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A Guide to the Best Baking Apples

It’s that time of year again — apple picking and fall baking! With so many apple varieties to choose from, it can be hard to decide which apple is the best to use when baking. The best baking apples offer a balance of sweet and tart flavors as well as firm flesh that doesn’t break down in the oven while baking.

Sweet juicy baking apples

Here is a list to help when deciding what apples to use in your fall baking.

8 “go-to” apples for the perfect Fall apple dish:

Jonathans

A classic American variety, and widely regarded as one of the best flavored with a good sweet/sharp balance. You’ll recognize Jonathans apples by their deep red-stripe skin and classic apple shape. Grown in many Midwest states, Jonathans are a great apple for pies, juice and cider.

Honeycrisp

The name says it all! Honeycrisp apples are one of the sweetest apples around. They are distinctively crisp and firm, holding their shape while baking. Mix Honeycrisp apples with a tart apple like Granny Smith for a stellar pie packed full of flavor!

Granny Smith

These pretty green apples are tangy and tart with a firm flesh. One of the most popular apples for pie making, pair them with your favorite sweet apple for the perfect flavor combination.

Braeburn

This deep red beauty is spicy and sweet. It’s stores well with it’s firm texture and holds it’s shape well while baking. A great apple to eat raw. It makes the perfect portable snack!

Golden Delicious

This golden beauty is sweet with a thin skin. Golden Delicious apples require less sugar in recipes due to it’s innate sweet nature and breakdown quicker in the baking process. These are the perfect apple if you like your apple pie to have a softer texture. Great sliced in salads and to make apple butter.

Cortland

The cousin to the very popular Macintosh, Cortland’s are sweet with a tart aftertaste for a little kick. This  red, plump apple has a snow white flesh that is slow to brown after slicing.

Gala

This crisp apple has a sweet, mellow flavor. A beautifully marbled apple is ideal for applesauce and is the perfect apple to eat raw.

Macintosh

Sweet and juicy, Macintosh apples have a thick red skin with a soft, meaty flesh. Macintosh apples flesh is softer in consistency and will breakdown quickly while baking. Pair Macintosh apples with a firm, crisp apple like Granny Smith for the ultimate pie combo.

Ok, now that you are educated on all the apple facts, it’s time to make something yummy and I have just the recipe, Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Crumble.
Enjoy ~M

Homemade Apple Crisp

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Maker’s Monday: Gam Gamz Handcrafted

It’s Monday! The day of the week I usually hate, but not now, with the start of House Fenway’s Maker’s Monday. I have something to look forward to at the start of every week. Each Monday is “Maker’s Monday”. I feature a small business and/or artist, their wares and a little bit about them.

Since starting House Fenway 2 years ago, it has always been a fun experience meeting other makers and enjoying their creations. The time and talent that goes into each products made by a small business or artist far out ways anything you could purchase from a big box retailer. This week’s maker is no exception.

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This Week’s Feature:

Hettie is the owner of Gam Gamz Handcrafted and is a master seamstress. Decorative pillow covers to infinity scarves, this girl definitely knows how to sew! Gam Gamz Handcrafted carries a wide range of fabric styles to match just about any decor and is always sourcing new prints to keep up with current trends. Hettie’s speciality, pillow covers, are the perfect inexpensive way to transform a room within minutes. And who doesn’t love that?

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I have several of Gam Gamz Handcrafted pillow covers throughout my house, but my new buffalo-check cover is by far my favorite. It’s neutral without just being boring “Plain Jane” and can easily be incorporated with seasonal decor from Halloween to Christmas.

From now until Sunday September 30, 2018 use exclusive promo code MAKER18 and receive 15% off your purchase at Gam Gamz Handcrafted.

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Love shopping small? Check out another one of my Maker’s Monday shops;
The Vintage Nest

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Vintage-Inspired Fern Necklace from The Vintage Nest

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Double Fudge Brownies

Double Fudge Brownies

Brownie recipes are much like chocolate chip cookie recipes, everyone seems to have their own favorite recipe and thinks theirs is the best. I get it. There are so many variations and are a standard dessert go-to for many. I personally like my brownies chewy and dense. (Oh, and super chocolaty *duh*) After doing some “brownie research” for this post,  I concocted a Brownie recipe that is chocolaty, chewy and even had a secret ingredient to elevate the chocolate flavor —INSTANT COFFEE! I made a batch of these brownies this weekend. My boys were licking their plates to get every last crumb and morsel. A true sign of a recipe gone right!

P.S. The coffee is totally optional, but must say it does give it a great boost!

Prep time: 15 mins   Cook time: 30-40 mins
Total time: 55 mins  Servings: 16 brownies

Ingredients

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp instant coffee diluted with 1 tsp of hot water (or 1 tsp of coffee extract)

3 eggs

1 yolk

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

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Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 9 x 9 inch square pan. Set aside when done.

  2. Place the butter in a heat-proof bowl and microwave until butter is completely melted.

  3. Add the brown sugar, white sugar and salt while the butter is still warm. Mix to combine the butter and sugars together until you have a smooth consistancy.

  4. Add the vanilla, shot of  instant coffee (or coffee extract) , eggs and egg yolk to the butter and sugar mixture. Whisk in the eggs until they have been incorporated into the butter sugar mix. With a hand mixer, approx.  2 minutes until the mixture is well combined and is light in color.

  5. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder together.

  6. Add the dry mixture of flour and cocoa powder into the wet ingredients and mix it in until just combined. Add about ⅔ of the semi-sweet chocolate chips halfway through the mixing in of the flour. The goal is to make sure the batter is not over-mixed when the flour is being incorporated. Important: Do not over mix!

  7. Spoon the batter into the 9 x 9 pan. Spreading the batter evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the semi-sweet chocolate chips on top.

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  8. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes. If you like your brownies fudge-like, stick closer to 30 minutes. If you like you brownies a little more well done, 40 minutes.

  9. Remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. Brownies that are chilled are easier to cut.

  10. Cut the brownies into squares with warm knife and serve.

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Fenway Serving Tip
: Drizzle with chocolate syrup, a dollop of whipped cream and lightly sprinkle with cocoa powered for an impressive presentation.

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Vanilla 1/2 Pound Cake

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There is nothing better than a “made-from-scratch” Sunday dessert. Pound cake is not only an easy recipe, but with slight ingredient varations, can be extremely versitle! Pound cake refers to how the cake was traditionally made. The recipe usually called for a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. Honestly, that’s a lot of cake —so I split the recipe in half. Here is my version on a vanilla 1/2 pound cake. Just as yummy on a much smaller scale. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

Baking Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan; set aside.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla and salt. With mixer on low, gradually add flour, beating just until combined (do not overmix).

Bake about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  (tent loaf with aluminum foil if it’s browning too quickly). Let cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack, and turn upright to cool completely.

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Expert Serving Tip: Finish with freshly cut fruit ( I love strawberries) and a vanilla bean soy whipped topping.

Have a sweet tooth?

I’m a dessert lover myself. Here are a couple other dessert recipes from my blog I recommend:

Double Fudge Brownies

Yummy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

There is nothing more comforting than a fresh batch of oatmeal raisin cookies in the cookie jar. This simple recipe, brings back all the feelings of childhood.  The flavor, the texture and the faint scent of cinnamon.

Ingredients

1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats

1 cup raisins

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How to make


STEP 1
Heat oven to 350°F.

STEP 2
Combine brown sugar and butter in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Incorporate eggs, water and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed. Add all remaining ingredients except oats and raisins; blend with hand mixer at low speed until completely mixed. Fold in oats and raisins.
STEP 3
Form tablespoon-sized rounded balls and place 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely and store in air tight container.

 

Have a sweet tooth?

I’m a dessert lover myself. Here are a couple other dessert recipes from my blog I recommend:

Double Fudge Brownies

Yummy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting