Ah, fall. Most of us would agree that this is the best season of the year. The kids are back into the routine of school, things have calmed down in the garden, the weather hasn’t turned too bad yet (in fact, we’re having near-record temperatures in Central Ohio), and the countryside is erupting in the most beautiful colors on Earth.
It’s also that time of the year when all the coffee shops around town are boasting PSLs, and it frustrates me a bit that I even know what a PSL is. If you don’t, just google it, and you’ll find an array of flannel-and-legging-and-puffy-vest-and-knee-high-boot-clad millennials frolicking in a corn maze and holding green and white latte cups, which is some sort of status symbol nowadays. Pumpkin spice drinks, pumpkin spice desserts, pumpkin spice beer (OK, my husband brought a few bottles of this home, and I must admit, was pretty good), and pumpkin spice everything is on the menu.
But I’d like to take a moment to give my favorite fall flavor a shout-out: apple! A few weeks ago, I harvested some really nice “State Fair” apples from my humble orchard. These apples did the best for me this year, thriving on my total neglect. I had enough apples to make a pie or two, which to me, is a victory, considering the obnoxiously rainy spring we had.
“State Fair” apple trees are hardy to zone 4 and, because they aren’t too particular about soil type, grow well in a variety of landscapes, even urban settings, as long as there is good drainage and full sun. A slow to medium grower, these apple trees usually grow to about 20 feet tall, with a 20-foot spread.
Be aware that for good fruit set, “State Fair” should be planted near another apple variety. Apples are ready for harvest around the beginning of fall, or mid- to late-September. There seems to be mixed reviews online regarding the storage time of “State Fair” apples, but most references probably average around two months. I’d rather just make a few pies or red candy cinnamon apples for the freezer to have on-hand for a quick dessert when I’m short on time, or use these to make cider or combine with a sweeter variety to make applesauce.
After all that baking, I was down to a couple apples that didn’t quite make it into a pie. Now, “State Fair” apples are akin to those “Granny Smiths” we all know and love for our baking. They’re acidic and tart, and to me, too tart to eat alone. And I really didn’t want to buy apples just to make another pie.
So I came up with this recipe that really reminds me of the crunchy, delicious topping that makes apple crisp so, so good. It’s a great recipe for when you’re down to your last apple and you want a decadent treat. It’s full of butter, sugar, spices, and flavor! I’m sure once you get a taste, you’ll dump that run-of-the-mill PSL and give apples the recognition they deserve.
Apple Crisp Cookies
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon rum extract (OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup chopped dried cranberries (OR raisins)
- 1 small apple, chopped
1. Combine softened butter with sugars, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices.
2. Mix in eggs and extract.
3. Add flour and oats, stirring to just combine.
4. Add chopped cranberries and apple.
5. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes to firm.
6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Scoop one-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. I like to slightly flatten the cookies.
8. Bake 8 - 10 minutes, or until just set in the middle.
9. Allow to cool, and drizzle caramel sauce, or add a squirt of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream just before serving.
Corinne Gompf is a writer and hobby farmer in Morrow County, Ohio. She is a graduate from the University of Toledo, with a BA in English, creative writing concentration. Along with her husband, Matt, and two children, Fletcher and Emery, Corinne raises poultry, Boer goats, rabbits, and chemical-free produce. Connect with Corinne on her Heritage Harvest Farm Facebook page.
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