It truly feels like fall today, with the temperature down low, and the leaves finally giving us colour. We’ve been picking apples as each type ripens, and over the past few days have been sorting the bins readying them for storage. With a quick brushing to remove any hiding insects, we then divide them into eating, cooking, and livestock bins. This year gave us a huge crop with 1000’s of McIntosh, Gala, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Bramley, and Jonathan apples. The Transparents also fruited well but were processed in early August.
Part of storage involves getting some applesauce into the freezer. I’ve been making McIntosh applesauce, as it is one of the most flavourful, and rarely does it need any sweetening. They get cooked with their cheerful red skins on, which tints the sauce pink. The skins and cores are all easily removed by putting the sauce through a food mill. Still using my mom’s, which I’m sure has been around for at least the past 70 years. But it has always worked well, so why not?
All of this is one of my sensory markers of autumn’s arrival. That first bowl of applesauce, still slightly warm, is a huge treat. But even better if accompanied by one of these delightfully simple and somewhat plain cookies. Bea used to stay on Thetis when she wasn’t home on Cracroft Island. She and my mom became good friends as they enjoyed their visits together over the years. I only met her once, but her cookies have never left my file. They get taken with us on road trips, and are great with ice cream, but essential with fresh applesauce.
In a medium bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients (first 5).
In another larger bowl, or a stand mixer, cream the butter.
Add the next 4 ingredients, one at a time, mixing each in thoroughly before adding the next, golden sugar, molasses, apple cider vinegar, and lastly, the egg.
Clean down the sides of the bowl, and make sure all is incorporated.
Add in the mixed dry ingredients, about a cup at a time, until the dough is smooth. Depending on the size of the egg used, you may need to add in up to half a cup more of flour. Mix until the dough is not wet, but is slightly sticky.
Cover the bowl, and put in the fridge (the actual recipe says to “put it outside somewhere cold”), and let rest for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350° with two racks evenly spaced.
Using about one-third of the dough at a time, roll the dough out to ¼” thick on a well-floured surface, turning to keep it free, and dusting the top lightly, as well.
Cut with a 2 – 2½“ round cutter, dusting the cutter as you work.
Arrange about 1” apart on parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheets.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Let rest for about 10-15 minutes before transferring to a rack to completely cool.
Makes 5-6 dozen depending on the cutters used.
Farmhouse Cook 2020