Natalie of Good Girl Style joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just fruit, spices, and brown sugar. This Thanksgiving, be sure that gluten-free eaters have a delicious, not-too-decadent choice on the dessert table with today’s baked apples. Another option? Maple Crème Brûlée.
Oh, the goodness of apple season. All of the spices that smell like home melt into butter and brown sugar inside sweet yet tart apples. There couldn’t be a more comforting scent or taste, I don’t think. These baked apples are a healthier alternative to apple pie (no crust!) and are so much easier to put together. If you have a last-minute guest coming over, you most likely have all of the ingredients to make this tasty and cozy dessert. And then there’s the added bonus of a house that smells like autumn embodied.
You’ll want to look for firm apples that hold up well to baking, such as Macintosh. Soft apples that are good for eating, such as Red Delicious, won’t be firm enough to withstand baking alone. Be sure not to core the apples all the way through, as you want the bottom intact to hold onto all of the melting sugar and butter goodness. These are best served fresh from the oven with a large serving of vanilla ice cream. If you only need to serve two, this recipe can be easily halved.
By Natalie Wise
4 large baking apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup boiling water
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Cinnamon sticks and nutmeg, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Wash the apples and core them, almost to the bottom but not quite. The easiest way to do this is to use a knife to cut around the core and then scoop it out with a spoon. Discard the insides. Place the apples upright in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, softened butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Mix well. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the well in each apple.
Pour the 3/4 cup boiling water into the bottom of the pan to keep the apples from drying out. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the apples are tender. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of nutmeg.