One of the most popular foods at Legoland Florida Resort and its sister park, Legoland California Resort, are Granny's Apple Fries, french fry-shaped pieces of green apple lightly battered, fried and coated with cinnamon sugar.
Derek Orris, a chef at Legoland Florida, said the dessert fries originated at the California park and have been a served on the West Coast since 1999 when Legoland California first opened. When Legoland Florida opened in 2011, the fries made their way east as well.
"They've become such a staple at both parks," Orris told TODAY Food. "They're one of our bestsellers and something kids and adults can both enjoy."
The sweet fried apple slices are definitely something my family looks forward to eating when we visit Legoland Florida. While I prefer to order Granny's Apple Fries with sides of whipped cream and caramel dipping sauce, my kids' favorite way to eat the cinnamon-y treat is topped with soft-serve vanilla ice cream.
Either way, you can't go wrong: They're the perfect sweet snack to munch on while taking a break from exploring the theme park.
Orris created an at-home recipe for Legoland's sweetest treat and shared it with TODAY for Granny's fans who won't be visiting the park anytime in the near future.
The recipe is simple: Coat apple slices in cornstarch and fry them in canola oil, then sprinkle them with a dusting of cinnamon sugar.
But Orris has a few tips for at-home apple-fryers:
"When you're cutting your apples, depending on how fast you work, they can start to oxidize," he said. "A little trick I always tell people is to use a little bit of lemon juice to prevent browning."
Legoland uses Granny Smith apples for its fries, and Orris said, after cutting the green apples into french fry-shaped slices, it's important to gently toss them in cornstarch (so they don't break), making sure each fry is completely covered to get them crisp in the fryer.
"As you get into preparing them, it's important to keep your oil heated to 350 degrees," Orris said. "Use a slotted spoon so you don't splash oil on yourself, gently place them in and stir them around."
At home, Orris said it's easier to lose temperature in your frying oil, so fry the apples in small batches and give the oil a few minutes to reheat before adding more to the pot.
"After frying them, drain them well so you don't have that extra fat on them," Orris explained. "Then immediately toss them with the cinnamon sugar and store them on a cooling rack so they get a little air under them and don't become soggy."
I asked Orris if you could make apple fries in an air fryer as well.
"I think it would be slightly different," he said. "But that doesn't mean it won't be good."
"Maybe we'll do that next: an air fryer at-home recipe," Orris continued. "One thing I can say about Legoland is we love pushing the bar and doing innovative things with food. Anything that will put a smile on our guest's faces, we love doing it."