Friday, November 2, 2012

How to avoid eating all the halloween candy

Option 1: Put all the candy in a large zip-lock bag and seal it carefully. Put that one in another zip-lock bag, along with several cups of mayonnaise. Ask yourself if that miniature bar of cheap chocolate is worth getting mayonnaise all over your hands and the furniture and everything. If this doesn't work, use live spiders instead of mayo.

Option 2: Put the candy away where you can't see it and make yourself an apple crisp. It's infinitely more delicious than most halloween candy and substantially less unhealthy, even if you eat the entire crisp yourself. 

The best kind of apples are the ones you got two huge bags of from your friend's mom, who has an apple tree and can't keep up with the bounty. The second best are any kind that your grocery store signage describes as "crisp," "tart," and/or "good for baking."

Some kinds of apples will take longer to get tender than others. If you, like me, fail to predict this, it means the topping may occasionally start to get over-toasted before the apples are ready. When this happens, I cover the baking dish with a lid or foil and turn the heat down. The steam will soften the apples more quickly, though it will also make the topping soggy. If I were smarter, I'd do it the other way around — start it covered, then uncover it at the end to crisp the topping up. Better yet, I'd bake the apples in one covered dish, and bake the crisp separately on a baking sheet, then combine them just before serving.

Cut out the cores and any bugs and chop them (the apples, not the bugs) into eighths. I don't bother to peel the apples, but you can. Some people mix a bunch of sugar into the apples, but that's usually too sweet for me. I usually mix some cinnamon and cloves in — this is one of those situations where I do like to keep it simple and classic.

Any kind of streusely topping works. I usually go with a handful of oatmeal, one of flour, a knob of butter, and some brown sugar. Mix it together (hands work best, but a pastry blender or a spoon will work) until it's crumbly, then mix in a bunch of pecans. 

I usually put the apples in any convenient baking pan, sprinkle the topping on top, and bake it at anywhere from 300° to 375° until the apples are tender, 20-60 minutes. If I'm already roasting a chicken or lasagna or something, I just pop the crisp in the oven with it, and it usually works out okay. 

Eat as much as you want — remember, it's healthier than the halloween candy you would otherwise be gorging yourself on. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.