Sunday, October 7, 2012

An apple a day ... straight from the oven

I've always loved baked apples, but haven't made them very often, being concerned about the amount of sugar, nuts and butter that are used to make them taste good. But lately, I've been cooking some for breakfast, and I am pleased to share that they don't really need any butter, much less sugar, and nuts are completely optional.

 You don't really need to peel their skins off, either, which saves prep time and gives you a little more fiber as well. Granted, they are a little tough and need to be handled with care while the apples are hot.

I cut the apples in quarters, pare out the seeds with a small knife, then cut each quarter in half again lengthwise. I put all the slices from three apples in a large gratin dish (mine is enameled cast iron), sprinkle them with granola, a little brown sugar and cinnamon, and add some Craisins.

Usually I do this all the night before, because I'm a bit foggy in the morning before the first cup of coffee kicks in. I turn on the oven to 350 degrees when I turn on the coffee, slip the gratin dish in as the oven is warming and set the timer for 40 minutes (allowing the oven to bring the cold dish up to 350 and then bake for 30 minutes. Your oven may take more or less time to preheat.).

When the apples look like they are about to collapse and the melted sugar and juices are bubbly, they are ready. Serve in a bowl, either alone or with a little milk. Delicious.

When the pan has cooled, add some water and let it stand until the sugar dissolves. It will then be easy to clean.

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