Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tipsy Apple Fruit Roll-Ups

Homemade applesauce is a comfort food.  It reignites those childhood memories when I would go crazy over a pot of hot, chunky applesauce.  Quite naturally, one of my favorite things to make with a batch of apples is homemade applesauce.  A huge perk to making applesauce is it's healthier than almost any other apple recipe (contingent on the fact that you keep the sugar additions to a minimum) and you have the versatility to eat the applesauce plain or incorporate it into other dishes.

The apples used in this recipe mostly came from a tasting of local Maryland apples at work.  Unfortunately, I don't remember all the varieties.  There was certainly a few Golden Delicious, a MacIntosh or two, a sweet variety, a tart variety, and one variety that turned out to be quite mealy.  Mealy apples are ideal for cooking and baking since most people do not enjoy eating them and the cooking process helps to break them down and release their natural juices.

Drunken Applesauce

When I make something like applesauce, I don't follow an exact process so I don't have an exact recipe.     So, here's a guide to my Drunken Applesauce:

  1. Wash, peel, core, and chop 6-8 medium apples
  2. In a large pot, combine apples, 1 cup water, a pat of butter, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp Allspice, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 3 tbsp cinnamon, 1/3 cup brown sugar,  1/4 cup regular sugar, 1/2 cup brandy, 1/4 cup Triple Sec
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cover and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook for 25 to 30 minutes.  
Cook's Notes:  1.) If you use sweet apples, you can reduce or eliminate the sugar.  2.) While it's fine to use regular brandy (like I did), apple brandy is ideal.  3.) I usually add orange juice and orange zest to my applesauce.  I didn't have any on hand the day I made this, but I highly recommend including about 3/4 cup of orange juice and 1 tbsp orange zest.  

Tipsy Apple Fruit Roll-Ups

So, here's my 30-second elevator speech on the utility of applesauce.  Applesauce is often used as a substitute for oil in baking, a meal pairing with pork, and it is easily incorporated into a variety of sweet and savory dishes.  In the past, I've baked apple bread using applesauce.  I recently made one of my favorite smoothies--Pineapple and Apple Smoothie--with sliced pineapples, applesauce, pineapple and apple juices, and shaved ice.  However, I think one of the most distinct uses of applesauce is fruit leather.  

While I am calling these Tipsy Apple Fruit Roll-Ups due to the brandy and Triple Sec in the applesauce, all of the alcohol cooks off during the cooking process so they are actually kid friendly.  This is also a super easy, kid-friendly recipe.  The most difficult thing about fruit leather is preparing the baking sheet and cutting/rolling up the fruit leather afterwards.  

Tipsy Apple Fruit Roll-Ups

  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 2 tbsp key lime marmalade

Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature setting (170º for me).  Heat the key lime marmalade in the microwave for about 20 seconds or until melted.  Combine with the applesauce and set aside.  

Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat, nonstick aluminum foil, or plastic wrap.  I used plastic wrap with great results.  Use a spatula to spread the applesauce mixture in the baking pan into a thin layer.  Bake for 4 to 5 hours or until dehydrated and the mixture remains firm to a finger's touch.  

Transfer to a rack and let the fruit leather cool completely.  Peel off the mat/foil/plastic wrap.  Lay the leather on a sheet of wax paper with the smooth side facing down.  Use a pizza cutter, kitchen shears, or a sharp knife to cut the leather into strips.  Roll up the strips and store in a mason jar.  

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