It’s September, and although it’s still pushing 80 degrees outside, we’re eager for fall in our house. Let’s just ignore the weather, shall we? There’s so much more to get excited about. For one thing, football is here. While I don’t care about the sport at all, I love the cozy feeling that a football game brings to a home. Everyone’s gathered ’round the couch, troubles and responsibilities temporarily on hold, snacks on the table, beers in hand, Thanksgiving almost here (almost). Right around now, I want my house to be filled with the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg. And I don’t want it to go away until March.
I went on my first quest for cinnamon-nutmeg-bliss during this week’s Sunday football. I’d tell you what game was on, but frankly, I wasn’t even paying attention enough to notice. But I did know that I had a husband on the couch, a drink on the table, and 6 mealy apples begging for help. What would any decent person do? Make apple crisp, of course.
I strayed quite a bit from the recipe I started with, ending with something all my own. For my improv version, I tossed the apples in honey and cinnamon, added a pinch of salt to the crumble, threw in some walnuts, and ditched the white sugar. I only used half a stick of butter, which I strongly advise against. I often fall into this trap—trying to make a dessert recipe healthier. Sometimes there’s just no substitute for globs of butter. Lean from my mistake, friends. Just use all the butter. It will be worth it. Eat a salad for lunch tomorrow if you’re so worried about it.
This was still good, especially with ice cream. And it launched my houseful-of-cinnamon-and-nutmeg season perfectly.
Sunday Football Apple Crisp
For the crisp:
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
For the apples:
5 to 7 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
¼ cup honey
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat your over to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish or any deep pan with butter.
Prepare the crisp by mixing the brown sugar, flour, butter, oats, walnuts, and spices in a large bowl until combined. I learned the hard way that a whisk is not the way to go here—everything just gets stuck inside. Use a fork.
In a separate bowl, toss the apple slices with the brown sugar, honey, and cinnamon.
Assemble the whole thing like a lasagna: Line the bottom of your pan with 1/3 of the crisp mixture, then ½ of the apple slices. Then another 1/3 of the crisp and the remaining apples. Top with the remaining crisp.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the apples are golden.