Baked apples are an old-fashioned dessert that deserves a makeover and a comeback. They're delicious, easy to make and good for breakfast as well, and they can be served hot, warm or cold. And they're low-fat, low-sodium and a good source of fiber.
In this recipe, I fill their cored centers with a mixture of candied ginger, dried cranberries, brown sugar and a little vanilla extract to round out the flavor. The water used for baking them becomes infused with the spicy, sweet flavors to form a light syrup that is drizzled over the finished apples.
My favorite apple for baking is the Rome; Braeburns are a good alternative.
Make Ahead: The baked apples can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. To reheat, cover with aluminum foil and place in a 350-degree oven until warmed through.
- 1/3 cup (sweetened) dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup candied ginger
- 1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 4 large (2 pounds total) apples, such as Rome or Braeburn
- Water, for the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Use nonstick cooking oil spray to lightly grease a baking dish that is just large enough to hold the apples without crowding.
Combine the cranberries, ginger, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for about 30 seconds, until the mixture is finely chopped.
Use a corer, spoon or melon baller to create a hollow vertical core in the center of each apple, being careful to remove all of the stem and seeds (core all the way through the bottoms). Trim the bottoms of the apples as needed so they sit steadily in the baking dish. Place the apples in the prepared baking dish. Fill the cored center of each apple with the cranberry-ginger mixture, stuffing the filling in. Add enough water to come 1/4- to 1/2-inch up the side of the dish. The apples will be sitting in a shallow pool of water. Transfer the dish to the oven.
Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the apples are tender.
Transfer the apples to a serving plate. Pour the liquid from the baking dish into a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, allowing the liquid to boil until it turns into a light syrup; the timing will depend on how much water was in the dish, but it should take only a few minutes. You want to end up with about 1/3 cup of light syrup.
Serve hot or warm, with 1 tablespoon of the syrup drizzled over the top of each apple.
From Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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