Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Apple Orchard Adventure Inspired Recipes

A few weeks ago, I spent a gorgeous fall Sunday at the apple orchard with friends Crystal and Michelle.  What’s kind of sad (as in, pathetic) is that I had never been to an apple orchard to pick my own apples prior to this experience.  We ended up going to Homestead Farms in Poolesville, MD.  http://www.homestead-farm.net/

Me, Crystal, Michelle:)

It was awesome!  They had farm animals… I love farm animals!

And inspiring, as it made me want to pick lots of apples and cook interesting things with them.  Luckily, I managed to limit myself to 6 pounds of Pink Ladys.  Most people would think to make a lovely apple pie.  Good thing I’m not most people.  (Actually, Jarrett doesn’t like pie very much and pie is hard to bring into work and I don’t want to eat a whole pie by myself.  Okay, in reality, I’m afraid of making pie crust… we’ll deal with that fear of mine in another post.)  So I started doing a little research and looking through my cookbooks to see what other interesting things I could make.  To date, below are two recipes I found and played around with.  Perhaps not as creative as I could have managed, but both very tasty!

Apple Crumble
2 pounds Pink Lady apples (or Granny Smith or other tart apple variety)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1.      Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray a 7 x 11 inch baking dish with Pam.
2.      Core the apples, and cube them into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and granulated sugar and toss to coat. Place the apples in the prepared dish and arrange them so they are level.
3.      In another bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle the melted butter over the oat mixture and toss until evenly moistened. Cover the apples evenly with the topping.
4.      Bake until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife and the topping is browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack.
*Original recipe can be located in the Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast series cookbook, Baking.

Great with ice cream!
Oatmeal Apple Cookies with Vanilla Icing
Cookie Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup rolled oats
2 cups diced apple

Vanilla Icing Ingredients
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter, melted
3-8 teaspoons milk

Cookie Directions
1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.      In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture until well blended. Fold in the oats and apples. Drop dough by spoonfuls about 2 inches onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3.      Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Let cool on wire racks.
*Recipe adapted from here.

Vanilla Icing Directions
1.      Combine all ingredients, adding the milk last, starting with 3 teaspoons.  Add the remainder of the milk 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
2.      Pipe, or drizzle with a spoon over cookies.
*Original recipe can be located here.

Both recipes required very little hands-on time.  The apple crumble is best when eaten shortly after being taken out of the oven and is also a bit fancier (but still healthy) and good for guests.  The cookies were incredibly moist and will last up to a week when stored properly in Tupperware (at least that’s how long after I made them that I ate them!).  The cookie recipe was intended to have icing, but I thought they needed a little extra sweetness.  Overall, the icing only took an extra ten minutes to make and drizzle.  (Note:  I was super lazy with my drizzling and just used a teaspoon… they still turned out great.)  In closing, I strongly recommend a trip to your local apple orchard!

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