In my previous post, I shared photos and details on our Sunday apple picking in New Jersey. I had no idea until we were rung up that Keith and I had picked 16 lbs of apples. I also didn't realize until I started chopping up all those apples that I would wind up making apple butter, applesauce, apple pie bread, apple hand pies, and (tomorrow) applesauce pumpkin and banana breads. Sixteen pounds is a lot of apples to find things to do with! In case any of you happen to have a similar orchard struggle, or just want to make some very tasty and delightful-smelling fall recipes this weekend, I thought I'd share all these recipes on the blog.
I'll tell you right off the bat that I did not come up with any of these recipes myself. Some I made exactly according to the site I found them on (noted as "recipe by" source) and some I slightly revised (noted as "adapted from" source). The baking extravaganza started last weekend with the following amazing crock pot recipe for apple butter. I doubled everything and made 1 dozen 8 oz mason jars of apple butter. This recipe is super easy and awesome because she didn't even peel the apples.
Crock Pot Apple Butter (Recipe by My Frugal Adventure)
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 15 mins
- 6 apples of your choice- I used Gala but you can mix and match
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- squeeze of lemon juice
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- Core the apples and give them a rough chop.
- Place in slow cooker.
- Add cinnamon, water and both sugars.
- Gently stir.
- Close the lid and let this cook away for about 4½ hours on low.
- Check it periodicaly to make sure it is still moist and the apples are not dried out. Add more water as needed.
- Remove from Crock Pot after 4½ hours and place in a food processor or blender.
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.
- Puree until smooth.
- If the apple butter looks more like applesauce and doesn't have the rich brown color, just place back in the crock pot and cook for another hour or so on high heat. Leave the Crock uncovered and check it often.
I planned in advance to pack these up and give as holiday gifts, so after making enough apple butter for 1 dozen mason jars, I followed these instructions on sealing the jars for storage.
Home Canning Basics (Adapted from Instructions by My Pantry Shelf)
1. Sterilize jars and lids
Wash jars, lids, and rings in hot, soapy water. Set rings aside. Place lids in a small saucepan. Cover in water. Boil at least 5 minutes. Leave in hot water until ready to use. Submerge empty jars in boiling water in canner or large stock pot for 10 minutes. Leave in boiling water until ready to fill.
2. Fill jars, wipe rims, and screw on ring and lid.
Remove sterile jars from boiling water bath. Place right side up next to stove. One by one, fill jars using a ladle and canning funnel. Leave 1/2 inch head-space. Wipe rim clean using a damp clean towel. Take sterile lid from saucepan (I use a fork to pick them up) and place on clean rim. Screw ring on until finger tight. (Don’t crank it tight with your whole hand. You want the seal to form from the processing and not from your brute force).
3. Process in boiling water bath.
Lay washcloth on bottom of stockpot, then fill stockpot with water (at least one inch above tops of jars). Set jars in stockpot and turn stove to medium heat. Be sure tops of jars are submerged by at least one inch. Make sure water is boiling, then boil for amount of time dictated by recipe (Alanna's note: I lowered heat to medium-low and boiled for ten minutes). After time has elapsed, turn off stove and allow jars to cool down while remaining in stockpot for additional fifteen minutes. Set dry cloth on counter before removing mason jars from stockpot and set on cloth. After several hours, check lids for seal. If sealed properly, button on lid will be sucked down. If lid is not sealed, keep jar in refrigerator. You can generally keep a sealed jar on the shelf for one year. Be sure to label jar clearly with contents and date. A Sharpie pen works great on the lid.
After packaging and labeling all our jars of apple butter, I still had a lot more apples left. I decided to make another batch of apple butter, but instead of pureeing those baked apples, I turned them into apple pie ingredients instead. I followed the apple butter recipe for the cooking portion, then adapted this recipe for Apple Hand Pies (my favorite of the baking extravaganza!).
Apple Hand Pies (Adapted from "Salted Caramel" recipe by Just a Taste)
Yield: Makes 24 (3-inch) hand pies
Prep Time: 1 hour (includes chilling)
Cook Time: 15 min
or quick prep, buy two frozen Pillsbury pie crusts. For the filling:
- Use diced apples that were cooked in Crock Pot
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- Egg wash (1 egg lightly whisked with 1 Tablespoon water)
Make the filling:
- In a small bowl, combine the apples and flour, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
Assemble the pies:
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unfold it onto a well-floured surface, rolling it out to a 14x14-inch square.
- Using a 3-inch circular cookie cutter or cup, cut out as many circles as possible. Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting out circles until you run out of dough, ensuring you end up with an even number of circles. (You should have approximately 48 3-inch circles.)
- Place six of the dough circles on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Spoon a small portion of the apple filling into the center of each circle, leaving enough of a border around the filling. Place a second dough circle atop each filled circle then use a fork to crimp the edges together, sealing each pie.
- Brush each pie with the egg wash, and using a sharp knife, cut two or three vents on the top of each pie.
- Bake the pies for about 15 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
- Remove the pies from the oven and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Repeat the filling and baking process with the remaining dough circles.
If you have apple pie filling leftover, you can also make apple pie bread using the following recipe.
Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread (Adapted from recipe by Wishes and Dishes)
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
- 1 cup of diced apples that were cooked in Crock Pot
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup milk (I used almond milk to keep dairy-free)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans (I baked mine in one larger pan and then sliced into smaller loaves). Beat eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated; add vanilla extract and diced apples, stir until incorporated.
- Combine flour and baking powder together in another bowl; stir into apple mixture. Mix milk into batter until smooth. Pour batter into the prepared greased loaf pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Mine took about 45. If you notice it getting too brown on the top, cover it loosely with tin foil and continue baking until the inside is done. Enjoy!
I froze the apple hand pies and apple pie bread, so if you're looking to do something similar, I recommend checking out these freezing tips by Don't Waste the Crumbs. After all that baking, I still had a decent amount of leftover apples, and realized that the ingredients for applesauce are actually pretty similar to apple butter. So lastly, I whipped up a batch of crock pot applesauce adapting the same recipe shared earlier from My Frugal Adventure (added more water, less sugar and cinnamon). Even though I could have stored some of the applesauce similar to the apple butter, I decided instead to also bake and freeze some loaves of applesauce-based breads for once the baby arrives. I'll share those recipes in the next few days!
We are going to have a lot of baked goods come January, so in the next two months, I also plan to freeze some entrees as well. I'll be sure to share those here too, and post-baby, let you know how everything came out after being defrosted and reheated.