There’s a lovely old apple tree that stands in the middle of our garden. When we were house-hunting eight years ago and first came to look at this house it was late August, and the tree was heavy with apples. We left an hour or so later with a bag full of apples, and bought the house – smart marketing that!
Each spring there are snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils in the grass around the trunk of the tree. The children and their friends love to climb it. And in late summer, there are apples for pies and crumbles to see us through the winter.
There are other apple trees in the garden, but this one is somehow special – maybe because of its position, right in the centre of things. I don’t know when it was planted, or what variety it is, but it provides shade in the summer, and a support for the washing line. It’s a hard-working tree.
There aren’t as many apples as usual this year. Of course I’m blaming the weather – again. After all, it can’t be anything to do with my inept attempts at pruning over the past few years, can it? But the apples that are there are starting to ripen – time to get baking! Now I love apple crumbles (especially those with blackberries in too), but my daughter doesn’t like them – something to do with there not being enough sugar in the fruit, no matter how much I add… But here’s a way with apples that she does like – apple crumble cookies. Pretty much the exact same ingredients that I’d put in a crumble, but in cookie form. And that, it seems, makes all the difference! I will of course be trying out apple and blackberry crumble cookies, just as soon as we get enough sun to ripen the berries. In the mean time, here’s a recipe recommended by one of the fussiest eaters I know!
Oh, and if you know of any fail-safe recipes for fussy eaters – please let me know!
Apple Crumble Cookies
For about 15 cookies -
200g peeled and diced apple, (I used a cooking apple so that it would cook down to a nice mushy consistency)
125g unsalted butter
2 tbsp runny honey
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
a good grating of nutmeg
115g light brown soft sugar
125g plain flour
a pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180oC, 350oF, Gas 4.
Put the apples, butter, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg into a pan and heat gently until the butter melts. Increase the heat a little, and cook the apples until they are soft and mushy. Take the pan off the heat and add the sugar, stirring to dissolve it in the warm apple mixture.
In a large bowl, mix the oats, flour and salt. Add the warm apple mixture and stir just enough to mix everything together.
Take dessert spoonfuls of the cookie mixture and form each one into a ball. Place the balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and gently flatten each one into a cookie shape – they don’t spread much as they cook.
Bake in a preheated for 15-20 minutes, until they’re just starting to go golden brown at the edges. Cool on a wire rack.