Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Apple Cookies
I’m not sure what happened to all of my cookies. These lasted all of two hours before they vanished.

Apple Cookies
I restrained myself from eating the dough, which was no easy feat.

Apple Cookies
And they definitely came out of the oven…

Apple Cookies
They made it to the cooling rack. But then?

Apple Cookies
One by one, they disappeared!

Huh, I guess I’ll just have to make more.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies
Makes approximately 36 cookies

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal (this is the amount before blending), blended
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 to 2 large apples, chopped

Preheat oven to 375F

Start by making oat flour. Place 2 1/2 cups of oatmeal into a blender or food processor. Pulse on low until the oats resemble gravely sand.
Cream butter, applesauce and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla.
Add flour, oats, baking powder and baking soda and mix. Add the apples and gently combine.
Drop onto a cookie sheet or stoneware pan, and bake 15 to 20 minutes, just until golden brown.

These cookies are perfect on their own, but you can add vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for an extra decadent dessert.

A new take

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Remember those bacon things?

Sometimes I like to mix it up, without having to work or think too hard.
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Quick and easy, same steps, sweet not savory.
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Should I be calling these apple turnovers?
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That just doesn’t seem like something I’d do.

Call something by its proper name? Not me!

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Breakfast just got fancy.

I made bacon things and apple things, which is why there’s bacon in the photos. I briefly considered combining everything into bacon/apple things, but I was lazy. It will happen soon, don’t you worry!

Apple Things
Makes 8

2 apples (of your favorite variety) sliced thinly
1 can crescent rolls
8-12 tsp cream cheese
brown sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375F.

I’ve made these with baked apples and raw apples. Honestly, there isn’t much of a difference, so if you’re pressed for time, just slice the apples and go.

“Bake” the sliced apples by gently heating them in a skillet or griddle over medium heat. You may want to use a little cooking spray to keep them from sticking.
In the meantime, spread out the crescent rolls. Drop a teaspoon to teaspoon and a half of cream cheese on each. Sprinkle the cream cheese with brown sugar and cinnamon. Top with several slices of apples, and roll up the crescents.
Bake for 16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for several minutes before serving.

Apple Pies

Apple Pies
I know, I’ve made a few pies lately.

But see how these are different?

Look at how adorable these are!
Apple Pies

I mean, come on. Could you resist?
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I sure couldn’t. Which explains why I don’t have a picture of these all plated nicely, snuggling with ice cream.

We ate them before I had a chance to think about pictures.
Apple Pies

Oops.

This is why I had leftover dough for that impromptu dinner.
Apple Pies

Although this recipe is a little time consuming, it’s no harder than making any sort of real pie.

It still involves slicing fruit.
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Rolling out crust and making it look pretty.
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Apple Pies

Mixing fruit and sugar and cornstarch.
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And taking bites with your eyes closed so you can focus solely on each flavor.
That’s my favorite part.

Please give these a try. They’ll impress your friends for sure. And if you don’t want to share, I won’t tell.

Apple Pies
Inspired by Pinterest

1 prepared pie dough, rolled out and sliced into strips
6-8 large apples (really any kind of apple will do)
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling onto the crust
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 or 1/2 tsp cardamom, if desired
1 tsp cornstarch
Juice of a lemon or lime, mixed with 1 cup of water
1 tbsp melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Core an apple, then use a melon baller or knife to hollow out the apple more, being careful not to go all the way through the skin. Make sure you save all the apple bits! Once the apple is hollow, submerge it briefly in the citrus water to keep it from browning too quickly. Turn the apple over to drain. Repeat this process with all the apples.

Slice the apple bits into smaller bits, and then mix them with the sugars, cinnamon, cardamom (optional) and cornstarch.

Place the hollowed out apples in a muffin tin. This will keep them from tipping during the baking process. Fill each apple with the bit mixture.

Take the long strips of pie dough and cut them into 4 inch strips. Then “weave” the strips together to create the square tops. (See this photo for reference) Place one square over each apple. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle sugar over the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes (until the dough is fully baked and the apples reach the desired tenderness). Once the apples have cooled, you can use a fork or spoon to remove them from the muffin pan. Serve with ice cream or a drizzle of caramel.

How about dessert?

Apple Pie

More specifically, how about some pie?

Apple? With caramel sauce and ice cream?

Yeah, let’s do it!

I used local Fuji apples, and they were so juicy and delicious! I’m going to do this again, because this was seriously the best apple pie, but I’m going to use Granny Smith, cause that’s what I’ve got. It’s gonna work, don’t worry.
Apple Pie

I also didn’t follow a recipe. It was probably the wildest thing I’ve ever done.
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Don’t make fun of me. There’s no feeling like the pounding in your heart when you have no guarantee that the pie you’re making could be epic or awful.

I also used cinnamon chips, and I think I need to have them permanently stocked in my pantry. You should too. What can’t you use them for?
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Apple Pie

I ALSO LEARNED THE COOLEST TRICK!!

Sorry for yelling, but this tip changed my life. For real.

Instead of crying over flour and mangled pie crust, roll it between two sheets of plastic wrap.
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Apple Pie

Then all you have to do is gently peel off the top layer,
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flip it over onto a pie plate, and peel off the other layer!
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I know!! Amazing!
Apple Pie

Apple Pie

I took the decadence an extra step this time and brushed the top crust with butter, and then sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar.
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Apple Pie
Clearly I’ve made no New Year’s Resolutions.

Apple Pie

No big deal.
Apple Pie

Cinnamon Sugar Pie Crust
Makes two crusts

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
4 tbsp ice water, plus more if needed

Cut butter into small cubes and freeze for 15 minutes. Combine flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, then add the very cold butter and combine with a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse sand. Sprinkle ice water over the mixture and press the dough together with a rubber spatula. Eventually you will be able to pinch the dough together and have it stick to itself.
Divide the dough in half, press into round disks and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, and up to a day.

Cinnamon Apple Pie

3-4 medium apples
Juice from half of a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Slice the apples very thinly, and then add the apple slices and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Make sure all the apple slices get covered in the lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg and cornstarch together. Add the cinnamon chips and stir them in.
Add the sugar mixture to the apple slices, and make sure the apples get coated in the sugar mixture.
Roll out the first pie crust (see above for rolling instructions, or use a well floured surface), and gently put it in a pie pan. Pour the apple filling into it, and then roll out the next crust. Lay the second crust over the apple mixture, and pinch together and trim the edges. Cut vents in the top of the pie, and brush with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. If the edges look like they’re starting to burn, wrap them with foil. Allow the pie to cool for 1-2 hours before serving. If you’re very very hungry for pie, you can put it in the refrigerator for half an hour before serving. Just don’t melt your refrigerator shelf.

Strawberry Fruit Leather

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Did you know you can make your own fruit leather? I guess I knew that in theory, but it just never crossed my mind as one of those things I’d actually try.

Ok, so this is one of those things that Nick tried. I’m too honest for my own good!

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Fruit leather is ridiculously easy. All you do is boil some fruit in water, puree, and dehydrate.

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Yep. Totally doable.

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We spread ours a little too thin, but that’s an easy fix for next time. Even still, we were able to get some pretty sizable chunks.

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And it all tasted perfect, even the little flakes!

Since Nick did all the work on this one, he earned the right to abscond with the loot (he took it to work with him). At least he shared a few pieces. Next time we will probably do a triple or quadruple batch, just so there’s some the next day. (Fruit leather is hard to keep around with…well…us in the house. We like our fruit leather)
This is one of those infinitely changeable recipes. You can use whatever kind of fruit you want, and dehydrate it all at once. Then you’ll have fruit leather all summer long to bring with you on camping, floating and hiking trips! I’ll give you the recipe we used, and as we make this more often, I’ll post variations. I’d love to hear how you do it, too!

Fruit Leather
**Please wash all your fruit! I hate to sound preachy, but I know more people who don’t wash their fruit than I care to think about.

2 cups strawberries, roughly chopped
2 apples, sliced (we used Pink Lady, cause that’s what we had, but Granny Smith would give a nice bite of tartness)
1 oranges, peeled and segmented
1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Gently boil until fruit is very tender, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer fruit and liquid to a food processor and puree until smooth.  At this point, you should taste the puree to see if it needs sugar.  Most fruit is naturally sweet enough that you shouldn’t need it, but if you have particularly tart fruit or a particularly sweet tooth, add sugar in small amounts until it’s right.
You can use a food dehydrator or your oven–just follow your food dehydrator’s instructions, or set your oven on the lowest setting and bake for about 8-10 hours. Yes, hours. This is a good rainy day project. If you use a cookie sheet, line it with parchment paper and spray or brush a bit of vegetable or olive oil over it.
We didn’t use our Misto this time, but it definitely would have been helpful during the removal process.

When the leather is sufficiently dry, cut into strips and store in an airtight container.

Spring is coming!

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Let’s back up so you can see this properly.

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This was the most epic fruit salad. I even tweeted about it! (Did you know you can follow me on twitter? I’m super hilarious.  Well, I said something mildly funny once, anyway.)

The salad was epic, not only because it was delicious, and huge, but because of the variety.  This many fruits in the same bowl has to mean that spring is mostly here.  (Mostly, because I live in Montana, and we’re known for our June blizzards.  No joke!  I remember snow on the Fourth of July one year.  Yeah, it sucked as much as you think it would.)

We also grilled steak:
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Chicken is still not allowed for awhile, but when beef is this good, I don’t mind.

And to round it all out, our friend made a delicious mac & cheese dish.
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Nothing says warm weather like this:
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And no, that’s not a tricky camera angle. My plate was half full of fruit salad. I’m a fruit optimist 😉

Fruit Salad of Epic Proportions
Serves at least 8, unless you eat fruit salad like we do

2 Granny Smith apples
2 oranges
2 ripe pears
2-3 small bananas
3 cups grapes (your favorite color)
1 pint blueberries
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blackberries
3 cups hulled & sliced strawberries
1 lime

Wash fruit thoroughly! Peel orange and slice sections into chunks. Chop apples, bananas & pears (oh my!). Toss everything but the lime into a large bowl. Slice the lime in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Toss fruit so that the lime juice is evenly distributed. Serve immediately.

We definitely had leftovers. Leftover fruit salad is one of my very favorite things in the whole world. Why? Because you can add it to plain yogurt and eat it as a fruit and yogurt parfait for breakfast! Score.

As the weather gets warmer and fruit is more in season, this won’t be such an expensive adventure.  But really, it’s worth it to feel like spring might stick around.

Enjoy!

Apple Crisp Homecoming

Eating apple crisp is kind of like coming home.  But coming home is not always like eating apple crisp?  Hmm…Nevermind.

If you live anywhere in the vicinity of Griz Country, you’ll know that this weekend was Homecoming.  We take these traditions seriously around here, so Missoula puts together the whole kit’n’caboodle–parades, tailgates, football game, etc.  Last year, I thought I might freeze to death, it was so cold.  But this year was absolutely perfect!  (Welcome to weather in Montana!)  I took far too many pictures to post them all, but I thought I’d give you a brief overview of the awesomeness.  If you’d like to see the complete set, go here.

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There were a lot of upside-down people!

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After the parade, everyone walks to campus…

Where we eat jambalaya and drink free beer…

And then we file into the stadium before the game starts…

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And then we go home. The end.

I’m just kidding!  Then we go home and make apple crisp.

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Apples
Lemons
Butter
Goodness
Crisp
Out of the oven
Apple Crisp

Heck yes!

Here’s the recipe:

Apples–enough to cover the bottom of the pan. I didn’t bother peeling mine because I like the skins.  But you can roll how you will.  I also used my food processor to slice the apples, and it saved a TON of time.  If you’re slicing by hand, 1/4 inch thick. I had very small apples, so it was about 6-8 total
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 Tbsp plus 1 tsp brown sugar
4-6 Tbsp melted butter
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Place the apples evenly in the bottom of a large baking dish coated with cooking spray.
3. Sprinkle the apples with 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp each of brown sugar and cinnamon.
4. Slice 1 Tbsp butter into very small bits, place over top of apples.
5. To complete the crisp, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and stir until the mixture resembles a course meal. (I started with just 4 Tbsp of melted butter and 2 Tbsp lemon juice, but found that the “crisp” wasn’t moist enough. Add more as necessary.) Top the apples evenly with the oat mixture.
6. Bake the crisp at 350°F for 30 minutes.