Now that Labor Day has come and gone and the kids are all back in school, one of the best seasons of all has begun.
No, I’m not talking about football season; the one season that takes hold of my husband with a firm and unrelenting grip for just under six months each year.
I’m talking about apple picking season!
It’s time to throw on your favorite sweater, lace up a pair of boots, and get out into the crisp fall air to take part in what I consider one of the best weekend activities during the fall: Apple picking!
Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of apple picking season throughout New York, New England and Pennsylvania, so I just had to make some apple picking cookies to celebrate the harvest.
It’s the closest I’ll come to the real thing this fall, and one of the downsides of living in the tropics.
Most people don’t like to see summer come to an end but apple picking season provides a sweet distraction at least.
I used to love going up to the Hudson Valley region to drive down rural roads peppered with roadside stands offering fresh eggs and cream, freshly pressed cider and the chance to get out into the U Pick ‘Em orchards and choose my own crisp, ripe, deliciously sweet apples: Eyeballing each tree and picking exactly the apples I wanted with sniper precision.
There are so many apples to choose from with some farms offering more than 50 varieties; Empire, Gala, McIntosh, Cortlands, Jonagolds and more.
The drive home always kept me preoccupied with the myriad ways I would use my baskets full of sweet apples: From pies and hand pies to apple doughnuts, homemade apple sauce and apple butter. I mean really, what is NOT to like about apple picking?.
When I first set out to do some apple picking cookies, I wasn’t sure how to depict the actual picking. I have apple cookie cutters but I don’t have an apple tree, or any tree cookie cutter other than a palm for that matter, so I cut the dough free-hand using a paring knife. Not perfect but not half-bad either.
I outlined and flooded the trunks and a few big branches.
Once the trunks had dried I flooded the trees and added a ladder on one of them.
Actually, in the end I decided each tree needed an apple picking ladder so the tree on the right was given its own ladder eventually.
Once my first layer of royal icing had dried completely I made some slightly rough-looking apples but you get the idea.
Then I made branches. Now, before you start wondering why I would add the apples prior to the branches, let me tell you that I am one step ahead of you here.
And the answer is, I have no idea why.
I made the branches afterwards just because I screwed up.
Therefore, most of the apples are not actually on branches. Oh well….
And then I didn’t want boring apples but once I flooded my Granny Smiths and my Galas I decided that’s exactly what they were: Hum-ho and boring so I gave them little faces.
I wanted to somehow incorporate the idea that the apple cookies are screaming out to be chosen and picked just as a group of children might when sides are being drawn for a dodge ball game.
You may note here that when it comes to writing on cookies my skills are slightly above elementary but I’m working on it. I’m quite confident that Mrs. DeAnnuntus, my 5th grade teacher, would be quite appalled to see that my writing has progressed only slightly since my days in her class.
The roadside blackboard signs came out cuter that I thought they would though.
In the end, although I won’t have an opportunity to actually pick my own apples, and every apple I eat this fall will more than likely be purchased from my local grocery store , I hope that if any of you find yourself at an apple orchard, you pick one for me!