe.
This bread is free from gluten and nuts, and has an alternative if your little doesn’t do dairy. To turn this into a lovely option for a birthday cake, simply make as directed and top with the Cream Cheese Frosting in this post.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar (I used coconut sugar, but regular is fine too)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds (or flaxseed meal)
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup milk (dairy or nondairy)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup finely diced apple (skin on or off, according to your preference; I leave it on)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8×8-inch baking pan. Place the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, sugar, and ground flax seeds into the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 30 seconds or until the oats resemble a coarse flour.
- Add the applesauce, milk, eggs, vanilla, and butter. Process to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the diced apple and pulse just to combine.
- Pour into the prepared baking sheet and smooth until even with a spatula. Bake for 32-34 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Place on a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or at room temperature for 3 days. We prefer it chilled, but it works either way.
To make this Egg-Free:
Omit the eggs and increase the milk to 3/4 cup. Soak 3 tablespoons chia seeds in the milk before adding to the batter. Decrease baking time to 30 minutes.