Appletizing Autumn Baking

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Bring on the apple-crisp autumn season with these red-delicious dishes. Tart, sweet and snappy, these recipes are also easy-as-pie with few ingredients and ready-made frozen dough from the grocery store.

Start with an apple tart that's a real beauty. Just roll out the dough, spread the cream cheese, and pile on the apple pie filling. Splash with a sprinkle of nutmeg, and this country-home classic bursts with orchard-fresh flavor.

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Autumn is the time when all the good flavors of apples and spices combine to fill the crisp air with delicious smells.

And, when you're primed for pie, it doesn't get any apple-pie easier than this caramel apple creation. Granny Smith good, and only seven simple ingredients. Drizzle with warm and gooey caramel cream cheese and experience a slice of life not to be missed.

You may want to serve the apple of your eye a scoop of cinnamon apple bake. It's a bread pudding as smooth and sweet as it is creamy.

And finally, stuffed pockets with apple cider syrup are simply the best-of-the-best in French toast fare. Crunchy and oh-so-coconutty, soaked in cidery syrup, they'll bring in bushels of compliments during breakfast or brunch.

So go ahead and fill the autumn air with the apple-sweet aroma of home-baked breads and cinnamon rolls that are easier than they look.

The results are truly "appletizing."

Cream Cheese Apple Tart

9 frozen yeast bread dinner rolls, thawed and risen

8-ounce package cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

21-ounce can apple pie filling

1/4 cup sliced almonds

nutmeg

Press rolls into a ball. Roll dough into a 13-inch circle and place in a 12-inch deep dish pizza pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Mix cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla together. Spread on dough. Top with apple pie filling. Sprinkle with almonds. Let rise 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

French Toast Pockets

1 loaf frozen yeast bread dough, baked, cooled and sliced into 8 pieces (do the day before)

8 ounces softened cream cheese

6 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 teaspoons vanilla

8 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans

7 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup crushed corn flakes

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Combine cream cheese, vanilla, chopped pecans and 2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside. Combine eggs, milk, nutmeg and 4 tablespoons sugar until well blended. Set aside. Combine crushed cornflakes with coconut and set aside. Cut down through the top and along one side of each slice of bread. Spread a generous tablespoon of cream cheese filling inside of each pocket. Preheat lightly greased electric griddle to 325 degrees. Dip bread pockets into egg/milk mixture, then press them into corn flake/coconut mixture, coating both sides of each pocket slice. Cook until golden on both sides. Serve warm with Creamy Caramel or Apple Cider Syrup. (Bread may be stuffed, wrapped and frozen ahead of time.)

Apple Cider Syrup

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups apple cider

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium-sized saucepan. Add cider and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened. Serve warm.

Creamy Caramel Syrup

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups light Karo syrup

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until smooth. Bring to a rolling boil and maintain for 5 minutes. Continue to stir. Remove from heat and serve warm over French Toast Pockets.

Cinnamon Apple Bake

1 loaf frozen yeast bread dough, baked and sliced (day old works well)

8 large eggs

3 1/2 cups 2-percent milk

1 cup sugar, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Place bread slices in a 9x13-inch glass pan. Whip together eggs, milk, vanilla and 1/2 cup sugar. Pour half of liquid mixture over bread. Arrange apple slices over bread and pour in the remainder of egg/milk mixture. Mix the remaining sugar with cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle over the apple slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for 4 hours. Before baking, remove covering, dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 60 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Allow to stand for 8 minutes before serving.

Caramel Apple Pie

1 package frozen cinnamon rolls

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into small pieces

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Icing:

1 tub ready-made cream cheese frosting

4 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping

Let rolls sit on counter until thawed, about 45 minutes. Cut each roll into 6 pieces and spread evenly over the bottom of pan. Combine apple, sugar, cracker crumbs, walnuts and cinnamon. Sprinkle over rolls. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Combine cream cheese frosting and caramel sauce and drizzle over pie while still warm.

Recipes and photos for this feature were provided by Rhodes Bake-N-Serv.

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