Please, sir, I want some more [apples]

This is going to be another post about apples, but since Mom gave you Pan de Muertos and a unique yogurt syrup recipe and Janessa gave you shredded pork chili and an Irish coffee recipe, I hope you won’t mind.

By the way, this is what happens when your boyfriend finds a spider in the bottom of a shopping bag, and then proceeds to kill said spider with apples. I couldn't make this up if I tried.

I sometimes have this little problem: I will be sleeping soundly, when all of a sudden my stomach wakes me up and demands that it be fed. Once when I was about eight, I had long gone to bed when my dad decided to make some popcorn at 11 at night. Bad idea, Dad. The smell wafted down the hall into my room, waking me up and causing my cloudy-from-sleep brain to think the clock said 11 in the morning.  I leapt from the bed and ran down the hall, freaking out at my parents for letting me sleep in and miss school. (No matter that if it were actually 11 in the morning, my parents would be at work and would not be making popcorn. And it wouldn’t be pitch dark outside. …I also have this weird zombie/sleepy haze thing going on sometimes.) On the bright side, I was able to munch on some popcorn and then return to sleep, happy and content that I would not be missing school.  (I also had this nerdy thing going on. Yes, had.)

Now that I’m all grown up (ish), the problem has worsened. Sometimes I wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning, inexplicably starving, and then for the life of me can’t fall back asleep. You see, once I realize I’m hungry, I start thinking of what I have in the kitchen to eat. This reminds me that we still have a lot of food in the freezer and pantry that needs to be consumed, somehow!, before we move to Washington, D.C. And then that gets me all nervous about my job and internship search, thinking of all the things I can do and all the things I know and all that education I have and how, thus far, I got nothin’. All of this makes me wonder if I should add a post script in my cover letters, stating something like “By the way, I make delicious baked goods and will bring them in to the office at least once a week. Hire me. Please.” In sum, if you give this mouse a cookie, she’ll go insane.

Until now. I no longer have to zombie downstairs with droopy sleep-eyes and rummage through the fridge mumbling “Just a biiite.” I found this recipe a while back for Apple and Oat Drops, and knew they would be just the little bite I would need to satiate my tummy, for at least a few hours. They have that great flavor of baked oatmeal but in a little, incredibly moist morsel. And, with no added sugar and just a tablespoon of oil, they’re actually good for you. They’re also vegan; if you’d like to make them gluten free, I think just making sure your oats are gluten free, substituting the wheat flour for almond flour, and not using the wheat bran would do the trick.

Apple and oat bites, adapted from this

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran (optional – I really just added it because it was taking up pantry space)
  • 2 large apples (I used Granny Smith), coarsely grated
  • 1 tablespoon mildly flavored (aka not Olive) oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used a mixture of chopped dates and dried cranberries)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium sized bowl, mix together everything but the dried fruit and nuts. Mix in the fruit and nuts (it’s easiest if you use your hands). Let mixture sit for 15 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop the batter onto the sheet in big tablespoon-sized plops. You can place them close together, just not touching, as they won’t spread during baking.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, until light golden brown.
Let the bites cool on the pan – they are fairly delicate, so let them sit on the pan or they might fall apart. Store in an airtight container for, um, a week or so.

This recipe only used two apples and I still have a lot to go through, so I decided to also make a small batch of applesauce – the sweet kind this time. After looking through a few applesauce recipes I decided I knew what I was doing and started peeling and chopping away. A few recipes I found snuck some ginger into the sauce, and since I have half a knob of ginger just chillin’ in my freezer, I threw some of that in too. Instead of using water as a cooking liquid, I used fresh apple cider. Just to continue with the experimenting, I also dashed a little cayenne in – just enough to make you think. Going back to the traditional, I threw in some cinnamon, cloves, and a little raw cane sugar for good measure.

Oh it is good.

Gingered applesauce

  • 5 medium apples – I used 4 Granny Smith and then 2 small mystery apples
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons finely minced (or grated) ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick, snapped in half (more if you want more cinnamon flavor)
  • 4 or 5 whole cloves, bundled in cheesecloth or a coffee filter
  • a few dashes of cayenne (optional)
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons raw cane sugar, or to taste
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup fresh apple cider, or water

If you are the proud owner of a food mill or this, you don’t need to peel or core the apples; just roughly chopped will do. If you would like a food mill for Christmas but it’s still October, peel and core the apples, then roughly chop.

Place everything except the cloves bundle into a large pot or sauce pan and stir to mix. Put the clove bundle in, and be careful not to let the cloves fall out (or, tie the bundle with some kitchen string and be carefree). Cook over medium heat, stirring fairly often, until the apple are quite soft and falling apart, about 20 – 30 minutes. If all the liquid evaporates or things start to stick, add more cider or water. Take out the cinnamon sticks and clove bundle. Depending on your desired consistency, either mash everything with a potato masher, or blend with an immersion blender or other blender. Taste and add more sugar or spices to your liking. Let cool and place in an airtight container. Keeps for a week, or probably longer.

Kara

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