Why It Works
- The Cinnastix frosting helps bind the crumble topping together.
- Using a combination of tart apples balances the sweet frosting.
- You can customize the flavor by changing up the booze from a smoky Scotch to a bourbon with vanilla notes.
This is the final course in our fast food Thanksgiving feast. The centerpiece is a Popeye’s Cajun turkey, but we took classic dishes from fast food restaurants to make four phenomenal side dishes. Stuffing from Popeye’s biscuits, a cheesy potato gratin with McDonald’s hash browns, and creamed corn with Chipotle corn salsa.
And finally, this combination of apples and cinnamon is a classic for a reason. It delivers the comforting warmth of toasty autumnal spices and the hearty sweetness of still-tart apples. To fast foodify the dessert, we turned to Domino's CinnaStix: a bready, pizza dough byproduct topped with cinnamon and sugar and accompanied by a small well of sticky-sweet icing for optimal dunkage. It just took some tinkering with Max's apple crisp recipe to balance the sweetness of a CinnaStix topping with a base of tart, boozy apples.
For this rendition, rich turbinado sugar is combined with flour, butter, spices, and chopped CinnaStix with their icing, while apples marinate in cornstarch for viscosity, and brown booze. Scotch provides a nice, smoky contrast to the profound sweetness of seasonal apples and commercial high fructose corn syrup, but we tried it out with bourbon as well, and it was similarly superb (rum or rye would be great options too). And the otherwise gluey icing actually helps the topping come together and form a solid crust on the apples.
I baked the whole mess together until the topping was browned and beginning to harden. The CinnaStix crisped up into sweet croutons that provided a perfect contrast to the luscious, almost caramelized apples beneath. This may not be the traditional Thanksgiving apple crisp you've put up in years past, but it will certainly be a conversation piece—how on earth did you get marvelously crispy topping on those perfectly cooked apples?? Just think twice before revealing your secret ingredient...
- For the CinnaStix Topping:
- 1 3/4 ounces (abut 1/3 cup) all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) turbinado sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated zest from 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
- 1 box Domino's CinnaStix, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 portion of CinnaStix icing (reserve remaining icing to garnish)
- For the Apples:
- 4 medium Golden Delicious, Gala, or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons bourbon, rye, or Scotch whiskey
For the Topping: Combine flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Add cubed butter and work the mixture with your hands until the dry ingredients are worked into the butter and small, pea-sized pieces form. Add half of the icing cup along with the diced CinnaStix. Fold to combine until the mixture begins to fully stick together.
For the Apples: Toss apples with sugar, cornstarch, salt, and whiskey in a large bowl until evenly combined. Transfer to baking dish and cover with the topping, making sure that the cubes of CinnaStix are well incorporated with the butter to prevent burning. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the topping is well browned and firm to the touch, about 25 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
To garnish, scrape the remaining icing tub from the CinnaStix into a small ziplock bag. Cut the corner of the bag to create a very small hole. Squeezing the bag with light and even pressure, drizzle the icing over the cooled crisp.