Taste of Fall: Baking with Apples

Taste of Fall: Baking with Apples
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A Taste of Fall: Baking with ApplesA Taste of Fall: Baking with Apples

Fall is my favorite season for many reasons, but the apple harvest is at the top of my list. Biting into a crisp, fresh apple is a taste everyone should experience. However, baking with apples is addicting once you realize how easy they are to work with, and how delicious they are in dessert and bread recipes.

What apples are the best for baking? Jonagolds are a classic baking apple because of their flavor, as are Cortland apples. A few others that are favorites of bakers include Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Spy, and my all around favorite is the Gala.

Honeycrisp is a newer baking and eating favorite but it cost more even at the orchard because it hasn’t been around as long, and I’m sure because of its popularity. Every cook ends up having a favorite baking apple, and much of the time, this depends on taste, and how the apple holds up during baking. I like Gala because they are sweet but crisp for eating, but they work well for baking.

If you don't have a favorite apple and don't know where to start, try visiting a local orchard and asking questions. Many orchards have their own recipes and are delighted to answer questions. The recipes below will have a general measurement for the apples needed, but it really depends on the size of the apple. If it calls for a medium apple, then use two small apples instead if that is what you have on hand. Most of the time a little more or a little less won't make a big difference in the recipe.

The first recipe below is one I came up with out of a hodge podge of recipes that didn't quite fit what I wanted. It was a huge hit at the potluck my husband attended.

Caramel Apple Oatmeal Bars

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup flour

Middle layer
1/4 tsp. salt
5 medium apples, peeled, cored, chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. flour

Topping
1 cup flour
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

17.5 ounce Caramel topping *see note

Combine the crust ingredients, mixing with a fork until crumbly. Press into a sprayed or buttered 9x13 pan.

Place the apples in a bowl, drizzle with the lemon juice and toss. Mix with the remaining middle layer ingredients. Spread on top of the crust.

Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the bars. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven.

Drizzle the caramel topping over the bars while they are still warm. I used about 3/4 of the jar, but more or less is fine. Cool, and cut into squares.

A Taste of Fall: Baking with Apples

Apple Dessert Pizza

Ingredients:
2 cups baking mix such as Bisquick or Jiffy
1/2 cup cold water
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tbsp. butter, melted
Caramel Ice Cream topping
Optional: chopped nuts or peanuts, toffee bits, cinnamon candies

Mix together the baking mix and cold water to form dough. Pat gently onto a pizza pan that has been sprayed with pan spray or greased with butter. (See notes for alternatives.) Spread the apple slices evenly over the crust. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Drizzle with the melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes. Drizzle with the caramel topping, top with any desired toppings and baking for 10 more minutes.

Notes: The pizza crust can be made with sugar cookie dough, refrigerated piecrust, crescent roll dough or other cookie dough. I used oatmeal cookie dough that worked wonderfully.

The thinner the pizza pan is, the faster the bottom will brown, so check carefully after ten minutes, since it could be done sooner.

Apple Scones

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 tbsp. cold butter
1 cup diced apple
4 tbsp. apple cider

Glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients together. Cut the butter into slices and add to the bowl. With a fork or pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles crumbs. Add in the apples, then the apple cider. Stir with a wooden spoon to form a rather stiff, but workable dough. It's important not to over mix the dough-- only work with it enough to form the dough. Gather the dough with floured hands and knead it five times or so gently. Pat the dough into a circle that is about 1/2 inch thick. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the circle into wedges. Separate and place on a baking stone or cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes until just golden brown.

When the scones are still warm spread with the glaze. Make the glaze by mixing the sugar, cinnamon and milk.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 cup diced, peeled apple

Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray or grease muffins tins unless using paper liners.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring until moistened. Spoon the batter into muffin tins.

Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on the top of each muffin. Bake about 20 minutes until testing done.

Makes 12 muffins.

 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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