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One of the best parts of moving for us is that we inherited a tiny orchard of fruit trees. We’ve got plums, pears, and several different kinds of apple trees here, and three of our apple trees were planted in 1929 so along with a vintage farm house, I have vintage heirloom apples. I’m not going to lie: I think this one of my favourite parts of our new home.

I’ve always made apple treats in the fall when the harvest comes in, but I’ve never been able to pick what I needed from my own apple trees and bake with them. It’s a new and fun experience, and it’s prompted me to make even more apple dishes than I normally would. What also prompted me was the storm we had a few weeks ago, because we lost one massive branch on our best apple tree and I had to quickly pick everything before it went to waste. Now everyone I know who walks in my door is happy because the smell of apples baking is going to be permanent until I make my way through all these apples. 

If you’ve never combined apples and cinnamon or apples and nutmeg in your home, this definitely is the year you’ve got to try it. The scent of what you’ve baked lingers long after the pie plate or bowl is empty.

Here are a few ways you can cook up apples in your kitchen this fall.

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When I lived in Georgia, there was one day every fall when we’d make fried apple pies. Once they were done, we’d scoop some homemade vanilla ice cream and drizzle them in caramel sauce. I’ve lost the recipe we used, but this one from Southern Living is pretty close. Just be sure to add your own drizzle of caramel sauce.

Ingredients:

Dough

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup buttermilk

Apple Filling

1 (5-oz.) package dried apples

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon table salt

Cinnamon Sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

 

Directions

Prepare Dough: Stir together flour and sugar. Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Shape dough into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 12 to 24 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare Filling: Bring apples and water to cover (about 3 1/2 cups) to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.

Drain apples; place in a large bowl. Coarsely mash apples with 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar and next 4 ingredients. (A pastry blender does a great job.) Cover and chill 12 to 24 hours.

Prepare Cinnamon Sugar: Stir together 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp. cinnamon.

Pour oil to depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven; heat over medium-high heat to 350°. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 18 portions; shape into balls. Flatten into 3-inch circles; roll into 5-inch circles. Working with 1 circle at a time, spoon 1 Tbsp. filling into center of each circle; brush edge with water. Fold dough over filling. Press edges with a fork to seal.

Fry, in batches, in hot oil 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle both sides of hot pies with cinnamon sugar.

Caramel Apple Bread Puddingexps36445_TH1421355D59A.jpg

The best Apple Bread Pudding I’ve ever had was at Disneyland one October. They change goodies every season, and if you haven’t gone at Halloween you’re really missing out. To recreate a bit of Disney magic at home, I made this Apple Bread Pudding. Don’t forget the caramel sauce for this one either! Photo and recipe from TasteofHome.com.

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup milk

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup egg substitute

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 cups cubed day-old bread

1/2 cup chopped peeled apple

1/2 cup whipped topping

1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

 

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, milk, brown sugar, egg substitute, vanilla and cinnamon. Fold in bread cubes and apple; let stand for 15 minutes or until bread is softened.

Pour into an 8-in. square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped topping and caramel topping. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 8 servings.

Bobbie Flay’s Apple Cider Donutsbobbie-flay-donuts.jpeg

If someone would have told me a few years ago that my entire family would be into the cooking channel, I’d have thought they were crazy. But that’s exactly what’s happened, and now we all sit around together and watch chefs like Bobbie Flay cook up some amazing dishes. When we saw an episode called, Big Apple Brunch with Apple Cider Donuts featured, I knew we had to make them. Photo and recipe from cookingchanneltv.com.

Ingredients:

2 cups apple cider

1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned into the measuring cup and leveled), plus for dusting

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups pure cane sugar

2 large eggs

1/2-cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Canola oil, for frying

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

 

Directions

Special equipment: a 3-by-1-inch biscuit cutter or a 3-inch donut cutter

Put the apple cider and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium and cook until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until completely cool, about 15 minutes.

Stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon and the nutmeg in a medium bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter and 1 cup of the sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the buttermilk, vanilla extract and the cooled apple syrup, and mix until combined. Lower the speed again and add the flour mixture; mix until just combined the dough will be quite soft.

Line two baking sheets with parchment, and sprinkle with a little flour. Turn the dough out onto one of the baking sheets; gently pat out to an even 3/4-inch thickness and sprinkle the top with flour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

With a lightly floured 3-inch donut cutter, cut out about 18 doughnuts with holes. Transfer the donuts to the second baking sheet, and refrigerate while you heat your oil it is important that the dough is firm and cool before frying.

Line a large plate or another baking sheet with several layers of paper towels; set aside. Put the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl or baking dish. In another bowl or baking dish, mix together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon; set aside.

Heat 3 inches of canola oil in a Dutch oven until it reaches 360 degrees F. In batches of 3 or 4, fry the donuts until browned on one side, about 2 minutes; flip, and cook until browned on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes longer. With a slotted spoon, transfer the donuts to the paper towels, just to blot the excess oil; then, immediately, drop the donuts in either the cinnamon sugar or the confectioners’ sugar, turning to coat. Transfer the finished donuts to a serving plate. When all the donuts are cooked and sugared, repeat with the donut holes. If the raw donuts get soft while you are frying, pop them in the freezer until you are ready to cook them. Serve warm.

It is apple season right this very second, so why not go out and grab yourself some crispy, sweet apples to bake with? Trust me when I say the high fives you get for making these treats will be worth the effort.

If you need to stock up before you make your apple dishes, grab a few of these while apples are still on the trees:

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Oxo Good Grips Apple Wedger
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Pyrex Vintage 10 piece set
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Joseph Joseph Nest Prep Set

Find many more great recipes each week in the Shelly Friday Favourites series:

                   Pumpkin Spice Lattes will taste amazing alongside one of your apple dishes.  

                   The best recipes for fall includes classics like pumpkin cheesecake and Apple Butter Spice cake!

Main image from treeservicewakeforest.com