Whenever I think about classic fall flavors, warm, cozy spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, mingled with the inimitable sweetness of apples, come to mind. Apples are versatile and wide-ranging in their uses – from apple pie and apple crisp to sautéed apples and apple juice. However, one of my all-time favorite apple-based desserts is straightforward yet divine - Baked Apple Slices.
The Magic of Baked Apples
When apples are baked, they transform magically, their inherent sweetness is heightened, and they taste just like a gourmet dessert straight from a professional bakery. Being naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, baked apple slices are perfect for almost anyone. They can be enjoyed anytime, from a nutritious kick-start breakfast, a cozy mid-afternoon snack, or that well-deserved post-dinner dessert. Baked apple slices are reasonably low in calories, packed with dietary fiber, and offer some protein. Add to this the fact that apples are high in important antioxidants and flavonoids - it's a pretty nutritious package for a dessert!
Choosing the Best Apples for Baking
An interesting fact about apples is the sheer variety available, each with subtly different flavor characteristics. For this baked apple recipe, you want apples that hold their shape and don't turn mushy upon baking. I highly recommend Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, or Granny Smith apples for their firm texture and tart-to-sweet flavor profiles. Jonagold, Rome Beauties, and Braeburn are other great options if you have them.
What you'll need for this recipe are simple, common ingredients:
- 4 large apples (your choice from the list above.)
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- ½ cup of melted butter
- A pinch of sea salt.
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
- ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- A sprinkle of cardamom.
The brown sugar and butter (or coconut sugar and oil) give a caramel flavor to the baked apples, while the spices lend a warming depth of flavor. Throw some raisins or dried cranberries for texture and tartness, and sliver almonds for an added crunch.
Preparing the apples is an easy task. You will need an apple corer and a paring knife for this. Core the apples and then cut them into thin slices. Leave the peels on for additional fiber and nutrients. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then, butter your baking dish to ensure your slices don't stick.
Combine the apple slices, brown sugar, gluten-free flour, melted butter, sea salt, and those delightful spices in a large bowl. Add the raisins or cranberries and slivered almonds to the mixture. Toss everything until the apple slices are well coated.
Layer the apple slices in the greased baking dish, arranging them into each other. Pour the leftover liquid from the bowl over the apples.
Bake the apple slices for 10-15 minutes until they are tender and the juices from the apples and sugar have created a rich, caramel-like sauce. This sauce adds excellent taste to the slices and creates a lovely aroma that fills your kitchen and beyond.
Allow the slices to cool slightly before serving. A scoop of vanilla ice cream on top is a nice treat for an added indulgence, or drizzle some maple syrup or even a caramel sauce for a flavor boost. You can enjoy these baked apple slices in the oven or at room temperature.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for around 3-4 days. To warm them up, put your slices in the oven set at low heat for about 5 minutes.
Specific nutrition values can vary depending on the type of apple you use and specific brands of ingredients like sugar and butter. However, generally, you can expect roughly 200 calories per serving, with a balance of carbohydrates and a small amount of protein and fats.
Baked apple slices are low in sodium and cholesterol and provide good dietary fiber. If you want to kick up the nutrition further, consider adding some oats to the mix for added fiber and protein.
There you have it – a delightfully simple yet wonderful dessert that brings out the best of fall flavors and the versatility of apples. As September and October approach and apple season come into full swing, nothing compares to the comfort of warm, tender, and sweet baked apple slices. This dessert truly offers something for everyone: it's adaptable for vegan and gluten-free diets, simple enough for novice bakers, and infinitely customizable for the more adventurous. Remember, cooking is all about making and breaking the rules. So get creative and enjoy!
Customizing Your Baked Apple Slices
One aspect that makes this recipe a favorite is its versatility. Depending on dietary preferences, you can introduce tweaks to customize it to fit your needs. As discussed above, switching butter with coconut oil is an easy swap to make this dish dairy-free and vegan. Likewise, you can substitute the sugar with your preferred sweetener like maple syrup, or for those looking for a healthier version, you could lower the quantity of sugar or replace it with a natural, low-calorie sweetener. A fan of raisins? Try using dried cranberries, currants, or even dried cherries. For nuts, consider walnuts, pecans, or even pistachios.
Making a Feast
If you want to elevate this dish for a special occasion, a great idea would be to serve it with other complementary dishes. Imagine a plate with some warm, lightly spiced baked apple slices served, a gluten-free apple pie, or a helping of apple crisp. You could round off this apple-themed feast with a refreshing apple cider or even a glass of dessert wine.
Enjoy with Loved Ones
As the apple slices bake, they fill your kitchen with a sweet aroma, accompanied by subtle, warm notes of spices, which will surely draw everyone to the kitchen.
The golden tender apple slices glistening with caramelized juices will surely wow your guests. The subtle crunch of the occasional almond and the tart burst of flavor from the raisins add the perfect contrast to the otherwise soft and sweet apples. All these symphonies of flavors are balanced beautifully with the mildly spicy notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and exotic cardamom.
The fact that it's something everyone can enjoy–regardless of most dietary restrictions–sweetens the deal (pun intended!).
Baking with Children
This recipe is simple, quick, and an excellent way to introduce children to baking. With adult supervision, even children can handle most steps in this recipe. Let their fascination take over as they see the apples transform while baking; seeing and tasting the result is a great practice of patience for them. And the delight in their eyes when they finally taste what they helped make is just priceless!
While apples are most commonly associated with September and October, this wholesome dessert can be enjoyed year-round. Try different apple varieties and experiment with the quantity of spices until you find your perfect mix.
Baking is not just about following recipes but also about using your instincts and taste buds. So, don't let loose and break some baking rules; switch things up, and you might create a baked apple slices recipe worth visiting your place every fall.
A dessert that's as comforting as it is nutritious, these baked apple slices are the epitome of homely baking: filling homes with wafts of its sweet, enticing aroma, bringing together families, and creating memories!
With classic fall flavors, a few sliced apples, and warm, cozy spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, these baked apple slices are an easy dish to bring to brunch or the dining room table
- 4 large apples (Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, or Granny Smith)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- A pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- A sprinkle of cardamom
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a baking dish.
- Core the apples and slice them thinly. Keep the peels on for extra nutrients and fiber.
- Mix apple slices, sugar, melted butter, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom in a large bowl.
- Toss the mixture to coat the apples evenly with the sugar, butter, and spices.
- Place the apple slices in the baking dish, layering and tucking them into each other.
- Pour the remaining liquid from the bowl over the apples.
- Bake for 1 hour until the apples are tender and a caramel-like sauce forms.
- Let the slices cool slightly before serving. Serve warm with optional toppings like ice cream, maple syrup, or caramel sauce. Enjoy!
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in a low-heat oven for 5 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 104Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 21mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 3gSugar: 23gProtein: 0g