cran-apple crisps

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It seems to me that there are bakers and there are cooks. There’s overlap, for sure, but most of us seem to be more on one side than the other. I like to cook, and I get a lot of enjoyment from it – sautéing onions, stirring pasta, pouring a bottle of beer into chili. But baking calls to me more.

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I wonder why? People often say that the most important difference between baking and cooking is the precision required in baking, but I don’t think that’s why I love baking. I don’t like measuring that much. Is it because of my sweet tooth? Maybe, but lately, I crave the baking more than the eating anyway.

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I think it’s just that baking is more sciencey. It always fascinates me that butter and sugar and flour turn into something totally different. When you cook, the ingredients usually don’t change form much from the beginning to the end. Onions in soup are still distinctly onions, chicken is still chicken, tomatoes are still tomatoes. In baking, the ingredients are transformed.

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Crisps, though, are more like cooking. The fruit maintains its character, and the crisp topping, although it contains some flour and butter, still has some distinct elements, like oatmeal and often nuts. Perhaps that’s why I rarely make crisps, despite how easy and delicious they are.

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That also means that crisps are exactly what they sound like. You don’t need to worry about it being dry or dense or tough. It’s apple and cranberries. They’re topped with something buttery and crispy. It tastes just how it sounds like it tastes – damn good.

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Em chose these crisps for Tuesdays with Dorie, and she has the recipe posted.

One year ago: Kugelhopf

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  1. My favorite picture is the one of the raw fruit and sugar. Holds so much promise.

  2. Terrific photos….the crisps look delicious. I agree with Paula–the pic of the raw fruit/sugar is great.

  3. I totally get what you mean about baking over eating. I, too, prefer to bake rather than cook for the same reasons you mentioned. Beautiful crisps, btw.

  4. The pictures are dazzling. Absolutely beautiful.

  5. I, like you, find baking to be the thing that calls to me more. I think baked goods are just so beautiful and who seriously doesn’t like dessert? 🙂 You did a great job on that crisp. I love the picture where you can see all the sugar stuck to the cranberries…yum!

  6. I think you just hit it on the head for me with this post. I always wondered why crisps just weren’t that exciting to put together and when I read this it was like a lightbulb went off! Something about the baking process is so interesting.
    Your crisps look great.
    I made the cranberry scones and subbed in buttermilk for the cream this morning. They turned out really good!

  7. These times, I love to bake and taste what I bake while doing it, but when it’s done, I loose interest. It’s especially true for cookie batters, where I love the raw dough and not that much the finished product… !

    But to me baking is also more conforting than cooking. The nice sweet smell coming out of your oven, the tartness of cranberries, the spices that bring a dessert together…

  8. Yum! I made this last week, and I think I need to make it again soon.

  9. I prefer baking too but I think it’s because I find it easier to share the treats so I don’t gain tons of weight. Not that that stops me from sampling plenty 🙂 Your crisps look wonderful. Love, love, love those ramekins!

  10. OH!! That looks fantastic. All that yummy goodness stuffed into those beautiful blue ramekins. I. Need. To. Make. THis. NOW!!

  11. Beautiful photography.

    Now that it is wintertime, I don’t have the great light I do in the summer.

    I made the crisp this week too, but I did caramel and walnut.

  12. I’m just like you : I prefer baking to cooking. I like the creativity that it requires and I have a sweet tooth so… Nice recipe anyway, your photos are very yummy !

  13. Your photos are beautiful! Your crisp is beautiful too! I made the cookies this week. Saving the crisp for Thanksgiving dessert.

  14. Your pictures are to-die-for. Great job on the crisps.

  15. Yum your crisp looks very tasty. I love it! Im planning to make it soon. I chose the bundt cake this week and liked it. I think I will like the crisp better, just cus I LOVE crisps. The topping looks so good too!

  16. What a delicious crisp. I like the idea of using cranberries.

  17. I have to admit there are a lot of other desserts I would choose before making a crisp, even though I really do enjoy them! This one was no exception – the cranberries added a really interesting twist to the flavors.

  18. Looks great!

  19. Love the pictures! Gorgeous!

  20. I am more of a cook… but I think for me it has more to do with not wanting lots of sweets around the house, and most baking tends to be sweet. I do enjoy experimenting with baking bread, and I like other baking a lot, but I do it less often than cooking. I think cooking is more of an everyday activity for me, and that’s why I like it.

    I’m going to a “Fakesgiving” dinner on Friday and am supposed to bring a dessert. I was hoping to challenge myself a little in the kitchen, but if I run out of time then I might just make this! The apple cranberry combo is perfect for Thanksgiving time 🙂

  21. Love the contrast between cooking and baking. I love the transformation as well. :)Beautiful crisps!

  22. Great post. Still trying to figure out if I am a baker or a cook. Guess I will have to work on both a little more to figure that out.

    Great pics. your crisp is wonderful