Let The Holiday Season Begin with Apple Treats

This is it. Holiday season is beginning and harvest season is ending and I say “Oh good!” to both. It’s a happy time to tinker in the kitchen and meld the warmth of the stove with the warmth of traditions and the very best of the late harvest.

And in my opinion, the very best harvest at this time of year is the scrumptious, shiny, sweet (or tart), crispy, juicy, mouth-satisfying apple. New Jersey has a bounty of varied species of them and that makes these outrageously healthy treats happily affordable.

You can do many marvelous dishes with apples, but with the busy holidays, chilly weather, and seasonal festivities in mind, let’s select the simple and easy to do. Each of these fried apple recipes can be readily “partied up” for presentation and gourmet acclaim. You can, for example, add sweet dried cranberries, nuts, fresh or frozen berries, chopped green and-or red maraschino cherries, citrus zest or anything your imagination and taste buds find suitable. Try the recipes with ripe pears or use both fruits together.

Besides serving at your table, bring fried apples to a potluck or as a party offering. Made fresh and placed in a beribboned jar or covered container, they make a thoughtful homemade gift.

BASIC FRIED APPLES
BASIC FRIED APPLES

BASIC FRIED APPLES

So easy to make, they’ll add cozy to a meal as side dish or dessert.

2-4 apples, your favorite variety

2 Tbls butter

1/2 to 1 Tbls ground cinnamon

Pinch of allspice

Drizzle of maple syrup (optional) Whipped topping, crushed nuts, minced raisins or nutmeg – any or all – for garnish (optional) Core and then slice apples about a quart to half inch thick. Add butter to a small to medium frying or saute pan and heat on medium until just melted. Place apples in the pan and sprinkle with cinnamon and allspice. Stir to coat apples with butter and spices and cook about 5-7 minutes until apples soften. If desired, drizzle with syrup just as apples begin to soften and continue to cook until nicely soft but not mushy. Stir occasionally to coat fruit. Serve warm or room temperature as a side dish. Or serve as dessert, with toppings or ice cream. Makes 3 to 6 servings, depending on number and size of apples (You should get about 2 servings or more per large apple.)


CRACKER BARREL FRIED APPLES

From CopyKat.com, this recipe almost duplicates the restaurant’s famous dish.

1/4 C bacon drippings, or 4 Tbls (1/2 stick) butter

6 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced – (video demonstrates this with apples that were not peeled, personal choice should be made).

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/4 C brown sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground nutmeg

Squeeze of lemon – optional

In a large skillet, melt bacon drippings or butter. Spread the apples evenly over the skillet bottom. Sprinkle the lemon juice over them, followed by the brown sugar and salt. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, until apples are tender and juicy. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and serve. You can add a squeeze of lemon at the finish for enhanced flavor. Makes 8 servings.

FRIED APPLE PIES
FRIED APPLE PIES

FRIED APPLE PIES

Call them empanadas, turnovers, or mini-pies, the fridge biscuits cut the work

1 Tbls sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 (1 lb. 1.3-oz.) can refrigerated biscuits

1 C fried apples

4 tsp butter, melted

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 2 cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray. In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Press or roll each to form a 5-inch round. Place on sprayed cookie sheets.

Place 2 tablespoons of pie filling slightly off center on each biscuit round on one cookie sheet. Fold biscuits over filling and press edges with fork to seal. Prick the top of each with fork to seal. Brush each pie with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Bake at 375°F. for 15 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown. (Some filling may bubble out at edges.) As first sheet bakes, prepare pies with remaining biscuit rounds on second cookie sheet. Immediately remove pies from cookie sheets when done. Cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm. Good with ice cream or, as a snack, with cheese.

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