Pikes Peak Spiked Apple Crisp

Boozy Apple Crisp

It’s archive digging time again but a day early; guess Whatever Wednesday also means I might post on Tuesday! Whatever right? I was asked to participate in a group event; another with a decidedly ‘American’ bent. This recipe has been on my website since 1993 because I wanted it in a safe place; you know, in case my home burned down, that’s how much we love this dish!

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Boozy Apple Crisp

This is an adult version of the tried and true favorite (although kids love it too!). I think I actually love Apple Crisp more than Apple Pie; I just love that crunchy topping and this has an abundant amount; no measly crumbs of sweet, buttery goodness, nope, plenty to satisfy and let me tell you – spiked is right! Both Grand Marnier and Amaretto are in this recipe…and it’s seriously the best I’ve ever had!

I’ve lived in the house I’m in now for 21 years and for most years we managed to rescue enough apples from an apple tree in the backyard to use for a couple of fall desserts; I’m certain part of my love for this apple crisp is filled with some reminiscing of those days when my girls were little and finding enough apples to make apple crisp was a family affair. My sister sent this me contraption many years ago for Christmas and I wasn’t sure what to make of it but now? It’s a time worn friend that makes apple peeling so easy and efficient and I love it. Thanks Sis!

Boozy Apple Crisp

I always loved the idea of having my own apple tree but the truth is that squirrels ruined most of the fruit – one bite and the little buggers threw the apples on the ground; not just resulting in a really small take for us, but also making a huge mess in the process. So, sadly, I had it removed a couple of years ago and now have to rely on apples I purchase for this favorite fall dessert. Still, no matter whether you have a tree or not, apples are in abundance this time of year and this is the perfect way to prepare them for your family. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream if you wish (although I think you MUST!).

Pikes Peak Spiked Apple Crisp

Creative Culinary
4.50 from 50 or more votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8


  • 5 C peeled and sliced green cooking apples
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 jigger Grand Marnier
  • 1 jigger Amaretto

For the Crumb Topping:

  • ¾ C granulated sugar
  • ¼ C light brown sugar
  • ¾ C sifted flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ C butter
  • ¾ cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • Whipping cream or ice cream for topping optional


  • Arrange apple slices in greased 2 quart round casserole.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon, lemon and orange rinds and both liqueurs on top of apples.
  • In a separate bowl, mix sugars, flour, salt and butter with a pastry blender or in a processor until crumbly; add the chopped walnuts..
  • Spread mixture over top of apples.
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until apples are tender and top is lightly browned, approximately 1 hour.
  • Serve warm with cream, whipped cream or with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recipe adapted from Colorado Cache, a Junior League of Denver cookbook.

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  1. I have been making this recipe since 2001 when a friend gave it to me in a Colorado Cache cookbook. I made it again last night, and it’s gone in 45 minutes. So delicious! Thank you so much for allowing this to become one our family favorites, as well.

    1. It really is the best isn’t it? I put a lot of liquor into my recipes; subtle is the key. I don’t want them boozy per se; just enough to elevate a bit. Now I’m craving it too!

  2. Next time I make my apple crisp I will take your suggestion to spike it! It can only make it better right? Btw…love and own all the Colorado cookbooks.

  3. Wow, Barb–this looks amazing. If there’s anything Canadian fall makes me want to do (aside from drinking spiked Pumpkin Spice Lattes), it’s bake hearty apple desserts. Not only does your crisp version look incredible, but I’m intrigued by the spiked-factor! I’m also very envious of your apple peeler. 🙂

    1. Thanks Rosie; it is definitely worth trying. And I’ll mix up liqueurs too if I don’t have one of them on hand; I’ve used orange liqueur with limoncello before and also think I’ve substituted cherry liqueur for the Amaretto in a pinch. Like any dish; if done well the liqueurs add to the overall taste but don’t make for an evident boozy taste. Not sure even I could swing that when serving such an American classic.

      I love that peeler; which I could determine the width of slices but in lieu of that; I’ll cut back on baking time a bit since they are a bit thinner than hand cut. But I won’t stop using it. 10 apples done in minutes? Can’t beat it. BARB

    1. Yes you must! I do miss our little tree but can’t deny that I enjoy the variety available at the grocery too. Maybe it’s good the squirrels got so many; I got a bit weary of Granny Smith. 🙂

  4. You used both Grand Marnier AND Amaretto…..I may be in love!!!! Apple crisp is one of my all time favorite childhood desserts….breakfast….AND snack! Having an apple tree in your backyard would be a dream, love it! Hugs, Terra

    1. I did! It’s not as if the unique flavors are present or even that it tastes boozy but whatever it is when it gets added…it’s magical! Don’t get me wrong; I loved having it but those little squirrels did too and the squirrels won! Doggone it.

  5. You are lucky to have apples at all this year, the harvest has been so bad. 2011 is a great year for Cider because it is based on 2010 apples. The 2012 harvest has been terrible, so cider drinkers are worried; make the most of any you get. Oh, I love the pic of the apple peeler! I have never seen one like that before (sheltered life maybe)

    1. I think that peeler might have been from Pampered Chef; it’s been awhile. I’ll tell you what; it has saved me from countless hours of peeling and I’m sure has resulted in far less waste than if I were doing them by hand…it’s a winner for sure.

    1. I don’t want to discourage you but ‘our’ squirrels sure made it a problem. Hundreds of apples all with one bite out of them. Ugh. Still…make the dessert; even with that mess it was worth it!

  6. I think apple crisp tops apple pie too– no need to fuss with pie dough. I’ve heard a number of people mention the Denver Junior League Cookbooks and have yet to buy one myself. Your recipe is a convincing reason for me to check out the rest of the cookbook. Thanks!

    1. They are some of my favorite cookbooks Holly. I have a couple of Jr League books from other places but I don’t think any measure up to the Denver ones. The first cookbook, Colorado Cache, was spiral bound and I ended up having to replace it; the 2nd printing is a paperback and it works but I SO prefer the ensuing volumes that are all hard bound and beautiful and I have never made something from any of them that wasn’t delicious and memorable.

  7. I’m already craving apple desserts as autumn sets in. And I think I love a crisp more than a pie because more filling! And the crumble on top. And wowee love your boozy version! Oh yeah! Guess what I’ll be making this week? Yep. Love it, Barb!

    1. Thanks Jamie…I hope you do try it; just the best I’ve ever made. I froze a bunch and now am tempted to try a frozen bite!

  8. I so much prefer a crisp to a pie! This recipe is particularly timely for me since it’s almost apple season here in north Georgia. I’m sure we’ll find ourselves making the trek up to the mountains in a few weeks to visit our favorite apple stands.

    1. I guess for years I preferred them too because I wasn’t much on making pie crusts. I do have a recipe for another boozy pie with a crisp topping…now that I can manage!

  9. I am anxiously watching the weather reports here hoping that the temperature will actually head towards “fall” so I can start making all my fall favorites – and apple crisp would be at the top of that list!! And the one I am gonna make?? This one!! Love to see the word “jigger” in a recipe!!!

    1. I guess I have to give in…snow on the ground this morning…damn guess summer is really over huh? Make this; you will not be sorry.

  10. I’m going to have to try this recipe for sure! I make apple crisp quite often this time of year but have never seen a recipe with Amaretto and Grand Marnier in it and as luck would have it, I have both in the house. Just need to get some apples! That lovely peeler and corer would be great to have too.

    1. All I can say my dear is this. ‘DO IT!!’ One of my most favorite desserts ever, not kidding. 🙂

  11. I adore the idea of spiking a standard with Grand Marnier and Amaretto, 2 of my favorite liqueurs. Just happen to have them both in my cabinet. It’s a rainy day here and I don’t feel like working – maybe I should yield to temptation and start cooking this up right now:)

    1. Do it. Or come over here and have some with me. Have a feeling the first might be easier…but not nearly as much fun. 🙂

    1. They can but I also like having them in the yard; they can be cute to watch and I’m sure they were the best exercise machine ever for my dog for most of the past 15 years. Never once caught one, never gave up trying. Now she’s 15 and doesn’t bother but they provided Abbie with a lot of fun for many years.

    1. Probably my favorite; you know those cookbooks…nothing bad came from them. Think the only change I made was to add toasted walnuts and it was a good one.

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