Another week when I rarely saw my kitchen. This is actually how I began my recipe quest years ago. I love food, love to cook, but between work, travel, pets and crazy hobbies, complicated, time consuming recipes had little appeal for me. I had a few tricks up my sleeve to make cooking fit my schedule and while I was married I had fun expanding my repertoire. After my divorce, I noticed a lot of my friends were too busy or too intimidated to cook, so I started creating quick and simple dinner menus for them…which turned into a little business that then morphed into this blog.
My only rules – a short list of fresh ingredients that were quick to cook. I searched out recipes I could adapt to fit those requirements without losing flavor. So that’s how we got here to the recipe exchanges. Tonight it’s about apples. I have a drawer full of them right now. Mostly I’m content to slice one up and eat it (after sharing half with Bixby, who still favors apples over almost any other treat). Eventually I’ll start to bake with them and when I do, tonight’s featured recipe will be my first dessert.
Other ideas include:
Bourbon Baked Apple Crisp (pictured above), click here for the recipe.
JeffreyW’s Cinnamon Apple Syrup, recipe and photos here, or his Praline Apple Bread, here
Butternut Apple Soup, recipe here.
And the dinner menu this week, which includes Herbed Fettucini and a Sliced Apple Salad (photo below and click here for menu and recipes).
If you want a chuckle, here are two recipes where I did not follow my own advice and will never do again: Apple Butter and Dried Apples – quick and easy they were not. What’s cooking for you this weekend? Doing any fun fall activities like apple picking or a corn maze? Don’t forget share your favorite fall recipes, apple or otherwise.
For tonight’s featured recipe, I wondered what would happen if I added caramels to my favorite apple crisp. It was amazing. Great flavor without being too sweet. I reduced the sugar to adjust for the caramels. Since I began making fruit crisps in my cast iron skillets, it’s the only way I prepare them, but if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the cooked apple mixture to a glass baking dish, add topping and bake that way.
Cast Iron Caramel Apple Crisp
- 2 lbs apples – mix of sweet and tart (about 3 apples)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- dash of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to taste
- 10 caramels, unwrapped
- 2 tbsps of cream
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
- 1 cup flour
10 inch cast iron skillet and small mixing bowl
Core and cut apples into small pieces (about 1/2 inch). Peeling is optional, but with this method the peels cook nice and soft, so it isn’t necessary and I think they add great flavor.
Melt butter in skillet, add apples and sugar, stir until apples are well coated. Cover and cook on medium heat until apple mixture is soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally. About 20-30 minutes.
While the apples are cooking, melt the caramels and cream over medium heat, stirring until smooth. If you spray the pan with cooking oil before melting caramels, cleanup is easier. Pour over apples just before adding crumble mixture.
In mixing bowl, stir together butter, sugar, flour and oats, mix until crumbly. Crumble over the apple mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven, just until top is crispy golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes and serve warm.
What makes this so good is that because the apples are cooked on the stovetop, you can use a much higher heat in the oven and get a good, crisp top without drying the whole mixture out or under cooking the apples. Really, this is one of the best apple crisps I’ve made.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend – TaMara