Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Apple Days Are Here Again!

"I love Fall!  It's my favorite season.  I love when the leaves change into hues of yellow, orange and red and the air is crisp and cool.  One of the best parts of Fall is that it's apple season.  Apples are ripe and crunchy and perfect to add to recipes.  I've collected some of my favorite apple recipes and I'm sharing them with you.  Happy Fall Y'all!!!"    
Chunky Apple Cinnamon Mini Pies
24 ounce jar of Musselman's Chunky Applesauce
14.1 ounce package Pillsbury Ready made pie crusts (2 pie crusts)
4 Tablespoons butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 Tablespoons milk
Cut each pie crust into 6 circles using biscuit cutter, making 12 circles. (I used a large glass.) Place about 1-2 teaspoons of Chunky Applesauce onto pie crust circles. Sprinkle apples with desired amount of cinnamon and sugar. Top with 1 piece of diced butter. Fold pie crust over apples and use a fork to seal edges of pie crust. Place mini pies on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Brush tops of pies with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Makes approximately 12 mini pies.

TIP: Make sure to not put too much applesauce on each pie crust circle or the pie crust won't seal correctly. 
Caramel Apple Cheesecake  
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1- (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Press onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.  Spoon a single layer of apple pie filling on top of the crust and spread to within 1-inch of the edge of the pan.  Prepare cheesecake layer.
Cheesecake Layer
4-(8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Combine cream cheese, sugar and flour. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Blend in sour cream and vanilla. Pour over apple pie filling.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower the oven to 250 degrees and continue baking for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. Refrigerate for approximately 4 hours before removing rim of springform pan.

1- (12 ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping (We like to use Smucker's Hot Caramel.)
1- (4 ounce) package of chopped pecans, toasted*

When ready to serve, top slices of cheesecake with heated caramel topping and toasted pecans.

Apple Pie Caramel Apples

4-5 large apples (I used Honey Crisp, but you can use your favorite apple.)
Popsicle sticks
1-(14 ounce) package of Kraft caramels, wrappers removed
1-(12 ounce) package of Nestle Premier white chocolate morsels
desired amount of cinnamon and sugar, combined

Wash and dry apples.  Insert Popsicle sticks into bottoms of apples and set aside.  In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, melt caramels with 2 Tablespoons of water according to package directions.  In another medium-sized saucepan, melt white chocolate chips following package directions or you can melt in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.  When caramels are melted, dip apples, using a spoon to help you cover apple completely.  Place apples on waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Allow to cool slightly and drizzle with melted white chocolate.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Slow Cooker Apple Cider

1 large container of apple cider (I used an 89 ounce container of LITEHOUSE brand apple cider.)
1/2 cup brown sugar (You can add more if you like it sweeter.)
1 Tablespoon McCormick apple pie spice

Whisk together cider, brown sugar and apple pie spice in a slow cooker.  Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.  Ladle into cups and sip away!
Peanutty Apple Dip
8 ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice*
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
With a mixer, cream together cream cheese and peanut butter. Add powdered sugar and apple pie spice.  Mix until completely combined.  NOTE:  The mixture will be very thick, just keep mixing until everything is combined and it will come together completely.  Spoon into serving dish.  Top with chopped peanuts and sprinkle with additional apple pie spice.  Serve with apple slices, graham crackers and even banana slices.  Refrigerate leftovers.
*Tip:  If you don't have apple pie spice, you can substitute cinnamon. 

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