Every Christmas morning, for as long as I can remember, I have eaten "apple stuff" for breakfast. My mom would fill the crock pot on Christmas Eve and we would wake up to the amazing scent of warm apples and spice. After we opened our stockings on Mom & Dad's bed, we would head downstairs to fill our bowls with the apple-y oat-y goodness, pour cream on top, and savor each spoonful. For me, it just wouldn't be Christmas without this delicious breakfast, so I have kept the tradition alive within my own family.

Why am I talking about Christmas breakfast in January? Good question. Well, I made Apple Stuff this snowy January morning -- the first time I have ever made it on a day other than the 24th or 25th of December. It seemed strange and I almost refused when my husband requested that I make it. Silly, I know, but I worried that eating it more often would make it less special on Christmas morning. His pleading look won me over, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it.

Below is my copy of the family recipe, written in my mother's hand. I love that it originally came from one of our family's oldest and dearest friends. In fact, Betsy and her husband, Jud, were the only adults that we, as children, ever called by their first names. They were (are!) that special. 

The dirtier the recipe card/cookbook page, the more loved the recipe. 

I have made adjustments over the last decade+ of doing this on my own. The biggest change is that I don't use a crock pot any more. I wish I could, but after years of burned edges (and I mean BURNED), I have adapted it to the stovetop. My mom never had an issue with this, so perhaps my crockpot runs hot. Happily, even with the stovetop method, everything can still be prepped the night before.

Here is my current version of Apple Stuff. This makes enough for a crowd of 10-12 (I made a half-batch today) and you may have leftovers depending on what else you are serving. It reheats beautifully.

  • 8 medium/large apples, a mixture of varieties, peeled, cored & sliced
  • ¾ cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granola; I prefer a very basic oat & nut granola (no raisins!), but you could really go with whatever flavor and style you think you would like.
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon (and/or other warm spices such as ginger & nutmeg) to taste. If you use a flavored/spiced granola you might find you don't need much, or any at all
  • I just want to note that I didn't forget to write in the sugar; I don't add any.

CROCK POT METHOD: Simply combine all the ingredients and cook on the lowest setting overnight

STOVE TOP METHOD: Melt the butter in a fairly large heavy bottomed pot. Add all of the other ingredients and stir to incorporate. Cook on low to medium-low, stirring often, until the granola has expanded/become soft and the apples are tender and many have broken down. You may need to add water if it seems too dry. You'll know it's done when it looks like fruit-studded oatmeal and smells like heaven. 

TO SERVE: Dish into bowls while warm and top with cream or half & half. 

The ratio of apples to granola might seem odd, but the oats in the granola will expand.

This is what it looks like when it is ready. Yes, I know what I said about raisins, but it was all I had on hand this morning. It might not be my favorite version, but it was still delicious.

Trust me, don't skip the cream.