Baked apples are a simple, potentially healthy dessert that is rich and satisfying. They can be made in a variety of ways, from the ultimate healthy option of no added sugar, to a rich and decadent dessert loaded with sugar and butter and topped with ice cream. This is another of those versatile desserts that can be tweaked to suit your taste buds; something you know I love and that I think you will, too. Today I’ll share with you my favorite baked apples recipe, which you can copy or tweak to your heart’s desire. It strikes a nice balance between sweet and savory with notes of brown sugar and cinnamon (and a little butter).

The first step is to choose your apples. Some of the commonly used baking apples are granny smith, yellow delicious, and mcintosh. These are often used because they hold their shape and texture well during baking. However, you can really use any apple you like best. I actually used Fuji the last time I made this recipe because I couldn’t find mcintosh at the store. Their texture held up well and they had a good flavor.

Once you get the apples home; wash, dry, and peel them. Now, you may be asking why you would bother washing the apples when you’re just going to peel them. That’s a totally legit question. The reason is that apples are commonly sprayed with pesticides to keep bugs away and coated in wax so they are pretty and you’ll want to buy them. If you peel an apple without washing it, the pesticides and wax can rub off onto the flesh, which you will then eat. So take a minute to give the apple a little scrub so you don’t accidentally eat pesticides and wax.

Once the apples are peeled, cut them in half and remove the cores, then cut each half in half again. Then, slice each section into about 4 pieces, depending on the size of your apple. You want the slices to be small enough to cook in a reasonable time and to eat in one bite, but not be paper thin.

Next, toss the apples in a large bowl with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Make sure the apples are evenly coated- you don’t want one of them to be solid sugar and cinnamon, and one of them to have nothing. Then pour the mixture into an 8×8 pan and pop it into an oven preheated to 400 degrees.

The apples will need about 20 to 25 minutes to cook. They are ready when you can easily insert a fork into one.

Let them cool for a few minutes (hot sugar is HOT!) and then dish them out and eat them plain, or top them with Cool Whip like I did. No matter how you enjoy them, they’re sure to be delicious! If you really want to up the ante, try them with a nice oaked Chardonnay or pinot noir!

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