Betty’s Sugar and Spice Apple Crisp

When I was little, my grandmother always sliced apples, mixed them with sugar and cinnamon, and baked them until the apples were tender and the sugar and spice mixture thickened to coat the apples in a sweet sauce. I’ve updated this recipe by adding a streusel topping that boasts a tender crumb, due to the addition of baking powder, and a variety of spices including cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. I know everyone says to use tart, firm baking apples like Granny Smith for a recipe like this, but my grandmother used Gala Apples, and we must do what Betty said. This simple recipe is delicious served on its own but topping the warm Apple Crisp with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream would be positively divine. 

Betty’s Sugar and Spice Apple Crisp

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients for Apples: 

  • 6 Gala Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves

Ingredients for Streusel:

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1½ cup-2 cups flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the apples with the Calvados, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside to allow the flavors to meld.
  2. Melt the butter in a small sauce-pan then put in a separate large mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and spices. Stir in 1 ½ cups of the flour. You should see crumbs form. If not, keep adding up to an additional ½ cup of flour, until the dough can be crumbled. 
  3. Place the apples in a baking dish set on top of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Crumble the streusel over the apples. Bake for 45 minutes, until the apples are tender. 

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