smoker apple crisp

Outdoor cooking is becoming super popular.  I have joined the excitement and have a new vertical smoker.  Cooking with a smoker has many options, including direct and indirect cooking.  To become more familiar with the process, I purchased a great cookbook titled, “Secrets to Smoking,” by Bill Gillespie.

Everything that I needed to know before using my smoker for the first time was included in this book.  I learned about the different types of woods, chips, types of charcoal to use, and general operation of any smoker.  There is skill to controlling the temperature, adjusting the vents, monitoring the air flow and most of all cooking on several levels of a smoker at once. Smokers can be fueled by electricity, pellets, or charcoal.

I chose a charcoal smoker and used this apple crisp recipe to learn how to keep the temperature moderated, while working the technique of “low and slow” cooking. I adapted the recipe from Bill’s cookbook. changing and adding a few ingredients.

I also learned that if you are “looking”, you are “not cooking.”  This recipe was a huge success and took one and one half hours to cook at 225 degrees on the upper level of my new smoker.  There is a trust that develops with the first recipe cooked.  As I said, I was not peeking, but trusted that my dish would be done by monitoring the temperature of the smoker.

I am now committed to using the smoker this whole summer for a variety of different types of dishes. Here is a great recipe to try if you are a seasoned smoker or if this is your first time.

I peeled, cored and sliced 3 large Granny Smith apples and placed in a pan suitable for cooking on a grill.  Then, I added and mixed these ingredients into a bowl–3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 cup sliced almonds, and 1/3 cup unsalted butter which had been softened.

Place the topping over the apples in the baking pan.  After bringing the smoker up to 225 degrees, place the pan on the top cooking grate and allow to cook on its’ own for 1 and 1 1/2 hours.

I filled the water pan once prior to cooking and allowed the smoker to come up to temperature.  The water was totally used when the dish was complete. I used both sets of vents to keep the temperature even throughout the cooking process.  This was not a challenge at all, and the outcome was delicious. Serve while hot with whipped cream or ice cream. Oh–so yummy and cooked outdoors!

Bavarian Apple Torte

Just like others, I have recipes that I have made for my family for years. This one, in particular, I have made dozens of times over the past 30 years.  It is a classic.  I obtained the recipe from a friend of mine from the very first garden club I had ever joined, back in 1979.  To say that the recipe is delicious is an understatement.  It has always been well received from anyone I have ever served.  Two keys to success to this recipe are: using a 9 inch non-stick springform pan, along with slicing the apples quite thin.

Here is how I made this recipe–gather these ingredients for the different steps:  1/2 cup softened butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 8 ounces light cream cheese/softened, 1 egg, 4 cups very thinly sliced apples, 1/4 cup sliced almonds, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/3 cup sugar.

Preheat the oven to very hot–450 degrees.  In a stand mixer, cream butter, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.  Stir in flour until a soft dough is formed.  Press this dough in the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan–about 1 inch high on the sides of the pan.

Next, beat the cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer.  Add egg and vanilla and pour onto the crust in the pan.

Then, combine the apples, cinnamon and remaining sugar in a large bowl.  Layer over the cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle the almonds on the top.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Then, LOWER the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake another 20-25 minutes until done.  Cool before removing from the pan.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.  Makes 6-8 servings. Other options for serving include–add whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or even a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Holiday apples

A new year 2017 is here and I have so much to share.  I have been cooking, baking and testing many recipes the past couple of months. And, I have found dozens of new treats. In fact, I have a stack of ideas that are just waiting to jump onto the pages of angelfoodgarden. The past seven years, I have used this blog to share recipes with my family and friends, and as an easy way to record what recipes have worked for me and have tasted great.  I have found it a fun way to look back and enjoy some of our best meals. So, Happy New Year to you as you join me in cooking, baking, and sharing in my gardening experiences in 2017.

And today, why not start with something so simple like oven baked apples?  No, not another apple crisp recipe, but just apples.  Sometimes, something as simple as slicing and baking a fruit can be so delicious.

For this easy recipe for the holidays, I used three Gala apples, sliced them, and placed them in a baking dish.  I sprinkled them lightly with cinnamon and sugar.  Next, I placed a few dots of stick margarine on top and placed the dish in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  They were delicious for one of our holiday dinners, served with ham and twice baked potatoes.  More apples could be prepared based on the quantity of people being served. So much great texture and better than making applesauce.

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Other options for preparation could include– using brown sugar, a splash of vanilla, or any combination desired. Also, these apples could be served with a dot of whipped cream.

 

October apple crisp in a slow cooker

Fall is here in Michigan, which allows me to welcome back my slow cooker for everyday recipes.  I have two different Cuisinart cookers, as they accommodate different recipes throughout the year. The multi-cooker is a larger version of the traditional slow cooker.

This recipe makes about eight small servings of apple crisp and I was able to go outside and enjoy the Fall weather while this one was cooking indoors unsupervised. It took about 3 1/2 hours for this mixture to achieve tender and delicious apples.  I made my own fresh vanilla ice cream too, or it could simply be served with whipped cream.

To make this recipe, gather these ingredients:  5 medium Gala apples, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup Quaker oats, 1/2 cup sugar free butterscotch pudding mix dry, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/3 cup stick margarine cut into cubes.

Cut, core and peel the apples, and place in the slow cooker.  In a small bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients.  Sprinkle over the apples.  Cover and cook on low for at least 3 hours and check the consistency of the apples.  If not tender, continue to cook for another 1/2 hour. Delicious served warm, but this recipe easily will refrigerate and can be served several days later warmed in a microwave.  Tastes like Fall to me.

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Almond apple crisp

 

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One of the best gifts I have ever received was a cookbook from a friend who knows how much I enjoy my own kitchen garden.  She gifted me with The Complete Kitchen Garden, by Ellen Ecker Ogden, who is the co-founder of The Cook’s Garden, which is a seed catalog filled with Heirloom varieties and other hard-to-find seeds for gardeners in America.

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This autographed book has become an instant treasure in my home as I look through it and enjoy not only the various garden designs and tips, but the amazing recipes.  One recipe that I tried and will certainly make again is found in the section on patio gardens.

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For cooks who like to garden, here is the recipe:  Gather these ingredients.  Six large apples, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/3 cup Frangelico, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.   And for the topping, gather these together:  1 cup flour, 3/4 sliced almonds, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 stick margarine, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter a deep 10 inch pie dish. Toss together the peeled and sliced apples, cinnamon, ginger, liqueur, and vanilla.  Spread into the dish.

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Next, mix flour, almonds, sugars and salt in another bowl.  Add the butter and almond extract and chop until the size of crumbs, using a fork, pastry blender or food processor. Sprinkle this topping over the apples in the pie dish.  Bake for about one hour until done.

I simply love the almond flavoring in this traditional apple crisp.  Super delicious.

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Hasselback Apples

Fruit desserts are some of my all-time favorites.  One of the easiest fruit desserts has to be this apple recipe.  Be sure to choose a Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apple, as some of the other softer flesh apples will not hold up during the cooking process.  I found this recipe last year in Cooking Light magazine and have moved it up in my list of tasty simple desserts.

Decide how many people will be served, and make the according number of apples, with one per guest as the standard serving size.  In less than one hour, everyone will have a heated dessert served with either vanilla ice cream or whipped cream that they will forever remember.

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Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.  Peel, core and halve each apple, and then place cut side down in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Make even slices throughout the apple, making certain not to go all the way down to the baking dish.

Next combine an equal number of tablespoons of sugar and butter, along with 1/2 the amount of cinnamon.  Brush this mixture over the apples.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the apples are tender.

Finally, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons rolled oats, 1 teaspoon flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.   Fan open the apple halves and spoon this mixture on top of the apples.  Bake again for another 10 minutes.  To finish the cooking process, broil for 2 minutes and serve warm.

This is a cozy dessert.  Serve when you have lots of time to savor the flavor and the warmth of the fruit. Yum.

 

A very Mickey Halloween

A week ago we traveled to Disney’s Epcot to experience the Food and Wine Festival which is celebrated each year for several weeks during the Fall.  We had a wonderful time experiencing the countries around the World, as well as many terrific restaurants throughout the various parks.  We did make reservations in advance, because it was a busy time of year for adults. We did see many younger children, but nothing like when taking a trip to Disney during the summer months.

I wanted to share some of the desserts that are featured during the Fall that are especially Disney.  Almost at every turn, there is a bakery with seasonal Mickey treats.  I have been to Orlando 8 times for visits over the years, and three times to Disneyland.

However, I have never been during the Fall season.  The bakeries are filled with caramel apples, Rice Krispie treats, marshmallow treats, and beautifully decorated Fall sugar cookies.  Yum.  Here are some photos to enjoy and inspire for your next year’s Fall baking.