Do you remember that scene in the old Disney cartoon of Johnny Appleseed, when the pioneers are laying a table, and every single dish is made with apples? The song runs through my head as I chop up apples of all kinds to bake or snack on lately.
“There’s apple pickles, oh so tasty,
Apple tarts and apple pastry,
Apple dumplings, not to mention apple sass –yeah!
There’s apple fritters light as thistle,
And for folks to wet their whistle,
Tangy apple cider in our hands . . .”
- Walt Disney 1948 short, “Johnny Appleseed”
That’s the story of my October. It’s been a serial apple addiction – first Honeycrisp, now the Pink Lady and Fuji crops, and suddenly my favorite baking apples like Stayman, Jonathan, and Winesap are popping up. It would be a shame not to put all this bounty to good use, especially since the tangy flavor of apples goes hand in hand with whole grains, like Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour and Hodgson Mill Oat Bran Flour. And today I’m going to show you one of my favorite quick recipes that combines several of these good-for-you staples.
For those of you who have never had a blondie, they’re a lot like a brownie – just without the chocolate. (I don’t know if that helps . . .) When I’ve had them, they’ve been dense, sometimes a little dry, sometimes studded with walnuts or pecans, and even topped with sugary syrup or frosting. They’re delicious, but not exactly great for me.
With this recipe, I’m taking what I love about blondies – their simplicity and potential for moist, delicious goodness – and making them a little healthier. I’m adding more whole grains, chunks of baked apple and super-healthy flaxseed to keep them moist, plus, some butterscotch chips for sweetness (but not an overpowering amount).
After coring and chopping the apple, the recipe comes together in a snap. Mix wet ingredients (first sugar and oil, then the rest), then mix dry ingredients and add them into the wet, and then fold in chopped apple and butterscotch chips. (You can add chopped nuts, too, if you like them. I didn’t put them in this batch.)
Spread the mixture into a pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. (Here you can see my supervisor, Jack, making sure I do it right.)
In half an hour, your house will smell like all the best parts of fall. The top gets deeply browned and just a bit crisp , yet the middle stays extremely moist. If this were a brownie, you’d call it fudgy. Be patient and wait for the blondies to cool before cutting, otherwise you’ll end up with a serving of crumbs you could only eat with a fork. Once it has cooled it sticks together a little better.
If you’re eager to cook more with apples, don’t forget some of our other Hodgson Mill recipes. For a recipe that combines the sweetness of apples with real whole grains that’s more suitable for breakfast (or any meal), try my Apple Peanut Butter Steel Cut Oat Custard from this winter – it’s an oat casserole that’s easy, extremely hearty, and perfect for an autumn breakfast or a brunch gathering.
And if you’ve still got some apples left over, check out Holly’s post from last week, Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting. You can’t go wrong with any of these apple-filled, whole grain recipes.
Apple Butterscotch Blondies
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8”x8” pan with non-stick spray, or lightly butter and flour. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, oil, and sugar. Add the egg, flaxseed, and vanilla extract and whisk again.
In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix it all together just until no dry bits remain. Fold in the chopped apple, butterscotch chips or other mix-ins.
Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is an even deep brown, and a toothpick inserted near middle comes out clean. (Try to avoid apple chunks when checking with toothpick.) Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve.
Keeps for 2-3 days if wrapped and kept in a cool place, but it will get even more soft and moist over time.
Muesli option: If you don’t have oat bran flour, or if you want more crunch and chunk to your blondies, try this recipe with Hodgson Mill Apples & More Muesli instead – extra apple chunks, raisins, and oats! Just fold in the muesli at the end with the apples and butterscotch chips.
Makes 9 servings.