Every year we take a family trip to the orchard, where we drag a wagon from tree to tree, twisting off low-hanging fruit. After a long, hot summer we are glad to be in sweatshirts and sneakers, energized by a nip in the air. What with that mellow September sunlight, the kids, the trees and the apples, this outing is my secret favorite moment of the season. The apples we pick are not always the roundest or reddest, but each one is scrutinized by the kids and each one is uniquely tempting. We start baking as soon as we get home; we’ve got the oven preheating before our jackets come off. Here are some of our tried-and-true faves, plus a brilliant way to keep sliced apples fresh and crunchy!
Washington Apple Cake: This moist and delectable cake takes a pound of Granny Smith apples and a package of yellow cake mix, but the key is JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding.
Caramel Apple Crisp Bars: Oats, nutmeg and melted caramels combine with chopped apples for an after-school snack that will attract kids from all over your block.
Apple-Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread: Easiest (and most fun) of all: pull-apart bread made from store-bought cinnamon rolls and your apple haul. Get the kids moving in the morning before school with this warm treat.