Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Apple Crisp

Last Thursday I had lunch out with my mother and one of my sisters.  Dessert was included, so I made a beeline toward what I thought was apple crisp, but turned out to be bread pudding.  Don't get me wrong, I love bread pudding, but since I had already set my taste buds for apple crisp, I was sorely disappointed.  So disappointed that I sought solace from the chocolate pie instead. 

On Saturday I noticed that the Granny Smith apples in the crisper were not quite as crisp as they had once been, which made me think I should bake something with apples.  That decision was heavily influenced by the Thursday of Apple Crisp Despair, I am sure. 

I turned to Baking with Brother Boniface (1997) for inspiration.  I hate to think that a book from 1997 might be considered vintage, but I'm going to cheat a little here by pointing out the cover photo: both the tree and Brother Boniface would definitely qualify.

This is a nice little baking book with mostly-from-scratch recipes (there are a few that call for cake mixes) ranging from the very simple, like this apple crisp, to more challenging recipes such as the Mepkin Abbey Cinnamon Buns.  The recipes use ingredients that are easy to obtain and the instructions are clear without being overwhelming.  I think it would be a great book for someone just learning to bake. 

Now on to the crisp!

I didn't weigh the apples, but I'm pretty sure I had less than three pounds, possibly a little less than two pounds.  In all, I had three large Granny Smith apples, plus two Honeycrisp apples.  Pink Lady apples are my favorite eating apples, but I haven't been able to find them lately.  Someone recommended Honeycrisp apples, but they are too sweet for my taste. I like my apples like I like my friends: a little on the acidic side.

Because of the sweet Honeycrisp apples, I substituted lemon juice for half the water.  I also wanted oats and cinnamon in the topping, so I used some of the cinnamon in with the apples and mixed the rest in with the topping, adding 1/2 cup of oats to the mixture.

Chambers 90C stove range
The house smelled so good while this was baking!
Mmm-mmm!  This really hit the spot!  The only things I would do differently next time would be to make sure I have some vanilla ice cream on hand to serve with it.

Apple Crisp (Printable recipe)
adapted from Baking with Brother Boniface, Recipes from the Kitchen of Mepkin Abbey, 1997
  • 3 pounds of cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9-inch round baking pan.
Toss apples with lemon juice and water.  Place in the prepared pan and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.  Using a pastry cutter or fork, mix the butter, flour, sugar, oats and remaining cinnamon together until crumbly.  Spread over the apples.
Bake at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes.  Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cinnamon Logs

Last week there were seven estate sales, which is a big number for this area.  I didn't find many things, but I did nab this 1952 cookbook at one of the sales:

A quick internet search tells me that "Prudence Penny" was a recipe request column for Hearst newspapers.  I always enjoy storing a new bit of trivia in my brain.  I just wish I could remember the name of someone I met five minutes ago as easily as I remember the useless information!

The book seems to be composed of several of the old Culinary Arts Institute regional cookbooks, plus sections for "General Auxiliary Recipes" and the "Cosmopolitan America Cook Book."  The Cosmopolitan section is only fourteen pages long, so apparently not many regions were considered cosmopolitan back in the day.

I am so going to have to make oliebollen sometime!
The estate sale companies don't divulge much information about the estate owner, but I noticed that several of the cookbooks were written in Japanese.  I know this only because one of them  had both Japanese and English versions of each recipe and stated that the other language was Japanese.  I had to wonder how the cook ended up in our smallish Texas town.  I'm sure that is an interesting story.

Okay, on to the actual cooking...

The last time I posted about Cookies by Bess, a grandchild of Bess Hoffman was kind enough to comment on my blog and to suggest that I try the Cinnamon Logs recipe. I wanted to try them immediately, but I accidentally misplaced the book for a few months.  It somehow ended up mixed in with the gardening books and I didn't stumble across it until I needed to look up something plant-related.  I feel really bad about interrogating Mom so harshly now...

chambers 90c stove range

These are really nice - delicate, not too sweet, with a nice cinnamon-sugar flavor, almost as if someone had combined Mexican wedding cookies and cinnamon toast.  The small size and light texture keep them from being filling, so it is easy to nibble several without feeling guilty (because really, who can eat one cookie? Not I!). They also seem to get even better on the second day and store well for several days. These are going straight onto my "make again" list.  Thank you for the recommendation, PSherm!

Cinnamon Logs (Printable recipe)

from Cookies by Bess (1980) by Bess Hoffman

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 300F.
Mix well in order given.  Shape in rolls about 1/2 inch in diameter.  Cut in little logs about 1 1/2 inches long.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool slightly.  Roll in sugar.