Whenever the first fall chill hits the air, we start hankering for sweet treats made with apples. There’s just something about baking with apples; an apple pie, crumble or cobbler baking in the oven—with the sweet smells of cinnamon and brown sugar permeating your home—that makes you feel warm and cozy.
But before you start baking with apples – note this: there are more than 7,000 different varieties of apples in the world and not all of them are created equally. Never fear—baking with apples can be, well, “easy as pie” with this quick and easy guide. We first published this news about the four most popular types of apples in our 1986 Homemade Good News Vol. 6, Number 9.
Red Delicious – These apples are suited for raw eating only and not recommended for baking. They are actually the only variety of apple that shouldn’t be used for cooking. Red Delicious apples should have a deep red color, they should be firm and fragrant, and free from bruises, soft spots, or blemishes of any kind. Size has no relation to quality, and Red Delicious apples should have a wonderful sweet flavor.
Golden Delicious – Known as the Queen of the yellow apples, Golden Delicious are also sweet, but far more versatile. Golden Delicious apples may be baked, sauced or frozen and are an excellent choice for salads. They are easily identified by their yellow-gold color and slightly ribbed shape. A little known secret – Golden Delicious apples resist discoloration better when once cut.
Granny Smith – Beautiful, bright green Granny Smith apples are one of our favorites to bake with, as they are unbeatable for both cooking and just plain eating. They are large, hard and crunchy with a sharp tart flavor. Granny Smiths are generally available year-round and their tart taste sweetens with storage and when they are baked. They also have an added bonus: they freeze beautifully. Use Granny Smiths in any recipe calling for tart apples.
McIntosh – These apples are bright red in color with slight stripes. McIntosh apples should be of medium size, have a fresh, pleasant fragrance and a moderately tart flavor. They have a tender, crisp crunch to the bite and may be enjoyed raw or cooked. A good McIntosh feels firm and is free from soft spots or blemishes.
Don’t upset the apple cart trying to find a good apple dessert recipe. We’ve pulled some of our favorites so you can start baking with apples right away. For more apple-a-day inspiration, check out these 206 apple recipes on our website.
Dixie Apple Cheesecake – Sweeter than a magnolia blossom and every bit as lovely, this vintage recipe for apple cheesecake calls for Granny Smith apples and makes an impressive centerpiece to the holiday dessert table. It originally appeared in 1991 in the Homemade Good News cookbook series.
Apple Upside Down Cake – This Apple Upside Down Cake is perfect for dessert or with a cup of coffee for breakfast. The cake is a spiced sour cream cake with sweet brown sugar baked apples baked on top!
Apple Crisp – After one taste of this melt in your mouth apple crisp made with Golden Delicious apples you will want to make it a staple in your dessert repertoire. It’s the perfect pairing with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.
Apple Crumb Pie with Butter Rum Sauce – Warm, bubbly and delicious…made with both Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples – this apple pie has a unique twist. Instead of a pastry crust, this apple pie has sweet and crumbly streusel topping plus a buttery rum sauce drizzle.
Easy Fruit Cobbler – This easy fruit cobbler recipe can be made with apples or other fruits like cherries, blackberries and raspberries. You can even combine them all. Either way you’ll love the warm, sweet gooey-ness of this dessert.
What is your favorite dessert to make with apples?