Baked Cinnamon Apples: Comfort Food Alert
There isn't much better than simple baked cinnamon apples as a comfort food. The spicy-sweet apples can accompany a main dish or be served as a dessert, preferably with a dollop of light whipped topping, or, better still, a plop of vanilla ice cream melting oozily over the top of the warm apples. You can use whatever apples you have on hand, and I frequently use those that are getting a little too tired to eat out of hand (i.e., the skin is starting to shrivel a little). Peeling the apples isn't necessary. In fact, the peels will provide great fiber and keep the apple slices intact. I use a mixture of sweet spices, but you can opt for just cinnamon, if you'd prefer. A little brown sugar helps draw out the apples' juices and turn them into a sweet-tart and comforting addition to your dinner--with little work required on your part! If you'd like to dress up the apples, you can add dried cranberries and/or pecans to them, but that isn't really necessary. The apples are good on their own.
Baked Cinnamon Apples -- Serves 4-6
6-8 small-medium apples, washed, cored and sliced into eighths
1/2-1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of butter or Smart Balance
1/2 cup of dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
1/2 cup of pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a medium casserole dish or 8-inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the apples in the dish and sprinkle on the spices, lemon juice, and brown sugar. Dot the apples with the butter or Smart Balance. Bake the apples for about 30 minutes, then stir them. Add the dried cranberries, raisins, and/or nuts, if you're using them, and then return the apples to the oven for 10-15 minutes more or until they are quite soft but still hold their shape. Let the apples cool a little and serve them warm.