All About Apples: 7 Tips for Autumn Baking

Fall is in the air! And while that means pumpkin season is officially here (hooray!), there's another autumn favorite that deserves some serious attention: fresh-picked apples.

So crisp. So juicy. So sweet. If you've never been apple picking before, try visiting a local orchard with your family or a few friends this fall. There's just something wonderful about breathing in the fresh air and filling your bucket – both literally and figuratively. But if you can't find the time (or an orchard near you!), grab some fresh picks at your local farmers' market or neighborhood grocery store. There are more varieties than ever this time of year, and it's so fun to try all of the different flavors!

Now once you have all those apples, how do you make the most of them? Keep some of these handy hints in mind:

7 Awesome Apple Tips

  1. When in doubt, choose all-purpose apples.
    Crisp, sweet and slightly tart, Gala and Braeburn apples are a couple of my personal all-time favorites for everyday snacking and all-purpose baking. The flavors beautifully complement pies, cakes and crisps. Plus, they keep their firm shape while baking, and they store nicely, too.
  2. Explore over 100 Nana's Apple Cake recipes online.
    There's no doubt about it: Nana's Apple Cake Mix® is one of the best secrets to keep in your pantry at all times. Kissed with cinnamon and autumn spices, this luscious homemade cake will fill your home with the most amazing aroma. Just add chopped apples and eggs. That's it!

    But if you're feeling more adventurous, did you know that you can find over 100 recipes for it on Tastefully Simple's website, too? One of my personal favorites is this caramel-swirled beauty: Nana's Caramel Apple Cheesecake

    Nana's Caramel Apple Cheesecake recipe

  3. Take advantage of what's in season. Remember, there's a smaller window of availability for some varieties. Around here, juicy Honeycrisp and Sweet Tango are only available for a limited time. But they are definitely worth it, so get 'em while you can!

  4. Mix and match multiple varieties. Try using a combination of sweet and tart apples with apple pies and crisps, like Cortland and Jonathans. The more varieties you use, the richer (and more interesting!) the flavor will be.

    Creamy Caramel Nana's Apple Pie recipe | Tastefully Simple

    For a Dutch-style apple pie, check out this super simple recipe: Creamy Caramel Nana's Apple Pie.

  5. Go for the gold. Naturally sweet with a soft texture and thin skin, Golden Delicious apples won't hold their shape as well for some baked desserts. BUT they are perfect for making homemade applesauce or apple butter!

  6. Keep it rustic with crisps and cobblers. Warm-from-the-oven, bubbly and delicious, apple crisps and cobblers are so easy to make – and they taste absolutely divine. Plus, you don’t have to worry about them looking perfect! Try this recipe: Better Than Gramma's Apple Crisp. (And don't forget the vanilla ice cream on the side.)

  7. Add a little drizzle or dollop. Want to make any apple dessert look pretty and polished? Drizzle on buttery warm Creamy Caramel Sauce or Pumpkin Caramel Sauce. If you're in a pinch, a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg makes a great garnish, too!

Now it's your turn. You know I have to say it: how do you like them apples?

We'd love to hear about all of your favorite apple recipes, tips and traditions, so post your comments below or share your ideas with us on Facebook.

Happy fall, friends!

- Jen

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