Fried apples are like the essence of apple pie, except somehow better. Butter, white and brown sugar and the natural sugars from the apples caramelize as the apples cook. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are the perfect spices to round out the flavors.
Crate and barrel
Barrel of monkeys
Barrel of fun
Barrel of laughs
Over a barrel
Bottom of the barrel
Lock, stock and barrel
Barrel of oil
Scrape the barrel
With both barrels
Sound as a barrel
In the barrel
Do you ever do word plays like the one above? I really enjoy them. Whenever I start one of these tangents, I think of Hawkeye Pierce’s rant using the word “carry”.
“I will not carry a gun, Frank. When I got thrown into this war I had a clear understanding with the Pentagon: no guns. I’ll carry your books, I’ll carry a torch, I’ll carry a tune, I’ll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, carry me back to Old Virginia, I’ll even ‘hari-kari’ if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun!” ~Hawkeye Pierce: M.A.S.H. episode “Officer of the Day”.
(Despite the political implications above, I am NOT making a political statement regarding guns! I will say, though, that in my memory box I have a target and a medal for marksmanship from when I was a teenager.)
As I thought about the above “barrel” word tangent, I wondered how I could work it into a post. So, I did a search for “barrel recipes”, which lead me straightway to Cracker Barrel copycat recipes. Duh. That should have been obvious.
Cracker Barrel was started in 1969 in Lebanon, Tennessee. It’s Southern. Believe me, it is REALLY Southern. As I filtered through Cracker Barrel copycat recipes on line, I kept saying over and over to myself, “Yep, got that recipe…yep, that’s how it’s made…yep–cook it, then cook it some more, then fry it.”
While I scanned various copycat recipes, it quickly became apparent that I had better dust off my frying skills. Southerners definitely know their way around frying food. I think that the Southern art of frying things ought to be named the eighth wonder of the world.
I have to tell you that I honestly believe I can feel my heart do this deep, heavy, sustained, almost painful contraction every time I think about eating something that is deep fat fried. Fried chicken used to be my all-time favorite food, but I can hardly eat it anymore. I can usually get through a chicken leg and then I am done…or done in. My grandmother and mother used to make fried chicken with a fritter-style batter and I am telling you that it was outrageously amazing. For the sake of family history I ought to write down the recipe and make the chicken one last time to photograph.
At any rate, between the fact that I am not such a fan of deep fried foods anymore and the fact that Cracker Barrel cannot compete with Granny’s fried chicken, I have been left to choose one of the other items on their menu. As odd as it may seem, in contrast to my aversion to fried foods, I chose Fried Apples. They are not deep fat fried, but they are nevertheless fried–in butter. They are a fruit, so that loosely gives them a point or two on the nutrition scale. Very loosely.
Fried Apples are like apple pie filling except better. Frying brings out extra flavors through light caramelization. Caramelized sugars are so wonderful! These apples go beautifully as a side for pork or an addition to breakfast. My daughter and I ate them all by themselves as a late afternoon snack. They are heavenly.
Be sure to use apples that are meant for cooking, such as Granny Smith, Fuji or Rome Beauty. Cooking apples hold their shape and won’t turn to applesauce! For these Fried Apples, I used Granny Smith. I like their tart flavor pared with the sweetness of the caramelized sugars. The apple peels can be left on, if desired. Personally, I prefer peeled apples for this dish.
When it comes to copycat recipes, I issue myself a challenge: make them better than the real thing. The only recipe hack that still remains illusive is Olive Garden’s salad dressing. I have never found “the” copycat recipe. None of the recipes I have tried can match or improve upon the real thing. Thank heavens the dressing can now be found in many grocery stores. Woot, woot!
Here are three of my favorite copycat recipes:
Shake-n-Bake: Shake and Bake Trump Chicken (meaning that I found a trump to the packaged stuff)
TWIX Cookie Bars: Spring “TWIX” Cookie Bars (definitely worth the effort)
Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana: Zuppa Toscana
There is an additional copycat recipe who’s accuracy or copycat correctness I can neither confirm nor disclaim because I have never had a real Swig Sugar Cookie. However, this has definitely become one of my favorite cookies:
Swig Sugar Cookies: Swig Style Sugar Cookie Recipe