Taffy Apple Salad

Since Christmas is almost here I should probably backtrack to Thanksgiving and share with you what my contribution was to one of the Thanksgiving celebrations that we attended this year. I love the combo of apples and chocolate.

Taffy Apple Salad
Source: Illinois Farm Bureau Cookbook

6-8 large apples, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
6 snickers bars, chopped
1 container of Cool Whip
1 box (3.4 oz) of instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk

Chop the apples and candy bars and place in a large bowl. Prepare the instant pudding with the milk then fold the cool whip into the pudding. Pour that over the apples and candy. Stir to coat. Chill until ready to serve.
Best if eaten within 24 hours.

Apple Butter Bars

I received several new cookbooks for Christmas this year and two of them are Amish Friends cookbooks by Wanda Brunstetter.  This recipe comes from Volume 2.

The recipe is very similar to the apricot bars that I blogged about a few weeks ago.  They are a great treat for dessert or breakfast.

Apple Butter Bars

Ingredients

1.5 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2.5 cups oats

1.5 cups sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine {I used butter}

1.5 cups apple butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the flour, soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Add the oats and sugar.  Stir in the butter and mix well.  Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9×13-inch pan.  Top with apple butter.  Sprinkle with remaining crumbs.

Bake 45-55 minutes or until lightly brown.

Hot Cider Punch

It is tradition for my family to have this delicious warm beverage at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other late fall and winter get togethers.  My mom has been making it for as long as I can remember!

I really like to use the crock pot for this, you can fix it and forget it!

Hot Cider Punch

1 gal. apple cider

1 can of frozen orange juice concentrate

1 cup lemon juice

1 cup sugar

24 whole cloves

4 cinnamon sticks

orange slices for garnish

Directions

In a very large soup/stock pot, combine first 6 ingredients and heat thoroughly, stir often.  Once sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot, turn heat to simmer or low and cover until ready to serve {I transfer to a crock pot at this point.}.  Punch will be cloudy.

Ladle into mugs and garnish with orange slices.

Variation – add Brandy  {We never do though}

Note – The last time I made this, I had a small issue with it being cloudy and a foam collecting at the surface.  I just skimmed it off before serving.  I think it had something to do with how filtered the cider was.  But the taste was not altered.

Unless you have a really big crock pot, you may need to add the mixture to the crock pot in batches.

 

Dutch Apple Pie

I worked at a small restaurant for about 6 years, mostly on and off while I was in college.  I was primarily a waitress, but also was a hostess and a manager and I even filled in in the kitchen from time to time.

Anyway, it was a great experience for me overall.  Even though I was young (I think I started working there at age 16 or 17), I obviously learned a lot about dealing with people.  Sure, I complained about the long shifts, hot kitchen, tired/sore legs and feet, and shitty pay on slow nights – but more importantly I learned valuable life lessons that will stay with me forever.  I truly learned the value of a dollar and about working HARD.  Restaurant work is very exhausting and difficult and I think everyone (especially young people) should work in food service for a time.

I could go on an on about working there, but I won’t bore you with it.  What I want to get at it is that that small restaurant was (and still is) famous for its homemade pies.  They offer over 20 different kinds every single day.   One of my favorites and one of their most popular was Dutch apple pie.  This recipe is as close to identical as I have been able to get.  It is fab!

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Dutch Apple Pie

Fits a standard pie dish, not a deep dish.

Ingredients

dough for one pie crust

For the filling:

6 cups apples; peeled, slice and cored – that’s about 7 medium apples {Cortland or Jonathon apples are my favorite.}

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbsp flour

1/4 cup lemon juice

Dutch apple topping:

{measurements are approximate}

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 stick cold butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly flour a clean baking mat on a work surface.  Roll out dough and place in a pie dish.  Flute the edges as desired.  Set aside.

Place the sliced apples in a large bowl and toss them with the lemon juice to coat.  Then add the sugar, flour, salt, and nutmeg.  Stir to mix thoroughly.  Pour evenly into the crust and lightly smooth them down.

In another large bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients.  Cut with a fork, pastry cutter, or 2 knives for several minutes or until the butter is incorporated and crumbly.  Carefully pour the topping mixture evenly over the filling and lightly press it to compact.  It may be dome shaped, but it will sink during baking.  Don’t worry if you have a little extra topping left over.  I have found that it is better to have extra than not enough to thoroughly cover the top of the pie.

Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  {The baking sheet is very important – unless you like to clean your oven.  I almost always have filling run over and the sheet catches it.} Leave the pie in the oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 30-35 minutes.  The filling will bubble and crust will be lightly browned when done.  Check pie midway thru baking and cover edges with foil if necessary.

Allow to thoroughly cool before slicing.

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Homemade Applesauce

This applesauce is a favorite Fall treat in our house!  It also makes the house smell wonderful as it cooks!  Enjoy!

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Homemade Applesauce

{adapted from Carrie’s Sweet Life}

Ingredients:

about 4 cups of peeled, cored, and chopped apples ~ I usually use 6 small apples

3/4 cups water

1/4 cup Splenda {or regular white sugar}

1 tsp cinnamon ~ or to taste

pinch salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft {usually 15 minutes does the trick}.  Mash with potato masher or blend with an immersion blender to your desired smoothness/chunkiness.  Allow to cool down and serve or refrigerate.

Makes about 2.5 cups prepared, so feel free to double or triple as needed.  It is the perfect amount for our family of 2 though.