Apples are the iconic suggestion of autumn, there is no doubt. On a teacher’s desk on the first day of school, in an orchard, just waiting to be picked while leaves wisp around in the background, or baked into a warm brownie, topped with ice cream and homemade caramel…yeah, they’re pretty good.
As I’ve said 6,903 times, I hate to bake. But recently, my sister and her boyfriend Bryan (with a Y!) got engaged (!!), and so to celebrate, I invited them over for dinner, and of course – dessert. There is one thing in the world that will get me in the kitchen baking, and that is celebration. Cakes, brownies, pies – they all seem celebratory. Certainly nothing I would eat on an average Wednesday, anyways.
A quick trip to the farmers market yesterday morning left me with three pounds of apples, and a few ideas. But first off, let’s talk about this:
I mean, I love a local apple as much as the next Virginian, but dagg on, if this bag isn’t just trying to slap Washington in the face . . .
Anyways, I had been reading my November issue of Martha Stewart Living that morning, and had noticed in the back, without much regale, a little recipe for apple brownies. And brownies are like baking for idiots. Perfect. I had everything I needed on hand, now that I had apple poundage, so I got started. Here’s the recipe, taken directly and without edit, from the MSL website.
- 1 stick salted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for dish
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 large firm-sweet apples (about 1 pound total), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 3/4 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center position. Generously butter an 8-by-11-inch baking dish.
- Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and egg with a mixer until pale, about 2 minutes. Add walnuts and apples, and stir by hand until combined. Add flour mixture, and stir until combined, about 30 seconds more.
- Spread batter in pan, and bake until golden brown and slightly firm, about 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 30 minutes, then cut into 12 bars.
Bars can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days.
I used one Gala apple and one Johnagold, just to mix it up. I also used half stevia and half raw, organic sugar to reduce some calories, as if it mattered at that point. And if you’re not into eating brownies (because you’re an inhuman, soul-less, communist serial killer? I mean, really, who doesn’t like brownies?) then make this recipe purely for the way it makes your house smell for several hours.
I served them with homemade caramel sauce (also super easy to make), and vanilla ice cream, or frozen yogurt – we’re not sure. The labeling on the carton was very confusing. I also whipped up some spiked hot apple ciders with a splash of the caramel sauce to go with the brownies. Home run.
The one thing I will note, if you make this recipe, the batter looks like nothing but apples, and if you’re a baking amateur, like me, then you may freak out that they are going to be no brownie and all apple, but somehow it works itself out.
What are your favorite fall-inspired apple recipes? Do you go apple picking? What’s your favorite kind of apple (mine’s the sun!)?