Apple Crisp for the College Student's Soul

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This is a quick, easy recipe that provides an always amazing sweet treat for a cool autumn day (or any day) for those who do not have much time or many resources, like the every-busy college student.

Step 1: What You'll Need

I've been baking ever since I was a little kid. I remember the days of cooking and baking with my grandma. Of course, a struggle that we often ran into was that she did not always have a great deal of ingredients in the house when I randomly popped by. As a result, my favorite dishes to make were ones like this apple crisp. The simplicity of the recipe and ingredients makes for a quick and easy treat. As a college student, I am very grateful for this recipe as it is cheap and can be easily made even with the limited resources of a dorm-life setting.

The Ingredients List:


Topping
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, diced into small cubes

Apple Filling

3 lbs Granny Smith apples (at room temperature) peeled, cored and sliced thin (about 1/8-inch thick)

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup light-brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 pinch salt

Overview:

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: approximately 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: 6 Servings

Calories: approximately 447 kcal

Step 2: The Topping

The most efficient way in which to make this delicious dessert is to begin by making the topping, the "crisp."

This is the simplest part of the recipe.

1.) Measure out the dry ingredients that make up the topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, diced into small cubes

2.) Mix together all of these dry ingredients in a bowl as shown in the pictures. The order in which you mix these ingredients does not matter, though I do recommend that you add the diced butter last since it seems to help with the mixing process.

3.) Having all of your dry ingredients combined in the mixing bowl mix them together. Yes, this means that you have to get your hands dirty. But, as my grandma always said, "If you're not getting dirty, you're not having fun." Gradually squeeze together these ingredients. (You should kind of massage them with your hands.) Continue to do this until the butter seems to have mixed well with the other ingredients. This is indicated by balls, or crumbles, starting to form.

4.) Place this bowl in the refrigerator to chill as you prepare the rest of this dish.

Step 3: Peel and Slice

In this recipe I recommend that you use 3 pounds of apples. While you will likely only use 2 or 2 1/2 pounds in the dish, let's get real, we all know that while you peel and slice the apples a few of those slices will likely become your snack.

These steps are very straight-forward:

5.) Peel the apples (I recommend using a small, short-bladed kitchen knife for this. Make sure it's sharp!)

6.) Slice the apples. For this step you can choose how thick you would like the slices. Note: The thinner you slice them the quicker they will bake and the softer they will become in the end result. If you would prefer to retain a little of the apple "crisp" when you bite into the end result, then cut the slices thicker.

Pro tip: As you slice the apples, place the apples in your 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish to help you determine how many apples you will need.

7.) At this point you will want to start pre-heating the oven to 375 degrees.

Step 4: The Filling

8.) At this point, in a small bowl, mix together:

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup light-brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 pinch salt

Mix these together just like the dry ingredients. You can mix them in any order. (Since the mixing order does not matter I did not include pictures of the mixing process. If you would like to see how I mixed the liquid ingredients you can consult the above pictures of me mixing the dry ingredients and they will give an ample representation of what I did to mix the liquid ingredients.)

Pro tip: If you are using artificial vanilla extract, use a few drops more than the 1/2 tsp called for. If you are using pure vanilla extract, marry me, just kidding, kind of. But seriously, if you are using pure vanilla extract then you should use a little less than the 1/2 tsp called for. Always add a few dashes more of the cinnamon.

To mix these ingredients together, simply use a fork to whisk them in the bowl.

The end result should look similar to the picture.

Step 5: Putting It All Together

9.) Transfer the sliced apples from your baking dish into a mixing bowl.

10.) Pour the liquid filling mixture over the apple slices.

11.) Toss the apples about so that all are covered with the liquid filling. (This can be done using either a spoon/spatula or your hands. Personally, I feel that when you use your hands you are more effective.)

12.) Transfer the filling-covered apple slices back into the baking dish. Spread the slices out evenly.

Pro tip: I suggest shaking some extra cinnamon on top of the apple slices at this point for one last boost of flavor.

Step 6: The Icing on the Cake, or Crisp on the Apples

13.) Remove the topping mixture from the refrigerator and spread it over the top of the apple slices. Here again I would recommend spreading by use of your hands. The end result should look like the picture.

14.) Once the oven is up to temperature, place the dish in (I recommend that you place the dish on the rack just below the middle self level.) Let the dish bake for approximately 35 minutes.

WARNING: My grandma is probably ready to kill me. The first lesson on baking I ever learned from her is that you can never bake based off the time that a recipe calls for. You have to bake off of sight, smell, etc. That said, I caution you that all ovens bake differently. So, your oven may take more or less time to properly bake this dish. How, then, do you know when it's ready? Great question! First off all, the kitchen will be filled with the beautiful smell of fall, you know the smell, the smell of comfort and family. Next, the top of the crisp will begin to turn a deep golden brown and the apples will have a lovely brown glaze on them. The liquid filling should also start to bubble around the edges of the dish around the time that the apple crisp is finished baking. Some people would say that you could also poke the apples with a toothpick to determine if they have baked to the texture you prefer. I'm not saying that this is a bad method, but I personally have never found it to be of great use, but I include it in case that method is easier or more effective for you.

Step 7: Enjoy!

15.) Once your apple crisp is out of the oven, let it rest on the stove-top for a few minutes (about 10 minutes seems to be a sufficient amount of time.)

16.) Scoop up the apple crisp using a spoon. I recommend that you place the apple crisp on top of a nice, clean kitchen towel to get that perfect picture for Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.(Oops! Was that my millennial side showing? Well since I went there, here are a few more picture tips: focus a nice, bright light on the dish. Yes, flashlights work, but taking the picture in the sunlight as it streams through a window worked for me. Also, to get the nice rustic, wooden countertop look place your towel and dish on top of a piece of cardboard. Ya just gots ta be resourceful as a college student!) You can use any bowl and even a plate for serving.

Pro tip: The dish is best eaten with a spoon and a scoop of ice cream.

Note: The smell of this dish is likely going to attract many of the starving creatures known as "college students" to the kitchen. If they have already grabbed utensils and are eagerly awaiting a serving do not deny them. If you deny them, you will be murdered, there is no way around it. I've seen it happen and it makes for a much more difficult clean-up. But seriously, this is a great treat to share with friends over a nice conversation and a much needed study break. This dish and really anything that is cooked or baked in the dorm allows for you and your friends to feel a little bit more back at home during your time at college. Enjoy the fellowship with your friends!

For leftovers (like there's going to be leftovers, ha!): cover the top of the dish with cling wrap and place the dish in the refrigerator. The dish can then be microwaved for a few seconds at a later date for a snack.

I hope you enjoy this childhood (and college-hood) favorite of mine, and a favorite of many of my friends. Remember, this and so many other things are completely doable in a dorm setting and making such things can make you and all of your friends feel a little less removed from home. Enjoy! Put on that freshman fifteen!

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