Tag Archives: Apples

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats with Maple Apples

We have been eating overnight oats for breakfast, lunch and dinner this week, as I have been testing different variations. So far, no one has complained. This version is adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe. They sweetened the oats with brown sugar but I switched it for maple syrup. I also added chopped apples to the oats while they were cooking. Their recipe used shredded apples but I found that I liked the texture better with little bites of diced apple.

The final change I made to their recipe was to sautee some apple slices in a bit of butter and maple syrup, because, well… butter and maple syrup on apples! It’s a fancier version, and those sliced apples look so pretty on top, but feel free to leave it out if that’s not how you roll. No judgement here.
The night before, bring 3 cups of water and a good pinch of salt to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1 cup steel cut oats. Cover pot and let it sit on the counter all night. In the morning , add apple cider or juice, milk, cinnamon and some diced peeled apples. Cook for 5 minutes. Let sit for a further 5 minutes. Top with sauteed maple apples and some toasted almonds or pecans.

Drizzle with extra maple syrup because you deserve it.

Click here to print recipe for Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats with Maple Apples.

 

 

 

 

Cider Glazed Apple Bundt Cake

with whole and sliced applesI happen to have a surplus of apples, so we’re baking apple cake around here this week. I have my go-to my favourite apple cake recipe, but I was intrigued by this recipe from the September issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. In addition to the apples in the batter, they added apple cider to the batter and glaze. A full litre of apple cider is reduced down to one cup to really concentrate the flavour.

The recipe fills a large 12 cup bundt pan, but because I can’t resist anything mini, I used my bundlette pan. I also made a small loaf with the leftover batter. loaf and minissingle miniThe batter comes together quickly. You don’t even have to bust out the mixer.

The baked cake gets brushed with some of that reduced cider and the remaining cider is mixed with icing sugar to create a yummy glaze.drizzling glaze 1

Click here to print the recipe for Cider Glazed Apple Bundt Cake.

with tea

 

Best Apples for Baking

headerOn the weekend we went apple picking. To clarify, we didn’t actually pick the apples off the trees, but we did pick them off the shelf at Farm Boy, so that sort of counts as apple picking, doesn’t it?

I have been wanting to write a post about the best type of apples to use in baking for some time now. With so many varieties of apples to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming to know which kind to use for which recipe. Although I don’t find choosing apples nearly as confusing as buying a pair of pantyhose. The breadth of choice there is mind boggling.

The perfect apple for pie, crisp or crumble (or any of those other baked apple desserts, such as grunts, slumps and pan dowdies) must be capable of holding its shape after cooking but still melt in your mouth. Equally important is that elusive perfect balance of tart and sweet.

We bought 7 varieties of apples.apple varieties 5
I took a scientific approach to testing, just like they do over at Cook’s Illustrated, which, by the way, just might be my dream job. I got out my scale and measuring spoons and peeled, cored and cut into wedges, exactly 9.5 ounces of each apple variety. I didn’t want to overwhelm the apples with too many flavours so I kept it basic. Each variety was mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and a tiny pinch of salt. Initially I planned to bake the apples naked.sugar lemon and cinnamon3 varieties4 varietiesWhen I explained my methodology to my husband he said, “You mean you’re just going to bake plain apples, with nothing covering them??” I explained that I didn’t want to have too many other flavours muddying up my experiment. I took one look at his crestfallen face and abandoned my “pure” approach and agreed to cover the apples with crisp topping. It doesn’t take much to make that man happy.crisp toppingInto the oven they went, dressed with their almond-oat crisp topping. baked 1baked 2Here are the findings of our very scientific testing!

Highly Recommended :

Honeycrisp: Undeniably, these are my favourite apple for eating out of hand. They are shatteringly crisp, juicy and slightly sweet.

When we baked them they held their shape, but just barely. They literally melted in the mouth. The apple flavour was complex. My husband declared the crisp baked with honeycrisp apples to be his favourite. I liked it but found the flavour to be a bit too sweet.

Russet Apples: I just learned that these are not actually a single variety of apple. “Russetting” naturally happens to some varieties of apples. The skin becomes discoloured and somewhat leathery. As an eating apple, I find the skin to be tough, but the flesh, while not as juicy as honeycrisp, can best be described as powerfully “apple-y”. Russetts are an under appreciated apple. 

When baked, the russet apples were not as meltingly tender as the honeycrisp, but I really enjoyed their more gently yielding texture. The flavour of the russet was the most complex and balanced of all the apples I tasted. Slightly sweet but with a bit of tartness. Russets were my number one pick.

Recommended:

Granny Smith: Eaten out of hand, Granny Smiths are crunchy and quite tart, with a bright tangy apple flavour.

Once baked, they held their shape but the texture was quite soft. The flavour of these was more tart, not as “apple-y” as our 2 winners, but still, I wouldn’t object if someone served me a pie made with Granny Smiths.

Don’t Bother:

Pink Lady: Secretly I was hoping this varietal would be the winner. I mean, Pink Lady is an awesome name for an apple. As the name suggest, these have a lovely pink blush which turns into a deeper red with sun exposure. They are delicious to eat out of hand. They have great crunch and start off tasting slightly tart but end with a sweet finish. These apples have a surprisingly concentrated burst of flavour. 

My Pink Lady crush was over once we baked these. They were the firmest of the bunch, almost to the point of chewy. The apples barely gave off any juice, making for a dry apple crisp, never a good thing. The flavour was more sweet than tart and seemed to have lost it’s apple-y nuances once baked.

Empire: This varietal is a cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious apples. Eaten out of hand, this varietal shows off the best of both its parents- crunch from the Red Delicious and tartness from the Macintosh.

Once baked, the Empire apple failed miserably. They became quite mushy, almost to the point of apple sauce. The heat of the oven caused the sugar level to soar and any signs of tartness were gone.

Lobo: Lobos are an Eastern Ontario apples. I had never heard of them until I net my husband and moved to Ottawa. These are the apples of his childhood. An offspring of Macintosh, early Lobos are crisp and tart, but they sweeten considerably as they are stored.

When my husband tasted the baked crisp, he immediately identified it as the one made with Lobo apples. The texture was quite soft, almost mushy. The flavour was pleasant but far too sweet.

Gala: A New Zealand creation, Gala apples are known for their mild sweet flavor and crunch. They are thin skinned and the flesh has a grainy texture.

Once baked, gala apples go quite mushy. They lose their distinct apple taste and the grainy texture is quite unpleasant.tasting 1Tasting all these crisps was hard work, but we were happy to do it for you. The dynamic combo of Russett and Honeycrisp apples are about to become my go to pair for all baked apple desserts.

Click here for my favourite Apple Crisp recipe.

lobo baked

 

 

Apple Beehive

buzzing with anticipation 4I’m not sure what Elisabeth Prueitt had in mind when she created the Apple Beehive, but my mind immediately went to Rosh Hashanah. For the Jewish New Year, it is customary to dip apples in honey to symbolize our wishes for a sweet year for family, friends and all the Jewish people. There are quite a few sweet options available for us to choose from. Why specifically apples and honey?look at those layers

In researching this question, the interpretation I discovered on the website torah.org, resonated quite strongly with me. Their insight regarding the apple part of the equation, is explained this way:
“On most fruit trees the leaves appear before the fruit, thus providing a protective cover for the young fruit. The apple, however, makes a preemptive move by appearing before the leaves. The Jewish people are compared to an apple because we are willing to live out our Jewish lives even if this seems to leave us unprotected. “

The choice of honey was brilliantly explained with this insight:
“A bee can inflict pain by its sting, yet it also produces delicious honey. Life has this same duality of potential. We pray that our choices will result in a sweet year.”

This dessert is gorgeous in its purity. Gossamer thin slices of apples are shingled with butter, cinnamon and sugar. That’s it. Nothing else. When baked, the apple slices fuse together into a sweet-tart conglomeration that belie its simplicity. This is one of those cases where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The flavours are surprisingly complex for so few ingredients.

A mandoline makes slicing the apples easy. If you have stellar knife skills, you can just use a sharp knife. Granny Smith apples are the perfect choice for this as they are tart and hold their shape when baked.slicing applesBrushing with melted butterIt really looks like a beehive before it goes into the oven.before bakingDuring baking, the apples shrink and caramelize, losing the lofty height it once had. It doesn’t quite resemble a beehive as much after baking, but this is so delicious, no one will complain. Just remember to take a before picture to show everyone!after bakingOnce the beehive comes out of the oven, brush it with some melted apricot jam to give it a glossy coat. glossy from apricot jamDelicious warm or at room temperature, it can be served plain.a naked sliceOr gild the lily and add some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.with some whipped creamOr do as I did and drizzle it with salted caramel sauce.everything's better with salted caramelWishing you all a happy, healthy and very sweet new year.

Click here to print recipe for Apple Beehive.

 

Multi-Grain Salted Caramel Apple Cake

slice of multi-grain salted caramel apple cake 2 625 sqIt’s time to stop the pumpkin spice insanity! Is it just me or have have you also noticed the proliferation of pumpkin spiced products at this time of year? People are out of their ever loving gourds with pumpkin excitement. I blame Starbucks. They started the trend in 2008 with their Pumpkin Spiced Latte. Breaking news kids, Starbucks has added real pumpkin to their latte this year. Which begs the question, what exactly was in it before? Tim Hortons jumped on the band wagon with a pumpkin spice bagel and latte to guzzle it down with it.

Pumpkin spice m&m’s (just weird), Pumpkin spice Pringles (just plain wrong – cloves and cinnamon have no business sticking their nose into salty chips!), Pumpkin spice doggie treats (no comment!), and Pumpkin Spice scented motor oil (ok, now I’m just messing with you!).

My blogger friend Wendy, over at The Monday Box, loves all things pumpkin, but I don’t hold that against her. Check out her adorable 3-2-1 Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte Cake. She alerted me to the fact that Trader Joe’s has over 40 pumpkin related items this year. If you happen to be a pumpkin lover, head on over and check them out. spooning on salted caramel sauceLet’s celebrate fall the correct way, with apples. This gorgeous multi-grain apple cake was inspired by whole-grains maven Kim Boyce’s Apple Graham Coffee Cake. With three kinds of flour, the texture of this cake is outstanding. Graham flour adds flavour and a pleasant sandy texture, all-purpose flour helps to lighten the graham flour and whole wheat pastry flour adds a tender crumb and nuttiness. getting ready to bakeKim sautéed sliced apples in butter, sugar and cinnamon and added them as a topping to the cake before baking. I decided to dice the apples and toss them, raw, in sugar-cinnamon and mix them into the batter.dicing applesadding apples to batterI used my fancy Bundt pan, because really, who couldn’t use a bit more fancy in their life?

The final change I made to Kim’s coffee cake recipe was to add salted caramel. Everything is better with salted caramel, right? I made a quick sauce with brown sugar, butter, whipping cream and salt. I drizzled some of the sauce right into the raw cake batter and saved the rest to serve on the side. adding cream to caramel sauce This is a very cozy cake, tailor-made for a cool fall day. The graham and whole-wheat pastry flours add a nutty grain-like flavour. Super moist, thanks to the apples and drizzled caramel sauce, this cake is made for snacking. Take that, Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts!.spooning on salted caramel sauce 3

Click here to print recipe for Multi Grain Salted Caramel Apple Cake.