Autumn brings in the delicious, crisp and juicy apple. Believe it or not, apples are members of the rose family. Apples fit into most recipes whether raw or cooked. There are numerous health benefits that come from eating apples, and really eating one a day could keep the doctor away. Apples can be considered a super food. They are filled with soluble fiber, vitamins C, A, and flavonoids along with phosphorus, iron, potassium and calcium.

Apples strengthen the heart, quench thirst, lubricate lungs, decrease mucous, and increase body fluids. Apple cider can prevent the formation of kidney stones. An apple has only 50-80 calories with no fat or sodium, so it’s good for everyone.

Apples can be sweet, like Fuji, Gala and Golden and Red Delicious; sweet-tart, like McIntosh; or tart like Granny Smith. There are eating apples and cooking apples. The best ones for pie fillings and tarts are Granny Smith, Rome Beauty, McIntosh, Golden Delicious, and Fuji apples. These can be mixed together in a recipe to enhance the apple flavor.

Store ripe apples in a cool, moist place or in the refrigerator. Keeping them at room temperature causes them to lose crispness and flavor. After cutting or slicing raw apples brush with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning so they look fresh.



Apple Streusel Coffee Cake


¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup brown sugar, packed

4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup chopped pecans (Optional)


Cake Batter:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

2 tablespoons Apple Schnapps or apple cider, if desired

1-3/4 to 2 cups chopped peeled and cored tart apples, about 2 apples


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs, Apple Schnapps, and vanilla extract.

In another bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; gradually add this mixture to the creamed mixture, mixing well after each addition. Fold in chopped apples. Pour into a 13 x 10 – inch buttered baking dish.

For topping stir together brown sugar and cinnamon. With two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in chopped nuts, sprinkle this mixture over batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold and cut into squares.

This cake may be made in advance and frozen for up to 6 months, if desired.


Apple Pie Bars

Low fat products may be substituted for this recipe.


1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup butter, softened

3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided 10-Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 9 cups)

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon water


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together cream cheese and butter until blended. Gradually add 3 cups flour, one cup at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition until just blended. Form into two balls. Place one ball on large lightly floured sheet of waxed paper; flatten dough slightly. Cover dough with second sheet of waxed paper. Roll out dough to 15 ½ x 10 ½ inch rectangle. Discard top sheet of waxed paper.

Baking spray a 15 x 10 –inch baking dish; invert rolled out dough into baking dish, fitting into bottom of dish. Gently press dough onto bottom and up the sides of the baking dish.

In a bowl toss apples with ¼ cup flour, sugar and cinnamon; spread evenly onto crust in baking dish.

Repeat rolling out second ball to make a second rectangle. Remove top sheet of waxed paper and carefully place the dough over the apple slices. Tuck edges of dough down the sides of the baking dish to seal in apples. Cut several small slits in top crust to vent. Brush crust with 1 –tablespoon milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar ,if desired.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes. In a bowl stir together confectioners’ sugar and water. Drizzle glaze over apple dessert. Cool for at least 30-40 minutes before cutting into bars.


Apple, Toasted Pecans, and Baby Arugula Salad with Creamy Dressing


Creamy Dressing:

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a bowl whisk together all ingredients, cover and refrigerate.


1 Fuji apple, cored and thinly sliced

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 package fresh baby Arugula, trimmed, rinsed and patted dry

½ cup toasted halved pecans

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled


In a bowl toss together both types of apple slices and lemon juice, mix well to coat. In a large salad bowl toss together Arugula and apple slices, drizzle ¼ cup of the dressing over salad, mix to coat and add more dressing as needed. When ready to serve top with toasted pecans and feta cheese.


Easy Applesauce

2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 pounds McIntosh, Fuji or other cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 cup water

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Optional)

In a large saucepan stir together apple slices and lemon juice; then add 1-cup water, sugar, and salt. Simmer, partially covered until soft, about 25-30 minutes. Stir in butter and cinnamon. Stir with a fork or mash with a potato masher to chop up apple slices into chunks for chunky applesauce. For fine applesauce use a blender or food processor. Refrigerate leftovers. Serve warm or cold.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival — winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012; placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing and winning second place for her Sweet Blueberry Pepper Jelly in 2015; and winning first in 2016 for her spoon blueberry muffins with apricot sauce and second for her blueberry crisp squares — and has won various other contest awards — including three blue ribbons at the 2016 Cape Fear County Fair — for her blueberry cheesecake, muffins, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.