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How ‘bout them apples? Long Grove readies for Apple Fest

Tiffany Schuler is “up to her eyeballs in apples.” Schuler’s apple cider doughnuts (pictured in front) will be the star of the show during Apple Fest. | Photo courtesy of Sweet Whimsy
A thick slice of carmelized apple tops a half-pound burger with Swiss cheese and apple wood-smoked bacon at The Village Tavern in Long Grove | Photo by John Kopecky
Mary Ann Ullrich shows her Caramelized Apple Bacon Burger. | Photo by John Kopecky
Tiffany Schuler, owner of Sweet Whimsy in Long Grove, in the kitchen with her dad, Keith Schuler. | Photo courtesy of Sweet Whimsy

Facts

Apple Cider Doughnuts

¼ pound butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup apple cider
1 cup milk
8 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy with paddle attachment on mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Add apple cider and milk. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg and add to the cider mixture until combined. Press into floured half-sheet pan. Chill in refrigerator for one hour. Cut out doughnut shapes with doughnut cutter. Fry in 375-degree oil for 90 seconds, on each side. Remove from oil and drain excess oil on paper towel-lined pan. When cool enough to handle, roll doughnuts in a mixture of 1 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon.

— From Tiffany Schuler, Sweet Whimsy in Long Grove

It’s apple season and Long Grove is ready for its 21st annual Apple Fest Weekend, Sept. 27-29.

In the 35 years or more that the original Apple Haus operated in Long Grove, apple cider doughnuts became synonymous with the village.

“People always think of apple cider doughnuts when they think of Long Grove,” said Tiffany Schuler, owner of Sweet Whimsy Pastry Shop in Long Grove. “People are always looking for them, so I decided to carry on the tradition.”

She has. Schuler’s apple cider doughnuts will star during the fest. “They’ll be coming out warm, all day,” she promises.

Schuler even makes a Cider Doughnut Sundae by topping them with homemade caramel sauce, whipped cream, and gelato in burnt caramel and various apple flavors made by Angelo Gelato Italiano in Bensenville.

Schuler has other apple treats planned for the weekend, too. They will include apple-shaped sugar cookies and cake pops, apple oatmeal bars, cinnamon swirl apple-pecan pound cake, mini apple pies, cinnamon-apple scones, apple cranberry tostadas, apple fritters, oatmeal cookie sandwiches stuffed with a buttercream and apple pie filling mix and, of course, hot apple cider. A unique twist will be green apple macaroons and apple pie macaroons, which are the sweeter, less tart of the two.

“We’re doing it big,” she said. “We’ll be up to our eyeballs in apples.”

And apples don’t fall far from the tree: Schuler will use her grandmother’s recipe to make apple pie bars. “I use a lot of her recipes,” she said. Sweet Whimsy is a family operation. Her dad, Keith Schuler, will spent most of his time at the fest peeling apples again this year.

Schuler prefers to bake with green Granny Smiths. “They are nice and tart and don’t fall apart when you bake them,” she says.

Just about any ripe apple will work well on top of the Carmelized Apple Bacon Burgers at The Village Tavern during the fest. A thick slice of carmelized apple tops the burger patty like an onion slice. It is accented with Swiss cheese, a milder tasting cheese that doesn’t overpower the apple. Stronger-tasting cheddar cheese will top Apple Wood-Smoked Bacon Burger during the fest.

“We’ve been experimenting this week with different cheeses,” said The Village Tavern owner Mary Ann Ullrich, a Long Grove resident.

Apple enthusiasts will be experimenting at The Olive Tap, where owner Rick Petrocelly, also a Long Grove resident, will demonstrate uses for apple balsamic vinegars and other items.

Petrocelly likes to poach peeled, cored apples in a mix of apple juice and water in a pot on the stovetop. “I cut them in half so I can flip them over,” he said. He splashes the liquid over the fruit while it cooks. The result is a texture similar to apples in an apple pie — but without the crust. Petrocelly then tops it with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream. Gala and Honeycrisp apples both work well for this de-glazing method.

“De-glazing is a great technique, especially if you like apples in apple pie, but are not a big fan of pie crust or don’t have a lot of time to make the crust,” he said.

At the Long Grove Confectionery Co., look for apple cinnamon doughnuts, brown bag apple pies, caramel apples — and plenty of hot apple cider.

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Facts

Apple Cider Doughnuts

¼ pound butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup apple cider
1 cup milk
8 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy with paddle attachment on mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Add apple cider and milk. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg and add to the cider mixture until combined. Press into floured half-sheet pan. Chill in refrigerator for one hour. Cut out doughnut shapes with doughnut cutter. Fry in 375-degree oil for 90 seconds, on each side. Remove from oil and drain excess oil on paper towel-lined pan. When cool enough to handle, roll doughnuts in a mixture of 1 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon.

— From Tiffany Schuler, Sweet Whimsy in Long Grove

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