Fall is quickly approaching and the wonderful aroma of apples and cinnamon just needs to fill the air. It sounds so desperate to even say that. I am pretty sure I have told you all this before…confession time……instead of being an emotional “eater”, I’m actually an emotional “baker”. I literally run to the kitchen for refuge. I bake when I don’t know what to do with pent up emotion. Some hard knocks have shown up for loved ones and dear friends in my life and as much as I want to take away their struggles and say and do the right thing, I can’t so the next best thing to do, in my mind, is to bake and then cry it out and then bake some more and then when the time is right, go and share it with them. It’s my coping mechanism, my go-to place of love, what can I say. So today’s fix was baking none other than good old-fashioned apple crisp. It immediately calms me to smell freshly grated orange and lemon zest along with cinnamon and nutmeg. Talk about aromatherapy. Maybe that’s where the whole concept comes from…the kitchen! Never really looked at it that way but I know, without a shadow of a doubt, it works! Oh geez, look at me providing personal “therapy” advice (albeit “aroma” therapy). Try baking something that smells delightful friends and tell me…please….that I’m not the only emotional baker (aromatherapist) out there!
1 Tbsp. Freshly Grated Lemon Zest
2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp. Freshly Grated Orange Zest
2 Tbsp. Fresh Orange Juice
6 Large Gala or Granny Smith Apples (I love using the ones from Costco – they are huge. If you are using smaller apples, you may need to increase the apples to 10-12 or enough to fill your dish, leaving room about an inch from the top)
1/3 cup Sugar (if using tart apples like Granny Smith increase to ½ cup) (you can easily substitute with Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar)
2 tsp. Ceylon Cinnamon
1 tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg (I highly recommend grating your own over the ground version. The smell alone will have you hooked. Purchase some Whole Nutmeg and it will last you for years! Love that stuff!)
1/4 tsp. Cardamom (love adding this spice as it adds just a hint of something special)
Add zests and juices to an extra large bowl. Chop apples into even bite size pieces and add to bowl. I prefer not to peel my apples but feel free to if it suits your fancy. Sprinkle chopped apples with 1/3 cup sugar and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom) and toss with a spoon until apples are evenly coated.
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9×13” pan with either non-stick cooking spray or butter. Add apple mixture to pan and spread out evenly. Next, prepare the streusel topping.
1 cup Flour (if you don’t want to use all-purpose flour, just grind up some Rolled Oats in the blender or food processor and use “Oat Flour” instead)
1 cup Oats
3/4 cup White Sugar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Ceylon Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 stick Butter, melted
In a small bowl, combine all streusel ingredients below, except for butter. Slowly add in melted butter and stir using a fork until mixture becomes crumbly. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over top of apples.
Bake in preheated oven for 60-80 minutes or until apples are bubbly and the topping is lightly browned. Place pan out onto wire rack to cool slightly or serve immediately along with scoop of vanilla ice cream or cinnamon whipped cream!
Happy “Aroma” Therapy (..err I mean Baking) Everyone! You can always find more at www.sharingourlifeloveandfood.com.