Maple Walnut Apple Crisp

I hope you’re ready for some apple recipes!

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If you make one apple dessert this fall – make this maple walnut apple crisp! Apple crisp has ALWAYS been my favorite apple dessert. Why? Because I love the crunchy, sweet topping. AND because it is easier than pie (haha) – no crust needed!

My Taller Half and I recently went to Smolak Farms to pick apples. The orchard is picturesque and has dozens of apple varieties! I LOVE apple picking. Ever since I was a little piglet, I always looked forward to biting into a crisp, juicy apple just picked from the tree, and then would do this over and over again for until my belly was waaaay too full. This year, I held back a bit and didn’t make myself sick. It was a perfect fall day and we picked TONS of apples. I just couldn’t wait to get home and bake with the freshly picked fruit.

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A beautiful day at Smolak Farms!

Now, let’s talk about this crisp! It has such a thick, crunchy, cinnamon-y topping. Hands down my favorite apple dessert. It also went really fast!

20130925-213732.jpgThe filling of this crisp has tart apples (I used a mixture of Gravenstein, Cortland and Granny Smith), mixed with meaty walnuts, cinnamon and sweet maple syrup! And then there is the topping. OOOh the topping. It is so crispy, so thick, and crunchy (and of course cinnamon-y) and perfectly balances the tender, soft apples. You NEED to make this crisp. Bonus – It takes 5 minutes to put the topping together and only 5 minutes to make the filling. So what are you waiting for?!! Let’s make some maple walnut apple crisp!

20131016-235032.jpgSprinkle cut, peeled apples and chopped walnuts with cinnamon and a few squirts of lemon juice

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Pour the melted sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and butter “sauce” on top

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Prep the topping by mixing flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and cut with chilled butter -just smash it up with your hands until it is crumbly, like so:

Crisp topping

Then add the walnuts to the topping and spread the topping over the apples

( look how thick that topping is!!)

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Place in the oven and wait 45 minutes for sweet, cinnamon-y, apple-y, maple-y, oat-y goodness.

OH. MY. GOODNESS.

20130925-213824.jpgOne more thing- If you don’t have walnuts, or don’t like walnuts you can substitute any other nut – almonds, pecans,  peanuts, hazelnuts etc… or just leave the nuts out. They add some texture and taste but are not essential to your new favorite apple dessert.

Recipe: Maple Walnut Apple CrispMaple Walnut Apple Crisp

Servings: 6-10 (or 2 if you are me)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 5-6 apples, peeled, cored, chopped chunky (I used Gravenstein, Cortland and Granny Smith – but any firm, baking apple will do – you may have to adjust the sugar if the apples you use are less tart and more sweet)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (substitute almonds, pecans, peanuts etc… or omit)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Few squirts of lemon juice (About 1/2 -1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping (adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (substitute almonds, pecans, peanuts etc… or omit)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and spray an 8×8 pan with non-stick cooking spray
  2. Make the filling: In a large bowl, toss apples and walnuts with cinnamon and lemon juice and pour into a 8×8 baking pan.
  3. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the butter, sugar and maple syrup***  while stirring.  Do this slowly, you don’t want your sugar to burn! When combined, remove from heat and add vanilla extract.  Pour sauce over apples in baking pan and stir to coat apples.
  4. Make the topping: In a large bowl, add all the topping ingredients EXCEPT the butter and walnuts.  Stir until well combined.
  5. Add the butter and use your hands to incorporate the butter and the dry topping.  This involves squeezing the butter and the flour/oat mixture together in your hands – until the mixture becomes crumbly – you don’t need to overwork this – you want the mixture to be lumpy.  Just smash it between your fingers with the oat/flour mixture – it will be uneven and will look like wet sand.  If you don’t like the “hand” technique, you can also use 2 forks, 2 knives, or a pastry cutter (oh so fancy!).
  6. Stir in walnuts and sprinkle the crumbly topping over the apples
  7. Place on top of a baking sheet, to prevent a sticky mess (just in case the apples/sugar bubble over) and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. As always, baking time may vary based on your oventop should be brown and you should see bubbles on the sides of the baking dish. The apples should be tender.
  8. Allow crisp to cool for about 10 minutes before serving – just so you don’t burn your tongue on SUPER hot, bubbly sugar/apple goodness.

Serve warm, with vanilla Ice cream if you please. I didn’t have any.  Shameful.

ENJOY!

*** For easy maple syrup measurement, spray tablespoon with non-stick cooking spray prior to measuring and maple syrup will slide right out.

Happy Fall!

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

20130430-111912.jpgHappy National Grilled Cheese Month!! Well, happy last day of national grilled cheese month! I’m getting this one in just under the wire. But, I promise you, this sandwich is well worth the whole month I made you wait.

20130430-192033.jpgThis is a tasty, healthy and super FAST breakfast. It’s so fast and easy that you can hit the snooze button 5 times, take a long shower and STILL have time to make this sandwich before you leave for work. Yes, it is slightly more time consuming than pouring a bowl of cereal, but WAAAAY more satisfying. While your coffee is brewing, whip up this sandwich.

20130430-111855.jpgYou probably can tell from my Frittata post that I LOVE EGGS! The more ways to eat eggs, the better. This sandwich has lots of things I love in it. Eggs, apples, cheese, but more importantly, it has a flavor profile that I love: sweet and salty. Sweet, tart, crunchy apple with salty sharp melty cheese and a salty fried egg. MMMMmmm

The other GREAT thing about this sandwich is you only need 4 ingredients. That’s right, only FOUR.

1. Egg 2. Bread 3. Cheese 4. Apple

+ Salt/pepper/butter or cooking spray – these are freebies

I really outdid myself with the simplicity this time : )

So let’s get cracking on making this sandwich.

First prep your sandwich with cheese and 4 relatively thin slices of apple

20130430-111933.jpgYum. This is already a good sandwich. But it’s about to get better!

Next, fry up your egg. I chose to make a fried egg “over hard” for this sandwich, and then fold it to make it “sandwich friendly”. Over hard eggs hold together nicely, and you can keep the yolk a little soft, but not runny, if you like, by cooking it a little less (this is how I like it). If you make your egg “over easy” the egg will run when you put it in the sandwich and grill the cheese.

To fry up the egg, first spray a frying pan with nonstick cooking spray (or you can use butter) and heat up the pan on low-medium heat. **I usually crack my egg into a cup, and then gently pour it from the cup into a frying pan, this prevents the yolk from breaking and accidentally mixing up the white (scrambling). The egg should sizzle a little when you pour it in. If it isn’t, just turn up the heat on your burner. Cook the egg on medium heat until the white on top is solid. Then flip the egg over and cook it on the other side for about a minute or 2 until the yolk is soft but solid.  Then I fold the egg in half – fold one white side over to the other to cover the yolk (see below). This makes the egg a nice sandwich size

20130430-111959.jpg I squished my egg a little when I flipped it over in the pan and the yolk was not solid – and some yolk ran a little. But, hey, my food isn’t pretty like a picture, but it’s pretty damn delicious. When the yolk is cooked to how you like it, remove the egg from the pan and place the folded egg on top of the apples on your bread and top the egg with more cheese.

20130430-112007.jpgNow comes the familiar grilled cheese part. Place the sandwich back in the frying pan on medium heat. Gently press your sandwich down into the pan to help melt the cheese. You don’t need to squish the sandwich, just give it a nice, loving press. Cook on that side till the bread is a toasty color. Then carefully flip the sandwich and repeat loving press on the other side.

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The crunchy, sweetness of the apple gives a nice texture and flavor contrast to the melty, salty cheese and the tender fried egg.

Cut sandwich in half and dig in! This is your new, quick power breakfast! YUM!

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Recipe:

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Serving size: 1 Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 slices of bread (I used wheat bread)
  • ¼ of Granny smith Apple (4 thin slices)
  • ½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese
  • generous pinch salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Spread cheddar cheese on one side of the bread and add 4 thin slices of Granny Smith apple
  2. Prepare a frying pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray and heat on low-medium heat
  3. Crack egg in a cup and pour egg into heated pan and fry egg on one side until whites are solid
  4. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the egg
  5. Flip egg over, cook for about 1-2 minutes, until yolk is solid, but soft. (Test by pressing with your finger)
  6. Folded in half and remove egg from pan and place on top of apples and cheese.
  7. Add more cheese to the top of egg and top with other slice of bread
  8. Place sandwich in frying pan used to fry egg, and grill sandwich on medium heat.  Press sandwich down with metal spatula to melt cheese – cook for about 1 minute – or until browned.  *if pan is dry, add more cooking spray or butter before grilling the sandwich
  9. Repeat on other side
  10. Slice up and enjoy, cheesy, eggy, apply goodness!

*To make this sandwich more decadent, pan fry the egg in a tablespoon of butter (instead of cooking spray) and add more butter to the pan before grilling the sandwich.

Recipe Source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com