And the Stafford United Methodist Women first organized a fundraiser to support church missions.
On Saturday, November 9, the Stafford UMW will celebrate 90 years of fundraisers with its church bazaar. This year's version is from 10 AM to 1 PM in the church basement.
The first fundraisers were banquets, since the church basement was one of the larger places in Stafford. Nobody seems to know when the annual bazaar started, but it's been more than 32 years (since I've been around that long).
One of the long-time traditions is UMW Apple Butter. This version is a sweet and spicy combination of applesauce, sugar, spices and the secret ingredient - red hots. The apple butter you find in the grocery aisles just can't compare.
Apple butter will again be offered for sale on Saturday. So will frozen apple pies, ready for the buyers to bake for their own Thanksgiving or Christmas tables.
Yesterday, I spent all day in my own kitchen making mini loaves of quick breads, snack mixes, and dozens of cookies to sell at our packaged food table. I have another baking day on the calendar this week to make yeast breads. (My back is protesting, so I don't think it will be today!)
When I saw this recipe for Apple Butter Pie Bars, I knew it was the perfect vehicle for Stafford UMW Apple Butter. And it was. (But, if you're not lucky enough to live close enough to get your own jar of our special blend, you can substitute a commercial apple butter).
These bars are the best the first day, when the bottom crust is crisper. But the flavors are wonderful from start to finish, even if you don't use all the bars at once.
If you are in the Stafford vicinity, you are cordially invited to the bazaar on Saturday from 10 to 1. We'll be serving homemade cinnamon rolls and coffeecakes for your morning coffee break (or a break from the first day of pheasant and quail hunting!) And we'll have chicken and noodles, ham & beans and vegetable soup for lunch, along with sandwiches and homemade pie.
Come help us celebrate 90 years of fellowship and fundraising for missions - here at home and beyond!
Apple Butter Pie Bars
Modified from the blog, Crazy for CrustCrust:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups Stafford UMW apple butter (or other cinnamon apple butter)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9- by 13-inch pan with baking spray and set aside.
For crust: Combine dry ingredients, mixing to incorporate. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is well blended. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
While the crust is baking, prepare the topping. Combine all dry ingredients, mixing to incorporate. Using the pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.
After the 15 minutes of baking, remove the crust from the oven. Spread the apple butter evenly over the baked layer. Sprinkle with walnuts (or other nuts). Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling and press gently to compact. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes until topping is golden brown.
Cool completely before removing from pan. Cut into squares.
Another favorite recipe using UMW Apple Butter is this coffee cake. You'll want to buy several jars of apple butter to have on hand. (And, again, if you must, you can use commercial apple butter in this recipe.)
***Today, I'm linked to Wake Up Wednesdays through Wichita blogger Ashley's Kitchen Meets Girl blog. Click on the link to see tons of other tried-and-true recipes.