Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Apple Farmer Annie

"The breath of autumn is a whisper to the soul."

As Emmy and I explore a New England autumn, we are in awe of the magic that seems to occur overnight. We like to think that it is the fairies with tiny pots of paint and paint brushes that create such magnificent colored leaves in the trees.

Emmy's favorite fall activity is apple picking. She delights in finding the most perfect apple to add to her bag. I must say I agree, it is so peaceful in an apple orchard. And what delight I have watching my daughter actually eat an apple down to its core.

And if the juicy apples aren't enough, just wait for the cider donuts - DELICIOUS! Just made, hot-out-of-the-oil apple cider donuts are, without a doubt, one of the guilty pleasures of the season. Coupled with freshly pressed apple cider and you are in heaven.

A wonderful book to share during this season is Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington. Follow along as Annie harvests her apples and uses them to make a variety of tasty items such as apple cider, applesauce, muffins, candied apples, cakes and pies. Annie takes her apples and apple products to "The Big Apple" where she is part of a farmers market. Annie's produce, pies and the rest, are a big hit! Wellington has added information and lessons in many of the bright cheery pictures. beginning with the life cycle of an apple, apples arranged in groups from one to ten which provides an opportunity to practice counting and another page showing apples sorted according to variety. The author concludes the story by sharing recipes for applesauce, apple muffins and applesauce cake with butter frosting.

Which recipe does Emmy want to try...Applesauce Cake! With apples collected from today's field trip, we are ready to make this delicious treat. If you'd like to do the same, here's the recipe:

Applesauce Cake
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1 cup applesauce
2/3 cup raisins

*Cream together butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
*Add eggs and beat well.
*In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
*Add to creamed mixture alternately with applesauce, beating after each addition and blending well.
*Stir in raisins.
*Pour batter into 9-inch greased tube pan.
*Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until browned. (toothpick inserted into cake should come out clean.)
*Cool, then spread with Butter Frosting (see recipe below).

Butter Frosting
2 tablespoons softened butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk

*Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla extract.
*Add milk and stir well.
*The frosting should be smooth and easy to spread.

Since we love Apple Farmer Annie, Emmy and I will be going to the library to check out a few more Monica Wellington books. Perhaps we'll start with these: Pizza at Sally's and Mr. Cookie Baker.

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