Welcome, nau mai, haere mai!
Come on in and stay a little while. . . you never know what you might find!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Eat. . . a glut of apples and baking

Local apple tree, March 2011
Autumn is really setting in here, and it seems everywhere you look there are the new season's crisp, fresh apples available for a bargain price. It helps that we live in one of New Zealand's major apple producing areas. Just a few minutes walk away from home is an old "Cool Store" from the Apple and Pear Marketing Board of yesteryear. In addition to all the cheap apples available at roadside stalls, one of my kind and generous work colleagues has provided us with several bags of various breeds of cooking and eating apples from her trees, and one day we came home from dog walk to find a bag of beautiful green apples behind the front door (still haven't worked out who that kind benefactor was). . . so you can see that we have had a rather welcome glut of apples recently.

Of course, our first line of attack was to stew up huge saucepans of delicious stewed apple. Great for adding to porridge with cinnamon or berries, mixing with natural yogurt, or adding to breakfast muesli. We usually freeze some of it it in small portions for use later in the year. Stewed apple/apple sauce is also a delicious addition to these Choc-apple Brownies.
Choc-apple brownies

Here's the link to the recipe, which I found in the New Zealand Healthy Food Guide magazine, to which we subscribe. Thankfully the H.F.G. also have most of their recipes online. . . you might find some other interesting ones while you are over there. The only change I make to the recipe is that I don't include the walnuts as they aren't popular with all the members of our family. We also use dairy free choc chips, as a hangover from when two of us were strictly dairy-free. The use of stewed apple sauce replaces the fat content, and gives a delicious moistness to the Brownie.

Next up are Sugar-topped Apple Muffins, which are based on a recipe I got from About.com.
Sugar-topped Apple Muffins

2 cups plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter/marg
1 cup tart grated/finely chopped apple
Small amount of melted butter & sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or use paper cake cases. Combine first set of ingredients in a bowl. Whisk second set of ingredients in another bowl or measuring jug. Add apple and wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until only just moistened. DO NOT OVER-BEAT (this will toughen the mixture.) Spoon into prepared muffin tin. Bake for about 20 mins, or until baked through. As soon as they are out of the oven, brush the tops with melted butter and dip them in a bowl of sugar, to give a lovely crunchy sugary top.

German Apple Cake
A real family favourite is German Apple Cake, which started life as a free recipe from allrecipes.com, but then I adapted it a bit to double the quantities but proportionately reduce the oil and sugar, increase the spices and grate rather than chop the apple. Here's my version:

4 eggs
400 ml oil
600 g sugar
4 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps salt
2 tsps vanilla essence
500 g self-raising flour (or a mix of wholemeal and SR, with 1 tsp baking powder per 100g wholemeal flour used)
1 kg apples - 900g grated and 100 g finely chopped

Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Grease and flour or line a large rectangular roasting tin or cake tin. Beat oil and eggs with electric mixer till creamy. Add sugar and vanilla and beat well. Slowly add flour, salt and cinnamon to the wet mixtureFold in the apples by hand. The mixture will be very thick. Spread mixture into prepared tin. Bake for around 45 mins or until cake tests done. Cool in tin, then cut into slices and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Last but not least, it's Sonny Jim's all-time favourite muffin recipe. . . ABC Muffins (A for Apple, B for Banana and C for Chocolate.) He has loved these muffins since he was a pre-schooler. This recipe is from the book "School Lunches and After School Snacks" by Alison and Simon Holst. As usual I couldn't resist altering it a bit - this time swapping half of the white flour for wholemeal. More tasty and substantial! I usually make a double mixture, but give you single quantities below:
ABC Muffins

3 mashed ripe bananas (from supply in freezer if you have them!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 apple, grated with skin on
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder

Heat oven to 200C/400F. In a large bowl, mix together mashed bananas, sugar, salt, oil, egg and milk. Stir in choc chips and grated apple. Shake flour through a sieve onto everything else and fold together until just dampened. Don't over-mix once flour has gone in or your muffins will be tough little bullets! Spoon into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 10 - 15 mins until golden brown.

So, that's how we deal with a welcome glut of apples. . . how about you? Any tried and tested recipes or other ideas? Please put them in the comments ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment