Once upon a time, a friend of a friend and I went through a breakup at the same time. Sometime soon after, I put out a desperate Facebook message begging someone to get a drink with me, and she responded. After drinks were drunk and stories were told, our friendship blossomed. One of our early "friend dates" was a trip to the apple orchard, where we picked way too many apples and took just enough goofy pictures. Today, Emma is one of my dearest friends, and the apple picking with pictures has become a yearly tradition.
Everyone knows that I'm trying to find ways to smuggle myself out of New England, but even if I do make it to a warmer climate (Before winter maybe? Please?) there is one thing I'd miss: Fall. Apple season in particular. I love the crunch of an apple picked fresh from the tree, and as with most produce it's just worlds better right off the farm.
Last year, due to a crazy winter, the apple trees were not producing enough apples for picking, so we had to forgo visiting our favorite orchard. We went to another orchard (and might do a second trip there later in the season) but thankfully this year's winter was at least tolerable, and Quonquont Farm was open for picking!
Something about Quonquont Farm just makes me happy. And after seeing some amazing wedding photos recently taken on the farm, the whole time I was planning a fantasy wedding in my head. Plus, they don't charge extra to make you pick. In fact, it costs slightly less to pick your own than to buy pre-picked--I hate how some places gouge the price for picking your own--and the farm always has a great variety of apples ready for the picking! While my favorite apples weren't quite ready yet, we had Paula Reds, Mollie's Delicious, Mcintosh, and either Gala or Fuji (can't remember which, and they look so similar) to fill our baskets with.
We also made a little friend!
Seriously, these spiders were EVERYWHERE and they were SO cool. I've never been one to run from creepy crawlies, I think spiders are so neat. However, if one were to randomly drop on me, I wouldn't be too thrilled. So we kept our distance and admired these beauties from afar.
|Emma finds a Charlie Brown Apple Tree|
I feel like the legions of families with children and random passerby were probably rolling their eyes at our silly selfies, but we didn't quite care.
|Sampling as you go is discouraged.|
The first recipe I created with the fruits of my labors (heh, punny) were these awesome baked apples. Sidenote: I tried my damndest in Photoshop to lessen the effects of not-natural light, but the pics still look kinda crappy. Food photography gurus, any suggestions?
I've had a bottle of Maker's Mark hiding in the corner of my liquor cabinet for about a year now, only to be brought out for special occasions though, in truth, I've used it more for recipes than drinking. I decided to finally kill it with this recipe. I initially wanted to make bourbon whipped cream to dollop over the top, but somehow it went right from cream to butter. So now I have bourbon butter! Thankfully I used a little in the sauce, so they still have that great bourbon flavor. Happy Apple Season, everyone!
Drunken Baked Apples
- 4 large baking apples (any kind of apple will work, but ones specifically used for baking are best)
- 1/2 stick butter (salted for a bit of a salted caramel effect, but either works)
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar + 4 more tablespoons
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 3 tbs + 3 tbs cinnamon sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 3 tbs bourbon
-Peel and core apples, trimming the bottom so that they don't wobble, and place them in a buttered baking dish that allows the apples to touch. Sprinkle generously with 3 tbs of cinnamon sugar, and pack each with a tablespoon of brown sugar.
-In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well incorporated. The sauce should be thick, but able to be poured.
-Pour mixture over and around apples. Bake for 30 minutes or until the apples are fork-tender. Halfway through baking, use a spoon to spoon the sauce over the apples. Before serving, pour sauce over apples or drizzle with caramel.