Baked Apples (Week 8)

Rachel Wunsch | Blog

As a 6-year-old experiencing a baked apple for the first time, it was a strange concept. Bake an apple?? Weird. This memory was from my grandma Thieleke’s house when she was still alive, and a long time passed before I had a baked apple again. Baked apples are easily overlooked, and for how effortless they are to make, I don’t know why they aren’t more popular. (Like, ridiculously effortless.)

I’m a traditional sort of gal, so you’ll find this to be your traditional, straight-up version of a baked apple, utilizing the classic brown sugar-raisin-walnut combo. (My personal fav. Good on oatmeal too!) This recipe is a lovely option if you’re looking for a healthier dessert or afternoon snack. If you’re looking for a little extra sass, top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon. 

Join me next week; just two weeks left in the fall foodie series!

BAKED APPLES

Ingredients
– 4 large apples (any baking apple will do; Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty or Jonagold are good options)
– ⅓ c. brown sugar
– 1 t. cinnamon
– ⅓ c. chopped pecans
– ⅓ c. raisins
– 1 T. butter
– 1 c. boiling water

Directions
– Once apples are rinsed and dried, remove cores using a small knife or apple corer. This creates a hole for the stuffing. Be sure to leave about a half inch of the bottom intact. Scoop out remaining core and seeds.
– Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and raisins in a small bowl. Once mixed, stuff an equal amount into each of the apple cavities you just carved.
– Place the stuffed apples into a sturdy baking dish and top the stuffed area with a slice of butter, dividing the 1 Tbs. between all four apples.
– Pour the boiling water into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake at 375′ for 40 minutes or until the apples are cooked through and tender, and the skin begins to crisp.
– Don’t ignore the juices from the pan – use to baste apples! So delish.

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Chewy Molasses Gingersnaps (Week 7)

 

Rachel Wunsch | Blog

Depending on where you draw the line between fall and winter on the spectrum of food, gingersnaps can go either way. The first gingersnaps I knew of came in a round metal tin, were thin and delightfully crisp. If you held them up, you could even see the light coming through, and I’m pretty sure we ate them any time of year. But I mean who really cares when you eat them, a cookie is a cookie. That being said, I probably wouldn’t bake gingerbread men and ladies in the summer… But if you wanted to, I wouldn’t judge.

The reason I bother mentioning this is because as they baked in the oven today, the effervescent fragrance of cinnamon and ginger filled the kitchen and had my wheels involuntarily turning over thoughts of the holidays… “Siiilllllver and gollllld, silllllver and golllllllld…!” But like, pump the breaks, right?!, because even Thanksgiving is still a good two weeks away.

This recipe is inspired by my high school art teacher (who ROCKS by the way), who shared a plateful at her most recent art show in Milwaukee. I found myself unable to stay away from the damn dessert table, possessed by the power of… I don’t know, chewy, delicious gingery cookies I guess. I definitely had more than three at the show and pocketed two more for the drive home – I know, so bad.

These will spice up any occasion, and right now I’m thinking Thanksgiving dinner. While I personally think they’d do a nice complement to the Christmas dinner table, I can’t wait that long.

Enjoy, dear friends!

CHEWY MOLASSES GINGERSNAPS

Ingredients
¾ c. shortening
½ c. white sugar
– ½ c. brown sugar
1 egg
– 
⅓ c. molasses
2 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. ground ginger
– 2 t. baking soda


Directions
– Cream together shortening and sugars using a hand mixer. Add the egg and molasses and beat until smooth. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend.
– Form dough into 1″ balls and roll in white sugar to lightly coat. (I found that the dough is easier to work with if slightly chilled.)
– Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 350′ for 8-10 minutes.
– Cool on a wire rack, and try a few to make sure they’re good. *wink*

 

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Apple Crisp (Week 6)

Rachel Wunsch | Blog

Have you ever missed an ingredient and realized it too late? This happened to me with this very apple crisp recipe, and it wasn’t until it was baked and half devoured that I realized something was off. For there being only a few ingredients in apple crisp, it’s miraculous I still managed to forget the butter. All I have to say is do not (ever) leave the butter out of this recipe. For if you do, I can’t guarantee its awesomeness.

Papa Wunsch makes an apple crisp that I particularly adore. Not too sweet, not overdone, and you can even convince yourself that the apples make it healthy. Ha. The forgiving part about making apple crisp is its void expectation to look attractive or hold a certain shape when served. It’s allowed to fall into a beautiful apply-cinnmony heap on your plate, judgements aside because all anyone can think about is getting to that crisp because it is probably fresh out of the oven…

And it is darn good out of the oven, but like lasagna it’s almost better the next day. See for yourself.

APPLE CRISP

Ingredients
5 c. apples / peeled, cored, sliced thin
½ c. oats
½ c. flour
¾ c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
⅓ c. cold, unsalted butter / sliced into thin pieces

Directions
– Fill a greased 8x8x2” pan with the sliced apples.
– Mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, then pour evenly over the bed of sliced apples. Place the slices of butter on top, evenly spaced.
– Bake at 375’ for 30 minutes and once the top is golden-brown. 

I made this recipe while watching the Packers lose an upsetting game against the Colts, and in my irritated distraction chopped up enough apples for a double batch… So I had a double batch of apple crisp. I wasn’t mad.

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Pumpkin Chai Latte (Week 5)

Rachel Wunsch | Blog

I signed up for monthly emails from Glitter Guide last year and what a great decision that turned out to be. GG sends out the best stuff, from hot new summer reads, to beauty products that work, to (the best part) seasonal food inspiration including irresistible fall recipes. HELLO! Gimme all those fall treats, please. 

A recipe from a monthly GG email caught my eye last year, and I just never could seem to get around to making it. But give me anything Chai and you have my full attention. I should suggest one precursor to the success of this recipe – to dismiss any preconceived notions you may have of how a Starbucks chai tastes. They have it down to a science, guys. And well, I don’t. But this recipe is reeeal good in all its creamy, autumny goodness and it will make all of your little endorphins smile.

If you have your own special fall latte recipe that you love, please do tell! Secrets like that are meant to be shared. This recipe makes one latte, so double it up and invite a friend over. 

PUMPKIN CHAI LATTE

Ingredients

– ¼ c. liquid sweetened chai tea
– ¼ c. brewed coffee
– ⅔ c. almond milk (or substitute your preferred milk), divided
– 2 T.
 sweetened pumpkin purée*
– 1 cinnamon stick

Sweetened Pumpkin Purée*
– Mix the following ingredients in a saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes, or until fully incorporated and heated through: 2 T. pumpkin purée, ½ t. sugar,  t. pumpkin pie spice.

Directions

– Start by making the sweetened pumpkin purée as listed above.
– Once complete, add into the same pan the liquid chai, brewed coffee, ⅓ of the almond milk, and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until heated through and to your desired drinking temperature.
– Meanwhile, froth the remaining ⅓ almond milk using an aeorlatte. If you don’t have one of these contraptions, don’t worry – simply add the remaining almond milk to the pan and simmer with the rest of the ingredients. The final result will appear similar to the mug in the background of the image above.
– Pour simmering liquid into your favorite mug, top with the frothed milk and garnish with the cinnamon stick. Voila! 

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Cinnamon Applesauce (Week 4)

Rachel Wunsch | Blog

After five and a half years together, I convinced Joel to go apple picking – a major victory for me. I kept my cool all the way to the orchard, but once we paid for our half bushel-sized bag and set out towards the trees, I was practically giddy. Joel described me as a 6-year old in terms of level of excitement. But that’s what fall does to me – the air, the smells, the colors… It’s too much!

I turned into a happy child frolicking through dewy morning grass. The sun happened to be shining that day too, and there was a new chill in the air for the first time in the season. I think it’s safe to say we were both feeling particularly energetic, refreshed and just happy to be outside.

I did a fair amount of apple picking growing up, also picking strawberries, sugar snap peas, pumpkins… Getting your hands dirty to pick something right from its source is somehow so refreshing in terms of perspective. I don’t know about YOU, but I absolutely take grocery stores for granted.

So with a half-bushel of apples in tow, turning a few into homemade applesauce was a no-brainer. I won’t lie to you, depending on how much you decide to make, this could tie you up the kitchen for hours… Peeling, slicing, coring and boiling. But for those of us who find this kind of labor to be therapeutic, it just makes sense for a day when you want to slow down. The smells of boiling apples and cinnamon are enough incentive for me.

CINNAMON APPLESAUCE

Ingredients
– 10 Macintosh or Cortland apples / peeled, cored, sliced (the softer the apple, the smoother the sauce; choose accordingly)
– 2 c. water
– 1 c. brown sugar
– 1 t. cinnamon
– ½ t. nutmeg 

Directions
– Boil the apples and water for 10 minutes, or until apples are very soft.
– Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
– Heat to boiling again to incorporate all ingredients evenly.

Aaand, done. Enjoy warm or cold. Serving alongside vanilla ice cream doesn’t hurt.

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