Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Celebrate the apple harvest

The Okanagan apples are ripe and ready for eating fresh or baking up into tasty, homemade treats

I notice as I drive by the many orchards in our area a wonderful smell of fresh ripe apples (to experience, keep windows opened).

I see ladders and apple pickers in most orchards these days and the supply of fresh, juicy apples is building daily. Apples are one of the most versatile fruits in the world today. Besides chomping into a whole apple or eating them fresh with a dip or cheese, and in any variety of salads, they can be cooked or baked into sauce, pies, crumbles, crisps, muffins, loaves, cakes, cookies, and a never-ending list of dessert recipes.

With school back in, it’s a good time to bake up extra muffins for lunches, and today I have a nice recipe that freezes well and will be a favourite for the kids. The second recipe is for breakfast or brunch and is a tasty, simple baked pancake. Serve it with maple syrup and a dollop of whipped cream for a fancier dish.

Apple Struesel Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1- 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1- 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg, beaten with a fork

1 cup milk, room temperature

3 tbsp. butter, melted

1- 1/4 cup peeled, chopped apple

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

3 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. brown sugar

In a large bowl, use a whisk or fork to combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, until well-mixed.

In another bowl, combine the beaten egg, the milk, and the melted butter. Stir in the chopped apples.

Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, using wooden spoon, and gently stir, just until combined; do not over-mix. Spoon muffin batter into lightly greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling almost to top.

Mix streusel ingredients together, and sprinkle each muffin with some streusel mixture. Bake at 400 F for about 15 minutes, or until golden and muffin tops are firm to the touch. This recipe makes 12 medium-large muffins.

One-pan Apple Pancakes

2 tbsp. butter or margarine

4 apples, pared and sliced

1/4 cup sugar, brown or white

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup milk

6 eggs

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. white sugar

Extra cinnamon

Melt butter in saucepan; add apples, 1/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon and cook on top of stove until the apples are soft, approximately 5 minutes. Pour apple mixture into a 10-inch greased baking pan.

Beat milk and eggs together. Add salt and baking powder to flour and then add flour to liquid mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated. Pour over apples. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over batter for added flavour. Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Serve with maple syrup and a dollop of whipped cream.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.