Visiting the local apple orchard is a fun fall tradition for many of us. My kids love being able to pick apples right off the tree. But you might have the same thought I have once your family gets home: “What am I going to do with all these apples?”
Of course we can eat them on the go, and as a tasty side to our lunches. But apples can be so much more. Check out these delicious fall recipes that your kids can help make.
White House Warm Baked Apples with Dried Cherries & Raisins
Why I love it: These clever “muffins” are always sure to impress and are great for holiday parties. And the best part is they’re easy to make.
- 1 to 2 teaspoons safflower or canola oil
- 6 Golden Delicious, Granny Smith or Macintosh Apples
- 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
- 8 tablespoons dried cherries and raisins, or any other dried fruit you like (Ex: cranberries, currants, chopped dried apricots or prunes)
- 6 teaspoons honey
- Turn the oven on and set it to 375 degrees.
- Using a pastry brush or your clean hands, lightly coat a 6-cup muffin tin with oil to prevent the apples from sticking.
- Remove the core of the apples by using a melon baller or a spoon.
- Lightly prick around the tops of the apples with a fork (this prevents the apples from splitting).
- Put the apples in the muffin tins and then fill each apple with 1 teaspoon orange juice concentrate, 1 tablespoon dried fruit and 1 teaspoon honey.
- Put the muffin tin in the oven and bake until the apples are soft, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Carrot Apple Soup
Why I love it: This dish will warm you up on a cool fall day, and leave your home smelling amazing.
- 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 apple, peeled (if you like), cored and chopped
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup Greek or plain low-fat yogurt (if you want to make the soup "creamy")
- Put a soup pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. When the pot is hot, carefully add the oil.
- Add the onion, carrots and apple. Cover.
- Cook, covered, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 15 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to stir them occasionally while they cook.
- Raise the heat to high, add the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, and cook until the carrots are completely tender, about 20 minutes. Then, set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the solids, and put in the blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Add the yogurt, if you like, and process again. Then stir this mixture back into the soup in the pot.
- Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.
Apple Pie Smoothie
Why I love it: On those surprisingly warm days in the fall, this is a refreshing treat.
- 3/4 cups plain low fat yogurt or whole milk yogurt
- 1/2 cup low-fat or whole milk
- 2 tablespoons raw almonds* (*If you're allergic to nuts, skip the almonds and substitute 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats.)
- 1/2 apple, cored and sliced
- 1 overripe banana, sliced (frozen if possible)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ice cubes
- Put all the ingredients in the blender in the order listed.
- Put the top on tightly. Turn the blender to a medium setting and blend until the ice is chopped and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.
- Serve right away, or store in a thermos or covered in the refrigerator, up to 4 hours.
Apple-icious Oat Bars
Why I love it: This is a quick and in-demand dessert for my kids after dinner.
- 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for crust)
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour (for crust)
- 1/2 cup lightly toasted almonds or pecans
- 1/2 cup light-brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch baking powder
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, or raisins
- 2 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or light-brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (for filling)
- Turn the oven on and set it to 350 degrees.
- To make the crust: Put the oats, flours, nuts, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Using your clean hands or a spoon, mix well. Add the butter and oil and mix again, until the topping is crumbly and looks like little pebbles. Pat down half of the crust mixture into the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking pan. Leave the rest of the crust mixture in the bowl while you make the filling.
- To make the filling: Put the apples, cranberries, honey and flour in a different small bowl and mix well. Pour the apple mixture on top of the crust in the baking pan. Using the back of a spatula, press the mixture down until the top is flat and even.
- Top the apple mixture with the topping left from the bowl and pat it down.
- Put the baking pan in the oven and bake until the top of the apple mixture is lightly browned and the apples are soft, 40–45 minutes.
- When the pan comes out of the oven, pat down the mixture again with the spatula.
- Set aside to cool and cut into 9 pieces.
Warm Mulled Cranberry-Vanilla Cider
Why I love it: After a long and chilly soccer practice, this is a delicious way to warm up. It’s even better when you are sitting around a bonfire or fireplace and cozied up with a warm blanket.
Note: While this recipe calls for pre-made apple cider or juice, it’s also easy to make your own using fresh-picked apples. Here’s a sugar-free recipe for apple cider that I use.
- 1 orange
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 cups apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
- 2 cups pure cranberry juice
- 2 teaspoons light or dark brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Wash the orange well, and use a vegetable peeler to remove long strips of zest (the orange part, not the white part underneath) from half of it. Slice the other half of the orange into thin half-moons.
- Put the cider and cranberry juice in a medium-sized pot, and add the orange zest, the cinnamon sticks, the cloves, the sugar and a tiny pinch of salt.
- Put the pot on the stove, turn the heat to medium-high, and heat the mixture until it’s a bit steamy, about 7 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes.
- Set a sieve over a heatproof container, strain the cider mixture, and throw away the solids left in the sieve. Add the vanilla and stir to mix. Pour the mixture into mugs, float an orange slice in each one if desired, and serve.
All recipes reprinted with permission from Chop Chop© Magazine.