Monday, October 22, 2012

Apples, Apples and more Apples!

One of my absolute favorite fall foods is apples! I love them fresh, sweet and crunchy, in cakes, crisps, breads, muffins.... you get the picture? The best variety in my opinion is Pink Lady. They come in after the first frost and will last in the refrigerator for months. They are sweet yet tart, crunchy and hold up well when cooked. I'm sure that you have a favorite, too. Just remember that the ones with round bottoms are cooking apples and the ones with pointy bottoms (is that so very technical?) are eating apples and there is absolutely nothing wrong with switching their use! (The photo below says "organic" however, Pink Ladies are not all organic.)

 I am fully aware that I have shared several (OK, a LOT) of apple recipes over the years, but today I think we need a few more! (Use the search feature to find past posts and some really good recipes!)It's one of those sunny fall days that just needs the smell of cinnamon in the kitchen!

This one is an "oldie but goodie" and one mama made every fall that I can remember! Serve it warm with a dollop of cinnamon flavored whipped cream or ice cream... mmmmm

Fresh Apple Cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups chopped peeled apples
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted in my kitchen)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine sugar, oil and eggs in large bowl of electric mixer. Mix until well combined. Combine flour, soda, salt and cinnamon; add to sugar mixture. Stir in vanilla, apples and pecans. Pour into greased and floured tube pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and pour glaze over warm cake.

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine ingredients except vanilla in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes; stir in vanilla. Pour over warm cake.

Helen's Notes: You can also bake this in a 9x13-inch pan. Double the glaze ingredients and pour over warm cake just as it comes from the oven.

The next recipe is a moist and yummy breakfast muffin or snack! Add raisins, dates or dried cranberries, if you like. Always remove muffins from the pan as soon as they come out of the oven to prevent soggy bottoms.

Apple Muffins
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or all-purpose plus 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt)
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped, peeled apple
1/2 cup raisins, cranberries or dates
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12 count muffin pan or line with cupcake papers.
Combine flour, oatmeal and sugar. Add egg, milk and melted butter. Stir to moisten ingredients. Stir in vanilla. Gently stir in apples, raisins and nuts. Spoon into muffin pan. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.

Helen's Notes: Substitute 1/2 whole wheat flour, if desired. Use firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark). Omit raisins and/or nuts. Sprinkle batter with cinnamon and sugar before baking.

And finally, one of my very favorite and easiest apple "recipes":
Cut 4 to 6 apples into eighths, remove core but leave peel on . Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add apples and 1/2 cup apple juice (water or apple cider). Cover and cook until apples begin to soften. Remove cover and cook until apples are desired consistency and liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, if desired. Serve with ham, pork, chicken or as breakfast side dish.

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