Fall is one of my favorite times of the year….pretty much because I’m a basic bitch that just wants all things pumpkin, flannel, and ugg. The past few years I haven’t fully embraced the wonders of the season as I have wanted to, so this year I created a fall bucket list to make sure I did all the things I have missed out on the past few years. Here’s my fall to do list!
Naturally, I took care of that pumpkin donut right away….I had to!
Once that pesky donut has been crossed off the list, I decided I wanted to tackle the apple farm next. I’m fortunate to live in a part of Ohio where I have a ton of great apple orchards nearby, which made my decision of where to go somewhat challenging. Finally I decided on Rittman Orchards, a local orchard that many of my friends recommended. I was not disappointed.
Rittman is a great local farm that I strongly recommend to those in the Cleveland/Akron area. While we went to get apples, they also have a great market and pumpkins to pick as well. From a price perspective, apple picking was very reasonably priced. We were given a bag that cost $19 to fill it up with the apples available that day .The day we went we were able to pick Red Delicious, Melrose, and Jonagold apples, and trust me….we got our money’s worth. Check out how many apples came home to our house that day! And your eyes aren’t deceiving you….they were huge apples!
So what did I make with all these apples??? I made lots of stuff, including two of my favorite recipes that I want to share with you today: Easy crockpot apple butter AND apple dumplings.
If you are a fan of apple butter (who isn’t), you have to try this recipe. It is super simple and turns out so, so, so good!
Katie’s Apple Butter
-6 lbs apples (I use a mixture of apples…my favorites are pink ladys, honey crisp, and Melrose apples, but you can use any kind)
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1 tbl cinnamon
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tbl vanilla extract
How to make:
Core and peel all apples, cutting into slices and placing in a crockpot. Mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and sugar, then toss apples with the mixture. Cook on low in your crockpot for about 10 hours. After the 10 hours is up, stir in vanilla and smash up any larger apple pieces that still are visible. Cook on low for an additional 2 hours. Allow the apples to cool, then puree in either a food processor or with an immersion blender. Store in airtight containers in either your fridge or freezer! This could double as a great gift or housewarming present, too!
When it comes to apple dumplings, I have two recipes I go between. The first is one that is much more sugary and calorie filled; the other not nearly as heavy with sugar. Since I have been trying to limit my sugar intake to just my donuts, I opted to make the healthy-ish version this go round. Again, this is a simple recipe that everyone always loves and is a great fall dessert.
For the apples:
-Puff pastry sheets (found in the frozen section at your grocery store) . If you prefer, you could make your own dough instead of purchasing it.
-6-8 medium sized apples (go for tart)
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-6-8 tbl unsalted butter
For the syrup:
-2 cups water
-1 cup granulated sugar
-3 tbl unsalted butter
-1/4 tsp cinnamon
How to make:
Preheat oven to 425 and spray cooking dish with nonstick spray. Core and peel apples (this is a great time to buy an apple corer if you don’t have one). Set aside. Prepare the syrup by bringing 2 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar, 3 tbl butter, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a medium heat and allow to simmer until it becomes thicker and more syrup-like. In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
Cut your pastry sheets into squares (I can get four squares per sheet with the store bought kind). I set one square aside for later, so I typically make 7 at a time. Place one apple on a square, filling the core with the sugar mixture and a bit of butter. You have butter freedom here….use as much as you want or as little as you want. Bring pastry points up over apple to wrap it, tucking the ends into the core cavity. Moisten with a little water to seal, then place in a baking dish. Repeat with remaining apples.
Pour the syrup over the apples once all have been wrapped. You can pour excess around the dumplings as well. I get next level with mine and use a cookie cutter and some extra dough to cut out a small leaf to top the dumplings, and I like an extra sprinkle of the cinnamon sugar mixture here, too. You can do something similar if you choose, or just go without. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown. Serve with the syrup warm and if you want to get crazy, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.