Monday, October 3, 2011

Maple Baked Apples with Maple Bourbon Sauce

It's apple time again, and that means baked apples, which always remind me of my father.  There was a time when he came to my house for lunch every Wednesday. We ate outdoors whenever possible and discussed everything from birds to aliens from outer space.

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 apples
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
raisins (optional)
maple syrup
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!



  1. I want to just reach through my computer screen and eat one of these apples! Oh my, these look so good....

  2. What an easy interesting recipe. Love you dad discussing aliens! Thx for sharing.

  3. Theese look gorgeous. Just make sure your apples are big enough! I spent a lovely day at Old Sturbridge Village this week--it's their annual Apple Days--and most of the fruit from the old, heirloom trees is about the size of a tennis ball.

    One of the first times I ever visited Boston when I was in college nearby, a friend and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts. Back then it had a decidedly unhip cafeteria. I ordered a baked apple, and what arrived what bigger than a softball--huge. And I still remember it (your recipe sounds more interesting, but Boston was not known for its food back then).

  4. Elizabeth, oddly enough, someone recently suggested that baked apples are good for breakfast. I never thought of them as breakfast food!

    ~ Krista

  5. Avery, we talked about all sorts of things. I have wonderful memories of those lunches.

    ~ Krista

  6. Sheila, one of my other favorites, Asian Pears, sometimes called apple pears, tend be that huge softball size. I have no idea why. I've seen them in a normal petite size so I know they do come smaller.

    These apples were a bit on the smaller size, but just right.

    I never see baked apples on menus. How interesting that The Museum of Fine Arts had them on the menu! Little did you know then that you would become an expert on apples!

    ~ Krista

  7. Perfect month for apple recipes, Krista, and baked apples are one of my faves. Love your recipe. That maple-bourbon sauce looks amazing. We just so happen to have a little bourbon left in our bottle--and since we only need one tablespoon, well...thx for a very tasty use for it. :)

    ~ Cleo

  8. These look wonderful! It is a rainy, gloomy fall day here and I think that this recipe can fix all that.

    When my kids were young, I used to do baked apples in a slow cooker and serve them for breakfast. That recipe is lost now, but I may experiment again with this.

    Thanks, Krista.

  9. Be forewarned, Cleo! I wound up looking for more places to use it. It was quite tasty on plain no-fat yogurt. Of course, it does kind of defeat the point of eating that sort of yogurt!

    ~ Krista

  10. Oh, Mary Jane! I wish you would find that recipe. Or at least reconstruct it. I love things that cook overnight and are ready when I get up. It feels like I have a personal chef who worked all night!

    ~ Krista

  11. Coincidentally, I made baked apples on Sunday night. I realized I'd never made them for my family. They were a common dessert for me as a child. My version was good but not nearly as beautiful as yours. Do all kids leave the peel behind when they eat baked apples?

  12. Bobbi, it wouldn't surprise me at all if kids left the peel behind -- kind of like bread crust! I'm sure your baked apples were great. They asked for you to make them again, didn't they?

    ~ Krista