Cooking in Copper: Baked Apples with Apple Butter

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Sara, here

As I was creating this recipe, I realized I do not follow recipes. Isn’t that horrible? I’m blaming it on channeling spirits from the 1800s who likely didn’t have cookbooks and learned by doing or just made it up as they went. This creating-as-I-go often gets me into trouble when I make, say, a quick random soup for a luncheon, and people ask me over and over what I put in it (I don’t remember) or how I made it (I don’t remember that, either).

So when I made this, I just, you know…did it. I didn’t measure, I sprinkled and pinched, went by look, and didn’t even pay attention to the timer because I just knew the apples were done by looking at them.

But because this is not a way to share a recipe, I went back over it and figured out all the measurements. The only tricky part to this recipe is that the baking time will vary based on the size and type of apples you use. For instance, McIntosh will bake much faster than Granny Smith. You’re gonna have to keep an eye on this until you figure out what you prefer and what works in your oven.

Anyway, here’s a take on a good fall dish. I like to serve mine warm with vanilla or pumpkin ice cream with a dash of salt, or caramel and whipped cream.

(serves four)

2 apples, cut horizontally, cores and seeds scooped out with a spoon or melon baller, and bottoms cut so they sit flat
4 tsp nutmeg
4 tsp cinnamon
8 tsp white sugar
2 tsp brown sugar
8 Tbsp apple butter

Vanilla ice cream, pumpkin ice cream, coarse salt, caramel sauce, and whipped cream for garnish.

Pre-heat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Fill a pot with 1” of water and heat to a low simmer. Sprinkle top side of apples with ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp white sugar and place, spiced side down, into the simmering water. While the apples are in the simmering water, sprinkle exposed apple bottoms with remaining ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp white sugar. After 3 minutes, flip apples so the bottoms and spices can simmer.

Remove apples and place, scooped side up, on prepared baking sheet. Scrape out excess sugar and spice (now reduced) from pot and drizzle over the tops of the apples. Spoon 2 Tbsp of apple butter into the hollow of the apple and sprinkle ½ tsp brown sugar over the tops.

Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, depending on apples. Check often by sticking a fork into the meatiest part of an apple. When the fork slides in and out easily, the apples are done.

Remove and let sit for 5 minutes. Garnish to your preference and serve warm.

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