Baking With Apples

Baking With Apples

I love apple season! The family goes apple picking and we always come home with a pretty good load. We managed 16 pounds this year, although if you count all the tasting we did at the orchard, we could add a few more pounds to that. While the kids are running through the corn maze and riding the cow train, I brainstorm about what to cook/bake with our harvest.

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One of my standards is preparing an apple crisp. It's so easy and delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. A no-brainer! This year, I threw in some berries to enhance the flavor and was very happy with the result. While I'm usually pretty good at sharing, I ate far more of it than anyone else. I guess when you're at home all the time baking and taking care of the kids, the temptation is too much to resist. I have to remind myself that aside from the butter, sugar and ice cream, a crisp is super healthy! 

I also made a pie, since one of my goals is to improve my pie crusts. It all tasted good but the crust was still a challenge. I think I handle the dough too much prior to refrigerating it, worrying that it will just fall apart. I will continue pushing myself to master the pie crust so I'm comfortable adding it to my menu one day.


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Once the traditional apple-y baked goods were out of the way, I was ready to take on some new and exciting recipes. I did a bit of research and experimenting and landed on apple muffins and caramel apple babka. The muffins, while uncomplicated, packed a punch of flavor and were very satisfying. I've found it's very easy to make a bland muffin. You really need to find the right balance of spices to go with the other ingredients. I love adding nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and some ginger to my apples. A little crumble topping adds the crunch you need to balance out the textures.


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My caramel apple recipe was fun to tackle. I used my usual go-to babka dough but the filling had to be just right. My first mistake was trying the easy route with the caramel. I tried cooking down the diced apples in butter and just adding brown sugar. While it certainly tasted good, the consistency wouldn't have worked rolled up in a babka. I decided to take the plunge and make my own caramel from scratch. After watching a lot of good bakers fail to make caramel in their first, second, third, etc. attempts on The Great British Bake-Off, I was nervous but decided to just go for it. Trial and error are pretty important to get better at baking. I melted down the granulated sugar until it was a light brown color, added butter and then cream, and finally added the apples. It took a while for the caramel to firm up but I got it on my first try and it was scrumptious!! The final product looked amazing and the smells in the kitchen were simply irresistible! This recipe is a keeper!


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