3 Times Thursday - Autumn Apples

For this week's 3 Times Thursday, enjoy autumn's best gift - apples! Fall in New England means it's time to head to your local orchard and do the "Twist and Pull!" And since it's cooler out, you won't mind turning on the oven to bake ones of these autumn apple favorites. 

3. Square Cider Donuts - Although this one doesn't use apples per se, it does use apple cider, and all the best local orchards will be selling theirs this month and next. Why square? Why not?!?

Makes 24 doughnuts plus 24 doughnut holes

canola oil for frying
1 egg
1 1/4 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
2 cups baking mix (we used Bisquick)

Preheat oil in a large pot, skillet or deep fryer to 375 degrees, checking the temperature often using a candy thermometer. Whisk together egg, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, cider and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour and baking mix. On floured surface, with floured hands, knead dough several times and roll to 1/2-inch thick.  Cut with a donut or biscuit cutter, and make holes in the center of each. Carefully drop into hot oil. Working in batches of six, cook until golden brown, flip, and cook other side until golden brown. Adjust the heat on the burner as necessary to keep the temperature steady at 375.  Drain on sheets of newspaper or paper towels. Mix together remaining 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon; while doughnuts are still hot, coat in cinnamon-sugar. Eat while still warm!

2. Apple Pie - No apple dessert list would be complete without a recipe for classic apple pie. Or should we say, pie filling, since we cheat and use Pillsbury crust. 

1 package refrigerated pie crust, or homemade crust
10 apples, variety of your choosing, peeled, cored and diced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons apple pie spice
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 425. Place one pie crust in an ungreased pie plate and press firmly against the side and bottom of the dish. In a large bowl, toss the diced apples with the lemon juice. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients well. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the apples and mix well so that all the apples are coated. Spoon the filling into the crust-lined pie plate. Cut the butter into pats and place randomly on top of the apple pie filling. Top with the second crust and press the edges together to seal (if using refrigerated pie crust, see package directions for a two-crust pie). Brush the crust with the milk. Cut slits in several places in the top crust and bake for 45 minutes, until apples are tender and the crust is brown. Cool for at least an hour before serving.

1. Onyx Moonshine Apple Cake - We soak our apples in our favorite local moonshine for 24 hours, then use a friend's apple cake recipe to make this boozy confection.

Cake Ingredients:
5 medium apples, peeled and diced (feel free to soak them in Onyx Moonshine for a day or so, if you dare)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all cake ingredients in a large bowl, and toss to coat apples. Place in a 9X13 pan that has been greased with butter or sprayed with cooking spray. In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients and pat over top before placing in oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until bubbly. If desired, dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.

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