Apples signal the beginning of fall around here and apple season is in full swing. Our favorite by far are honeycrisp apples. Yet, they are also the first apples to ripen during the season and as much as I keep an eye on the harvest schedule at our local pick your own farm, we miss them every year!
But one event we do attend every year is the National Apple Harvest Festival in Biglerville, Pennsylvania. The lanes on the festival grounds have names like red delicious drive, cider press alley, candy apple lane, and macintosh circle. The festival provides a bit of something for everyone. Apples, apple sausage, apple dumplings, caramel apples, candied apples, apple breads, apple cookies, and fried apples provide an opportunity for my husband to yet again eat his way through another festival. Tractor rides, petting zoos, crafts, musical performances, demonstrations, and an antique car show keep the kids entertained. Yet there is one event that is always missing…bobbing for apples.
One of my favorite fall memories as a kid was bobbing for apples. My mom would clean out the large steel tub, feel it with cold water from the hose, and toss in a dozen red delicious apples. For several years I eagerly helped organize a neighborhood Halloween party, hoping to bring back bobbing for apples. However, it was vetoed each year due to it’s “gross” factor. Apparently allowing dozens of kids to put their face in a large steel tub of water with a healthy dose of spit has lost its appeal over the years. When did this happen?
We haven’t yet bobbed for apples this year and certainly won’t be attending any parties where it is allowed. So I cleaned out the old Coleman cooler and we made an afternoon of it. I know from my own long history of bobbing for apples that the size of the apples is key. So I choose some smaller ones we had picked at the farm last week. The kids were sure they needed goggles. And both developed their own styles. Our son went for the stems and our daughter stuck her entire head in and pinned the apple against the side or the bottom of the cooler. They were very wet and very happy.
To honor the beginning of fall and an afternoon of bobbing for apples, we made these Apple Walnut Biscotti with both crushed apple chips and chopped Chinese apple rings to infuse as much of a natural apple taste as possible. Chinese apple rings are dehydrated apples that still retain some of their moisture and are perfect for baking.
Apple Walnut Biscotti
YIELD: approximately two dozen
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs and 2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup finely crushed apple chips (almost into powder form)
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup diced Chinese apple rings
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In a large flat bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and vanilla extract.
4. With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.
5. Add the apple chips, walnuts, and apple rings, and knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.
6. Separate the dough in half. Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.
7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split. Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
8. Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board. Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
What to do with the ends #32: Use the ends as boulders to move with toy trucks.