Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Falling for Apples

I love fall...the colors, the holidays, and of course the food! This year I was up to my ear in apples from our backyard apple trees and I had to come up with several ways to use them up. Most experiments were very yummy so I thought I would share a layout, AND a few of my favorite apple recipes!


 
All materials Creative Memories:
"Cheerful Fall 12 x 12 Additions" papers and stickers (retired)
 
 
This layout was quick and simple - like all my layouts! I don't often use photos larger than 4x6, but I was so impressed with the size, color and beauty of the apples from our tree that I had to feature them more prominently.
 
Although this particular autumn themed kit is now retired, Creative Memories has lots more papers and digital kits to choose from to complete your fall layouts. I particularly like the 12 x 12 Autumn Addition kit,
 
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OK...on to some apple recipes!
 
First I made Crock Pot Apple Butter. Super Easy!
 
24 apples
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp all spice
1 tbsp cinnamon
 
Peel core and roughly chop the apples. Place in a large crockpot (I have an oval one...not sure of the capacity, but it's big enough for a large roast or chicken).
 
Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat.
 
Set the crock pot on low and leave it. FOR A LONG TIME. Yes, it took about 13 hours to get the apple butter to turn into a dense, thick, jam like consistency, so it's best to start this early in the morning or leave it overnight. I stirred it a few times throughout the process to break things down a little more. I didn't bother running it through a food processor...it was smooth enough as it was.
 
I packed the cooled butter into 1 cup plastic freezer containers to freeze, although I'm sure if you were inclined you could preserve it in jars...I'm not a canner, so I can't offer any advice there!
 
Apple butter is super yummy on toast and pancakes, and I also used it to make a very moist Apple Butter Spice Cake. I made it in a bundt pan and it was delicious!
 
I also made a small batch of Applesauce using mostly the same recipe as the apple butter. I basically halved the amounts - 12 apples, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp. all spice and 2 tsp. cinnamon. I dumped it all in a smaller crockpot (the old round ones from the 70's that was my moms!) and left it to cook for about 5 or 6 hours on low. It was chunky and had the applesauce texture. No need to preserve it...it was gone in a day!
 
The last recipe is a family favorite...Marie's Apple Brown Betty. My mom used to make it for Sunday suppers in the fall and winter. This is different than most apple crisps or cobblers in that the topping doesn't have any oatmeal in it. It produces a yummy, crispy, crusty topping, and is best served warm out of the oven with a little bit of vanilla ice cream melting over the top! Mmmmm!
 
8 apples (I used our backyard apples, but use tart Granny Smith is you need to buy some)
brown or white sugar, about 1/4 cup
 
1/4 cup butter at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
 
Peel apples and slice very thinly. Layer into a glass or corning ware baking dish, then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Layer more apples, sugar and cinnamon, repeating until your dish is 3/4 full.
 
In a separate bowl, combine butter, brown sugar and flour with your fingers until it is a coarse, crumbly mixture. Pack this mixture over the apple layers. (If your dish is very wide, you may have to make a second batch of topping.) Bake at 350 degrees until apples are very soft and topping is golden brown - about 30 minutes. Pop it in the oven while you are eating supper and it will be perfect in time for dessert!
 
I hope you have time to try some of these recipes...my family loved them!
 
Enjoy!

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