Twisted Tuesday: Baked Apple – Apple Pie

“Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.” — Jane Austen

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Jane Austen couldn’t have been more right, and I think if she were alive today, I’d invite her over for this twist on an all time favorite dessert. We could discuss whether it was sense or sensibility that made me decide to make a baked apple apple pie..

I say it was my good sense to utilize my undeniable sensibility.

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I love apples. So it’s no surprise that I love apple pie…and it’s no surprise that I love baked apples. I think that apple pie has a little bit of an edge over the baked apple, because I love the crust so much. But then again, I love the walnuts and raisins in the baked apple. Because I’m so carried away with my love for both apple pie and baked apple, It only made “sense” to me to combine the two… to enjoy the best of both worlds! Sense and Sensibility!

And the best of both worlds these little desserts turned out to be!

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I was happy to find that they not only maintained their shape while they baked, but were soft enough to cut with a fork. Served warm, the syrupy brown sugar mixture just poured from the middle of the apple to mingle with the vanilla ice cream.. Delicious.

These pretty little apples are the perfect dessert to delight your family and friends!

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Baked Apple-Apple Pie
Serves 4

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8”x8” baking dish with vegetable spray.

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The Apples:
4 Apples (your choice in variety)
Juice of one lemon
Carefully core the apples to about 1/4 inch of the bottom of the apple. Peel the apple and discard the skin. Coat the apple with the lemon juice to prevent it from browning.

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Walnut Raisin Filling:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp melted butter

Combine the brown sugar, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, and melted butter in a small bowl. Generously fill the center of each apple with the filling.

Aunt Linda’s Pie Crust:
2 cups flour
1 cup shortening
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
1 tbsp vinegar

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In a small bowl, mix the milk and vinegar together.  Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, blend the flour, shortening, and salt together until mixture is in pea size crumbles. Pour the milk and vinegar mixture into the flour mixture and stir.   The dough will be sticky.

Divide the dough in four balls. Use plenty of flour, and roll the first ball into a 1/8” thick circle. Place an apple in the center, and begin to fold the dough up around the apple, slicing the dough to fit the apple until the whole apple is covered in dough. Roll the scraps and cut two leaves from the dough with a knife. Form a small stem with the dough. Attach by pressing the leaves and the stem to the top of the dough covered apple. Place in the prepared baking dish.

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Bake for an hour or until the apple is tender (test with a knife from the back of the apple), and the crust is golden brown.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and caramel sauce.

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Caramel Sauce:

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, and salt over low heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cook for about three minutes until thick and bubbly.

Serve warm over apple pie and ice cream.

Enjoy!

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Oatmeal “Apple-ita’s”

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I’m going to be honest here. I’m not a fan of oatmeal cookies. I know, right? What on earth is wrong with me? Now don’t get me wrong, just because I’m not a fan, doesn’t mean that if you put one or two in front of me that I would ignore them. Quite the contrary….I’d gobble them up, because that’s what I do. I eat. I love to eat. I guess I’m just saying that I prefer another cookie over oatmeal. Yeah, that’s a better statement.

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Not too long ago, my daughter Jessica and her boyfriend Pat went to pick apples. She came home with a huge bag of these humungous apples. That same day, Katie and her boyfriend Ryan went apple picking, and she brought some home…Honestly, we had apples flowing out of the refrigerator… They were perfectly tart, yet sweet, and had that wonderful “snap” when you bit into them. We were eating them like crazy, but still couldn’t put a dent in them, so I made a pie one day…and apple crisp a couple days later….

…And…

One morning, I started peeling some apples to make apple pie bars. You know, like an apple pie, but baked in a cookie sheet. As I was peeling, I had one of my “last minute” ideas…

Oatmeal Apple-itas.

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My family loves this type of bar that I make called Oatmeal Caramelitas. You’re probably aware of these bars, they’re a layer bar with an oatmeal base, caramel, chocolate chips, and walnuts in the middle, with an oatmeal-crumble topping. Again, not my favorite because of the oatmeal…but I’ll eat one if I’m craving a sweet.

So, after all of my talk about disliking oatmeal and all, imagine how I surprised myself when I decided to make these oatmeal based apple bars. I don’t know about you, but I get so excited when an idea like that comes to me….I’m sure oatmeal apple bars have been done over and over again…. But I still had that little twinge of excitement, as if I had just invented spaghetti… Super Genius…!

I think that the biggest “worry”, if you even want to call it a worry… was that the oatmeal takes about a half hour from start to finish to bake, and I knew that the apples wouldn’t soften up in that short amount of time. I decided to sauté them in butter and brown sugar (a beautiful marriage, if ever there was…) until they were softened, and then added them to the oatmeal base. It worked out perfectly.

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I decided to keep the walnuts, but I scrapped the caramel and chocolate chips, because I had a feeling that it would be way too sweet. After eating them, I still think that the caramel would have made them way too sweet. Now if you love that kind of sweetness, then by all means, drizzle some melted caramels, or your favorite caramel sauce recipe over them.

They were a big hit with everyone…even me…you know, the oatmeal hater… They were super easy to throw together, and the oatmeal and apple filling went together so deliciously. They’re delicious cold, and will last for about a week in the refrigerator. They freeze perfectly too, and only take a little while to thaw.

My favorite was to warm them in the microwave, and serve them with a scoop of maple walnut ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Of course it was your favorite, Prudy…
It’s not good until it’s brimming with calories, right?
Right.

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Oatmeal “Apple-ita’s”

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray an 11×7 baking pan with vegetable spray

The Apples
6 large apples, peeled and sliced thin
½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt

Peel and thinly slice the apples. Melt the butter in a large frying pan, and add the brown sugar, stirring until they’re saucy. Add the apples, cinnamon and salt. Cook on low heat until the apples are softened, and a lovely golden color.

While the apples are cooking…make the oatmeal crumble…

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The Oatmeal Crumble
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup flour
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup walnuts, chopped

…And if you so choose…The Caramel Sauce
16 caramel candies
2 1/2 tablespoons evaporated milk

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, butter, salt, and baking soda until well blended. Press half of the mixture into the prepared 11×7 pan, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
When the apples are finished cooking, spread them on top of the baked oatmeal crust. Sprinkle with ½ cup walnuts.

If you decide you’d like the caramel sauce: Melt the caramels with the evaporated milk over a double boiler, or in the microwave. Drizzle over the apple/walnut layer.

Break the remaining crumb mixture up with your hands, and sprinkle on top of the apple/walnut layer.

Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into bars. Serve as is, or with ice cream or whipped cream…or both!

Enjoy!

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