I am sitting at my writing desk, crafting my next blog post, and enjoying the autumnal scent wafting from my kitchen: apples baking in my oven. Apple slices dusted with cinnamon drying in my oven, to be exact. I wish this scent could be bottled because if it was, I would wear it as perfume; it has the tangy sweetness of apple cider and rich earth, with the spicy heat of cinnamon. My mouth is watering with the knowledge that in just a few short hours, I will be able to pull these apples from my oven and enjoy these dried morsels resembling fruit chips as a mid-afternoon snack (naturally with a cup of autumn harvest tea).
When I was younger, my family had a dehydrator that we would use to make beef jerky and these dried apple slices. This time of year, I find myself longing for those dried apples; they are a perfect grab-n-go snack or an ingredient that can enhance everything from a tea blend to cocktails to salads. They are also a good way to preserve apples when you find yourself with more than you can eat. But alas, I have no dehydrator. This lack makes me get creative, and I've found I can get these same dried apples by using my oven. The crisper you want your apple slices, the longer you keep them in the oven.
Feel free to dry as many or as few apples as you would like for this recipe. As a general rule of thumb, I don't work with less than two apples at a time, but you can dry as many as six in the oven at a time. I don't skin or core my apples; the skin provides healthy nutrients and not coring the apples leaves a pretty star shaped center. It's best to make this recipe when you can spend several hours at home. The prep is under ten minutes but then you need to let the apples slow bake in the oven for a couple hours to dry out. The cinnamon here is optional, but a great addition if you want the full flavors of fall.
2 large apples (at least)
cinnamon for dusting (optional)
Preheat over 200 degrees. Slice apples about 1/8 inch thick. Lay slices on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Dust with cinnamon if desired. Place pans in oven and let cook for at least two hours (the longer they are in the over, the crispier they get). Remove from heat and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Stores for one week on the kitchen counter or up to a month if in the fridge. Makes approximately one cup of dried apples. Enjoy!
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