One of my favorite childhood memory-related scents is that of plump apples baking in the oven on a cold day. My mother would core the apples, drop some butter, cinnamon and a bit of brown sugar in the centers, and bake them until the house filled with that perfect, delicious scent. I remember sitting on the rug watching Sesame Street in the afternoon while she was in the kitchen baking these. I always loved smelling that comforting aroma and having mom in the kitchen working her own brand of kitchen magic.
Speaking of Sesame Street: I love this video…it’s a promo for an old-school Sesame Street dvd collection. I’m not suggesting you buy it, it’s just fun to watch. If you were a kid in the 1970s, this will be like visiting your childhood friends again. Oh, and it’s made even cooler by the brief presence of Mr. Johnny Cash.
Now, back to the apples:
This dessert was one of the simplest, least expensive desserts to make, which was why she made it fairly frequently back then. I’ve made this version, which is a little more complex, but is still a comforting, rustic-looking dessert, perfect for fall.
Fruit and nut-stuffed baked apples
6 medium to large baking apples (Fuji, Granny Smith, Gala, etc.)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 TBS butter, chopped into six pieces
3 TBS chopped dates
3 TBS dried cranberries, cherries, or raisins (or a mixture of any of them)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon (if you have apple pie spice, you could use that here)
3 TBS chopped pecans or walnuts
1. Wash and core apples, leaving the bottom intact.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients, stirring to coat all ingredients with cinnamon and brown sugar.
3. Place apples in a glass baking dish, about 9×13″. Stuff each apple with the fruit and nut filling, pressing down to rid the apples of air pockets.
4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour and fifteen minutes. Alternatively, place apples in large slow cooker, and cook at low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Test for doneness with a fork; apples should be very tender, but should hold their shape.
I hope their presence in your kitchen makes memories for yourself and for your children, too.
A few more autumn recipes you might enjoy:
Roasted sweet potatoes with brown butter-sage sauce
Turkey-vegetable soup – a quick and really easy recipe!
Sweet potato-kale soup with sausage
Easy apple-cranberry crisp
I hope you find something new that makes you feel excited to be in the kitchen cooking for someone you love! Enjoy!
Copyright 2014 Stephanie Hill Frazier. All rights reserved.