Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

September-November: National Apple Months

Apple pie is a popular apple dish to make during the National Apple Months from September to November. Instead of a sweet apple pie, try a savory one instead: apple cheddar bacon mini pies. They are like a small yet hearty quiche full of flavor from apples and applewood smoked bacon.

Islander brought this dish instead of a dessert to the culinary book club meeting at the local library this month, following the apple ingredient theme. Most members brought the typical, sweet apple dishes so they very much welcomed Islander’s contribution to balance out the buffet.

Try something different than the traditional apple pie and make a savory apple cheddar bacon mini pie during National Apple Months.

Recipe

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1 pound) applewood-smoked or regular bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced (equivalent to one cup)
  • ½ cup sweet or white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup Bisquick mix
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs

Directions

Cook the bacon (fry or bake), drain the grease, let cool and crumble into pieces. Peel and dice the apple.

Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

Chop the onions. Place in a large bowl with the cheddar cheese. Chop the sage and add to the bowl. Sprinkle the salt and mix well.

Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

In a separate bowl, stir the Bisquick mix with milk. Beat the eggs into the Bisquick mix until the batter is smooth. Mist a standard-size muffin pan with cooking spray.

Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

Place a scant tablespoon of the batter into each of the 12-15 compartments. Divide the apple-cheddar-bacon mixture and scoop into each compartment (about ¼ cup or 4 tablespoons). Top with remaining batter. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for five minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

Notes

  • As a shortcut, use two packages (3 ounces each) of pre-cooked real bacon bits and pieces.
  • Search our blog for other recipes containing apples as an ingredient.

Johnny Appleseed Cake

Johnny Appleseed Cake

March 11: Johnny Appleseed Day

In elementary school, we enjoyed “movie mornings” when we learned about legendary people of the American frontier like Johnny Appleseed. Formally known as John Chapman (September 26, 1774-March 18, 1845), he was an eccentrically-dressed man who was famous for planting apple trees and establishing orchards across the Midwest. While planting apple seeds, the New Church missionary was also planting seeds of his faith by living simply, touting the health benefits of his fruits, caring for animals and showing kindness wherever he traveled. Johnny Appleseed is also associated with this hymn:

“Oh, the Lord is good to me,

and so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need,

the sun and the rain and the appleseed.

The Lord is good to me.

Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen.”

There are many tales about Johnny Appleseed as there are variations of the Johnny Appleseed cake. Some recipes are made from scratch using fresh-diced apples, while others use shortcut ingredients like canned apple pie filling or jarred applesauce. We chose the easiest one because 1) a child can participate in making this delightful dessert during a teachable moment and 2) we had a coupon for “buy a cake mix and get a can of pie filling for free”.

Celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day and bake an easy Johnny Appleseed Cake.

Recipe

(Adapted from Mr. Food)

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (may use sugar-free)
  • 1 can (21 ounces) apple pie filling (may use sugar-free)
  • 4 eggs (may use egg substitute)

Directions

Mist a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, apple pie filling and eggs. Mix until smooth.

Johnny Appleseed Cake

Pour the batter into the prepared ban. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Slice into squares and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon (optional) or enjoy plain with a cup of tea or coffee.

Johnny Appleseed Cake

Notes

A+ Apple Cookies

Apple Cookies

August: Back-to-School Season

Get an A+ for your efforts in making adorable apple cookies for a back-to-school snack. We baked and decorated apple cookies for a college crowd and they were a hit (of course, most students will eat anything that’s free)! The sugar cookie dough we use yields around four-dozen two-inch shaped apple cutouts so there are a lot to share for a class en masse. These apple cookies are crisp, cute and colorful and are a festive food to serve at back-to-school events and even during National Apple Week (second week of August).

Recipe

(Adapted from Kitchen Lane)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour (all purpose white)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • red and green fondant
  • powdered sugar for dusting the surface
  • clear piping gel or water
  • chocolate brown frosting (for the apple stems)
  • white frosting (for “A+” lettering)

Directions

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture into the other ingredients and blend well to form a dough.

Apple Cookies

Divide dough in thirds and roll into a ball. Then flatten each ball into a disc and place between sheets of waxed or parchment paper. Roll out to about ¼-inch thick (we used ¼-inch thick acrylic sticks as guides). Stack them on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm (about 30-45 minutes). They may also be frozen for 15-20 minutes.

Apple Cookies

Take one stack of flattened dough out of the refrigerator or freezer. Peel away both front and back to loosen, leaving the dough on one sheet of the waxed or parchment paper. Cut out the apple shapes. Place on a foil-lined greased cookie pan about 1 ½ – 2 inches apart. Refrigerate the cookie pan. Re-roll scraps of dough and cut more shapes, refrigerating if the dough gets too soft. The dough needs to be cold and firm in order to retain its shape while baking. Bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until the sides are very lightly browned. Remove from the oven when done and let sit on the pan for about five minutes. Transfer each cookie on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container until ready to decorate.

Apple Cookies

Using the same apple-shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes on red fondant (roll out to 1/8-inch thickness on a clean surface that has been dusted with a bit of powdered sugar to prevent from sticking). Slice off the stem piece. Brush piping gel or water on the red fondant.

Apple Cookies

Position the red fondant on top of the apple cookie and smooth out the edges with warm fingers. Repeat for all cookies. Pipe chocolate brown frosting for the stem. Pipe “A+” on top of the apple cookies. Set aside to dry.

Apple Cookies

Make small leaves from the green fondant (we used a leaf-shaped plunger-cutter). Attach to the apple cookie with piping gel or water. Set aside to make sure all icing is dry before stacking. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve to starving students.

Apple Cookies

Notes

  • Personalize the apple cookies by piping students’ and teachers’ names or writing the name of the school on them.
  • We used fondant more than royal icing on these apple cookies because it was quicker to cut out shapes for mass production (besides, we have not mastered the “flooding” technique—yet).
  • Search our blog for other back-to-school snack recipes.