Come September, cooler nights start to bring a hint of reds, oranges, and yellows to the lush green foliage, the smell of wood smoke drifts through the air, and apple orchards throughout Vermont are filled with fruit-heavy trees finally ready to be picked. People travel from all around for the crisp, flavorful apples, and who can blame them? There’s nothing quite like that first bite of a farm-fresh apple plucked fresh from its tree.
Did you know there are over 150 varieties of apples grown in Vermont? Some of our favorites include Honeycrisp, McIntosh, and Macoun apples. They all taste wonderful fresh from the tree, but also provide amazing flavor for apple cider. McIntosh apples are great for baking, as are the sweet but slightly tart Cortland apples.
Apple pie is a Vermont classic (it’s also our state pie), but it can be time consuming to make. For a quick way to enjoy the fresh baked flavors of fall in Vermont, try this apple crisp recipe featuring a crumb topping packed with our famous Cookie Buttons!
Apple Crisp Ingredients
For the bottom apple layer
- 8 large apples cored and cut into thick wedges
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch, rounded
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the crumb topping
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup Cookie Button crumbs (suggested flavor: Cinnamon)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
Instructions for Apple Crisp
To prepare the apple mixture
- Mix together the brown sugar, corn starch, cinnamon and nutmeg until well combined, then toss together with the prepared apples.
- Next, pour the apple juice, melted butter and vanilla extract over the apples and toss together gently. Pour the apples into a greased 10 inch deep dish pie pan or a 9×13 baking dish.
To prepare the crumb topping
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together flour, Cookie Button crumbs, brown sugar and baking powder well.
- Using your hands, rub the butter thoroughly through the dry ingredients until it resembles wet sand.
- When the butter is fully incorporated, you should be able to form the mixture into a crumbly dough. Break off bits and pieces of crumble about the size of the top of your forefinger, and sprinkle all over the top of the prepared apples. Press down very lightly.
- Bake for about 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees or until the top is golden brown and the apples are bubbling.
- Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. A scoop of really good vanilla ice cream is incredible with this crisp.
Tip: Use the crumb topping from this recipe on other baked items. It’s a great topper for other fruit based desserts, and even makes a great crumble for single crust pies and even your favorite fruit cobbler.
What kind of apples should I use for baking apple crisp?
We recommend using McIntosh apples cut into thick slices or a large dice. If you can’t find McIntosh apples locally, and can’t make it to Vermont to pick your own, we’d recommend using a classic green Granny Smith apple cut into medium thick slices or diced. This variety is more tart than McIntosh, but still holds up well to cooking.
Should I peel apples before baking?
This comes down to personal choice, and the texture you like in apple baked goods. If you choose not to peel your apples, we recommend buying organic apples when possible, and washing them extra thoroughly. We also recommend dicing your unpeeled apples rather than slicing as this will give you a good mix of texture.
Should I refrigerate apples?
Uncooked McIntosh apples taste amazing cold, and they maintain their texture even in the chilly environment of your fridge. Some other varieties, like Gala apples, develop a mealy texture and lose their crispness in the fridge. Apples can safely be stored on your countertop for a week or two, and then in the fridge for another 2 to 3 weeks more, but they will taste best fresh.
Tip: if storing apples in your fridge, place them in the crisper drawer with a damp paper towel. The crispness of apples comes from their water content. Refrigerators are designed to remove moisture from the cold air, which in turn can pull moisture from your apples, leading to the mealy texture and softness. The damp paper towel in the drawer with the apples helps to maintain a better moisture balance, and can extend the life of your apples dramatically.
Where can I pick apples in Vermont?
Almost every orchard in Vermont invites people to come pick their own apples. From Mad Tom Orchard in southern Vermont to Shelburne Orchards up north near Lake Champlain, there are dozens of places to visit. Peak foliage starts in early October in Vermont, and with so much to see and do, we recommend planning a weekend trip. Come for the leaf peeping, covered bridges, craft beer breweries, art galleries, and (of course) delicious apples you can pick yourself. It will be a weekend you won’t forget!
Do you have a favorite apple recipe? Tell us in the comments below, we’d love to hear!