My dad liked desserts, and baked apples were among our favorites. They're so easy and can usually be made with things that are already in the pantry and refrigerator. There is a longish 40-50 minute baking time, but if you put them in the oven while you make the rest of the meal, they're ready when you are.
Sheila, our resident apple expert, can undoubtedly tell us which apples are best for baking. Shh, don't tell her, but I have used all kinds of apples and they've all been good!
Coring apples is easy. I use a paring knife and make circles at a slant, going deeper and deeper until the seeds are out.
Dark brown sugar, nuts, and raisins are my usual filling. The sudden onset of very cold weather had me in a maple mood, though, so this time I used a touch of maple syrup instead of lemon juice.
A lot of recipes call for peeling the top half of the apple. I've also seen them peeled on a diagonal, which is very cute. Or you can be lazy and leave the peel whole like I did.
They can be eaten just as they are or served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This time, I made a little bit of maple bourbon sauce for the apples. Definitely decadent! A word to the wise though, this is a very sweet dish.
Maple Baked Apples
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 scant teaspoon butter
Preheat oven to 350. Core the apples. Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and nutmeg and put a bit in each apple. Drop a couple of walnut pieces (and raisins) into the apples. Pour about 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup into each apple. Add more of the cinnamon mixture and walnuts, packing it all down. Continue alternating until the apple is nearly full, then add another 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup to each apple. Top each with a slice of butter and place in a baking dish. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until apple pierces easily.
Makes 2 servings. Double recipe for 4 servings.
Maple Bourbon Sauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon bourbon
4 tablespoons half and half
Pour the maple syrup and the bourbon into a small saucepan and stir. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, turn to low and let simmer about 20 minutes or until it reduces by about half. Keep an eye on it because it will threaten to bubble up and boil over. Set aside and cool. Add the half and half, stir, and warm briefly. Pour over baked apples and serve. Or if you want to be truly decadent, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the baked apples, and top with the sauce!