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Make Holiday Memories With Sweet Eats

Family Features

December 15, 2022

Whether your festivities include immediate family or bringing together relatives from around the country, the holidays are about making memories with loved ones and one of the first signs that the holiday season has arrived at our home is the smell of freshly baked treats in the air. From the first days of the season to the last, many families spend their precious time together with favorite activities and the best foods the holidays have to offer. There are many traditions during the holidays but few are as rewarding as baking with the family.

Sometimes, parents can find it overwhelming to integrate the kids into the process of baking. I used to be this mom, but now I say, embrace the mess! Learning is messy, but also so memorable. Kitchens are easy to clean, but little ones are only little for a short time. Teaching kids and relatives how to bake is a great way to connect with them; it also creates the perfect opportunity to pass on family-favorite recipes to the next generation.

This year, in addition to passing along those family-favorite recipes you can change things up and start new traditions with a fresh ingredient like Envy apples, which provide an easy way to update classics due to their sweet taste and availability. The sweet, sophisticated flavor; uplifting, fresh aroma; delightfully satisfying crunch; beautiful appearance and naturally white flesh that doesn't brown as quickly as other apples all lend themselves to shareable recipes like this Apple Wreath Salad or Roasted Apple Macaroni and Cheese, both perfect for holiday parties.

Because cherished memories are made with sweet ingredients, you can turn cozy movie nights into festive and memorable events year after year by pairing Hallmark Channel's popular "Countdown to Christmas" holiday movies with delicious desserts like Apple Custard Sponge Trifle and Brown Butter Apple Pie.

Apple Custard Sponge Trifle
Servings: 8-10

• 6 Envy Apples
• 2 Tablespoons of Golden Caster Sugar
• 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
• 1/2 Cup, plus 2 tablespoons of water
• 1 Tablespoon of Corn Flour
• 1 Large plain Sponge Cake
• 2 Cups of Vanilla Bean Custard
• 1/2 Cup of Caramel or Butterscotch Sauce, plus additional for garnish, divided
• 1/2 Cup of Cream
• Fresh Apple Slices
• Fresh Strawberry Slices

Peel, core and dice the Apples; place in a large saucepan. Add Caster Sugar, Cinnamon and 1/2 cup water. Simmer Apples 5-8 minutes until tender.

Combine Corn Flour and remaining water. Stir Corn Flour mixture into the Apples until the Apples are syrupy.

Cut Sponge Cake into 2-centimeter diced pieces. Arrange 1/3 of sponge pieces in the base of the serving bowl. Add half of the Cinnamon Apple pieces, including syrupy juices. Add 1 cup of Custard and drizzle with 1/4 cup of Caramel Sauce. Repeat with remaining ingredients, finishing with Sponge Cake; chill.

Whip cream and spoon dollops over the Sponge Cake to cover the top. Garnish with Apple slices, Strawberry slices and Caramel Sauce.

Apple Wreath Salad
Recipe courtesy of "The Produce Moms" (@theproducemoms)

Balsamic Dressing:
• 1 Tablespoon of Honey
• 1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard
• 1/2 Teaspoon of Fine Sea Salt
• 1/2 Teaspoon of Black Pepper, finely ground
• 1 Large Garlic Clove, minced
• 1/4 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar
• 3/4 Cup of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

• 10 Ounces of Baby Arugula
• 3 Envy Apples, sliced
• 9 Ounces of Goat Cheese, crumbled
• 3 Ounces of Pomegranate Arils
• 3 Ounces of Pecans, toasted

To make Balsamic Dressing: In a small serving bowl, whisk Honey, Dijon Mustard, Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil.

Place the dressing bowl in the center of a large board or platter. Arrange Arugula around the dressing bowl in wreath shape.

Place Apple slices on top of Arugula. Sprinkle on Goat Cheese, Pomegranate Arils and Pecans.

Brown Butter Apple Pie

Streusel Topping:
• 1/2 Cup of Flour
• 1/4 Cup of chopped Pecans
• 2 Tablespoons of Light Brown Sugar
• 4 Tablespoons of Butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

• 4 Tablespoons of Butter
• 2 Pounds of Envy Apples, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 1/2 Cup of Light Brown Sugar
• 1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
• 1/8 Teaspoon of grated Nutmeg
• 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
• 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
• 3 Tablespoons of Flour
• 1 Deep dish frozen Pie Shell

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

To make the Streusel Topping: Mix Flour, chopped Pecans and Light Brown Sugar. Stir in Butter using fingertips until incorporated with small lumps of Butter visible. Refrigerate.

To make the filling: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt Butter until amber, stirring often. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, stir sliced Apples, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Salt, Vanilla and Flour using spatula. Pour browned Butter over Apples and mix, scraping skillet with rubber spatula to incorporate brown Butter bits.

Place frozen Pie Shell on a baking sheet. Add 2 cups of Apple mixture into the shell, gently pressing Apple slices for even base. Add remaining Apple slices and gently press. Sprinkle the Streusel Topping evenly over the Apples.

Bake 30 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 F and bake 35-45 minutes until topping is golden and Apples feel tender when pierced with a fork.

Roasted Apple Macaroni and Cheese
• Salted water
• 1 Pound of Macaroni Noodles
• 4 Tablespoons of Butter
• 1 Envy Apple, peeled and diced
• 4 Tablespoons of Flour
• 2 Cups of Heavy Cream
• 2 Cups of Milk
• 3 Cups of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
• 1 Cup Romano Cheese, grated
• 1 Cup of Gruyere Cheese, grated
• 1 Tablespoon of Kosher Salt
• 1 Teaspoon of Worcestershire

• 2 Tablespoons of Butter
• 1 Cup of Panko Breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add Noodles and cook until just tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot over high heat, melt butter then saute diced Apple until caramelized and tender. Sprinkle in Flour and stir. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.

Whisk in Heavy Cream and Milk; bring to boil, whisking frequently so Milk doesn't burn.

Once boiling, turn heat to low and whisk in Cheddar Cheese, Romano Cheese, Gruyere Cheese, Salt and Worcestershire. Continue whisking until the cheese is melted thoroughly.

Carefully pour mixture into a large blender and blend on high until smooth.

Pour Cheese sauce over Noodles and stir.

Pour Macaroni and Cheese into a 9-by-13-inch pan and spread evenly.

Heat oven to broil.

To make topping: In a medium bowl, melt Butter and stir in Panko Breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle bread crumbs over macaroni and cheese; broil until golden brown.

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