Jennifer Alexander Ruple

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Cool evening air, crispy leaves underfoot, and orchards filled to the brim all signify the emergence of fall, not to mention apple season, in northwest Ohio. The healthy and versatile qualities apples bring to our autumn cooking and baking makes saying goodbye to summertime a little sweeter. 

I’ve included three juicy apple recipes in today’s column. For starters, assemble a tart-crisp Autumn Apple and Feta Salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. A baked brie topped with apple pie seasoned apples and drizzled with salted caramel sauce is perfect for sharing on game day. And, Apple Oat Squares are great for tucking into the lunchbox of someone special. 

Whether you enjoy picking your own or purchasing from a local grower, apples are the core of the season. Enjoy!

Autumn Apple and Feta Salad
I chose tart apples to use in this colorful autumn salad. The addition of the sweetened dried cranberries and the candied pecans perfectly balances the apples and the feta cheese. Recipe makes 4 servings. 


5 ounces fresh spinach
2 tart apples, thinly sliced
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced 
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
½ cup dried cranberries or Craisins
½ cup candied pecans

On a large serving platter, arrange spinach, sliced apples, onions, cranberries, feta cheese and nuts. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and serve.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely diced onions
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
½ teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes so the flavors can meld.

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Warm Brie with Apples and Salted Caramel Cheese and fruit topped with salted caramel sauce
What’s not to love? Serve this gooey, appley deliciousness as an appetizer or snack with simple water crackers. 

8-ounce wheel of brie cheese
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium sweet apples
½ teaspoon apple pie spice
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Salted caramel sauce
Crackers for serving

Heat oven to 350 F. Place brie on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until brie is soft inside.

While brie is baking, peel, core and chop apples. In a skillet, melt butter. Add apples, apple pie spice, and brown sugar. Cook until apples are soft about 5 minutes.

Carefully transfer warm brie to a serving plate. Top with apple mixture then drizzle salted caramel sauce over the apples. Serve with crackers. 

Apple Oat Squares
Delicious cookie bars are chock full of sliced, sweet apples and layers of crunchy, buttery oatmeal. Enjoy them for dessert or as a treat anytime. Recipe makes 9 bars.

1½ cups quick-cooking oats
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, melted
3 cups sweet apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced 
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter

Heat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, stir oats, flour, baking soda, salt, brown sugar and melted butter until thoroughly combined.

Press half of the mixture evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish.

In a medium bowl, toss together apples, cinnamon and sugar and spread evenly in dish. Dot with butter.

Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden. Cool and cut into squares.  

(Recipe adapted from Apple Desserts by Joie Warner)

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