Grandma’s Apple Crisp is a timeless recipe; it will warm your soul with juicy, tender apples, and a crisp, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth topping.
When I moved out of the Midwest, I hadn’t given much thought to all the little things I might not have access to anymore. Sure, I was definitely going to miss my family, my friends, and my two cuddly cats. But I was also focused on what was to come – my first classroom as a teacher, a new city, new friends – and the next move I was focused on even more newness – living on the beach, finally not being in a long distance relationship (until deployment, but let’s not think about that…), and a climate where the smallest amount of snow shuts everything down.
I was so excited to leave the cold that I didn’t realize I might miss the distinct seasons and all that comes along with it. And I never thought I’d miss apple orchards. Apple orchards, apple cider, caramel apples...
Is it just me or are there apple orchards everywhere in the Midwest?
Maybe it’s not just the Midwest, but it’s for sure not that way here right on the coast.
But GOOD NEWS ALERT: I can still make warm, cinnamon-y, soul-satisfying apple crisp, just like my mom did when I was growing up. Just like her mom did when she was growing up. And just like her mom did when she was growing up.
This recipe goes a looooong way back in my family, and there are differing stories about how it came to be. One story says it originated in my Great Grandparent’s restaurant in a little Iowan town. The second story is that my Grandma got it off of a sugar sack (yes, I said sack) many, many years ago. As she put it, “I’m 75 years old, so you know that was a long time ago.”
Either way, I couldn’t be more thankful for family heirlooms like these. It is the perfect apple crisp. It’s like a big Grandma hug that fills your soul to the very top with comfort.
What makes it different is through our changes over the years we’ve doubled the amount of buttery topping, add sugar+water+cinnamon to the apples in the baking dish, and use only white sugar – no brown sugar. No oats in this crisp either, just melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Growing up, Sundays in the fall were my favorite -as mentioned here – and included in that list needs to be this warm apple crisp, fresh out of the oven with a big scoop of ice cream. My happy place.
The apples are tender, tart, yet sweet, and sprinkled with just the right amount of cinnamon. They’re covered in a buttery, crisp topping. When you serve a hugggge scoop of apple crisp with an equally large scoop of vanilla ice cream, the birds begin to sing and the skys part.
The first bite of this heavenly dessert make me forget about apple orchards and geography differences; it transports me right back to being 11 years old again on those Sunday nights, snuggled in and cozy, filled with all the love of the strong women in my family.
And it makes it okay that I had to buy the apples at a store rather than picking them myself (which in the end, is that really so bad?).
Run to the store, apple orchard, or your neighbors – grab them apples and get to choppin’! The best is yet to come!
Great Grandma’s Apple Crisp is a timeless recipe; it will warm your soul with juicy, tender apples and a crisp, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth topping.
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6-8 baking apples* (approximately 10 cups), sliced
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 Tablespoons butter, room temperature and cubed
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
- Peel and slice apples into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
- Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a 9×13 baking dish. Add sliced apples and mix well to cover apples.
- In a medium mixing bowl with a pie blender or two forks, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter cubes until well combined and small crumbles form.
- Lightly pat topping over apples in baking dish.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, until bubbling and topping is golden brown.
- Cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream.
You want to use apples that are sweet yet tart and will not break down during cooking; if you can find Jonathan apples, they are best. I used Honeycrisp apples in the photos, but I’ve used many different kinds in the past. Use your best judgement or favorite apple (if it’s not mushy!).