Apples, Apples, Apples!

Fall has always been my favorite season. Even as a little kid, I always loved it. It meant lots of good things were on the horizon: school, (yes, I was one of those nerdy kids who actually liked school), relief from buggy, humid New England summers and best of all, our annual trip to the apple picking farm. For one whole afternoon being the smallest member of the family had its advantages. I was able to climb higher and reach for the tastiest apples. Although looking back now, I think my family may have been exaggerating their inability to climb and boosting my ego a bit in this endeavor. In fact, as I write this, it’s dawning on me that I may just have been duped into doing the heavy lifting on apple picking day. But no matter, apples were then, and still are, one of my favorite foods. I especially love to cook with them. The smell of apples baking in the oven perfumes a home better than any scented candle ever could. The following recipes are really simple and delicious. I hope you like them!

I don’t know why these little beauties only appear in stores at this time of year. With apples being readily available in our part of the world and this treat being so scrumptious, you’d think they’d be a mainstay.
What’s so great about making your own, (besides being able to indulge whenever you’d like) is that not only are they much less expensive than the store-bought versions, but you can sprinkle on exactly what ever toppings you like to make it the perfect goody for your family. We are big lovers of salted peanuts at our house so I used them here.

Here’s what you’ll need to serve 8 people:
Eight Granny Smith apples
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup of heavy cream at room temperature
1 cup chopped nuts
Lollipop sticks (I get mine at Michael’s)

Here’s what you do:
Combine sugar and corn syrup in a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
Give it a couple of stirs. Cover and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Uncover and swirl the pan occasionally until mixture is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream. Remove from heat and stir until smooth.
Transfer caramel to a small metal bowl and let stand for a few minutes until it thickens slightly. Meanwhile, insert your lollipop sticks into your washed and dried apples.
Dip apples into caramel and immediately into your chopped nuts.
Place your dipped apples on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and let set for about half an hour.
If your caramel starts to harden while you’re dipping, reheat it in the bowl over simmering water.

Baked apples take me straight back to my childhood. Even though my parents kept our intake of sugary sweets to a minimum, baked apples made a frequent appearance after dinner. Since I’ve been making them for myself as an adult, I can see why my mother thought them an acceptable treat. They are very low in fat, extremely satisfying and delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need to serve four people:
Four Braeburn apples (any flat bottomed apple will work beautifully but I like the large size of these for this recipe)
Butter
Brown sugar
Cinnamon
Raisins or dried cranberries
Toasted walnuts or salted peanuts

Here’s what you do:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Slice the tops off and core your washed and dried apples being careful to not puncture through the bottom. I have found that the best way to do this is to cut around the stem with a sharp paring knife and then scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
Place a small pat of butter in each well that you’ve created.
Add a teaspoon of brown sugar, some raisins and nuts.
Sprinkle cinnamon over the top.
Put the apples’ tops back on and place them an oven proof high-sided baking dish.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until apples are soft and bubbly.
If you want to make this more decadent, serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream

Apples and cheddar cheese are a classic combination and this crostini combines the two beautifully. This delicious appetizer couldn’t be easier to make.

Here’s what you’ll need to serve six people:
Three Jonagold apples washed and peeled
A big sprig of fresh rosemary finely chopped (reserve some for garnish)
A tablespoon of olive oil
A baguette  
Butter
Honey
Good quality cheddar cheese

Here’s what you do:
Cut peeled apples into rings. Toss them in olive oil and rosemary. Heat a grill or frying pan until it’s nice and hot. Grill the apple rings until golden and soft. Remove from pan and cut rings into quarters.
Next, prepare your baguette. Cut it into approximately half inch slices. Butter both sides and grill until golden.
Assemble your crostini by placing a wedge of cheddar on the baguette, top with apples and drizzle with honey and a little more chopped rosemary.

Enjoy!

We’re featured on Borrowed & Blue!

We are so excited to be featured on Borrowed & Blue!

This beautifully curated website was created a year ago by Christin Healey and her husband Adam.

What’s so unique about it, is that it focuses on specific regions, making planning destination weddings, a breeze. As of now, Borrowed & Blue is highlighting vendors and venues in: Charlottesville, Napa and the one we appear in, Santa Barbara.

Since getting to know Christin and Adam, I have found them to be really passionate in their quest to cull a pool of truly great resources for brides and grooms. In fact, this whole enterprise came about from frustrations they felt when planning their own wedding. Being newlyweds themselves, they understand how overwhelming the months leading up to the big day can be and their mission is to demystify the whole process as much as possible.

Naturally, the site is brimming with gorgeous imagery, so even if your wedding is taking place in your back yard, you’ll find lots to be inspired by.

Here is the link to our profile and featured weddings.

Somewhere only we know…

“I came across a fallen tree 
I felt the branches of it looking at me 
Is this the place we used to love? 
Is this the place that I’ve been dreaming of?” 

~Keane

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