The days are growing shorter, the nights are cooler and the parade of local apple varieties ready for harvest has begun.
Apples and autumn are irrevocably linked in Bucks County and New Jersey, and there are plenty of varieties to choose from.
Fans of Honey Crisp are already finding this popular apple in local markets, but they should move fast because the season is short. Those who love Staymans and Winesaps for baking are willing to wait for them to ripen, although other pie apples already are available. Just ask the farmer; they know best.
In the United States more than 100 kinds of apples are grown commercially, with about 15 accounting for most of that production. Nature has created many additional varieties – there are more than 7,500 varieties grown around the world.
Bucks County farms that grow apples include Penn-Vermont Fruit Farm and Bedminster Orchard in Bedminster, Wildemore Farm and Tabora Farm near Chalfont, Snipes Farm in Morrisville, Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, the Market at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, and Manoff Market Gardens and Solebury Orchards in Solebury. Near the county border, Bechdolt’s Orchard in Hellertown, Northampton County is known for its apples. In Princeton, N.J., Terhune Orchards grows dozens of varieties and has family farm weekends through October.
We all have favorite ways of cooking and baking apples, but here is a new idea from kristineskitchenblog.com:
Apple Pie Breakfast Cookies
For the apples:
2 cups finely chopped apple
¼-inch pieces (no need to peel)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the cookies:
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
1 cup oat flour*
½ cup ground flaxseed (or more oat flour)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the apples, 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook over medium-low heat, about 10 minutes, until apples have softened.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together oats, oat flour, flaxseed, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the applesauce, honey or maple syrup, egg, and vanilla. Whisk in the melted butter.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry and stir until combined. Fold in the cooked apples and their syrup.
6. Scoop rounded ¼ cup portions of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, using your hands to shape the dough into uniform balls as needed. (I used my large cookie scoop.) Gently flatten each cookie a bit as they won’t flatten on their own during baking. Bake for 12 to14 minutes, until cookies are set and lightly golden.
7. Once completely cooled, cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two months.
*You can make your own oat flour in your food processor or blender. For 1 cup of oat flour, process 1 heaping cup of old-fashioned rolled oats until finely ground, about 1 minute.