Butter and spread on an English muffin.
is coming, as you know if you look at a calendar or have
seen any episode of "Game of Thrones."
make up for all the cold, the sleet, the shoveling and the
misery, Nature gives us a little gift. Every fall we are
blessed with apples.
success as a doctor-repellent is legendary. You can’t make
all-American pies without them. And they can be a vital
component in anybody’s eye.
of all, they are crispy, sweet and delicious. Except the
tart ones. Those are crispy, tart and delicious.
Delicious apples are delicious.
apple lovers, this is the best time of the year. The markets
are full of what seems to be an unending variety of apples,
from Pink Lady to Braeburn, from Idared to Empire, from
Criterion to SweeTango to Grimes Golden.
can just bite into them all, if you want. But apples are too
good to be solely eaten out of hand. They should be cooked,
too, or at least used uncooked as part of a treat that is
even better than plain apples.
speaking here about caramel apples, one of the most glorious
delights of the season.
can make caramel apples by taking those cellophane-wrapped
caramels, melting them and dunking apples into them, but
that’s not really satisfying — and it’s not nearly as
good as making them yourself.
caramel is the key, and making it is not hard, but you do
need a candy thermometer. An accurate candy thermometer. A
few degrees off and you get caramel that either slides off
the apple or a crispy — not chewy — caramelized shell.
secret is to calibrate your candy thermometer. Just boil
water and see what it registers on your thermometer. If it
reads 212 degrees, you’re fine. If it reads 206 degrees,
you’ll know to add 6 degrees from every temperature it
this simple trick, and you will be rewarded with chewy,
delicious caramel apples that are a perfect autumnal treat.
apple-related entree, I made one of my favorite recipes. It
combines chicken, apples, onions and Dijon mustard, and I
agree with you: It sounds awful. It sounded awful to me 25
years ago when I first discovered it in a Glamour magazine
cookbook, and it still sounded awful to me every single time
I have made it since then, and there have been many.
are four ingredients that should not play well together. And
yet, I keep coming back to it because the recipe is so good.
I have no idea why the ingredients blend together with such
harmony, but they do.
of all, it is simple and fast to make.
butter takes considerably longer to create, but patience
while cooking is often a virtue.
butter is one of those pleasures I came to appreciate only
as an adult. When I was a child, I didn’t understand why
anyone would bother with apple butter when they could have
jam. But with age comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes apple
apple butter is glorious, but it takes a keen sense of
proportion to keep all the flavors in balance. You begin
with tart apples, Granny Smiths, which must be peeled, cored
and sliced. These are initially simmered in a lightly sweet
mixture of apple cider and water until they are soft enough
to be passed through a sieve.
of brown sugar is added, along with lemon juice and zest.
But the tricky part comes from the proportion of spices —
cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Too much spice makes the
butter bitter, but a light hand with them will turn these
common ingredients into something spectacular.
forget the English muffin. For some reason, apple butter
always tastes best on an English muffin.
apple-based dessert, I paged through a cookbook by Jacques
Pepin and found a recipe for caramelized apple timbales that
is a star in the culinary world, a celebrity chef before
there were celebrity chefs. He and his friend Julia Child
are largely responsible for popularizing French cuisine in
America. If he had a recipe that I couldn’t get to work, I
figured the fault was not in the culinary star but in
tried to make it again. And again. And again. Each time it
came out tasting like mushy baked apples. After four tries I
decided to throw in the apple-stained towel. This is simply
a dish to forget.
leads us to another bit of wisdom:
bad apple recipe doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.
apples, preferably Granny Smith
craft sticks or chopsticks
chopped pecans, peanuts or nuts of your choice
heavy cream, divided
cup light corn syrup
stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
teaspoon vanilla extract
This requires an accurate candy thermometer. To check yours
for accuracy, boil a small pot of water and use your candy
thermometer to find its temperature. If it reads above or
below 212 degrees, you will have to adjust your reading
accordingly. For instance, if your thermometer reads the
temperature of boiling water as 217 degrees, you will have
to remember that your thermometer reads 5 degrees higher
than the actual temperature.
Wash and completely dry the apples. Insert a stick into the
stem end of each. Pour nuts into a bowl and set aside.
a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a candy thermometer. Over
high heat, cook 3/4 cup of the cream, the corn syrup, butter
and sugar to 246 degrees (this is the firm ball stage). At
this point, the syrup will be golden. Remove from the heat
and carefully swirl in the remaining 1/4 cup of the cream
and the vanilla. Use caution; this is very hot and it may
After the bubbles have subsided but the caramel is still
hot, dip and turn the apples into the caramel to coat and
let the excess drip off. Dip the bottoms into the chopped
nuts. Arrange the apples on a nonstick or waxed paper-lined
cookie sheet and let cool. Note: If the caramel becomes too
thick to dip the apples, reheat it over low heat, stirring,
until it can again be poured.
serving: 621 calories; 32 g fat; 15 g saturated fat; 72 mg
cholesterol; 3 g protein; 87 g carbohydrate; 77 g sugar; 6 g
fiber; 34 mg sodium; 57 mg calcium.
from a recipe by Wayne Harley Brachman, via Food Network
IN APPLE-MUSTARD SAUCE
boneless, skinless chicken breasts
medium onion, sliced
garlic clove, minced
teaspoon dried thyme leaves
teaspoons Dijon mustard
apple, cored and sliced
Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of waxed paper.
With dull side of a heavy knife or the bottom of a heavy
skillet, pound chicken breasts to flatten to about 1/2-inch
Over medium-high heat, heat butter in a large skillet.
Sauté chicken about 3 minutes on each side until golden.
Add apple juice, onion, garlic and thyme. Cover and cook 10
to 12 minutes or until chicken is tender.
Remove chicken; keep warm. Heat liquid to boiling. Add
mustard to skillet. Stir until well blended. Add apple
slices. Pour sauce over chicken.
serving: 261 calories; 9 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 88 mg
cholesterol; 27 g protein; 17 g carbohydrate; 12 g sugar; 2
g fiber; 191 mg sodium; 27 mg calcium.
from "Glamour’s Gourmet on the Run," by Jane
About 5 1/2 cups
pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered
sugar as needed, around 2 1/2 cups
teaspoon ground cloves
rind and juice of 2 lemons
Cook the apples in the water and cider over medium-high heat
until soft. Pass through a food mill or force through a
sieve. Measure the purée and add 1/2 cup brown sugar for
each cup of purée. Add the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, rind
and lemon juice and cook over very low heat until thick and
dark brown, stirring occasionally. To test if it is thick
enough, put some in a mound on a spoon and move the spoon
away from the heat. If it is still in a mound after 2
minutes, the apple butter is done. This may take 3 to 4
hours or more.
apple butter is not to be used within 1 week or so, boil
canning jars with 2-part lids, completely covered with
water, for at least 5 minutes. Remove from the water without
touching them on the rims or inside, and allow to dry. Fill
these jars up to 1/4 inch below the top with the apple
butter and seal with the two-part lids. Return jars to
boiling water that covers them by at least 1 inch, and boil
for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. If the lid is not
sucked down a bit by a vacuum, refrigerate and use the apple
butter inside within a week or so.
tablespoon) serving: 33 calories; no fat; no saturated fat;
no cholesterol; no protein; 9 g carbohydrate; 8 g sugar; no
fiber; 2 mg sodium; 7 mg calcium.
from Washington State Apple Commission