It's time for apples

Cooking with Cathie

November 1, 2012 

Fall is apple time and we are fortunate to have access to so many farm-fresh apple varieties. While it is a treat to take a crunchy bite and savor the juice, there are many wonderful ways we can cook with fresh apples and even the juice or cider.

Get your apple bucket and go on a picking spree or visit a produce stand and load up on your favorites. Keep in mind that except for salads, most baked goods, such as pies, are best with apples that have a sweet-tart flavor.

Apples such as Red Delicious are most often used for lunchbox snacks and fruit salads, but can also be used in some naked desserts. My own personal favorites to eat fresh are the green varieties, such as Granny Smith.

Whichever type of apple you prefer, why not cook up some delicious apple treats this fall?

Apple fritters

You can add a bit of vanilla and cinnamon to the batter if you wish.

  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup finely chopped apple
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  1. In large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add milk and egg; beat until batter is smooth. Fold in chopped apple.
  2. Drop by teaspoonfuls into deep hot oil (about 375) and at least 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep. Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, until nicely browned.
  3. Drain well on paper towels then roll in confectioners' sugar while still warm. Serve as is or warm, with syrup, if desired.

Spicy apple butter muffins

  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Grease muffin tins. To prepare streusel: Mix the 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 4 teaspoons whole-wheat flour and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts, if using.
  2. To prepare muffin batter: In a large bowl, whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until well mixed.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in apple butter, maple syrup, cider, yogurt and oil. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they'll be quite full). Sprinkle with the streusel.
  4. Bake muffins until tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Makes about 10 servings.

Caramel apple dessert with gingersnap crust

Adapted from Taste of Home Magazine.

  • 2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (about 40 cookies)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups cold low fat milk, divided
  • 1 carton (8-oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
  • 2 packages (3.4-oz. each) instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup hot caramel ice cream topping, divided
  • 1 medium Gala, Cortland or Red Delicious apple
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped (I prefer to leave these out)
  1. In a small bowl, mix crushed cookies and butter until blended; press onto the bottom of a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Refrigerate for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and 1/4 cup milk until smooth. Fold in 1 cup whipped topping; spread over crust.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes; let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Stir in 1/4 cup caramel topping. Spoon over cream cheese layer. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Spread remaining whipped topping over top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until filling is firm.
  5. Just before serving, top with apples; drizzle with remaining caramel topping. Sprinkle with peanuts, if using. Makes about 15 servings.

Acorn squash with apple cider

  • 1 (about 1 3/4 pounds) medium acorn squash
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Oil a large baking sheet. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Cut each half in half again lengthwise. Brush the cut sides of the squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash, cut-side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, turn the squash over so the opposite cut side is down, and continue roasting until tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.
  2. Meanwhile, combine cider, brown sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thin, syrupy glaze, 20 to 25 minutes. (Watch carefully toward the end to prevent burning.) Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon stick and cloves. Stir in butter until melted. Serve the roasted squash with the cider drizzle. Makes 4 servings

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