At this time of year fresh, new-picked apples are at their scrumptious peak. We enjoy simply biting into a fall apple, with the sweet tart juices and the crispy texture that are only to be found in a fruit not long off the tree. However, in autumn apples come in such affordable abundance that we look for ways to use them in our cooking throughout the day. Here’s my menu for a day of apples: from breakfast muffins, to lunch salads, to mid-afternoon snack bars and evening supper (not to mention dessert!).
Honey Apple Muffins
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup honey
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 medium Empire or Cortland apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 medium Empire or Cortland apple, peeled, cored and sliced into 24 thin crescents
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Grease 24 muffin tins or line them with paper muffin cups. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, honey, oil and 1 cup of sugar. In another bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir the flour mixture and the diced apples into the egg-honey mixture just until mixture moistened and smooth. Do not over-stir. Divide mixture evenly into 24 muffin tins. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon, nutmeg and 2 tablespoons sugar. Add apple slices and gently toss to coat. Place an apple slice on the top of each muffin. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Makes 24 muffins.
Honey Mustard Waldorf Chicken Salad
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon grated zest of lemon
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed
2 Gala apples, cored and diced
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup minced green onion
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
Stir together honey, mustard, poppy seeds, lemon peel, juice and oil. Toss in chicken, apple, celery, green onions and almonds. Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.
Apple Caramel Bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Golden Delicious apples, cored and diced
1 cup caramel candies, unwrapped and cut into quarters
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan. In a mixing bowl combine 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and evenly into bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl beat eggs, vanilla, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Stir in apples, caramels, and nuts. Pour over bottom crust. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden. Cool about 5 minutes and while still warm cut into bars. Cool completely before serving. Makes 16 bars.
Boudin Blanc (White Sausage with Apples)
This is a traditional dish from Normandy, France, made with Calvados, an apple-flavored liqueur. If you don’t have Calvados, substitute apple juice or apple cider with a splash of cooking sherry.
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. In a large skillet, heat half the butter over moderate heat. Add the quartered apples and cook, turning, until golden and just tender. In another skillet heat the remaining butter over moderate heat. Add the sausages and cook, turning, until lightly browned. In a shallow baking dish, arrange the sausages and the apples, sprinkle with the Calvados and bake for 20 minutes or until juices run clear and sausage is cooked through. Serves 4.
Apple Cranberry Pie
1 pie crust for a 9-inch, deep dish, double crust pie
1 cup fresh cranberries
3 cup apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Combine cranberries, apples, sugar, flour and salt. Mix well. Pour into crust. Dot all over with small bits of butter. Cover with top crust, crimp decoratively. Cut vents in top of crust for steam to escape. Bake 50 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden. Serves 6 to 8.