It’s been a particularly hot summer in Virginia this year, and we’ve had little rain throughout the season.  But as I look out my office window at Valley Green, I see that the apple trees have provided an abundance of crisp fruit this year, in spite of the dry earth beneath them. 

Whenever I get past my birthday (which falls on the 12th of September, every single year), I begin to feel nostalgic, remembering the days of my childhood in Oregon.  I was fortunate to have attended a very unique school in Portland, called Catlin Gabel.  The large campus was situated on a beautiful old apple orchard and farm.  I remember how delightful our surroundings were, especially in the fall.  Back to school among old friends, we all played in the fall soccer games and shared stories of the summer.  Lunchtime meant a trip to the old “Barn” which still today, serves as the campus cafeteria.  Though, my friends and I preferred to lunch outside on the lush green grass of the paddock. 

I remember plucking fresh apples from the ancient and untended orchard on the campus.  They weren’t sprayed with any insecticide, so you had to look for the good ones to avoid the bugs and worms.  But oh, how they tasted!  To this day, I haven’t eaten an apple as sweet as those that I remember from that old orchard. 

So to get you reminiscing about the autumn days of your childhood, I thought I’d share a special recipe with you for Apple Spice Muffins.  And of course, if you can buy your eggs, butter, milk and apples from a local co-op or farmer’s market, your muffins will be even tastier!

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 extra-large egg (or 2 small farm eggs)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped apple

Topping:
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar together.  Stir in the spices and egg.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add to butter mixture, alternating with milk.  Add chopped apple and stir well.  Pour into paper muffin cups.  For topping, melt butter and add brown sugar.  Spoon mixture onto tops of muffin batter.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Test with knife to make sure they’re baked through.

There now… can’t you just feel that brisk air stirring outside?

Here’s to the coming days of Fall!

Cindy

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