Sunday, November 3, 2013

Baking with Betty

A very warm welcome to our friend, Heather Blake. I first met Heather at Malice Domestic, but she's such a sweetheart that in minutes, I felt like we had been friends forever. Heather has a new series coming out, the Magic Potion Mysteries! Isn't this cover beautiful? Makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea, a little apple crisp, and read.

And now, here's Heather!

It was almost exactly twenty-three years ago to the day that I received a Betty Crocker cookbook as a wedding gift (Happy Anniversary, Mr W!). Over the years Betty and I have been through a lot. Most of the pages in my cookbook are stained from various recipe experiments. Some of the pages are torn. The cookbook has been at my side for endless stacks of pancakes. Many loaves of banana bread. One particularly disastrous quiche. I love that cookbook. When I started eating gluten free, I couldn’t just let Betty sit on the shelf, gathering dust. Instead, we adapted. Betty’s recipes, my tweaks. It works for us.

With leaves falling and a nip in the air, I’ve been craving apple pie like no one’s business. I’ve come a long way with my gluten free diet, but tackling pie crust is still a bit out of my league, so I turned to my next favorite apple recipe: apple crisp. It’s so good that I don’t miss the pie at all (and I’m not just saying that because I don’t want to make the crust!).

Gluten Free Apple Crisp ala Betty and Heather

First you need some apples. How pretty are these guys?
Betty says to use four. I used six. I’m a rebel like that. Peel them, slice them, and layer them in a greased dish. I use a 9x9 glass pan, but you can also use a pretty pie dish. I top mine with a little orange juice – don’t tell Betty, okay? I’m not sure she’d approve.

In a big bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Flour (I use King Arthur’s gluten free), oatmeal (I use Bob Red Mill’s GF Quick Cooking Oats), brown sugar, sugar (Betty doesn’t use this, but again, I’m a rebel), softened butter, cinnamon (I use more than Betty—seriously, can you have too much cinnamon?), nutmeg, salt (not in Betty’s recipe, but I think just about everything tastes a little better with salt).

Once you mix all deliciousness together, it will look like this little bit of heaven.

Spread it atop the apples, then put the dish into a 375˚ oven.

It’s ready for the baking:

You’re going to have to trust me on how amazing this smells while it’s cooking. The butter, the brown sugar, the apples... It’s absolutely mouth-watering.

After 30 minutes, the apples are tender and bubbling in their juices, and the topping is a beautiful golden brown.

All that’s left is to dish it out and add big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Betty and I hope you enjoy. (And if you happen to be reading A POTION TO DIE FOR, my new release, while eating this wonderful treat, I swear it makes it taste even better. Betty swears, too.)

Gluten Free Apple Crisp ala Betty and Heather

6 apples, peeled and sliced* (I use Granny Smith)
1/4 c orange juice*
2/3-3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. sugar*
1/2 c. gluten free flour* (I use King Arthur’s)
1/2 c. gluten free oats* (I use Bob Red Mill)
1 tsp. cinnamon*
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt*
1/3 c. butter, softened (I use unsalted butter)

Preheat oven to 375˚. Place apples in a greased 8x8 (or 9x9) square dish. Sprinkle with orange juice. In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients. Spoon topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes. Can serve warm or cold. 6 servings.

*Tweaked by Heather

Heather Blake (aka Heather Webber) is the author of more than a dozen mystery novels and has been twice nominated for an Agatha Award. She's a total homebody who loves to be close to her family, read, watch reality TV (especially cooking competition shows), drink too much coffee, crochet, bake (mostly cookies), and occasionally leave the house to travel to the beautiful mountains in the northeast. Heather grew up in a suburb of Boston, but currently she lives in the Cincinnati area with her family and is hard at work on her next book.

Twitter: @booksbyheather


  1. Sounds awesome. Can't wait to try it.

    1. It is awesome! And really easy to make. Hope you enjoy it.

  2. You can't go wrong with apples! (And butter and sugar.)

    I'm looking forward to the new book!

  3. Hi Heather! so glad to see you here! The crisp looks delicious. I bet it would be amazing with coffee for breakfast...and the book looks delightful too. adding to my TBR stack. xo Lucy

    1. Thanks, Lucy! Ooh, it would be good for breakfast. I'm going to try that next time. And thanks for the book love! xo

  4. So nice to have you here, Heather! This looks wonderful and I will be spreading the word.


    Victoria/aka MJ

  5. Good call, Heather. Betty is an American icon and butter, sugar, and fresh apples make for a delightful alchemy. And speaking of alchemy, congratulations on your new series. May all of your potions be magical.

    ~ Cleo

  6. Heather, a cook after my own heart. You know I eat GF, too. This sounds great. I've been doing the same with my old favorite recipes for years, tweaking to make them GF.

    BTW, congrats on your new release. What a beautiful cover!!


    1. Thank you, Daryl! You're the GF master--I'm merely a novice still. The thing I've noticed is how much easier a GF diet is now than even two years ago. Lots more options. And I *love* that cover, too. :)

  7. Heather, thanks so much for joining us today. I love your cover! It's mysterious and magical.

    I think I cook the same way you do – always adding more of the goodies, like apples. I want to take a big spoon and dig into this!


    1. Thank you so much for having me today, Krista. :) The recipe is so good, and can easily be made non-gluten free by using regular flour and oats. I personally love it warm with ice cream. So yummy! And thanks for the cover love--I adore it, too.

  8. My copy of A POTION TO DIE FOR arrived yesterday! Feeling very lucky indeed!

    Your recipe looks and sounds delicious. I bet Betty would be proud of you for making changes. Have you ever tried peach crisp? I have an apple crisp recipe that I love, but usually use peaches (usually just canned) in place of the apples. So yummy. I will be trying your recipe this week. My beloved recipe calls for baking the apples (or peaches as the case may be) first with a bit of flour, sugar, and cinnamon and then adding the oat/brown sugar/flour/etc topping and baking longer. Love that your recipe eliminates that first baking. I have been known to eat leftover crisp for breakfast. YUM!