i love the fall. so much so that we’re lucky it isn’t a tangible, living thing as i’d most likely snuggle it right to death. fall means colorful leaves fluttering in the wind, winter squash looking strange and oddly shaped, pumpkins ripe for the carving, apples ready to be picked and baked, hair that doesn’t quadruple in size the moment i walk outside. just color and loveliness all around.
though the falls in the north differ considerably from the falls of my youth (50/60 degrees as opposed to 70, sweaters rather than a long sleeve t, indoor pumpkin carving instead of outdoor pumpkin carving), i’ve managed to adapt (though not without considerable bitching and moaning).
i’ll never forget my first fall in new england as a confused little 18-year-old. it was early october and i remember feeling so cold that i thought i would die. i piled on all of my winter accessories, tied on my hiking boots (which bizarrely enough had been all the rage at my high school… most likely a result of all that treacherous linoleum we were forced to traverse every day), and proceeded to weep tears of terror (which i also seem to remember froze on my face). j, who lived down the hall from me, looked me over with such pity and informed me that we had barely hit fall and that soon i would be so cold even my teeth would freeze. i wasn’t entirely sure how one’s teeth froze, but i knew i did not want to find out. unfortunately, i was already the weird girl on my hall who spent a bit too much time watching taped tv shows while slurping down ramen noodles, so walking around in 60 degree weather wearing long johns and a scarf around my face really didn’t help my already floundering reputation.
these days i do my best to cut back on the early-onset winter wear and try to acclimate myself slowly to the increasing chill through a number of outdoor activities, my favorite being apple picking. not only is it ridiculously fun leaping in the air to try and pick out-of-reach apples, but it is also so much more rewarding to bake appley things knowing i yanked them out of the tree myself (and by yanked, i mean carefully twisted it off using both hands… ahem, apologizes cider hill farm).
every year i have the best of intentions when it comes to post-picking baking, annnd i almost always totally wimp out. this year was no exception. rather than some deluxe, glamorous pie like i may have promised certain persons (eep), i opted for apple chips. the boiling process can be somewhat time consuming, but overall there is not much effort required. you can happily prepare these and sip spiked cider simultaneously. though, because there are sharp knives involved, i would suggest waiting to realllly get started on that side of things until after the apples have been sliced…
cinnamon apple chips
…meanwhile… if you happened to use apple cider, you might find a little sticker like the one above. unfortunately, i discovered this AFTER drinking the majority of the container… i’m not actually a child, or elderly, or suffer from a weakened immune system, but this did wonders for my already wildly out-of-control hypochondria nonetheless.
2. with a sharp knife (and i emphasize sharp as it will make your life so much easier… assuming you aren’t hopped up on the cider and chop off a finger), slice off half an inch from the top and bottom of the apples and discard.
3. slice into very thin rings (about 1/8th of an inch thick). note that the thinner your slices are, the crispier and more chip-like they will turn out. the thicker ones will stay slightly chewy and be more like dried fruit.
5. with a slotted spatula, remove the apple slices and pat them dry. arrange on a cooling rack, making sure that none overlap.
6. bake at 250 degrees f for 30-40 minutes. the apple slices should be lightly browned and almost dry to the touch. let the chips cool on the racks completely before storing in an airtight container. enjoy!