Apple Crisp Blondies

I know it's kind of a weird time of year to be posting an apple recipe but trust me, if you could see the rain we're getting today you would understand. I can't even think about lemons or rhubarb right now. We are not getting a light sprinkle of spring rain. We are getting drenched. We're in need of comfort food to warm the bones so apples it is!

This recipe is based on these apple blondies. I bet the crumbly cheddar cheese topping from this apple pie would also work, in place of my oat topping. 

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced (my pieces were approximately chickpea-sized)

Topping

1/4 cup cold butter
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 9x13-inch baking pan.

In large mixing bowl, combine melted butter, sugars, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in dry ingredients (you could sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before mixing into the butter mixture but that requires time, energy, and dirtying another bowl). Batter will be quite thick.

Gently stir in apples and press mixture into the bottom of prepared pan.

In dirty mixing bowl (look, I don't have time for perfection right now, okay?), combine topping ingredients with pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, until butter is incorporated and you're left with pea-sized crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over batter and lightly press into the surface.

Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

Enjoy with a cup of tea and the knowledge that spring has to show up at some point. Stay warm, friends. 
 

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Apple Pumpkin Spice Muffins

These muffins wrap you up in autumn and don't let you go until you're wearing a chunky knit sweater and pinning Christmas crafts on Pinterest. This month's FoodiePages CHEF'S BOX Challenge is apples. We grow gorgeous apples here in British Columbia and I love to highlight their sweet flavour with a little spice. The combination of sweet apples and warm cinnamon is quintessentially autumn. 

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Ingredients

2 cups pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

4 eggs

zest of one lemon

2-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated on microplane rasp grater

3 apples, peeled and diced (I used BC-grown Royal Gala)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two muffin pans with paper liners. 

In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, oil, sugars, eggs, lemon zest, and ginger until combined. Stir in apples and set aside.

In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. 

Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix just until evenly moistened. 

Spoon into prepared muffin pans and bake for 30 - 35 minutes until toothpick inserted into muffins comes out clean. 

Makes 24 muffins.

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Apple Pie with Crumbly Cheese Topping

My mom has been making this pie since before I was born. My sisters and I all have recipe cards that say "Jay's Apple Pie" (Jay being my mom's oldest friend) but yesterday my mom blew all our minds by telling us the recipe originally came from the Lazy Gourmet (which Google tells me is a Vancouver catering company.) So I don't know. I don't know where the recipe came from. I don't know who to give credit to. It's the best apple pie, though, so I need to share.

I'm not a huge fan of making pastry. I don't have a special pastry recipe. I use the recipe on the Crisco box if I don't just buy pre-made pie shells. This recipe makes enough to fill two 9-inch unbaked pie shells (or one 9-inch and two 6-inch shells.)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Filling Ingredients

10 - 12 apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I use Braeburns because they don't get too juicy when they're cooked and I find they generally have a nicely balanced sweet/tart flavour.)
zest of 2 lemons
2 cups white sugar
4 heaped Tablespoons white flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all of your filling ingredients together until the juice from the apples make the dry bits stick to the apple bits.

Topping Ingredients

1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 generous cup of aged cheddar, grated with your smallest cheese grater

Mix all of your topping ingredients together until the butter is incorporated and it's nice and crumbly. Spread evenly over the apples.

Bake for 40 minutes until your apples are nice and mushy (if you use Granny Smiths you'll need to increase the time.)

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream but don't fight over which is the right way. Both can be right. Whipped cream can be righter than vanilla ice cream though.

Pro tip: bake your pies on a cookie sheet because the juice always spills over the edge of the pie plate, even if you don't fill your shells that full.


Please note the absence of a cookie sheet under my pies. I am full of regret. 

Please note the absence of a cookie sheet under my pies. I am full of regret. 

New Year's Resolution Mojito

This juice is bright and zippy and full of nutrients so you can feel smug about keeping your New Year's resolutions (even if you chase this juice with a plate overflowing with pancakes and bacon.) (Not that that actually happens in my kitchen.) (Ha.) 

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Leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses (they count iron, calcium, and Vitamin K among their many minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients.) The cucumber adds freshness and keeps the greens from tasting too grassy. Apple adds a nice sweetness to balance out the lime. And fresh mint just makes me happy. 

Ingredients

2 cups spinach
2 - 4 stalks kale (I used black but any kale will do)
2 apples (I used a Granny Smith and a Braeburn for sweetness)
2 large limes
4 - 6 inches cucumber (skin on!)
handful of fresh mint

Method

Run ingredients through your juicer (I do kale, spinach, mint, lime, cucumber, apple.) Serve over lots of ice. Makes enough for two large juices or two large-ish juices plus one toddler-sized juice.

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