Recipe Corner: An Apple a Day

Apple picking is the quintessential fall family activity. But what to do with all the delicious fruits of your labor when you get home? These recipes will help you use up those crisp apples and leave your home smelling like the start of autumn.

Homemade Crockpot Apple Butter

apple butter
6 pounds of apples
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
a pinch or 2 of ground cloves

1. Peel, core, and slice all 6 pounds of apples.
2. Toss apples into the Crockpot along with all the rest of ingredients and stir. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until apples are very soft, stirring every hour or two.
3. When the apples are cooked through, puree them in a blender or food processor. Depending on the size of your processor, you may need to puree in several batches.
4. Refrigerator or freeze. Makes 4-6 cups.


Healthy Cinnamon Apple Chips

apple chips
1 large or 2 medium apples thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Lay apple slices in a single layer on lined baking sheets and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon.
3. Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours.
4. Once you remove the slices from the oven loosen them from the parchment paper and they will crisp up even more.


Easy Apple Pie Bites

apple pie bites
⅓ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted
⅓ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into 8 (1/2-inch) slices
1 (8-ounce) can Pillsbury Original crescent rolls

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Unwrap the crescent roll and separate the triangles.
3. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
4. Evenly spread butter onto each triangle.
5. Sprinkle each triangle generously with sugar and cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle with the pecans or walnuts, if using.
6. Wash the apple and cut into 8 equal slices. Place a piece of apple on each triangle of dough (on a wider side) and roll it in a croissant shape.
7. Arrange crescent roll bites on a cookie sheet. Spread the remaining butter on each crescent roll croissant and sprinkle with additional sugar and cinnamon.
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Homemade Apple Cider

1 orange
10 medium apples (use a variety if you can)
3 cinnamon sticks (or 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon)
2 teaspoons ground cloves
granulated sugar

1. Peel the orange and place the segments in the slow cooker. (Pictures show unpeeled- I prefer peelng it. Less bitter.) Wash the apples, cut into quarters, and place in the slow cooker. Add the cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, and sugar. Add enough water to cover the fruit.
2. Cook on low heat for 6-7 hours. (Or high heat for 3.)
3. After 6-7 hours, the fruit will be very soft. Use a large spoon to mash the fruit and release its liquids. Allow the cider to cook on low for 1 more hour.
4. Very slowly strain the chunky liquid though a fine mesh sieve into a large pot or pitcher. Discard the solids. Strain the cider one more time to rid any other solids.
5. Serve the cider warm. Leftover cider keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days. Warm up on the stove before serving or drink cold.