Wednesday, September 20, 2017

14 Favorite Apple Recipes

I get so excited about the local September apple scene! I live in the state that developed the Honeycrisp apple, so there’s plenty of regional pride to go along with all those bushels of delicious, fresh, crisp, sweet, tart, all-around-wonderful apples.

And so I’ve put together a list of my favorite sweet or at least sweet-ish recipes from The Messy Apron Archives that feature apples, apple cider, and applesauce. There are quick breads, cookies, cakes, desserts and other delicious dishes in this list, many of them requiring an oven, but not all.

To start, there’s breakfast with:

For sweeter breakfast or afternoon snacks:

More quick bread and cake:

Cookies and bars:

More desserts:

And “The Rest”:

Lucky for me, fresh and uniquely delicious apples are available in local markets well into the coldest months, so I have plenty of time to make and enjoy these old favorites as well as try new recipes. I hope you enjoy apple season as much as I do!

Monday, September 4, 2017

12 September Favorites

My favorite September recipes are kind of a jumble of different delicious things. Summer is usually still around for a while, but I’m doing different things with the seasonal fruit and vegetable bounty, like roasting, stewing, and making pies. I still make salads, but many of them are of a heartier, main dish style. And fall tailgating gives me just the right excuse to make savory snacks, even if I tend to tailgate from the couch.

Of course, my absolute favorite fruits of September are the dozens of locally-grown apples I cook with, bake with, and eat out of hand. I’m leaving the apples for another post, however, so other dishes and produce can shine here.

One of my all-time favorite bean salads was in a September post, Cheddar Bacon White Bean Salad. It’s a bit indulgent for a salad with its chopped bacon, cheddar cheese cubes, and walnuts in addition to vegetables, like bell pepper and celery.

I love to use a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes in this Roasted Tomato and Olive Galette.

Potato Sauerkraut Cakes are somewhat unique with as much sauerkraut as potatoes making them savory and delightful.

Back to school may be your thing this time of year. If so (or even if not), these Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Energy Bars may be just the thing for busy mornings, lunch boxes, and afternoon pick-me-ups.

And as September gets older and colder, spicy stews and soups, like Split Pea and Vegetable Curry or Noodle Bowl with Spicy Greens, are good places to warm up the rest of the garden vegetables for deliciously cozy suppers.

Dips like Bean Dip with Sour Cream, Salsa, and Cheese, and Grilled Zucchini and Feta Dip are perfect for your tailgate snack spread. Leave room for a Cheddar Jalapeno Cheese Ball, too.

And a Melon and Lime Cocktail isn’t too bad for washing down those September snacks.

For dessert, something perky like Lime Bars with Graham Cracker Crust is fabulous.

But my favorite September dessert (without apples) is Plum and Grape Galette with Almonds. I love to use little, sweet locally grown grapes and plums to make it.

I promise to get to a discussion of all the delicious recipes using September’s apples soon. If you don’t want to wait until then, you can look them up in the Index. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Barley Flour Scones

I always have big ideas. Big ideas like cooking my way all the way through a great cookbook, tasting every recipe, and having the time of my life. My big ideas rarely survive contact with reality, however, and so my wonderful cookbooks get put aside, victims of busy schedules and procrastination.

The good news is that I did finally get a chance to try another recipe from a book I’d love to bake my way through, Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. (These bars were based on a recipe in this book, as was the multigrain flour mix that I used in these baguettes and this zucchini cake.) I baked a version of the scones in the barley chapter, made with whole grain barley flour and just a touch of brown sugar.

I simplified both the ingredients and the procedure for this recipe. I just kept the scones basic, without the baked-in layer of jam in the original recipe (although that would be great, too), and I made the dough in the food processor. I like to make scone doughs with the food processor, possibly because I’m a little lazy, but more likely because I’m impatient (and busy), and excited to taste final products without having to wait too long.

These scones are wonderfully delicious! They mostly taste of barley flour, which is almost toasty and a little nutty. It’s mild enough that you can also taste the butter and a pleasant hint of salt. There’s just enough brown sugar in the mix to enhance the other flavors rather than make things especially sweet. The scones are pleasantly crumbly, but hold together very well at the same time. Their relative simplicity also makes them great vehicles for fruity jams or lemon curd.

I love to have something quick to grab in the morning when I wake up and stumble my way to the coffee pot. These scones are perfect for that, with the delicate barley flour flavor giving me something delicious to contemplate as I try to wake up. They’re also great afternoon snacks, of course, and, most important, they’re a delicious stop on my slow but determined journey of big ideas.

Barley Flour Scones

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons barley flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup buttermilk
1 large egg
Coarse sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the barley flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse a few times to mix well.

3. Add the cold butter pieces to the flour mixture. Pulse several times until the butter is mostly in pea-size chunks and well-coated with the flours.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg until smooth. Add to the mixture in the food processor. Process just until the mixture can hold together when squeezed. Transfer the crumbly dough onto a well-floured surface.

5. Gently knead the dough together and press into a disk roughly 7 inches in diameter and ¾ inch thick. Cut the disk into 8 equal triangles. Transfer the unbaked scones to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each with coarse sugar.

6. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until the scones appear dry and lightly golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy slightly warm or cool completely. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for a day or two or freeze for a month or so.

Makes 8 scones.