Apple cider–baked apples

5
5
5
SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep
20 min
Cook
45 min
Serves
4
Difficulty
Easy
During the fall apple-picking season, try to find some apple leaves too; they make a lovely garnish. Just be sure to wash them thoroughly with warm, soapy water. Keep some on hand to sprinkle on top of the apples after they finish baking, and to garnish any other fall dishes you happen to be making. Just be sure not to skip the step of brushing the apples with some fresh lemon juice, as they can brown quickly in the oven. With the combination of brown sugar, butter, apple cider, and cinnamon, these fall-favorite flavors will keep you coming back to this classic, easy recipe year after year.

Ingredients

Fresh apple(s)

4 small, McIntosh variety (5 ounces each)

Fresh lemon juice

3 Tbsp

Packed brown sugar

4 Tbsp

Unsalted butter

1 Tbsp, softened

Apple cider

3 Tbsp

Cinnamon stick(s)

4 average, about 3 inches

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. With a melon baller, cut out the apple cores without cutting all the way through the apples. Peel the apples and brush with the lemon juice to prevent browning. If necessary, cut a thin slice off the bottoms of the apples so they stand upright. Cut each apple crosswise into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices, then reassemble the slices to re-form each apple.
  3. Stir together 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar and the butter in a small bowl. Stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and the apple cider in another small bowl. Place the apples in a pie plate; fill the cavities with the butter mixture, then pour the cider mixture on top. Bake, basting 3 times, about 25 minutes.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Place the cinnamon sticks in the cavities of the apples. Bake, basting 3 more times, until the apples are tender and the juices are thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Transfer an apple to each of 4 plates and spoon the syrup over. Garnish with apple leaves (if using) and serve at once. Yields 1 apple per serving.