Dehydrated apples, homemade crackers

When I saw Honeycrisp apples on sale for 49 cents a pound (only up to 5 pounds sadly), I had to buy them! I’m pretty sure we could have just eaten them all fresh but I wanted to try dehydrating fruit again and apples would be good practice.

I used information from Don’t Waste the Crumbs since it has been a while.

I think I might have sliced these too thick because it took them almost 8 hours to become even close to crisp. My kids didn’t care that they were a little chewy. About half of them are gone already from snacking!

If my kids will eat it, I count that a success. Next time I see apples on sale though and I decide to dehydrate them, I will be slicing them thinner to get actual apple chips.

While I was putting the baby (he’s almost 2 but he will forever be “the baby!”) down for his nap, Corran baked up some crackers from Melissa K. Norris.

Since I wasn’t around, he did the whole recipe himself. He doubled the recipe but wasn’t able to roll the dough out thin enough on a pizza stone. The crackers were more like savory cookies. None of us cared much though because most of the crackers are gone too! I think he will want to make them again but I’ll hopefully be there to help him next time. I’m still impressed with Corran though for baking them all by himself.

Later, I had Corran bake Jiffy corn muffins to go with dinner. It is so helpful to have a teenager who doesn’t mind helping with the cooking!

-Lynn

Apple Galette and Chocolate Pomegranate Muffins

I’ve always wanted to make a galette and today, I finally did it! It was pretty easy and I will for sure do it again. It’s a bonus to me that I don’t need to use a pie tin to make it. I wasn’t too happy with my galette crust so I will need to work on that.

When my oldest son saw that I was baking something, he wanted to bake too. So he picked out chocolate muffins to make for breakfast tomorrow.

I am a big fan of Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks, so I used the galette dough recipe and a modified galette filling recipe from her Baking Chez Moi cookbook. My son used a recipe for chocolate chocolate-chunk muffins from her Baking: From My Home to Yours cookbook.

Here is the galette dough recipe that I used:

Blueberry Galette

And then the filling is from her Apple Pielettes recipe, which can’t be found online. I would really suggest buying her cookbooks if you can! Her instructions are very simple, easy to follow, and detailed (for which I am very thankful!)

I think any apple pie filling would work well though. Just make sure you’re only using three apples in the filling because you don’t want to over-fill your galette.

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I chilled my galette dough on parchment paper on a baking pan in the fridge for two hours before I filled it. I used two granny smith apples and one golden delicious apple in the filling. I kept the filling in the fridge also for two hours. I just mixed a splash of lemon juice in with the apples so they wouldn’t turn too brown.

Before putting the filling on the dough, I crumbled up one sheet of graham crackers and sprinkled the crumbs over the dough. Dorie said to use butter cookies but sadly, I had none of those on hand. I think the cookie crumbs help the crust not to become soggy from the liquid in the filling during baking. Or maybe they just provide some extra texture. My kids didn’t even notice the graham cracker crumbs though.

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I sprinkled bits of 1 Tablespoon of butter over the top of the galette once I folded up the sides. After a quick brush of water over the dough and a sprinkling of sugar, it went into the oven at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes.

We were eating dinner while this was baking so I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have. I think it might have been in there a little bit too long.  It probably could have come out at around 43 minutes. Yes, 2 minutes makes a big difference! Let’s just say it is “well-baked!” It was the perfect size for my family of 8 though and there are only 2 pieces left. My two youngest aren’t fond of apple pie.

After baking, I spooned some melted orange marmalade over the fruit to give it some shine. Yes, I did that just so it would look pretty.

Josh says it tastes like McDonald’s apple pies. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment… But I’ll take it!

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Corran, my oldest son, wanted to make something for breakfast that would go with the pomegranate jelly we just canned on Saturday. He saw these chocolate chocolate-chunk muffins. Then, I remembered that I had three pomegranate chocolate bars in the pantry that I had been saving to use in chocolate chip cookies. I donated them to his cause and let him chop them up to use as the melted chocolate and the chocolate chunks in the muffins. I’m really proud of him for wanting to learn to bake. He is also interested in learning to cook something more complicated than grilled cheese or quesadillas.

I think the kids were more excited about the chocolate muffins than the apple galette. They kept asking if they could eat them now. My daughter’s exclamation, “But breakfast is sooooo far away!”

Hopefully, when it comes time for breakfast tomorrow, they will be happy they waited patiently for these chocolate muffins!

-Lynn

Planting an Apple Tree

Ever since we moved into our house, Lynn has wanted me to plant an apple tree.  I have always been recalcitrant because I didn’t think that apples would grow in our part of San Diego County.  It is warm here year round with little of the cool hours that apples typically need to grow.

A few months ago we went to the City Farmers Nursery in San Diego.  I saw that they had a few types of apples for sale, and even some apple trees with fruit hanging on them as examples that apples can grow in San Diego.  I did some research and I think that the Anna apple tree is that best type for us to grow.  Annas need few chill hours, and are self fertile.  These characteristics make this an excellent tree for a half acre suburban San Diego lot.

As usual planting a tree took me much longer then I hoped.  Our dirt is heavy with clay, so I had to use my jackhammer just to make a 2.5 – 3 foot deep hole.  I didn’t just want to put the clay back into the hole around the tree, so I had to come up with a way make the dirt better.  I have been reading about hugelkultur, which is a way of using branches and wood to build up mounds for planting.  Over time the wood rots and provides nutrients for the plants.  Building these mounds isn’t ideal in a suburban lot, but I hoped to simulate it by filling my hole with old wood.  I have a lot of it laying around from getting our ash tree cut down, so I layered some of that wood in the hole. I used compost to fill in the cracks between the wood, and then used compost and peat moss to build up a mound around the root ball of the tree.  By building up where I planted the tree a little I will be able to put in several inches of wood chips for when I water the tree.

I really don’t know what to expect from this tree.  I know that citrus grows well here with little to know effort needed once the tree is established.  I don’t think I have ever seen an apple tree growing around where we live, so I will be truly curious to see what I get out of this little tree.

-Joshua