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Apple Walnut Bread With Sweet Walnut Crumble Topping for Samhain

Sage has been celebrating the Wheel of the Year for 25+ years. Being a holiday junkie, she just can't get enough of the sabbats!

This apple bread is very hearty and rich, along the lines of carrot cake or pumpkin muffins.

This apple bread is very hearty and rich, along the lines of carrot cake or pumpkin muffins.

Recipes for Samhain

Samhain is arguably one of the most well-known and popular Pagan holidays. On Samhain, many Pagan families like to set up an altar or shrine to honor the ancestors and acknowledge death as a natural part of the life cycle. You'll often find apples piled high as offerings and decorations throughout the home, so why not put some of them to use? Make a wonderful seasonal snack: apple walnut bread!

This bread has a sweet crumble topping that you may omit if you wish to cut the sweetness and the calories, but for a holiday, you may find it a fitting treat, particularly for the kids. Either way, it's delicious for a snack, dessert, or—my favorite use—eating leftovers for breakfast.

When Is Samhain?

Samhain is usually celebrated October 31, though it's more of a seasonal celebration than that of a specific date, so the day of celebration may vary. Learn more about Samhain here: Wiccan Wheel of the Year: What Is Samhain?

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

1 hour

1 hour 15 min

1 large loaf or 2 small loaves of bread


  • 1 tart pie apple (I like Granny Smith)
  • 2 sweet baking apples (I like Honeycrisp or Roma)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice blend


  1. Peel and core the apples. Grate the tart apple. Dice the sweet baking apples into small quarter-inch chunks. Set them aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, put in the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk to blend and aerate.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the eggs and beat them. Mix in the white sugar, sour cream, oil and vanilla. Mix well and pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients. Add the grated apple as well. Stir well to incorporate. The batter will be thick.
  4. Mix in the diced apple chunks and 1/2 the walnuts; stir to incorporate throughout.
  5. Grease two small or one large loaf pans with butter. Spoon the batter into the pans. Spread the top with a spoon or spatula to smooth it out.
  6. Put the remaining butter into a bowl. Add brown sugar, pumpkin pie spices and remaining walnuts. Mix to incorporate. Add the walnuts and mix with your hands to make a gooey mess. Spread the walnut topping on the top of the batter.
  7. Bake at 375 for about 40 to 45 minutes in two small love pans, or for about 60 to 70 minutes in one large loaf pan. If the crumble on top begins to brown too dark, cover with foil to prevent burning and continue cooking. It should be good when a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out clean.
  8. Let it cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a plate or rack. It’s good served warm or cold.

Baking Tips

  • How to turn these into muffins: Top each muffin with the crumble and let them bake 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Pecan substitution: Not a fan of walnuts? Try pecans!
  • No-nut version: Don't eat nuts? Replace the walnuts in the bread with raisins or Craisins. Omit the crumble topping or top with a standard flour streusel.
I wish you could smell this...

I wish you could smell this...

Another Sabbat Recipe

If you like this recipe, here's another one of my family's sabbat favorites: Traditional Sabbat Beef Stew.

© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright