The New Year's tradition of Grandma Elizabeth's Apple Squares
Rae Garrett, Rae Photography
When my mom first met my dad, she wasn’t impressed. She thought he was too flirty and cocky. Her mom though, my Grandma Elizabeth, approved of him from the start. And at each holiday family gathering she had her own special way of showing her affection.
Every year, without fail, Grandma Elizabeth would make Apple Squares for our family gatherings. Usually, she would make two pans: one for all of us to enjoy and the other for Dad to take home. My dad would saunter into the kitchen, hug her hello, and eye the countertops. It was obvious what he was doing. She would laugh and show him where she had hidden the pan of Apple Squares made just for him. He would grin his thanks and the party would continue.
Other desserts, all the traditional pies and goodies, were also at the party. But the real showstopper, the dessert everyone was waiting for, was Grandma Elizabeth’s Apple Squares. We all had to time our treat-eating just right, or we might miss getting a piece of the most popular dessert. Parents kept watchful eyes on their children, usually having to reprimand them for attempts to sneak a second piece before others had received their first.
At the end of the night, as families gathered their coats and empty dishes, Dad would stealthily exit the kitchen with his pan of apple squares and make his way out to our car. My brothers and I knew he’d share. But we also knew that the next day we’d find several pieces of apple squares already missing from the pan. Midnight cravings having been succumbed to.
Better than apple pie, and perfect with vanilla ice cream, my Grandma Elizabeth’s Apple Squares are a delicious way to start the New Year.
Grandma Elizabeth’s Apple Squares
1 ½ cups shortening
3 cups flour
½ tablespoon baking powder
A dash of salt
8-10 peeled and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon corn starch
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; cut shortening into mixture until coarsely mixed. Divide crust dough into two and place in refrigerator to chill for a few minutes.
2. In a small bowl, mix sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and corn starch together.
3. Remove one portion of crust dough and roll out, placing in the bottom of a 9-by-13-by-2 inch baking dish.
4. Gently lay apples in on top of crust and sprinkle with the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Spoon butter by teaspoonfuls all along the top.
5. Roll remaining dough flat and place as top crust over apple filling. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.
6. For glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm pastry. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or cold the next day for breakfast.
Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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