NORTHWOODS COOKS: Savor apple season

Fall is in the air, and apple season is here. Minnesota is known for its varieties of apples. According to the University of Minnesota website, favorite trees settlers brought from their homes in the east often suffered damage from Minnesota’s cold winters or failed to ripen before a killing autumn frost. Researchers from the university crossed these eastern varieties with apples brought in from colder climates to develop Haralson and more than 20 other varieties of apples hardy enough to thrive in the state’s challenging climate, soon after the Agricultural Experiment Station was created in 1887.

Apple dumplings fresh from the oven scent the air with nutmeg and cinnamon and are a popular autumn dessert with roots in Czech and Slovak cuisine. (Adobe Stock)
nikolaydonetsk -

Recent favorites include the Honeycrisp, which was introduced in 1991, and the First Kiss apple that is being harvested this fall.

Here is a sampling of recipes from local cookbooks to enjoy with the fall apple harvest.

Apple dumplings


By LaVonne Kruse, Itasca West Recreational Area “North Country Cooking”

2 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 cup shortening

1/2 cup milk

6 large apples, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup sugar


1-1/2 tsp.s cinnamon

Make pie crust from the first five ingredients. Roll out and cut in 6-inch squares. Place equal amounts of apples on rolled out squares of crust and fold so apples are covered by crust. Place in a 9-by-13-inch pan.


2 cups sugar

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup margarine or butter

2 cups water

1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Combine water, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter or margarine. Pour over the apples in the crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Apple Cake

By Lori Bruns, Itasca West Recreational Area “North Country Cooking”

2 cups sifted flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 egg beaten and combined with enough milk to fill one cup

Combine the first four ingredients. Cut in butter and add egg/milk mixture. Spread in a greased pan. Spread sliced apples on top of batter.


Combine 1/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Dot with butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Adam Maddie, Nevis School 2000 cookbook

2 eggs

2 Tbsp. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 unbaked pie shell

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

3 cups chopped, peeled apples

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add sour cream. Stir in sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, vanilla and salt and mix well.

Stir in apples. Pour in pie shell and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine 3 tablespoons melted butter, 4 tablespoons flour and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Remove pie from oven and sprinkle topping over the top of the pie. Return to oven for 20-25 more minutes or until filling is set. Cool completely before serving.

Fall Festival Caramel Sauce

Nevis School 2000 cookbook

40 caramels

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 stick butter

Slowly melt caramels in a microwave safe dish. Stir about every 30 seconds to keep from burning.

When butter is completely stirred into caramels, add milk and stir. Dip apple slices into warm caramel.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to

Related Topics: FOOD
Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
What To Read Next
Faith briefs from area churches.
State Trooper Jesse Grabow answers your road safety questions.
With its soft and gooey center surrounded by a crisp exterior, kladdkaka is the perfect cross between a brownie and a molten lava cake.
State Trooper Jesse Grabow answers your road safety questions.