Food & Drink

A bumper crop! How do you like them apples?

Lexmark volunteers Seth Kirk, left, and Todd Phillips loaded windfall apples they gleaned at Reed Valley Orchard last year for the Faith Feeds program.
Lexmark volunteers Seth Kirk, left, and Todd Phillips loaded windfall apples they gleaned at Reed Valley Orchard last year for the Faith Feeds program. Herald-Leader

Apple growers agree, this year's crop is the most abundant in decades.

"This is the best apple crop we have ever had in the 25 years we've been growing apples," said grower Trudie Reed who, along with her husband Dana own Reed Valley Orchard in Paris. "We think the rain throughout the year has added to the large size of our apples, and the cool nights have given our apples great color this year."

Terry Boyd, co-owner of Boyd Orchards in Woodford County agrees.

"Generally, it's the best crop in 10 years. Some varieties are light, but we've already sold more apples than we've ever sold."

Boyd attributes the increase in sales to the health benefits of apples, as well as the buy local and Kentucky Proud promotions. The Boyd orchard has 15 varieties of apples, and they are in bins, and sold by the pound, so customers can try new varieties along with their old favorites.

Because the apple crop is stellar this fall, we asked readers to send us their favorite apple recipes so we can take advantage of the abundance, and quality.

After a visit to a local orchard, you can make these recipes that are proven winners.


John Tully of Lexington said he "made up" this recipe for stuffed baked apples about 40 years ago. "I used to bake these apples in an iron skillet," he said.

Stuffed baked apples

Golden Delicious apples

Red hots cinnamon candies



Apple blossom honey or pancake syrup

Core apples (as many as will fit in an iron skillet or baking dish). Place in pan and stuff each cored apple with ½ teaspoon cinnamon candies, raisins, and marshmallows. Drizzle honey or syrup over apples. Pour 1 cup water around the apples and bake at 350 degrees until apples are done, but not falling apart.

Becky Taylor of Irvine uses apples from a tree in her yard for this recipe.

"I got this recipe from our local money mailer paper. I made it and my husband said it was the best cake I had ever made. He doesn't like cake very much so that was a good surprise. Our son liked it and he is very picky," Taylor said.

Apple dapple cake

2 cups sugar

1½ cups oil

3 eggs

3 cups self-rising flour

1½ teaspoons cinnamon

4 cups peeled and chopped apples1 cup chopped pecans or hickory nuts

2 teaspoons vanilla


1 stick butter

1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup milk

In a medium bowl, combine sugar and oil. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in flour and cinnamon. Add apples, nuts, and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 320 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes.

To make topping: In a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and milk. Bring to a boil and cook 2 ½ to 3 minutes. Pour over cake while still hot and let it soak in. Larry Miller of Ashland said a simple way to add something special to your favorite apple pie is to drizzle each slice with caramel ice cream topping and sprinkle with toasted pecans, just before serving.

Here is Miller's recipe for a spread that's delicious on graham crackers.

Apple pie spread

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon water

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

¼ cup finely chopped pecans

1 crisp red apple, finely chopped

In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and water with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Mix in cinnamon and brown sugar. Fold in chopped pecans and apples. Refrigerate. Serve on graham crackers, garnished with cinnamon and/or chopped pecans. Makes 2 cups.

Marianne Kirby of Danville said she clipped this recipe in 1986 and it has become one of her favorites.

"I alternate with different spices and kinds of apples," Kirby said. She is a retired home economics teacher at Boyle County High School.

Dutch apple bars


3/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt


5 cups thinly sliced, pared apples (any variety except Red Delicious)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup golden raisins


3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1⁄3 cup cold butter

To make crust: Combine butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Press evenly into lightly greased 15-by-10-by-1-inch jellyroll pan.

To make filling: Sprinkle apple slices with lemon juice, then toss with sugar, flour, lemon peel, cinnamon, and raisins. Spread evenly over crust.

To make topping: Combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over apple mixture. Bake 25 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees, until apples are tender.

Janette Sumpter of Monticello shares this recipe for a tasty dessert.

Apple enchiladas

1 can (21 ounces) apple pie filling

6 8-inch flour tortillas

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1⁄3 cup butter

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup water

Spoon equal amounts of pie filling in center of each tortilla. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up and place seam side down in a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish.

In a saucepan, place butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and water. Bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Pour over enchiladas and let stand 20 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Jill Funk of Lexington shares her favorite apple recipe.

Sour cream apple squares

2 cups flour

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup chopped nuts

1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

2 cups (2 medium) peeled and finely chopped apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and butter. Blend at low speed of electric mixer until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Press 2¾ cups crumb mixture into a greased 9- by 13-inch pan. To remaining mixture, add cinnamon, soda, salt, sour cream, vanilla, and egg. Blend well. Stir in apples. Spoon mixture evenly over crumb crust. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Lisa Cunningham of Versailles recently baked this cake for the Women's Thursday Bible Study group at Versailles Baptist Church. Granny Smith apples are best to use in this recipe, she said.

Apple cake with caramel sauce

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the dish

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

3 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the dish

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract

Caramel glaze:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the butter and the granulated and brown sugars until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. The batter should be very thick. Stir in the apples and vanilla. Scrape the batter into a buttered and floured 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes while you make the caramel glaze.

With a spatula, loosen the sides of the cake. If you want to remove it from the pan, invert it onto a baking sheet, then invert it again, right-side up, onto a platter. With a toothpick or fork, poke holes all over the surface. Pour on the warm sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature, with ice cream, if desired.

To make caramel glaze: In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the granulated and brown sugars and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the cream and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Diana McDowell of Richmond said any combination of apples and nuts will work in this recipe.

"It is still wonderful without nuts. I have used apples too old to eat in this, and it is still good. We never have any left over when taken to a potluck. It's goodfor breakfast, too," she said.

German apple cake

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups chopped apples, peeled and cored

1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9- by 13-inch pan and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Add eggs and oil. Mix by hand to combine. Add vanilla, apples and nuts. Spread into the pan and smooth with the back of a spoon. Batter will be very thick. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

Eloise Delzer of Paintsville responded to our request for apple recipes with this recipe for Perfect apple dumplings.

"Maxine Blair (of Van Lear) is the lady who perfected it. It became the dessert of choice by the foodies of First National Bank in Paintsville. This recipe is the best reason I can think of to keep shortening in your pantry," Delzer said.

Perfect apple dumplings

2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup buttermilk

6 to 7 cups of apples, peeled, cored and chopped

Cinnamon and sugar mixture to taste for 8 to 9 dumplings

Small amount of butter to add to dumplings


31/2 cups sugar

4 cups water

1/2 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Sift flour and baking powder. Cut in shortening and add buttermilk to make a dough.

Pinch off golf ball-sized pieces and roll 1/2-inch thick. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped apples in center of dough. Then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and sugar mixture and dot with 1/2 teaspoon butter. Fold over edges and place in a 9- by 13-inch pan with folded side down. Should make 8 to 9 dumplings. Pour sauce around dumplings and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

To make sauce: Place sugar, water, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and pour around dumplings.

Diane Poeppelman of Anna, Ohio, read about our recipe request online and submitted this recipe. "This is one of our family's favorite apple recipes. It is requested quite often at our house. This recipe is different and not complicated with lots of ingredients and steps," she said.

Apple coffee cake with crumble topping

1 stick butter

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups apples peeled, cored, and chopped

Crumble topping:

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish. In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating well. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to wet ingredients, alternating with sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the apples. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

To make the topping: Combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter in a bowl. Mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping over the cake and bake until golden brown and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Adine Clark of Monticello said she already has gathered a lot of apples this fall. "We have mixed an assortment of fruit together to make this favorite recipe that we use often. The recipe has a few grease spatters on the copy and it has been folded and refolded over the past several years. My mother loved to bake apple bread. I use red delicious and Grimes golden delicious. Tart apples can be used also, but I don't usually combine these with a soft apple," she said. "I gather black walnuts in the fall, dry and chop to use in this recipe."

Clark recommends placing the cut apples in water to keep them from turning brown. "If apples are diced small, they will cook faster and won't be still raw and hard when bread is finished, especially if using tart apples. Use plenty of cut apples, the more apple the moister the bread. Make sure the apples are drained well after taking from the water."

Fresh apple bread

1/2 cup softened butter

1 large egg

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 to 4 cups peeled, cored apples, diced small

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or black walnut flavoring

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two small loaf pans. This can also be baked in a 9- by 13-inch pan, or a Bundt pan.

In a large bowl, blend together butter, egg and sugar. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, spices, salt and diced apples. Combine egg mixture with flour mixture. Mix vanilla and nuts into the dough. Dough will be thick and stiff.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Jenny Tackett Poole of Lexington said this dried apple stack cake is from her mother, Polly Ferrell Tackett of Ashland.

"I have never made this cake but have eaten it plenty of times. I can remember when I was a young girl sitting on the front porch and stringing apples to hang in the attic to dry. After they dried, they were stored in jars or in a freezer," Poole said.

You also may use dried peaches or apple butter or peach butter.

Dried apple stack cake

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sorghum

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 cups flour, plus enough flour to make stiff dough

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon soda


Dried apples

1 teaspoon ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar and beat in eggs. Add sorghum and buttermilk. Sift 2 cups flour with salt and soda; add to buttermilk mixture and beat well. Then add more flour to make very stiff dough. Knead like biscuit dough. Roll out very thin and take a small, round plate and cut size you want your cake. Bake at 350 degrees until brown (may be baked in iron skillet). Repeat with rest of dough.

Layer filling and cakes. Stack 6 or 8 high. They are better after a few days when the apples soak in.

To make filling: In a heavy pan, cook dried apples with cold water until they are soft enough to smash. Be careful not to burn. Add ginger and cinnamon.