In today’s picture book round-up, we’re going to be checking out some books about apples, and I’ll be sharing a couple of my favorite apple recipes.
Apples and Pumpkins
By Anne Rockwell
Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell
Aladdin Paperbacks, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 1989
With large, simple text, plenty of white space, and bright illustrations, this book works perfectly as an early-reader leveled text.
For more information:
http://www.annerockwell.com/ Anne Rockwell’s official website
http://www.lizzyrockwell.com/ Lizzy Rockwell’s official website
By Steven Kellogg
Scholastic Inc., 1988
Kellogg’s characteristic illustrations bring life to the classic tall tale of John Chapman, a Massachusetts man who became known as Johnny Appleseed. This book includes an informative author’s note for adult readers explaining some of Kellogg’s background research and the elements of truth in the Johnny Appleseed story.
For more information:
http://www.stevenkellogg.com/ Steven Kellogg’s official website
What’s So Terrible about Swallowing an Apple Seed?
By Harriet Lerner and Susan Goldhor
Illustrated by Catharine O’Neill
HarperCollins Publisher, 1996
A play on the classic tale that swallowing an apple seed causes a tree to grow in your belly, this story has loveable characters, funny illustrations, and a predictable but sweet conclusion.
For more information:
http://www.harrietlerner.com/ Harriet Lerner’s official website
Kellogg’s Johnny Appleseed is a great book for discussions of folktales and tall tales, especially if you’re looking for some from American history. It’s a great activity to compare American folktales to some from other countries. I also really loved What’s So Terrible about Swallowing an Apple Seed?, even though it is a little predictable and heavy-handed with its “don’t tell lies” moral. The illustrations and the characters’ reactions are still funny, and certain scenes reminded me of Imogene’s Antlers, which is another story I love.
To go along with today’s apple books, I have two recipes to share with you. They’re perfect served warm with a little vanilla ice cream on top.
One of my favorite fall things is the smell of apples and cinnamon. This recipe will give you a chunky, easy applesauce and leaves a lot of room for you to make changes to your own preferences. It’s a little tricky to write as a recipe, though, because there are really no measurements.
I would suggest that you first put a little water in the bottom of whatever pan you’re planning to use. You don’t need a lot because there’s water in the apples, but this helps to prevent burning when you first put the apples on the heat. It’s just easier to do this step before you add any apples to the pan because you can see exactly how much water you’ve got.
Next, you need to peel, core, and cut your apples. It’s totally up to you what kind and how many apples you use. I used a mix of apples for my applesauce – you’ll notice some of them are a slightly different color. I also made a pretty big pot of applesauce with this many apples, but don’t forget that they will cook down quite a bit once they’re on the heat. When you cut your apples, you can leave them in pretty big chunks to give yourself a chunkier applesauce. Just make sure you get off most of the peel and don’t have anything left from the core. I love apple peels and snack on them as I prep the rest of the apples; they are also a great addition to a compost pile!
Place your pot of chopped apple bits onto the stove top at a medium-high heat. Now you’re going to add your sugar and spices. This is the tricky part because while I can tell you what I add, I can’t tell you exactly how much. I add a lot of cinnamon and sugar and a little bit of nutmeg and allspice. This is where you have a lot of room to experiment and see what flavors you prefer. I think a good rule of thumb is that when you mix the spices into the apples, all the chunks should be covered pretty evenly with sugar and spices.
Last, you’re just going to let the applesauce cook down and become soft. It pretty much takes care of itself from that point, although you might want to add a little more cinnamon as you go. But definitely don’t leave it alone entirely! You need to stir occasionally because it will burn to the bottom of the pan. When your applesauce is done, you should still have a few distinct chunks, but they should be soft when you poke them with a fork.
This applesauce is a delicious and hearty snack on its own, but it also works as a perfect topping for our next recipe!
Confession: I really don’t like apple pie. I love the soft, cinnamon-y apples, but I just don’t like traditional pie crust. So, I make this recipe instead, which makes a soft apple cake with a little bit of crunch on top. This apple cake does come with more precise measurements and a clear recipe but is still incredibly easy to make.
2 cups of sliced and peeled apples
1½ cups of flour
1 teaspoons of baking soda
1 cup of sugar
½ cup of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. For this recipe, the apples can cut into smaller segments to make them easier to mix. It’s also easier to mix if you add all the other ingredients and mix in the apples last. Press the mixture into a 9” x 9” pan. Bake at 325˚ for 50 minutes. Use a toothpick to check that it’s done – although I always find this time to work well, the moisture in the apples and the temperature of your oven can make a difference!
Raw dough pressed firmly into square pan
For more apple-themed ideas, check out our latest Pinterest board: “For Teachers: Apples”!
What are your favorite apple recipes for fall? Have you tried either of these recipes? Let us know in the comments below!