I know it’s fall here in New England not because the days are getting shorter and mostly cooler, but because our markets are filled with bins of apples in varying hues of red, green, and yellow. I especially like the Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, and always reliable Granny Smith for making warm apple crisps when autumn arrives. Although I follow the basic formula for these crisps of tossing sliced apples with sugar, butter, and spices, I often add an unexpected ingredient. I’ve combined brandy-soaked prunes with apples for some versions and paired cranberries with apples for a sweet/tart combination. In the recipe featured here an unexpected addition of toffee bits provides extra flavor and texture to the crumbly coating that covers the fruit.
When this crisp comes out of the oven, the topping of chopped pecans and toffee bits mixed with flour, sugar, and bits of butter is golden and crunchy, and the Golden Delicious apple slices beneath, tossed with melted butter, a splash of lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon, are fork tender.
For a little extra indulgence, I served this crisp with scoops of vanilla ice cream and then drizzled each serving with some warm caramel sauce purchased at the grocery. For me, those little toffee bits are the secret ingredient that makes this apple crisp extra special.
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Apple Toffee Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream and Warm Caramel Sauce
2 1/4 pounds (about 4 large) Golden Delicious apples or other baking apples such as Pink Lady, or Granny Smith
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons sugar
3/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup toffee bits (See cooking tip.)
1/2 cup flour
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and finely diced
Confectioner’s sugar for garnish
Mint springs for garnish, optional
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup or more purchased caramel sauce (See cooking tip.)
1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready a shallow 2- quart baking dish.
2.For the filling, peel apples.Then cut them in half lengthwise and cut out and discard the cores. Cut each half into 4 wedges. (You should get about 6 cups.) Place slices in the baking dish and toss with the butter and lemon juice. In a small bowl, stir the sugar, cinnamon, and salt together, and sprinkle over apples. Toss to coat well.
3. For the topping, place the pecans, toffee bits, flour, and brown sugar in a medium bowl, and mix well. Add the butter, and, using your fingertips, rub the mixture together until it resembles pea-sized clumps. Scatter the topping evenly over the apples.
4. Bake until apples are tender and juicy and topping is golden brown, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove and cool 5 to 10 minutes. (The crisp can be prepared 4 hours ahead; cool and leave at room temperature, uncovered. Reheat in a preheated 350-degree F oven until warm, about 15 minutes.)
5. To serve, dust crisp with confectioner’s sugar. Garnish each portion with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and with a drizzle of warmed caramel sauce. Garnish with a sprig of mint if desired. Serves 4 to 5
Heath “Bits o Brickle” toffee bits, which are usually found in the baking section of the grocery, work well in this recipe. (Do not use chocolate-coated toffee bits.)
Mrs. Richardson’s Original Caramel Sauce (my favorite purchased caramel sauce) is available in many groceries and just needs a quick heating in a saucepan over low to medium heat.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2021