Apple Rum-Raisin Bread

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This sweet, quick bread is moist and rich, and needs no embellishment at all. It keeps up to 5 days, freezes beautifully, and makes a nice holiday gift.

Makes two 9 by 5-inch loaves

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1¼ cups canola or safflower oil
¾ cup dark rum
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
1 cup raisins
1 cup currants

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Grease and lightly flour two 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pans and set aside.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in a large bowl and stir to mix.

4. Cream together the sugar, eggs, oil, rum, and vanilla in a separate bowl with an electric mixer.

5. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moist and blended. Do not overmix.

6. Put the apples in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse several times; you should have 4 to 4½ cups processed apples. Add the apples, raisins, and currants to the batter and stir until just blended. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.

7. Bake 1 to 1¼ hours, until the breads have risen, the tops are slightly cracked, and a toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean. (Note: This is a very dense, moist loaf.)

8. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the pans. Serve warm or place on a baking rack to cool.