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Sub-par varieties (Red Delicious) make excellent apple brown betty / apple crisp. Just saying.

Depends on the texture, to me. Not much will save a mealy apple. Third (fourth?) the vote for Honeycrisp apples, but Pink Ladies are good, too. The crisper and sweeter, the better! Cooking apples have different qualifications- we get Macouns or Courtland Winesaps for cooking (among other varieties), but any farmer's market will have good local cooking apples, assuming you live where there are apple trees.

~Annagail, almost recovered from the Sore Throat From Hell (was some sort of bacterial infection, really icky and painful. Lymph nodes need to not get any bigger and I need to not be tired tomorrow morning, or else mono starts being suspected. Missed 3 days of grad school and slept 16ish hours today?- good thing I'm not going home this weekend...)
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