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October 3, 2022

9/23/2022 10:36:00 AM
Bobbin' for apples

It’s officially apple season in the Norton household, as Aly has been cranking out her famous homemade apple sauce, and we’ve been picking apples at our neighbor’s house, a friend’s house, and now my in-law’s house who  moved a lot closer to us this summer from Warroad.

We’ve had a lot of apples in our baskets the last couple of weeks, and we’ve made a lot of the standard fare, but I even tried a new, curious recipe the other day that I’m using first here, and it was pretty dang good!

Here’s to the apple picking season, and crisp fall weekends in Minnesota. Whenever we are in the middle of a -30 stretch in the winter and people ask how we can live in this state. These days are the answer. These beautiful, colorful, fresh fall days. Enjoy them while they last!

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3 slices bacon
1 small onion, chopped
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 c. unsweetened apple juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 c. shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
2 slices rye bread, toasted
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Chopped fresh chives, for topping

Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool slightly, then roughly chop. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the pot.

Increase the heat under the pot to medium high. Add the onion, apples and potato and cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are soft, about eight minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potato is soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in all but two tablespoons of the cheddar until melted. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree. Return to the pot and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Spread the bread with the mustard and sprinkle with the reserved 2 tablespoons cheese. Broil until the cheese melts, about 30 seconds, then cut into 1-inch squares. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the bacon, chives, cheese croutons and more pepper.

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I used this recipe last year, but it was a popular one, and it tastes so good that I decided to use it one more year. It was the heavily requested favorite apple cinnamon cake that has been a hit with anyone who tried it!

Apple Cake
1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 c. red apple, peeled and roughly chopped (approximately one apple)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. Greek yogurt

Cinnamon Topping
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter, melted

Sugar Glaze
1/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1–2 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line an 8 or 9 inch round cake tin with baking or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar. Add chopped apple and stir briefly to combine.

In a separate bowl, add eggs, vanilla, oil and yoghurt. Whisk briefly just to break up the egg yolks.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently mix with a wooden spoon until combined – but be careful not to over mix. Spoon batter into prepared tin.

To make cinnamon topping, combine cinnamon, sugar and butter. Mix together until lumpy and wet. Sprinkle over cake batter.

Bake cake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the glaze, mix together sugar and one tablespoon of milk. Stir until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add an extra tablespoon of milk. Drizzle glaze all over the cake.

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Although this recipe sounds like a side, it’s much more of a dessert still, since it is apple and cinnamon and sugar and they are fried! It also makes a good snack for kids on the weekend!
Vegetable oil, for frying
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled
1/2 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 c. heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a large wide pot over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 300 degrees F. Cut the apples into 1/2-inch-wide sticks to look like fries.

Working in two batches, toss the apples in the cornstarch until well coated, shaking off the excess. Fry in the hot oil until softened but still pale, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer; let cool. Let the oil return to 300 degrees F between batches.

Mix 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon in a shallow bowl; set aside. Beat the heavy cream, vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl with a mixer until medium peaks form.

Increase the oil temperature to 375 degrees F. Working in about three batches, re-fry the apples until crisp and lightly browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove to paper towels to drain briefly, then toss in the cinnamon sugar until well coated. Serve warm with the whipped cream for dipping.

TFD: “It's the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow even-ings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!”
- Winnie the Pooh

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