Warm and Cozy Cinnamon Baked Apples

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The only thing better than biting into a crisp fresh apple is digging into warm, spiced baked apples which are not only delicious but relatively healthy. Baked apples make a great stand alone treat as well as a fantastic topping for ice cream, french toast, pancakes, waffles, toast or even chicken! They are also incredibly yummy stirred into vanilla yogurt, it makes for the perfect filling breakfast. I like to make a big batch of these apples and then keep them in the fridge so I have them on hand all week for my breakfast and snacks.

This recipe is great because nothing really needs to be exact. Feel free to add a little more cinnamon and spice or if you like your apples more “syrupy“, add a little more liquid or even a dash of maple syrup for flavor and stickiness. There really is no way to mess this recipe up so get comfortable playing around with the ingredients and flavor profile.

One quick trick to speed up the prep time is to use an Apple Corer and Slicer which makes the job so much easier. I feel that the apple slices are a little on the thick side so I like to halve them however, you can bake them “as is” just be sure to increase the cooking time. Serve the apples warm right out of the oven, at room temperature or even cold. They will keep for a few day if placed in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs unsalted butter, divided
  • 2-3 tbs dark brown sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla sugar or granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 5 large baking apples peeled, cored and sliced to medium thickness (Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, etc)
  • 3-4 tbs water or apple cider

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a large baking dish with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Set aside.

Mix together the brown sugar, vanilla (or granulated) sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss the apples slices in the mixture and coat evenly.

Place the apples into the baking dish and add the water or cider to the baking dish. Dot the apples with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until apples are tender but not mushy.

“How-To” Canning – Chunky Cinnamon Apple Pie Jam

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Since the kids were cooperating today and playing very nicely together I decided I would do a little canning since it’s something I have not done in quite a few months. I was planning on a Mango Pineapple Jam however, I was a little short in the mango department so I decided to switch gears and use up all of the Granny Smith apples that I had in the fridge. I know it’s only July but I thought a nice batch of apple jam would be a great thing to “can” now so in a couple of months when the weather changes back to the cool, crisp days of autumn, I’d have this warm and cozy treat on hand and ready to go.

I came across this recipe on the Taste of Home website, it was listed as a “Caramel Apple Jam” . I changed the recipe slightly because when I read that it called for FIVE CUPS of sugar my jaw almost hit the floor. I adjusted the sugar from three cups of granulated sugar to only one cup and from two cups of brown sugar to only one. Granted, two cups of sugar is still a good amount but it is certainly better than five cups! After tasting the jam, I absolutely made the right call in adjusting the sugar. Had I added five cups I think this batch of jam would’ve been sickeningly sweet and ended up in the trash. I also added a 1/4 tsp of apple pie spice in addition to the spices that were called for and I increased the water from 1/2 cup to one cup. I did cut back on the amount of pectin as well, I felt the jam would be way too gelatinous if I used that much.

Because this is such a chunky jam it really is more like an apple pie filling than a traditional jam. If you prefer a smoother jam, you can always run the cooked apples through a food mill to smooth it out before adding the sugar and going forward with the canning. I actually prefer it chunky because I think it lends itself to many other uses. It’s delicious spread on toast or a muffin but it would also be perfect as a topping for vanilla ice cream, pancakes, as a side to pork dishes, and even as a filling in individual hand pies or the Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut Bread that I posted a few weeks ago. I stirred some right into my vanilla yogurt and it was incredible! It’s an extremely versatile jam so the possible uses are virtually limitless. Feel free to experiment using it on other foods both sweet and savory.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups peeled and finely diced Granny Smith apples (about 5-6 apples)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp apple pie spice
  • 2 tsp fruit pectin and 2 tsp calcium water (I use Pomona Low Sugar Pectin, 1 oz. Box)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

Instructions

Prepare and sterilize five 1/2 pint canning jars. Leave the lids in hot (not boiling) water and the jars in the simmering canning pot. The rims can be left to the side. Click Here For Sterilization Instructions

In a large pot combine the apples, water, butter, and spices. Stir over medium low heat until the apples are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the calcium water and then stir in the pectin. Mix well.

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stir in the sugar, and bring to a boil again. Cook for about a minute. Remove from the heat and skim off any foam.

One jar at a time, ladle the hot mixture in leaving a 1/4″ of headspace. Remove any air bubbles, adjust the headspace if needed. Wipe the rim of the jar, center a lid on top, and screw on a band just until it’s fingertip tight. Do NOT over tighten.

Once all of the jars are filled, place them in the canning pot ensuring they are fully submerged and covered in water. Bring the water back to a full boil and process the cans for 10 minutes. Do NOT start timing the processing until the water is at a full and rolling boil. After 10 minutes, remove the jars and allow them to cool completely, undisturbed, for at least 8-10 hours.

Soon after processing you should hear a “POP” indicating the jar has been properly sealed. Press the top of the lid, it should be tight and sucked into the jar with no give. If after a few hours you can still press up and down on the lid, you will need to process the jam all over again OR place it in the fridge and begin using it right away. Once the jars are completely cooled and properly sealed give the rim a little tightening and store in the pantry for 9-12 months.

**PLEASE NOTE** – The processing time is for elevations under 1,000 feet. For every 1,00 feet of altitude, adjust the processing time by adding an additional minute.

 

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Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins with Oatmeal Streusel Topping

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It might be June here in NY however, my mind is always on the Fall. Crisp days, cool breezes, and apple everything are what it’s all about for me! After the little heatwave we were having here I was longing for something to remind me that in just a few months, cooler temps will prevail. I adapted this delicious muffin recipe from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” by Amy Traverso. It’s a GREAT cookbook filled with all things apple. If you’re an apple fanatic like me you will love it! You can grab a copy of this cookbook right on Amazon using the link below.

 The Apple Lover’s Cookbook

I only made a few slight adjustments to this recipe and I think it resulted in a really perfect, flavorful, moist muffin that smelled and tasted exactly like Fall. What’s better than that? The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts but since I’m not a huge nut fan, I decided to chop them a little finer and use only 1/2 cup. I think it was the perfect amount, 3/4 cup in my opinion would’ve been a little too much, at least for me. I also decided to add an Oatmeal Streusel Topping to develop another layer of flavor and texture and this might just be one of the best parts of this muffin! The streusel was really delicious, I highly recommend not skipping this step if you decide to make these. This recipe was for a yield of 15 average size muffins however, I decided to make jumbo “bakery style” muffins instead so I used my 6 cup jumbo muffin man and increased the cooking time by about 8 minutes.

The nice thing about this muffin recipe is that you can make it the night before and all that’s left to do in the morning is combine the wet and dry ingredients, add the streusel topping, and bake. Within a half hour you will have fresh warm muffins to enjoy with your morning coffee.

Ingredients

For the muffins

  • 1 2/3 (242 g) cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (105 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup (240 ml) canned pure pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 large firm, sweet apple (I used a Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the streusel

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 tbs oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbs all purpose flour

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and cloves. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, apples, chopped walnuts, and vanilla.

**If you are making these ahead, cover both bowls with plastic wrap and place the wet ingredients in the fridge. Do NOT combine them until the morning**

To make the streusel, combine all of the ingredients and mix together with either a pastry blender or a fork. If making these muffins ahead, the streusel can be stored overnight in the fridge. Just microwave it for about 10-15 seconds to soften before using.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined, do not overmix. Divide the batter among the muffin cups and top with streusel pressing it slightly into the batter. Bake average sized muffins for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If making jumbo sized muffins, increase the cooking time by about 8 minutes.

Allow the muffins to cool on a rack for about 15 minutes then serve warm.

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Cookbook Review – Sally’s Baking Addiction

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BUY IT HERE

Sally’s Baking Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes, and Desserts for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix

I am an admitted cookbook addict. I cannot resist the shiny, colorful pictures splashed across the cover or the crisp, bright pages of a brand new cookbook which is why at this point I just might need a library in my home to store all of the ones I own. A good cookbook is more than just recipes, it should also be a book of helpful tips, personal stories, and beautiful pictures. I don’t just cook from my cookbooks, I love to snuggle up and read them as well, just like any other good book that’s out there. A really great cookbook should make you excited and inspire you to get in the kitchen and create. Sally’s Baking Addiction is one of those cookbooks.

This cookbook is chock full of great recipes from cookies to cakes to even candy! I’ve made so many of Sally’s treats and to date, none of them have disappointed. The recipes in this book are also easy to pull together and generally do not require any fancy ingredients which is a bonus for your average home cook. There are a few essential ingredients you should have on hand in your kitchen if you’d like to try baking some of these sweet treats. These include: sugars (brown, granulated, and powdered), unsalted butter, heavy cream, eggs, oats, oil, chocolate, and milk. Also, having the right tools on hand will make baking so much easier. A well appointed kitchen should include: various sized baking sheets, muffin pans, silicone baking mats (or parchment paper), a springform pan, round cake pans,  a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer, a food processor, sharp knives, spatulas, measuring cups and spoons, a rolling pin, whisks, a Microplane zester, and a pastry brush. If you want to be extra precise with your baking (and cooking!) it doesn’t hurt to have an inexpensive electronic scale on hand as well. The more precise you are with your baking, the better the final product will be.

Now that the basics are covered, let’s get into it! One of my most favorite recipes from this book is the “Apple Pie Streusel Bars“, they are absolute heaven!! I’m generally not a fan of shortbread however, the shortbread crust in this recipe is perfection. It has the most delicious sugary, vanilla flavor and excellent texture as well. This recipe is loaded with delicious cinnamon apples and topped with a wonderful streusel. It tastes like autumn on a plate! This is the perfect treat to enjoy with a steaming mug of tea on a cool, crisp, fall afternoon.

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Another excellent recipe in this cookbook is the “Potato Chip Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies“. At first the potato chips had me scratching my head but in the end, they added a really nice salty flavor to the cookies and I LOVE me a good sweet and salty treat! These cookies did not last long in my house, nobody could stop eating them! This recipe is a keeper for sure!

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One of my favorite snacks to munch on is caramel corn. There is nothing better than that sticky, salty deliciousness and Sally’s cookbook has a recipe for “Old Fashioned Caramel Corn” that will blow you away. I promise, you’ll NEVER buy store bought caramel corn again! This recipe was super easy to pull together and it didn’t take much time at all to execute. If you don’t have an air popper to make plain popcorn, just toss 1/2 cup of kernels in a scant amount of vegetable oil, pour the kernels into a brown paper bag and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Once the popcorn is ready, you can follow Sally’s recipe as written. You will not be disappointed with the results, we couldn’t keep our hands out the bowl!!!

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These are just a few of the incredible recipes I’ve tried and loved but there are countless more in this cookbook that I absolutely love. Other good ones are “Death by Chocolate Brownies“, “Cinnamon Roll Blondies“, “Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Pie“, and “Marshmallow Swirls S’mores Fudge“. Every single recipe yields and excellent result. This cookbook is definitely worth adding to your own collection, I HIGHLY recommend it.

Interested? Get your copy here!

Sally’s Baking Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes, and Desserts for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix