Salted Apple

The other day my 5-year-old started an unsolicited brainstorming session concerning what she would be having for snack that afternoon.

“Apples with… salt mama! Ha! Let’s make that!” she said jokingly. And I said, “I think that’s actually something people do eat sometimes. Wanna try it?”

And, of course, she said “YES!” So I bought out a tiny bowl with some kosher salt and viola!

She liked it. She loves salt almost as much as she loves sugar. My other kid was not a fan though. Can’t win ’em all. My husband thinks I’m a loser for publishing this since he’s been “eating apples like that for years“. But I’d never heard of it until I met him.

In other news…

We have sprouts. Not just any sprouts either. This is the precious Lemon Basil, the herb to end all herbs. It’s the whole reason I’m starting everything from seed. I couldn’t find it at my local nurseries last year. I hope it’s a strong little plant because I have no idea what I’m doing.

The Big Rainbow tomato sprouts emerged today too. These will produce giant yellow heirloom tomatoes with red stripes. I’m salivating as I type this. Get crackin’ little plant!

In case you hadn’t noticed I’m a little giddy over the coming of spring. I can’t help it. There’s no one happier than a New Englander when spring finally arrives.

Also, in case you were wondering, the chicks are doing their best to take over the basement.

You know it’s time to move them out into larger quarters in the garage when they jump right out of the bin and roost proudly on the edge. I’m already afraid this one is a rooster because she is so brazen and ready to take on the world.

Oh, and one more thing…

If you’re looking for the best Double Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe ever, I’ve got a lead for you. This blessed cookie was made from a recipe in Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan. It’s brilliant. It’s more of a brownie than a cookie. I think I’m going to need to own a copy of the book soon because the recipe for Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack is also excellent. And the recipe/tutorial devoted to pie crust is one of the best I’ve seen.

 

Best Morning Glory Muffins

Recipes that produce healthy and delicious muffins are not easy to come by. But occasionally, I stumble across a winner. What I love most about this recipe is that it uses apple butter. I’ve seen plenty of muffin recipes that use applesauce. But apple butter delivers the goods when applesauce is still busy making promises.

The muffin pictured above is topped with chopped walnuts. In reaction to some unsolicited feedback from my youngest child, I have been leaving the nuts out altogether lately. I miss the crunch and texture. But it’s not all about me, right?

Morning Glory Muffins

Adapted from Eating Well’s Comfort Foods Made Healthy. Original recipe can also be found on Eating Well’s website –> Morning Glory Muffins.

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots (4 medium)
1 apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
2 large eggs
1/2 cup apple butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a muffin pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, wheat germ, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the carrots, apple, and raisins.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, apple butter, oil, and vanilla extract.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool. Serve or store in an airtight container. These also freeze well.

Yield: 12
Prep-time: 30 minutes

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Warm Applesauce with Butter

[donotprint]If you haven’t eaten this little snack, you haven’t lived. Perhaps slaving over homemade applesauce makes it taste better than it really is. Probably not though. I think it is a fabulously simple, smooth, and supreme snack. Every time I cook up some homemade applesauce, a little bowl of this stuff is in order.

The applesauce is pink because a) I am rad, and b) I cook the apples with the skins on and run them through my super food mill removing said skins after they have left behind some of their color molecules.

I’m positively loopy from trying to wrap my head around back-to-school. I forget every year what a sea of paperwork there is to deal with and how many different adjustments need to be made to every aspect of our lives. It’s nuts.

How’s everyone else doing with the craziness? Or maybe I shouldn’t even be asking. I figure you were nice enough to read about my big problems, I should reciprocate. But really I wish we were all talking about amazing fiction we’ve read recently. Or the price of tea in China. Anything but School and Kids.

Oh, and here’s a picture of the applesauce waiting to go into the canner. Isn’t it lovely?

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Warm Applesauce with Butter Recipe

Of course, you could easily make this recipe from store-bought applesauce that you’ve heated up. Maybe that would be cheating, but I certainly would have no problem with it.

1/2 cup warm unsweetened applesauce
1 small pat of butter
Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
Sprinkle of brown sugar. or a drizzle of honey, or maple syrup

In a small bowl, top the applesauce with the butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Serve.

Yield: one serving
Prep-time: 5 minutes

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Apple Date Muffins

The ground cloves in this recipe, albeit a tiny amount, set these tender muffins apart.

Apple Date Muffins Recipe

1 1/2 cup white whole wheat or all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (half stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup chopped dates
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until well combined and smooth. Add the egg and milk and stir well. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture along with the dates and apple. Stir until just combined.

Fill each cup of a greased mini muffin pan with batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer muffins to a cooling rack. Serve warm. Once the muffins are cooled completely, they can be stored in an airtight container or frozen.

Yield: 24 mini muffins
Prep-time: 20 minutes
Bake-time: 15 minutes

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Homemade Apple Chips

[donotprint]This easy recipe for homemade apple chips is a new favorite at our house. My kids love them. I love them. Everyone’s happy. It’s been a while since I made something so simple yet brilliant. Hooray Apple Chips!

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Apple Chips Recipe

I used some Macoun and Empire apples to make these and they didn’t require any measures to prevent browning. If you think your apples will brown excessively, dip them in a solution of 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice right after they have been sliced.

3 medium apples
Cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash and core the apples using an apple corer. Slice off the a 1/4″ of the top and bottom of the apple and discard. Slice the remaining apple using a mandolin set to 1/8″ thick.

Spread the apple rings out onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Try to avoid overlapping the rings. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for approximately 3 hours, rotating once or twice. Start checking on them around 2 hours. They may be slightly pliable out of the oven, but should crisp up when cool. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Note: I’ve also made these same chips using a food dehydrator set to 155 degrees Fahrenheit for around 6 -8 hours.

Yield: approximately 30 chips (not enough!)
Prep-time: 5 minutes
Bake-time: 3 hours 

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Apples Apples Everywhere

Here in Connecticut, Fall has arrived. Families are going to the orchard and joyfully picking apples. It’s all good family fun, until you get home and realize you actually have to eat them all.

The good news is that, most of the time, freshly picked apples will keep for weeks. Keep them in a cool, dark and somewhat ventilated place and they may last even longer. But even so, the apple supply can be a tad overwhelming.

Here are a few suggestions (gleaned from previous posts and from other food bloggers) for making apples easy to eat and exciting even when you’re near the bottom of the giant pick-your-own bag:

Sliced apples with honey
Sliced apples with carmel sauce or delce de leche
Sliced apples with cheddar cheese
Apple Flying Saucers
Sliced apples with Mud Dip
Sliced apples served alongside Honey-Roasted Pecans
Applesauce
 or Halloween Mush
Warm Apples Over Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt
Microwaved Apples
Fried Apple Rings
Apple Crisp Cookies
Grilled Sausage and Apple Kebabs

Please share your favorite way to use up lots of apples in the Comments. Thanks!

Blackberry Applesauce

My oldest headed off into the second grade today. I’m stuck at home with her younger sister and a boat load of fresh produce. Today for afternoon snack we used up the remainder of the blackberries and apples. But we’ll probably go and pick more soon. I’ve got a major addiction to pick-your-own this year.

My preschooler really enjoyed this snack saying things like “This is the best snack ever!!!” and “What did you put in this mama?!” She said these things very loudly as preschoolers are apt to do.

4 medium apples, washed and peeled
1 cup fresh blackberries, washed and picked over
3 tablespoons water or apple juice/cider
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 – 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Roughly chop the apples and discard the cores. Place the apples, blackberries and water in a medium saucepan. Bring the apples and blackberries to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for ten minutes or until the apples easily turn to mush when squished with a fork.

Allow the cooked applesauce to cool slightly. Transfer to a strainer placed over a medium mixing bowl. Press the applesauce through the strainer with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon. Keep pressing the applesauce through until not much more than the blackberry seeds remain. Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Yield: approximately 2 cups
Prep-time: 15 minutes

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Cranberry Applesauce

This recipe was inspired by Cranberry Applesauce at Simply Recipes (a wonderful website).

For more information about what apple(s) to use, the U.S. Apple Association offers a lovely Apple Usage Chart. I think the most important element is that the apples are fresh, as a recent artile in Saveur was kind enough to point out.

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Continue reading Cranberry Applesauce

No Fuss Applesauce

[donotprint]When the apples are fresh, a little water to get things going is all you need. I used Millinium and Jonagold that we picked a week ago.

America’s Test Kitchen likes to use a few different varieties of apple in order to round out the flavor. According to my notes, they are fans of Jonagold, Jonathan, Pink Lady, and Macoun. Their second choices are Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Empire, and Rome. For more guidence on apple varities and their uses, the U.S. Apple Association offers a lovely Apple Usage Chart.

Once you’ve made this simple applesauce, adding a dollop of butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt is more than okay. The butter makes the applesauce so rich and lovely (especially if you add a few dollops).

I’m sharing this simple recipe today because, oddly enough, it was a bit of a revelation to me. I think so many cookbook authors are busy reinterpreting a classic that a simple recipe like this doesn’t appear very often. And like I said, if you have the right apples, this is really all you need.[/donotprint] 

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6-8 fresh apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
1/4 cup water

In a medium saucepan, bring apples and water to a low boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes or until apples are extremely soft. Remove from heat, puree apples and liquid with a hand blender or in a standing blender. Serve warm or cold. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Yield: approximately 3 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

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