Apples and September 

Published 10:35 am Thursday, September 7, 2023

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Did you know over 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States or that apple pie is not American? The first recipe came from England. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a common English-language proverb that appeared in the 19th century. This month, let’s focus on apples.

Linda: When the calendar says September, I think apples. I’ll be ready to bake a tempting apple pie and serve it with melting ice cream or a chunk of cheddar cheese. I recently read that cheese, specifically sharp cheddar, has been served with apple pie in the U.S. as early as the 1800s. But the combination was likely born in England in the 17th century. I think a la mode would be more common in the South.

Lucy: With apples of all kinds showing up in the markets, it will be fun to offer some new different ways to cook apples. A muffin to enjoy with coffee sounds perfect on a cool fall morning.

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Linda: How about Apple Streusel Muffins, apple muffins with a delicious cinnamon crumb topping? Gala apples would be good for using in muffins. I’ve seen them at the Farmers Market for the past two weeks. Muffin recipes often call for paper liners, but I prefer foil liners. Also, I usually fill the liner with a little more batter than the recipe calls for.

Lucy: Apple bread is another wonderful fall option for cooking with apples. My recipe is called Cinnamon Swirl Apple Bread. I like it with breakfast. It’s a good change from the usual toast with scrambled eggs or just a cup of coffee.

Linda: I love that it has the swirl of cinnamon in the middle of the bread. Galas and Golden Delicious would both be good apples for this bread. With so many different varieties of apples on the market, it can be difficult to choose. 

Lucy: We can include them at the end of our recipes. Remember our old “Bakery Lane Soup Bowl” cookbook? It was from a favorite Vermont restaurant several years ago. Sadly it’s no longer there but their cookbook is still on my shelf. The back page features a recipe for Fresh Apple Cake. It’s nice and moist as it calls for four cups of chopped apples.

Linda: The recipe calls for a 9 x 13 pan but it can also be made as a Bundt cake. Caramel frosting is part of the recipe but I might prefer just a confectioners icing drizzled over the top and sides of a Bundt cake. Let’s offer it both ways and let our readers decide.

Lucy: And let’s tell our readers that you are still selling our cookbook at the Landrum Farmers Market until the end of October. I know you have two November dates and one December in their Winter Market. It’s been fun to meet our readers and hear that they have been enjoying our column these many years.


Apple Streusel Muffins


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup white sugar

½ cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla

1 ½ cups chopped apples


⅓ cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter, and eggs together in a large bowl until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Stir in apples, then gradually blend in flour mixture. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Make topping: Mix brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over each muffin top. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before transferring muffins to a wire rack to cool. 


Cinnamon Swirl Apple Bread

Servings: One 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf (8 – 12 slices)


½ cup light brown sugar (packed)

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 large eggs

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

½ cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off

½ teaspoon salt

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1 cup peeled, cored, and finely diced tart baking apples, from 1 apple (preferably Granny Smith)



Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Spray an 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray again. Use a large enough parchment sheet to hang over the edges so you can use these edges to lift bread out of the pan.


In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon until evenly combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs and granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, gradually add the melted butter followed by the milk and vanilla, and mix just until evenly combined. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder to the batter and mix on low speed until evenly combined. Add the apples to the batter and fold with a spatula until evenly combined. Spoon about ⅔ of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle about ⅔ of the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture on top of the batter. Spoon the remaining batter over top, followed by the remaining brown sugar-cinnamon mixture. Using a butter knife, swirl the layers by making a zig-zag motion through the batter once in each direction (don’t overdo it!). Bake for about 50 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool on a rack for about 30 minutes, then use the parchment to lift the bread out of the pan and onto the rack. Let cool completely before slicing, a few hours or overnight. Store loosely covered with aluminum foil on the countertop for up to 4 days.


Fresh Apple Cake

Makes 9 x 13-inch cake or Bundt Cake


2 1/3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp Each of clove and nutmeg

4 cups chopped, peeled apples (About four apples depending on apple size)

1/2 cup soft shortening

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or 1 cup pecans (optional)

2 eggs



Combine flour, sugar, soda, salt and spices in large mixing bowl.  Mix until well blended, 3 to 4 minutes. Add apples, shortening, nuts and eggs.  Beat at medium speed until well blended.  Pour into a greased, and floured, 9 x 13 inch pan or greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake in pre-heated 325 degrees oven 40 – 45 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched.  Cool completely on wire rack. Frost in pan with caramel frosting. If using Bundt pan, cool ten minutes then turn out on cooling rack. Let cool and frost with caramel frosting or drizzle with confectioners icing.


Caramel Frosting: Makes about 1 cup

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

dash salt

3 Tbs milk

1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar (about)

1/4 tsp vanilla



Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Add brown sugar and salt.  Stir over medium heat until sugar melts.  Add milk and bring to a boil.  Pour into a mixing bowl and cool 10 minutes.  Add confectioners sugar and vanilla.  Beat to spreading consistency, adding additional confections sugar, if necessary.  Spread on Fresh Apple Cake. 


Confectioners glaze

2/3 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 Tbs Milk (add slightly more milk if too thick)

Stir until smooth and drizzle over cake.