Cinnamon Apple Macaroons with Apple Butter Buttercream & Tart Green Apples

INGREDIENTS:

Apple Butter
makes ~20 oz. apple butter, far more than you’ll need for apple butter buttercream, but delicious to have around for other uses!

  • 2 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, and in chunks
  • 4 cups unfiltered apple juice
  • 1/2-2/3 cup light brown sugar*
  • 1 tspn cloves
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • juice of half a lemon

METHOD:

  1. In a large pot over medium high heat, combine the apples and apple juice and cook until the apples are completely tender, about 15-25 minutes, depending on the size you chop the apples. If a foam forms, you may skim it off if desired.
  2. Remove the pot from the stove and let cool briefly. Puree the apples and apple juice in a food processor or blender until completely smooth.
  3. Return the puree to the pot and add the brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
  4. Return the pot to heat and simmer on medium/medium-low heat, trying to maintain 105 degrees C. Cook for 1-2 hours, stirring regularly, until mixture really thickens and darkens and bubbles/splatters. Remove from heat when desired consistency is reached.

*Add only 1/2 cup sugar for a less-sweet apple butter. I used 2/3 cups sugar and while still really good, it was a little on the sweet side for me.

Cinnamon Apple Macarons
makes ~50 small macarons or 20-30 large macarons
INGREDIENTS:
for macaroon shells*:

  • 200 gr powdered sugar
  • 120 gr blanched and slivered almonds
  • 10 gr freeze-dried apple
  • 1 heaping Tbspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tspn green powered food coloring, if desired
  • 30 gr granulated (superfine, opt) vanilla sugar
  • 100 gr egg whites, aged 1-2 days at room temperature or a week in the refrigerator, at room temp
  • 1/4 tspn cream of tartar

METHOD:

  1. Prepare two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper and a pastry bag with a large round piping tip.
  2. Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, dried apple, cinnamon, and green food coloring, if using, in a food processor and grind until a fine powder. Sift thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, have ready the granulated vanilla sugar.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, quickly stir the mixture until the entire surface is covered with foam. Then, start whisking the egg whites, gradually adding in the granulated vanilla sugar. Whisk until you reach glossy, almost-stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold the sifted almond and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites in three to four stages, just until the ingredients are incorporated and the batter slowly re-absorbs peaks.
  6. Transfer the macaroon mixture to the prepared piping bag and pipe rounds on to the lined baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets on the table a few times to release air pockets.
  7. Rest the macaroons for at least 30 minutes (and up to 60), until the outside shells are no longer tacky and sticky to a light touch.
  8. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C, with the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  9. Bake the macaroons in the oven, one sheet at a time, for 24-28 minutes total, rotating the sheet half-way through the baking time to insure even baking.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool.

*Note: the resting and oven temperature and times are adjusted to what works in my kitchen and oven (which, to my knowledge and according to two oven thermometers, is quite accurate). Please note that you may have to adjust according to what works in your kitchen and oven.

for apple butter buttercream:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup apple butter

METHOD:

  1. Whip the egg yolks until light and shows definitive streaks when you move your whisk through them.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and stir until the sugar is completely wet. Cook over medium high heat, without stirring, until the sugar reaches 114 degrees C. Immediately remove from heat and (carefully!) gradually pour into the egg yolks while whisking, being careful not to hit the whisk wires.
  3. Continue whipping the egg yolks on medium high until the the outside of the bowl is no longer hot or warm to the touch.
  4. Add the butter in while beating, one tablespoon at a time.
  5. Once the butter is incorporated, beat in the apple butter. Use immediately to fill the macaroons (or, if you refrigerate the buttercream, bring to room temperature and beat to restore texture before using).

for assembly:

  • 1 small tart green apple, in small, thin chunks (thick enough to still have crunch, though!)
  • lemon juice
  • ground cinnamon

METHOD:

  1. Toss the apple chunks with a light coating of lemon juice. Then, sprinkle with cinnamon.
  2. Fill the macaroons with the apple butter buttercream and apple chunks. Let the macaroons “cure” in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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Green Apple Jasmine Sorbet Sandwiches with Chocolate Snaps

INGREDIENTS:
Green Apple Jasmine Sorbet

  • 1 1/4 lbs granny smith apples, cored and chopped (leave peel on!)
  • 1 cup + 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup pearl jasmine tea leaves
  • a pinch of powdered green food coloring (optional)

METHOD:

  1. Combine the apples, 1 cup of water, sugar, salt, and freshly squeezed lemon juice in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover loosely, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the apple chunks are very tender.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the remaining 3/4 cup of water to a simmer and brew the tea leaves. Let steep covered.
  3. Once the apples are tender, remove the pot from heat and add the tea and tea leaves into the pot. Cover tightly and let cool at room temperature.
  4. Once cool, press the contents of the pot through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the apple peels and tea leaves that are left behind.
  5. If a smoother sorbet is desired, puree the strained apple sauce in a food processor with the powdered green food coloring, if using, until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  6. Once chilled, freeze the sorbet base in your ice cream maker of choice. Once churned, you may want to let the sorbet harden further overnight in the freezer.

Note: now’s the time to break out the good quality green tea–the better the green tea you start with, the better this sorbet will taste.

INGREDIENTS:
Chocolate Snaps

  • 1 1/2 cups (210 gr) AP flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbspn (75 gr) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 tspn baking powder
  • 1/8 tspn salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz./112 gr) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbspn (125 gr) sugar
  • 1/4 tspn vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks

METHOD:

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer with the paddle attachment for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks to the butter and sugar, one at a time and beating well after each addition.
  4. Mix in the prepared flour in two to three additions. Press together into a dough, wrap with parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  6. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut out your desired shapes. Keep the dough cool as you work with it.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating once halfway through the baking.
  8. Once done, remove from oven and let cool briefly before removing the cookies from the baking sheet and placing them on a wire rack to continue cooling. Cookies will continue to harden as they cool.

Berry, Apple, and Rosemary Shortbread Bars

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9 x 13″ pan, about 24 squares
for shortbread:

  • 4 cups (560 gr) AP flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1 1/2 tspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest
  • 2 – 4 Tbspn fresh rosemary, finely chopped*
  • 4 sticks (1 lb.) butter
  • 2 cups (400 gr) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks

for filling:

  • ~330 gr crisp tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 tspn lemon juice
  • 2 tspn sugar
  • 1 tspn AP flour
  • 1 cup blackberry + wild blueberry jam (Recipe Below)
  • powdered sugar, optional

METHOD:

  1. Make the shortbread. Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Divide the shortbread dough in half. Wrap each half in parchment paper or plastic wrap and freeze until hard, at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 9×13″ baking pan with foil, leaving overhang at the sides.
  7. Prepare the filling. Toss the chopped apples, lemon juice, sugar, and flour together and let sit for a few minutes.
  8. Heat the jam briefly until it reaches a somewhat liquid, spreadable consistency.
  9. Remove half of the shortbread dough from the freezer. Grate using a coarse grater or the grater plate of a food processor. Spread the grated dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  10. Spoon the jam over the first layer of shortbread dough and distribute the apple chunks in one layer on the jam.
  11. Remove the second half of the dough from the freezer and grate. Pour the grated dough evenly over the jam and apple layer.
  12. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the edges and top are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  13. Using the foil, lift the shortbread out of the pan. If using, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.

Note: for a strong rosemary taste, use up to 4 Tbspn of chopped rosemary. For a more subtle rosemary flavor, use just 2 Tbspn.

Blackberry and Wild Blueberry Jam
makes about one cup of jam
INGREDIENTS:

  • 125 gr wild blueberries
  • 195 gr blackberries
  • 17 gr freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 160 gr sugar

METHOD:

  1. Place a few spoons on a plate in the freezer.
  2. Mix the berries together in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Let sit for a few minutes to macerate. Divide the berries in half, and set half aside.
  3. In a non-reactive saucepan over medium low heat, combine half of the berries with the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the juices run. Increase heat to medium high until the berries boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the remaining berries. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and stir every thirty seconds or so. Cook for 10-15 minutes more, testing for doneness after 10 minutes.
  5. To test for doneness, remove the pan from the stove. Retrieve a spoon from the freezer and scoop a small amount of liquid and berries. Return the spoon to the freezer for a few minutes. Once cooled, hold the spoon vertically. If the jam does not run off the spoon and is a thick, spreadable consistency, the jam is done. If not, return the pan to the stove and continue to cook for a few more minutes before testing again.
  6. Cool the jam completely, preferably overnight in an airtight container in the refrigerator, before using in the bars recipe.

White Cheddar and Cinnamon Apple Hand Pies

INGREDIENTS:
makes ~12-14 pies

  • 2 cups (260 gr) AP flour
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 4 oz.(113 gr) extra sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup (151 gr) butter, cold
  • 5-6 Tbspn water, cold
  • 500 gr apples
  • 1 Tbspn lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (25 gr) sugar
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tspn ground cloves
  • 1/2 tspn freshly grated nutmeg
  • heavy cream
  • turbinado sugar

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Coarsely grate the cheese. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cheese and cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed. Do not overmix!
  4. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Peel, core, and chop the apples into small chunks. Toss to combine the apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  6. Preheat oven to 230 degrees C.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to about 1/8″ thick. Cut out 5 inch circles. Fill each circle with apples and fold in half. Press the edges together tightly, crimping with a fork. Cut three small slits on the top of each pie. Chill the pies in the refrigerator or freezer briefly if the dough has softened.
  8. Before baking, brush the tops of the pies with heavy cream. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  9. Bake at 230 degrees F for five minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 15 more minutes, until the crust is golden.
  10. Remove from oven and cool briefly before serving.

Apple & Cinnamon Layer Cake

INGREDIENTS:
For the crisps:

  • 65g caster sugar
  • 40ml water
  • 1 firm eating apple
  • a few pinches of ground cinnamon

For the cakes:

  • 4 eggs
  • 340g plain flour
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2-3 eating apples – you need 200g grated
  • 200g coconut oil, solid
  • 340g light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

For the icing:

  • 350g mascarpone
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 130C for the crisps. Put the sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves and it starts bubbling. Pour into a bowl to cool.
  2. Cut the apple in half, top to bottom, and remove the stalk. Use a mandolin to cut thin slices of the apple – I used my thinnest setting. Set the slices onto a parchment lined baking tray. Use a pastry brush to thinly coat the slices with some of the syrup. Sprinkle over a little cinnamon. Put the tray into the oven and bake for 30 minutes then turn the oven off and leave to cool inside. Remove from the oven and place into a sealed tin or box.

  3. To start the cakes, preheat the oven to 180C. Grease two 6″ cake tins and line the bottoms with baking parchment. Wipe a clean mixing bowl down with a piece of lemon (to remove any little bits of grease). Separate the eggs, putting the egg whites into the lemony bowl (to be whipped later) and the yolks into a cup/bowl. Sieve the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt onto a plate or bowl. Peel the apples then grate them – weigh and make you have 200g (don’t add extra, it’ll throw the liquid balance off
  4. Put the coconut oil and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until fluffy and paler than before – about 4 minutes. Add the yolks one by one, beating well and scraping down in between each addition. Take off the machine and tip in the 200g of grated apple and the lemon juice. Fold together. Get your egg whites and whip them (I do this by hand because I think it’s simpler, but you could transfer the apple mix to another bowl and very throughly clean the mixer bowl and use the machine, or use a hand beater) until they hold stiff peaks (be careful not to overdo it – a spike on the end of the beater should hold upright with a little waver – it won’t be as firm as meringue).
  5. Fold half of the sieved dry ingredients into the apple mix, carefully but throughly, scraping the sides and bottom. Add half of the whipped egg whites and fold them in, followed by the rest of the flour, then the rest of the egg whites. It takes a little bit of patience but you need to get it evenly combined (no lumps of flour or big streaks of egg white) without losing too much air. Divide the mixture between the two tins, level, then form a dip in the middle.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until domed, cracked, golden and a skewer comes out cleanly from the middle. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove from the tin and leave to cool. When the oven has turned off and cooled down a little, I gave the crisps a crunch boost by leaving them in there for a few minutes.
  7. Make the icing as the cakes bake or cool. Place the mascarpone into a bowl and beat until smooth. Sieve over the icing sugar, pour in the lemon and beat again. Keep in the fridge until you need it.
  8. When the cakes are barely warm (or cold) you can start cutting – use a sharp serrated knife to cut the dome away from the top, trying to keep as flat as possible. Work out where the halfway line is on the remaining cake and carefully score all the way around with your knife, then go around cutting deeply to split the cake (this should help guide the knife so you get an even cut).
  9. Place one of the cakes onto a clean serving plate. Smooth over 1/4 of the icing, going right out and almost over the edge. Add the next layer and repeat until finished. Finally arrange the crisps on top. Best immediately, keeps assembled for a day in the fridge (will be quite different to fresh), plain cake for 3-4 days in a tin.

Backyard Apple and Walnut Cake

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9 x 3″ round cake

  • 975 g (~9 – 10) small apples
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup + 5 Tbspn (297 g) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 90 g walnuts, coarsely chopped

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour the insides and bottom of a 9 x 3-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a parchment paper round. Wrap the outside of the pan with bake even strips (see note).
  2. Using a mandolin, very thinly slice two of the apples. Arrange the slices on the parchment paper at the bottom of the cake pan, starting from the inside and working outwards.
  3. Finely grate the remainder of the apples, resulting in about 600 g of grated apple. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, whisk to combine the whole wheat pastry flour, salt, baking powder, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the grated apple until combined. Add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat briefly until combined, but do not overmix. Fold in the chopped walnuts.
  6. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Use the back of a spatula to gently press the batter into the apple slices on the bottom and to smooth out the top. Tap the bottom of the pan gently on a counter to release any air bubbles.
  7. Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cake is done when the top is golden brown and just beginning to pull away from the edges, and when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out cleanly. Remove the cake from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for 15 minutes, until the pan is cool enough to touch. Run a sharp, thin knife along the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert the cake onto a plate, remove the pan and parchment round. Let cool completely.

Note regarding bake even strips: Normally, I’d say that bake even strips were optional, but because this cake will be flipped on its head, a flat top is preferable. If you don’t have bake-even strips, try using a 9 x 3-inch springform and trimming the top before flipping the cake over.

Note regarding peeling apples: For the sliced apples on top of the cake, I prefer to leave the skins on so that there are borders to the design on top of the cake. Just make sure to use a mandolin to make very thin slices so that the peels don’t get chewy. For the grated apples inside the cake, I left the peels on because the apples are finely grated and a teeny bit of peel doesn’t bother me much. If you’d like a smoother texture, you can peel these apples first before grating them.

Cinnamon Apple Won Tons

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups apples, peeled, cored, and ¼-inch diced (I like to use Granny Smith)
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons good quality ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts (toasted 8-10 min. in a 180° oven, if desired)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons good quality ground cinnamon
  • about 48 wonton wrappers (they come in packs of about 60)
  • canola oil for frying

METHOD:

  1. Add lemon juice to diced apples and toss.
  2. In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat, melt butter.  Add diced apples, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.  Stir until blended and cook ‘til bubbly.
  3. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch into apple juice.  When apples are bubbling, stir in apple juice/cornstarch blend.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until apples are fairly tender.
  4. Remove apples to heat-proof bowl to cool completely.  Refrigerating 2 hours to overnight works best.  When cool, mix in chopped walnuts.
  5. Lay out a wonton wrapper.  Scoop about 1 teaspoon of apples into the center.  Moisten two adjacent sides of the square with water and then fold the non-moistened tip onto the moistened tip to form a triangle.  Seal well, snuggling the apples in with the wrapper.  (Otherwise the apple filling will ooze out and wreak havoc as you fry.)  You should have a triangle with a big bulge.  With the triangle’s apex facing down, moisten the left tip with water, and then bring the right tip over it, sealing the two together.  It looks best when you leave about ¼ inch of each tip out to form a little tail for the wonton.  (See photo at the end.) Set onto a waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  Repeat with the remainder of filling and wrappers.
  6. In a large paper bag, mix the 1 cup sugar with 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon.  Set aside.
  7. In a deep skillet or other frying vessel, heat about 2 inches of canola oil to about 185°.  Fry 3-5 wontons at a time, being careful not to crowd them.  Turn over when one side is a nice golden brown.   Fry until both sides are golden.  Drain quickly in a slotted spoon then drop into bag with cinnamon sugar.  Toss gently and then remove with tongs to paper towels to cool and drain more.
  8. Let cool at least 5-10 minutes before eating/serving.
  9. Serve with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
Makes about 4 dozen wontons.