Friday, September 26, 2014


by Sheila Connolly

My new toy!
I warned you that the new old apple peeler was coming, and here it is! I bought this at Brimfield, just because I really wanted to see how it worked. It may or may not be a true antique: there’s a company that bought up the old molds and started manufacturing it again (and asking a ridiculous price, far more than I paid for mine). The claims for it are glowing, of course, and I wanted to see if they were true.

Re the apples I used here: it’s harvest season. My tiny orchard is producing apples! Some the squirrels steal. Others rot before I can pick them (because I don’t use any chemicals on them). They ripen at different times. As a result I find myself harvesting them one at a time, which means that it takes a while to collect enough for a recipe. This time I supplemented them with the Paula Reds I bought on the Massachusetts Turnpike. The ones from my orchard, you may notice, included the last of the Pink Pearls, which have pink flesh.

The Pink Pearls are in front, and yes,
they've already been peeled

Back to the peeler. First you have to clamp it to a work surface. But then all you have to do is impale the apple on the three-prong thingy and turn the crank. The blade moves around the apple, removing a thin strip of peel (all the way to the ends!), and when it’s done another part pushes the apple off the prongy-thingy. No fuss, no muss. (The only warning is that you have to use crisp fresh apples.) No waste, either. I love it! I was so excited that I peeled more apples than I needed. How often does a gadget do exactly what it claims to do, and does it well?

Oh, right, now to use all those apples I peeled. This recipe lies somewhere between bar cookies and apple crisp. I made it thick, using a 9” square pan (another vintage find). I think if I had used a larger pan, the results would have been more bar-like, but the cream cheese filling might have gotten lost along the way.

Apple Walnut Cream Cheese Bars

Crust and topping:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (one stick) salted butter
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients together. Cut in the butter (use a pastry blender, your fingers, or a food processor) until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the chopped walnuts.

Set aside 2 cups of the mixture (for the topping), and press the rest into an ungreased pan (the size will depend on the thickness you want).


1 8-oz. package of cream cheese, softened
2 Tblsp whole milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (at room temperature), lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

4 cups apples, cored and coarsely chopped (you may use any number of varieties, although cooking time may vary based on the apple type). Try to find a variety that doesn’t turn to mush when cooked.

Beat the cream cheese and milk with an electric mixer until they are well blended. Stir in the sugar, egg and vanilla and blend. Pour over the bottom crust in the pan.

Spread the chopped apples over the cream cheese mixture. Then sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the apples are tender (poke one with a sharp knife to check—if not done, bake a little longer) and the top is browned. Cool slightly before cutting into squares.

My husband and I ate the whole thing (not all at once!), and it held up well. 

And now for the BSP: This week I released Seeing the Dead, a sequel to last year's Relatively Dead, which was a New York Times ebook bestseller. I never planned to write this series, but after Relatively Dead I found I wanted to know what came next for Abby and Ned. And there will probably be a third one next year (I'll give you one clue: witches!).

Available in all ebook formats I've ever heard of, including Amazon and Nook.


  1. My that looks good!
    I love the pink apple flesh in the pictures.

    1. Every time I open one up, it makes me giggle. Pink! My little tree did well this year--it's just over three feet tall, but it must have produced a dozen apples (well, I think that's good, but it can't compare to the professional orchards). There are so many varieties we never seen any more!

  2. Are you absolutely sure that you didn't eat it all at once? It sounds wonderful. I love your pink apples. I've never heard of pink pearl apples before. Are they rare? Do they only grow in the North?

    1. I didn't know pink apples existed until I took a tour of a Massachusetts orchard, and the manager handed me one. Surprise! They taste nice, and they ripen early. Since then I've found that there is a whole subset of colored apples, ranging from pale pink to a rather intense red. Wish I had room for more!

  3. Oh, boy, everything I can't eat, but I know some kids who are going to love me for making them!!! :

    Daryl / Avery

  4. This sound so GOOD! I love just about anything with apples and cinnamon.

  5. This looks delicious! And that apple peeler thingie is so cool!

  6. I am so tempted to get my husband to help me make a YouTube video of the peeler in action. They claim they can peel an apple in six seconds! I'd say that's not far off.

    1. Sheila, did you see this video with a guy peeling apples using a power drill? Hubby's may end up missing, lol!

  7. That does seem to do the trick! But it's not as purty as mine.

    I did see one at Brimfield last year, an antique peeler that was billed as a hotel model. It must have been three feet high--but it still peeled only one apple at a time, and someone had to insert it manually. Very funny.