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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Update on Mother Plus Brand New Apple Recipes!

I haven't done any writing or sewing in over two weeks and it is starting to wear on me I think.  I have been working.  And like most things in my life, when I do work, I  tend to work obsessive-compulsively.  So I started out doing inventory for my eBay store and ended up revising, editing, or completely re-listing over 1500 products so far.    I still have hundreds of listings to create, or re-create, for the boxes upon boxes of inventory taking up valuable real estate in my sewing room, but I have been thinning the stock to remove products I know will never sell, so there will be less to deal with. 

Apple Tree - after three years in this location

And, in addition to dealing with the "work" that might eventually make me money, I have been dealing with the "work" of processing the bounty of our yard. My husband has a prodigious green thumb, and even though we did not plant a garden this year, there are still foodstuffs to harvest and preserve. I think I mentioned earlier in the summer about the 20 or so pounds each of strawberries and cherries we harvested.  Well, last week I spent two entire days processing grape juice from about 15 pounds of the grapes from his grapevines that run along part of the front fence.  The last two days have been spent processing the 27 pounds of apples that he picked from the little apple tree in the front yard.  He bought the tree at one of the local big box stores for $15 three years ago and just stuck it in the ground and three short years later we have gotten our money back out of it.  It also provided an extra bonus, apparently we already had an apple tree along the side of our house, but it must have needed another one to cross-pollenate it, because last year was the first time it bore fruit in the 5 and half years we have lived here.  He still hasn't picked the ones on that tree yet, so I will have more to process once he does.
Grapes - up close and personal

Grape Vines on Front Fence

Anyway, I ended up with over two gallons of grape juice, which the boys just LOVE!  I froze 9 quarts of apple wedges for future baking needs, and we made a half gallon or so of fresh apple juice!  Now making the grape juice is easy, I have done that many times, and while it is time consuming and rather messy the way I do it there is not anything hard about it.  I just throw the grapes in the blender to smash them up, and then squeeze the resulting mush through a series of colanders and cheese cloth until I get a clear juice.  I even froze about 1/2 gallon of the grape juice in ice cube trays so we can have some later too.

But making apple juice was a whole new thing.  It was, of course, my husbands idea, so he looked up directions on the internet and told me what to do.  We filled one of our biggest pots two within an inch or two if the rim with apple wedges, with enough water to let them all move freely when stirred, I brought it just to a boil on med-high heat, then turned it down to low and let it bubble slowly for 2 or 3 hours, until the apples started falling apart.  Then we mushed them with a potato masher and let it cool off.  Next we took a piece of cheese cloth and dumped a bunch of the gooey apple gunk into the middle of it and squeezed the juice out into a clean bowl.  We save the goo that was left in the cheese cloth and put it all in the blender.  We strained the apple juice twice through the cheese cloth, and then ran it through one of those re-usable coffee filters.  My husband did add a little sugar, as our apples aren't a very sweet variety, and a little water, but the resulting juice is absolutely delicious!

Now we had a blender full of pulp leftover from making the apple juice, and since we had peeled and cored the apples prior to cooking them, I couldn't let that go to waste!  So I pureed it into the consistency of baby food and put it in the refrigerator until I could figure out what to do with it.  My husband suggested an apple cookie, so I used part of it to make some Apple Oatmeal Cookies (recipes to follow), and then I decided to make some Quick Apple Cinnamon Rolls, an Apple Oatmeal Cookie Cake, and some Carmel Apple Icing to go over the rolls and the cake.  Of course, my luck being what it is, when I had the cookies half made in the bowl I found out I had no flour! So, being the queen of making due with what I have, I used Bisquick in all of my recipes, because that is what I had plenty of.  I spent most of the day yesterday in the kitchen concocting these recipes, but I did manage to use up all the puree, and everybody liked the results so I call that a good day!  You could add raisins to any or all of these recipes (except the icing of course) and that would be really good, but my kids don't like raisins, so I can't do that.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 c. apple puree
2 1/2 c. Bisquick Baking Mix
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 c. oatmeal

Cream together butter and sugars well.  Beat in eggs, vanilla and apple puree until well blended.  Combine Bisquick with spices and then add to mixture and blend well.  Stir in Oatmeal.  Drop by Tablespoonfuls on greased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Apple Oatmeal Cookie Cake

Spread half the cookie dough in the bottom of a well-greased 9" square pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Let cool and frost with Carmel Apple Icing.

Carmel Apple Icing

1/2 c. butter
2 c, brown sugar
1/4 c milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c apple puree
3 - 4 c powdered sugar

Melt butter over low heat, stir in brown sugar and let boil for one minute until it starts to thicken.  Remove from heat, slowly whisk in milk a little at a time, and then the vanilla, and finally the apple puree.  Place 3 cups Powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl, slowly beat in enough of the liquid until you get a thick, but still slightly runny, frosting-like consistency.  Spread over cake or rolls while still slightly warm.

Quick Apple Cinnamon Rolls

3 c. Bisquick
1/4 c milk
1 c. apple puree

Filling
1 c. apple puree
1/2 c. cinnamon sugar 

Mix ingredients together, adding additional Bisquick as needed to make a firm dough.  Roll out dough into a 9' x 15' rectangle.  Spread with 1 c. apple puree and then generously coat with cinnamon sugar mixture (brown sugar and cinnamon probably would have been even better, but I was tired and we have premixed cinnamon sugar in the cupboard so that is what I used).  Carefully roll up along longest side and pinch the edges to seal it into a roll.  I slide plain waxed dental floss under the roll and then cross it over on the top and pull to cut the slices, but however you want to do it, slice the rolls about 1 - 1/1/2: thick and then place cut side down in a deep well greased cake pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 -30 minutes and allow to cool slightly before spreading Carmel Apple Icing over the top.  Best served warm.

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