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Apple Bars with Lemon Glaze

Committee meeting working lunch, 8/16/12

These bars are a tasty way to use apples and show off fall flavors.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • scant 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated apple
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10.5″ x 15.5″ jelly roll pan (or use both an 8×8 and a 9×9) very well.

In a stand mixer or by hand, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat to combine.

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

Add half the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and stir to combine. Add the grated pear and mix to combine. Then add milk and remaining flour mixture. Stir to combine completely.

Spread mixture in jelly roll pan. It should just fill it up (you may want to put a tray underneath just in case there’s any overflowing in the oven). Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the bars spring back when poked.

To make the icing, whisk confectioners sugar into lemon juice. Add just enough to reach your desired drizzling thickness. Drizzle over bars, then cut and serve.

Makes 24 bars.

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Apple Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from Joy the Baker

Community garden training snack, 8/8/12

These cookies are perfect for fall – fresh apples and a hint of cinnamon make them irresistible.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup oats (old-fashioned and quick cooking are both fine – do not use instant)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and diced small

Heat oven to 350. Grease 2 large cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, combine butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Using an electric mixer or a lot of elbow grease, cream together until light and thoroughly mixed. Add egg and beat very thoroughly to combine. Add vanilla and beat in.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to butter and sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Add nuts and apples and mix in by hand to distribute.

Drop dough onto cookie sheets, making 24-30 cookies. Bake until lightly browned and solidified, about 11-15 minutes.

Lots-of-Apples Cake (Apple Sharlotka)

Committee meeting working lunch, 1/26/12

Slightly adapted from this recipe at SmittenKitchen.com

This cake is so delicious that it’s hard to stop at one piece. But since it’s mostly apples, making it healthier and lighter than many cakes, that’s not such a bad thing.

  • Butter or cooking spray for greasing pan
  • 6 large, tart apples (Granny Smiths are ideal)*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, almond extract, whiskey, brandy, rum, or other flavoring
  • 1 cup flour
  • Cinnamon for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” springform pan. (Note: you can also make this cake in a 7” x 11” sheet pan, although it is a little harder to get pieces out to eat.)

Peel the apples, then cut into bite-sized chunks. Pile the apples into the greased pan.

In a large bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Using a whisk or an electric mixer, beat until very thick. The batter should fall off the whisk in thick ribbons. Beat in vanilla or other flavoring. Gently stir in flour with a spoon or spatula until just combined.

Pour the batter over the apples in the pan. Smooth the batter and apples so that they are level.

Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes, until apples are soft and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Cool at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Dust with cinnamon before serving warm or at room temperature.

*While fruit trees can be finicky in Nebraska, local apples are available and can be stored well.

Winter Fruit Salad

Committee meeting working lunch, 1/11/12

Based on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Citrus fruit is never local in Nebraska. But it is seasonal, and it stores and ships well, so it’s a good choice for the winter when most fruits grown out of season are of poor quality. Dried fruits are also a good option in the winter, as are pears, which can be grown locally and stored for long periods of time.

  • 4 cups water
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 3 star anise (optional)
  • ½ plump vanilla bean (optional)
  • zest of 1 lemon, orange, or Meyer lemon, peeled off with a vegetable peeler
  • 12 dried apricots, cut in half
  • 8 dried figs, cut in quarters
  • 2 tablespoons juice from the zested fruit
  • 2 firm-ripe pears
  • 1 apple
  • 3 oranges, cut
  • 1 grapefruit

In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, star anise and vanilla (if using), and zest. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar, then remove from heat. Add dried fruit and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, peel and slice the pears and apple. Toss with the citrus juice.

When the dried fruit in syrup has cooled, add the pears and apples to the pan. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours to 12 hours.

Whenever you get a chance, prepare the oranges and grapefruit. Cut the peel away from the flesh, then cut out each individual section, leaving no membranes (see instructions here). Refrigerate the citrus sections until ready to use.

When ready to serve, remove the apple, pears, and dried fruit from the syrup. Toss with citrus sections and a few tablespoons of syrup, and serve. (Save the syrup for sweetening beverages, or other uses.)

Serves 8-12.

Apple Crisp

Committee meeting working lunch 12/13/11

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Crisps are an easy and tasty way to incorporate fruit into a dessert. They’re also very difficult to mess up, so don’t worry too much about making sure your measurements are exact.

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided between topping and apple mixture
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 3 pounds firm apples (Braeburn, Gala, Empire, and Golden Delicious are good, avoid Red Delicious and Macintosh)*
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Add the cold butter and rub in using your fingers, until the mixture has the texture of coarse cornmeal (a few larger lumps are fine too). Add the oats and continue to clump together with your hands. Set aside.

Peel core, and chop the apples. In a bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

Place apple mixture in a baking dish (approximately 9”X13”). Sprinkle the oat mixture evenly on top.

Bake until the top is browned at the apple filling is bubbling, 55-70 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

*Although fruit trees can be finicky in Nebraska, apples do grow here and they can be stored well.

Cabbage, Apple, Red Onion, and Carrot Slaw

Committee meeting working lunch, 12/13/11

Community training session demonstration and dinner, 3/12/12

This slaw very different from the mayonnaise-heavy kind of coleslaw – it’s bright-tasting and light. It’s easiest to make if you have a slicer that can cut matchsticks. If you don’t, grate the carrots and apples on a large grater.

  • ½ red onion (save the rest for something else)*
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ large head cabbage (save the rest for something else)*
  • 2 small, firm apples*
  • 4 carrots*
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you want your slaw)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons mustard (preferably Dijon, but any kind will work)
  • black pepper

Slice the red onion very thinly. Place in a small bowl, then add vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the slaw.

Slice the cabbage into thin strips. Using a matchstick slicer or a larger grater, slice or grate the apples and carrots.

In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, apples, and carrots. Remove the onions from the vinegar and add them to the bowl.

To the remaining vinegar that had onions in it, add sugar, vinegar, and mustard. Whisk together, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to combine. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.

*All of these ingredients can be grown here in Nebraska and stored for extended periods.