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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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Fall Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes

One of my favorite things about the Fall are the warm, inviting smells. Bring on the pumpkin, the spice and everything nice! I have to admit that I’m a HUGE candle lover, but I’ve come to love Young Living essential oils for their therapeutic properties and also for diffusing. Not only does my house smell amazing, but by using essential oils you are avoiding all of those toxic chemicals that come with store bought candles and room sprays.

Here are a handful of my favorite diffuser recipes for this upcoming Fall season. Fill your house with these wonderful smells and enjoy every moment of this crisp Fall season!

Fall Cheer Recipe

Fall Cheer Recipe

2 Drops of Orange
2 Drops of Clove
2 Drops of Ginger
2 Drops of Lemon


Fall Fire Recipe

Fall Fire Recipe

2 Drops of Orange
2 Drops of Frankincense
2 Drops of Cinnamon


Mulled Spice Recipe

Mulled Spice Recipe

3 Drops of Orange
3 Drops of Cinnamon
3 Drops of Ginger


Autumn Fresh Recipe

Autumn Fresh Recipe

4 Drops of Lemon
3 Drops of Lavender
3 Drops of Rosemary


Cozy Flannel Recipe

Cozy Flannel Recipe

4 Drops of Bergamot
2 Drops of Orange
2 Drops of Stress Away


Orange Spice Recipe

Orange Spice Recipe

5 Drops of Orange
1 Drops of Clove
2 Drops of Cinnamon

Need some more good smells to fill your house? I have the perfect Fall Apple Crisp Recipe just for you! Fill your house with the smell of Apples and Cinnamon.

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Chocolate Stuffed Chip Bars

Confession: I have an extremely large sweet tooth. So when I was tasked with making a dessert for an upcoming housewarming party, you better believe I jumped at the chance. I wanted a dessert that would be loved by the masses, relatively simple to make and easy to transport. Well, you can never go wrong with anything chocolate and bar cookies seem to be a no-brainer.  The answer; Chocolate Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. And yes, chocolate is in the name twice! This cookie bar recipe is as if a chocolate chip cookie hugged a Hershey’s chocolate bar. How sweet is that?

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted Challenge Butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
7 full-sized Hershey bars

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DIRECTIONS

  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often until it becomes brown in color. It will foam, reduce, then foam again. Once it’s done cooking the foam is a light brown and it will dissipate after you remove it from the heat. Make sure when it starts to brown to keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. Let sit for 5 minutes to cool.

 

  • Pour the butter mixture into a mixing bowl, while still hot. Add both sugars and mix with an electric beater on low until combined. Let sit to cool for a few minutes.
  • While butter mixture is cooling, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to incorporate and set aside.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, to the butter/sugar on a low setting until it’s completely incorporated.  Add in vanilla extract. Incorporate the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.
  • Line a 9×13” baking pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray for easy removal.
  • Press half the cookie dough in the prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top of the bottom layer (be careful to leave about 1/4” edge around the pan so the milk doesn’t touch the foil), Lay the full Hershey chocolate bars over the top, lining them up across the pan. Spread the remaining cookie dough and place on top of milk. Press with your hands to flatten. It will mostly cover but not completely cover the bottom layer.
  • Refrigerate pan for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until the tops of the bars start to get golden brown. Cool completely before slicing into bars.

 

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More Dessert Recipes

Need more recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth? Check out these sweet treats:

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Double Fudge Brownies >

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Banana Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting >

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Refreshing Pineapple Mango Sorbet

Is this Summer flying right by, or is it just me? I’m trying to squeeze every last moment and morsel out of my favorite season and just before I have to utter the words “Kids, it’s time to go back to school”!  One of my favorite new recipes has all the wonderful punchy flavors of Summer, Pineapple Mango Sorbet! The flavors are bright, the color is cheery and texture is simply divine. This sweet treat has become an instant favorite at my house and with only 4 ingredients, super simple to make.

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Unlike most summer treats, sorbet is dairy-free, which makes this lactose intolerant girl grin from ear to ear! This super easy recipe is a great alternative to ice cream and can be simply altered with different fruit to please anyone’s picky palate.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups packed cubed fresh pineapple

2 cups packed cubed mango

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or 4 drops of lime essential oil & 2 tablespoons of water)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add pineapple, mango, sugar, and lime juice to a blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into a shallow plastic air tight container and chill in the freezer for 4-6 hours, or until firm.
  3. Let the sorbet soften slightly before scooping. Serve and enjoy!

 

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RECIPE TIPS:

  • Use ripe mango and pineapple for the best flavor.
  • Keep sorbet in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
  • Don’t like Mango or Pineapple? This recipe can be easily altered. Try other seasonal fruits like: strawberries, bananas, peaches, and raspberries.
  • Lime or lemon juice adds a little extra punch to sorbet. If you don’t have a fresh lemon or lime on hand, essential oils can work just as well. Add 2-4 drops of your favorite citrus essential oil.
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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.