This time of year always conjures up childhood memories of going to Stephenson’s Apple Orchard to pick apples, taste cider and enjoy their world famous apple fritters.
I grew up less than a mile from this landmark and still have a sad heart when I realize that the plot of land that created so many vivid food memories is now home to a convenience store.
It was a sad day when Stephenson’s closed their doors and the orchards and restaurant ceased to exist.
By now, I am old enough to know one thing for sure, and that is life comes full circle. It was a grand day several years ago when friends introduced us to Dunn’s Apple Cider Mill.
To think it was right under my nose all these years! Road food gurus Jane and Michael Stern praised the cider mill on my favorite radio program, The Splendid Table.
Dunn’s has been providing crisp, clear cider and hot apple cider cinnamon donuts for 36 years.
Here’s an interesting tidbit from their website, 42 apples, the size sold in plastic bags at the grocery, make up one gallon of cider.
Dunn’s is only open from mid-September to Thanksgiving weekend. It’s hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
In addition to cider and donuts, you can purchase apple butter, jams, mulling spices and a host of gifts inside their small red barn located at 17003 Holmes Road, Belton.
We make an annual trek or two each fall. Make sure you call first (816-331-7214) if you want to purchase cider. They do sell out but almost always have plenty of donuts to enjoy. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a beautiful autumn day than to drive to Dunn’s.
On days that I can’t make it to Dunn’s but still want to enjoy the apple flavors from my childhood, I make Stephenson’s apple fritters and enjoy the process of remembering days gone by.Stephenson’s Fresh Apple Fritters Makes about 40 fritters 1 cup milk 1 egg, well beaten 4 tablespoons butter, melted 1 orange, juiced and zest 1 cup finely chopped, peeled and cored apples 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking powder Oil for frying Powdered sugar for coating
In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, egg and melted butter. Add the orange juice, orange zest, chopped apples (you can leave the skins on if you like) and vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Stir into milk mixture until blended. Do not over mix. Preheat oil in a fryer to 350 F. Drop batter by tablespoons into hot oil. Fry until golden brown, turning to brown evenly. Allow to cool slightly and coat generously with powdered sugar. Serve warm.
Source: Recipe from Stephenson’s Restaurant Cookbook first printed in 1967.
Roxanne Wyss is one of two cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. Her most recent cookbook is Triple Slow Cooker Entertaining. She develops the recipes for the “Eating for Life” column for The Kansas City Star and is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier. She blogs at pluggedintocooking.com