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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Nothing Beats Biting Into A High Country Apple

By Sherrie Norris

The High Country Counties of Ashe, Avery and Watauga are among those areas in the state known for producing quality apples. Said to be good for your teeth, stomach, skin and complexion, your nerves, your smile and overall good health, the old adage of “one a day” may just help to keep the doctor away.

Without a doubt America’s favorite fruit, the apple is one of the most versatile food items available today. Experts estimate anywhere between 5,000 to 20,000 varieties exist – with Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome, and Stayman among the most popular, especially here in the mountains.

A bit of trivia rests in ancient Greek folklore that tossing an apple to a girl was a proposal of marriage; catching it was acceptance.

Whether you toss, catch or just enjoy the fresh crisp autumn favorite as a mid-day snack, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding them falling off the trees around these parts. They seem to be in abundance, even if a little early this year, so get them while you can.

Honey of a Crisp

4 ½ cups peeled, cored and sliced Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. water

½ cup honey

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup rolled oats

4 Tbsp. butter

Prepare baking dish with butter, margarine or butter-flavored spray. Evenly spread apples in dish. In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and water, pour over apples. Drizzle apples with honey, and sprinkle with cinnamon.

In a bowl, mix the brown sugar, flour, oats, and butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples. Bake 25 minutes in preheated 350-degree oven until apples are tender and topping is lightly browned.


Candy Apple Pizza

Sugar cookie dough

3 Tbs. flour

1 pkg. (8oz.) cream cheese, softened

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup brown sugar

½ tsp. vanilla

2 medium Granny Smith apples

1 cup Sprite or 7-Up


¼ cup caramel ice cream topping

½ cup chopped peanuts

Spread cookie dough evenly on cookie sheet or pizza pan, bake until lightly browned; cool.

Blend cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Spread on cooled cookie. Peel, core and slice apples. Dip apple slices in lemon-lime soda to prevent browning. Arrange apple slices on cream cheese mixture.

Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Heat caramel topping slightly and drizzle over apples. Sprinkle chopped nuts over pizza. Cut and serve.


Frosted Apple Bars

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp. salt

1 Tbs. finely grated lemon peel

2/3 cup shortening

1 egg, slightly beaten

4 tart apples, (about 2 cups) peeled, cored, and sliced

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbs. milk

Combine flour, ½ cup sugar, salt, and lemon peel. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Pat half of the crumb mixture into a buttered 9-inch square baking pan. Cover with apple slices, remaining granulated sugar, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Stir milk into remaining crumb mixture and spoon or sprinkle over apples. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes, until apples are tender.



1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbs. milk

½ tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar with milk and vanilla. Add a few drops of milk if necessary to thin. Frost bars when warm.


Sugar Free Apple Pie

Prepared piecrust

3 apples

2 Tbsp. butter

Pinch salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 Tbsp. corn starch

2 Tbsp. raisins

About 1 cup of honey, or to taste

Nutmeg or cloves, optional

Peel apples, core and slice. Mix with remaining ingredients up to the honey. When ready for the honey, add about half to the apple mixture, taste it, and add just enough — until you are happy with the sweetness.

Add apple mixture to crust. If using double crust, cover apple mixture with the top crust and cut small vent holes in top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until lightly browned


Oven-Fried Apple Pies

1 Tbsp. sugar

¼ tsp. cinnamon

1 large can Pillsbury Grands Refrigerated Biscuits

1 cup apple pie filling

4 Tbs. butter, melted

Heat oven to 375. Spray two cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray. In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon, set aside.

Separate dough into eight biscuits. Press or roll each to form five-inch rounds. Place on sprayed cookie sheets.

Place two tablespoons pie filling slightly off center each biscuit round on one cookie sheet. Fold biscuits over filling, press edges with fork to seal. Prick top of each three times with fork. Brush each with melted butter; sprinkle with sugar mixture.

Bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown, noting that some of the filling may bubble out at edges. Repeat with biscuit rounds on second cookie sheet. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool at least five minutes before serving.