Tag Archives: apple picking

Making The Most Out Of Fall With “Apple Brownies” and a DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte

14 Sep

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Apple season is in full swing here in Upstate NY – so every weekend I am out there picking, which is a great time – but what’s even MORE fun is then getting to figure out what new and delicious things I can make with the apples!

There’s always going to be apple pie, apple crisp (served warm with vanilla ice cream – yum!), applesauce, and apple butter – those are all basically a given, as I love to eat and share all of them with those I love – but I figure, why not try something different with this newest batch?

When I saw this recipe for Apple Brownies, my mind first assumed that it was a chocolate treat – but once I read the description that stated this was a recipe for a “Cinnamon-spiced blonde brownie” I was actually even more excited than when I was when I thought chocolate would be involved! A bar with nuts and apples sounds like the perfect fall treat, doesn’t it?

 

Apple Brownies (Recipe courtesy of All Recipes)

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
3 medium apples – peeled, cored and
thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×9 inch baking dish
2. In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter, sugar, and egg until fluffy. Fold in the apples and walnuts
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon
4. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture until just blended. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking dish
5. Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean)

 20140914_090156  20140914_090605 My favorite little kitchen helper wants to make sure I don’t drop any apple peels…

I think what I like about this and other apple cakes/bars/cookies is that they really can be passed off as dessert, a snack, or even breakfast and they go well with milk, coffee, tea, or cider – so you can bake these for a ton of different occasions!

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They turned out so good – much more like a cake than a bar or brownie though- but that’s fine by me! the brown sugar gives it a nice caramelized taste, and the nuts are the perfect addition. Very moist, and if you pair paired with this delicious DIY pumpkin Spice Latte mix then you’ve basically got the perfect fall breakfast!

Pumpkin Spice Latte {homemade recipe for 1 week of yummy drinks!} – Recipe courtesy of A Farm Girl’s Dabbles.com

Ingredients
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 T. pure vanilla extract
1 T. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground dried ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
strong coffee
slightly sweetened whipped cream
cinnamon
dark chocolate shavings
Preparation
In a blender, combine all the pumpkin spice mixture ingredients. Puree for about 30 seconds. If you
want a smoother mixture, puree for a couple minutes, or until the mixture is to your desired
consistency.

Pour 1/2 cup (more or less, depending on your preference) of the pumpkin spice mixture into a large
mug. Microwave for about 20 seconds, then add 1 cup of hot strong brewed coffee and stir. Top with
a nice lofty pile of sweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. And if you’re looking for
extra deliciousness, top with chocolate shavings. So pretty!

Pour the remaining pumpkin spice mixture into a quart jar or similar sized container and top with a lid.
Store in the refrigerator. When ready to make another drink, shake the jar well and repeat the
assembly of the pumpkin spice latte. The pumpkin spice mixture will keep well for up to 1 week in the
refrigerator.

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Personally, I skipped the whipped cream and chocolate shavings – I wanted to just try the pumpkin latte mix without the frills (plus I always skip the whip on my Starbucks lattes – just doesn’t do it for me) and I really liked it, it wasn’t exactly like any of the coffeehouse versions – but I loved the pumpkin and cinnamon combo with my coffee – and I love that it will be good for the next week so I can start my mornings off the right way!

 

Fall is here – and I couldn’t be happier!

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Products I love – the Apple Corer/Peeler/Slicer

6 Nov

Ok, seriously – how did I live my life without this? The apple corer/peeler/slicer is amazing – easy to setup (with its suction cup base that firmly attaches to almost any countertop), and easy to use (with options to just peel the apple, or to core/peel/slice all at once!) – it has made my life SO much easier! For only $15, it has saved us literally hours of peeling time – and it’s definitely a Product I LOVE and cannot live without – especially during my favorite season of all – APPLE SEASON!

WalterAPples

 My husband takes care of operating the corer/peeler/slicer, as Walter keeps an eye on the peels (making sure none touch the ground, of course!)

It’s certainly no secret that I LOVE FALL – and one of the best things about living in Upstate New York during fall (aside from the gorgeous foliage!) is the apple picking – there are tons of farms near us, and we take FULL advantage of the chance to snag super fresh apples all season long

Picking APplesWe picked 52 pounds of apples last weekend – our 9th apple picking excursion this fall, and I can’t wait to make tons of apple goodies with them!

Since this past weekend was probably our last outing of the season (sad but true), I want to make sure I am making the most of it. So – I will be making more applesauce to give as gifts this Christmas, and I will also probably whip up a few apple pies, as well as apple crisps to share with friends and family. Oh, and another thing I will be making is Apple Butter – a new recipe for me, and one that I will be canning to share with loved ones as well!

Crock Pot Apple Butter (Recipe Courtesy of The Neaves Nest)

Ingredients
16 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons or more of honey to taste

Directions
Pour water in the bottom of your crock pot. Dump in peeled, cored and sliced apples. Top with sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Cook on low for 4 hours. Blend with hand blender or a regular blender. Stir in honey. Taste to see if you prefer a sweeter butter and add more honey if you wish. I found that letting a little cool off in a spoon before trying it allowed more of the flavors and sweetness to come out.

The best part about this recipe is that it’s seriously easy – just set it and leave it – and let it fill your house with it’s amazing apple smell! Like I said, I plan on canning this, so I make a big batch, but you can always cut it in half if you just want to make enough for you to spread on toast (or eat with a spoon, no judgment…)

So I recommend you head over to amazon and grab yourself an apple corer/peeler/slicer, and then use it to whip up some delicious apple recipes – which will you make – the apple butter? Pie, crisp, applesauce? Or do you have another apple recipe you love to make?

Applesauce – Easy To Make, Delicious To Eat, Fun To Give!

26 Sep

Confession: I have already gone apple picking three times this season, and will be going at least once more. Maybe twice. Or three times….but anyway, who’s counting? And besides, I need a lot of apples because this year I decided to make and jar applesauce to give as gifts at Christmas time. It’s been my first attempt at jarring, and honestly, it is so easy, I don’t know why I haven’t been doing it for years

A Apples

 Thankfully I have a VERY tall husband who can reach up to the very tops of the trees to pick me those perfect apples!

 

But first, I must make the applesauce – which is probably the easiest thing to make ever. I just peel and core the apples, cut them up into chunks and toss them in a big pot with a little water, and let them bubble away on the stove for a good 20-30 minutes. Once they are soft, I will mash them with my handy potato masher, and add some cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar to taste. Give it another 5-10 minutes or so on low, and voila – you have delicious homemade applesauce!

Homemade applesauce is so delicious that I figured I HAD to share it with the world – and by the world, I mean my family and friends – and that meant it was time to roll up my sleeves and get canning!

There is a TON of fancy equipment out there for canning/jarring, but I decided to forego that since I was new to the whole thing, and I went with this Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit, which came with instructions, 3 pint jars, and this cool basket/rack that fits right into a stock pot and holds 3 pint or 4 half pint jars. Not only does it work perfectly, but it was only $10 – what a deal, right?

Jarring

Here’s me – all ready to seal up some jars!

 

Here’s how easy it is:
-Fill the jars (leaving a little space at the top)
-screw on the lids (not too tight – you want air to be able to escape)
-Set the jars and basket into a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes (covered)
-Remove the lid and let the pot go for 5 more minutes
-Remove the basket from the water, and leave the jars in an undisturbed place overnight (you might be able to hear them “pop” – which means they have sealed!)

Check out the official instructions on the Ball website

I’ll wrap these up with cellophane and ribbon and cute little tags, and they will make perfect Christmas gifts! What better to give than something from the heart and homemade!

If you aren’t an applesauce fan, then maybe you could try a classic Apple Pie, or even these adorable Mini apple pies perhaps? Or there’s one of my other faves – Apple Crisp…yum. So many apple possibilities, so little time!

Fall = Apples, which therefore = PIE

21 Sep

Living in Upstate NY has (a few) benefits – one of them being the amazing fall season, with its crisp air, colorful leaves, and APPLE SEASON! I LOVE going apple picking, and have gone twice already this year.
There are SO many things you can make with apples – my personal faves? Applesauce, apple crisp, and Apple pie – making these classic recipes reminds me of everything I love about fall, and today I decided a pie was in order
When it came to which recipe to use, there was really no question – it was the classic Betty Crocker Apple Pie all the way. Not only did I use her name in my blog title, but Betty’s cookbook was also the first ever cookbook I bought, and the one I rely on for all the classics, from pot roast to casseroles and yep, pies and desserts too!

Ingredients
Pastry
2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

Filling
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (8 medium)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Directions
1. In medium bowl, mix 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
2. Gather pastry into a ball. Divide in half; shape into 2 flattened rounds on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.
3. Heat oven to 425°F. With floured rolling pin, roll one pastry round into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.
4. In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/4 cup flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in apples until well mixed. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over filling. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.
5. Roll other round of pastry into 10-inch round. Fold into fourths and cut slits so steam can escape. Unfold top pastry over filling; trim overhanging edge 1 inch from rim of plate. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal; flute as desired. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning.
6. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Serve warm if desired.

Ok, I admit – I cheat a little, I use store bought pie crusts. I have tried to make my own, and it has not come out well, it’s a skill I’m working on, but in the meantime, store bought is definitely my go-to for crusts
I also like to bake it at a little lower temperature, 400 degrees, for a little longer – I find it makes the apples more tender and tasty!
However you do it, the result is a drool-worthy smell coming from the kitchen, and a delicious flaky crusted, warm apple pie. Yum. Happy Fall!