April 20, 2011
I’m tempted to make this a wordless post. I mean, look. That buttery, cinnamony apple treat (great for breakfast or dessert) came out of my oven after only 10 minutes of prep and 20 minutes of cooking. What more to say?
Well, actually, there is a lot more to say. Because it’s not just this recipe that’s great. The book it came from — The Whole Family Cookbook — and the woman who wrote it — Michelle Stern of What’s Cooking for Kids — are also great. And I need to tell you why.
Michelle, who kindly shared her Kale Chips here a couple of months ago, has long been a tireless advocate for healthy family and school food. She is the founder of the San Francisco Bay Area children’s cooking school What’s Cooking where she uses her experience as an educator to teach sensible family cooking. Michelle’s work on local school lunch reform landed her a hard earned invitation to the White House where she helped launch Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools Initiative.
More than all that, Michelle is a passionate, thoughtful leader who cares deeply about healthy eating and green living. And she is a good friend, always willing to lend a helping hand. She’s basically a superhero. And her book is exactly what you’d expect from a green living, spatula wielding super cook.
The Whole Family Cookbook is full of mouth watering, practical recipes that everyone in the family can help make and can definitely eat. This isn’t a book of kiddie food, folks. You know how I (and the Hungry Papa) feel about those kinds of recipes. This is the real deal with dishes like Sweet Potato Biscuits, Croque Monsieur, Chewy Maple Granola Bars, Pork Chops with Sage Butter and Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet.
The best part is that Michelle doesn’t just give lip service to the idea that kids can help with the cooking. Rather, she puts her money where her mouth is, color coding each step of every recipe for an age level. There are steps that can be done by kids as young as 2-years-old and as old as 11+ years. Michelle also provides easy tips and quick asides that shed light on how and why we should eat more local foods and ways to make green living more fun and accessible for kids.
Baked Apple Puff, reprinted with permission from The Whole Family Cookbook
(OHM says: can be shared with kids 10+ mos)*
5 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
2 small crisp apples, organic if possible (go for Fuji if you prefer a slightly sweet apple, or Granny Smith if you enjoy a tart flavor)
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or in a saucepan.
3. In a medium sized bowl, crack the eggs.
4. Beat the eggs lightly and then add the melted butter.
5. Measure milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, salt, and flour, and add them to the eggs.
6. Mix all of the ingredients until the batter is well blended.
7. If you have one, use an apple peeler/corer/slicer to peel, core, and slice your apples. If not, use a vegetable peeler to peel the apples.
8. Cut out the cores and slice the apples thinly.
9. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 10″ ovenproof skillet. Add the sliced apples and cook until they are golden brown, 5-10 minutes. (If you’d like, you can add a dash or two of ground cinnamon.)
10. Put on oven mitts and take the skillet off the heat. Pour the batter over the apples.
11. Measure 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and stir them together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the batter.
12. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 15-25 minutes until gently browned and puffed. (Do not open the oven during the first 15 minutes of the cooking process, or the puff will deflate!)
13. Put on oven mitts, remove the skillet from the oven, and immediately place an oven mitt over the handle, so that you won’t accidentally burn your hand.
14. Cut the puff into wedges and serve immediately.
*Note: One Hungry Mama thinks that this is a great early finger food. The apples should be soft — but check to make sure — and the puff pancake should be easy to manage when cut into age appropriate bite sizes.