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Fall Baking Composed of Apples, Cinnamon, and Yes, Oatmeal

When a faux wire apple filled with scented fall potpourri triggers a craving for dishes composed of the ingredients, it's a sure sign fall baking should commence. Turns out, finding foods with elements of the fragrant items, especially apples and cinnamon, wasn’t hard at all. And, there are several fragrant hot beverages in the same irresistible category.

Apple cider doughnuts was the first craving triggered after breathing in the tantalizing scents emanating from the wire apple. If you recall, making the apple-cinnamon treats became somewhat of an obsession for me last fall.

I embarked on a doughnut-making frenzy after discovering a pan that would allow for baking, not frying, the dough to a light and slightly-crunchy goodness before rolling in brown sugar.

Those delightful memories caused me to unearth my doughnut pans from the back of the cabinet in preparation for fall 2017 baking. Further reminiscing led to my grandmother’s recipe for Dutch apple pie. It’s hard for me to play favorites among her desserts repertoire, but this one comes close. Packed with sliced apples and cinnamon and topped with a crunchy crumble topping of butter and brown sugar, it’s the ultimate apple pie for bakers of all skill levels. And, it’s downright delicious. Drop me an email and I’ll share the recipe.

New on the list is an apple cobbler recipe that combines the traditional apple filling with a topping composed of one of my favorite cookies, sugar, and cinnamon-infused snickerdoodles. Other apple-cinnamon combos on my favorites list are apple turnovers, strudels, tarts, fried apple pies, apple cake, and fried apples.

The last item on the list contains the word "fried," but thankfully for those of us trying to avoid the health consequences of the frying process, it’s healthier than it sounds.

To make it, melt a quarter cup of butter or butter substitute in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 8 sliced Granny Smith apples, 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Sauté mixture under tender and golden brown, 10-15 minutes. It’s a delicious base for vanilla ice cream, as a topping for hot pound cake, or as a solo treat.

I love my apple cider doughnuts, strudels, pies, and all the rest of the fragrant fall baked goods. But, like many others, I try to include healthy ingredients into my diet whenever possible. Keeping cholesterol at an acceptable level is an ongoing goal and according to most health experts, eating old-fashioned oatmeal is a super food. Try as I might, I don’t enjoy it in its pure form.

Luckily, I found a delicious way to incorporate oatmeal into an apple-cinnamon dessert. It’s light, healthy and believe it or not, now on my apple-cinnamon favorites list.

Have My Healthy Oatmeal and Enjoy Apple Dessert, Too

4 medium Granny Smith apples, sliced into thin pieces

1 small lemon

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup butter or butter substitute, softened

1 tablespoon of low-fat milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 8-inch square glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Grate 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon peel and squeeze two tablespoons of lemon juice. Stir and combine peel and juice with sliced apples in the baking dish.

In a separate bowl, stir remaining ingredients until well mixed; sprinkle over apples. If mixture is too dry, add a little more milk.

Bake 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender.

Recipe doubles easily.

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