If you’re looking for a light and easy dessert that will make your house smell like apple pie, look no further than old-fashioned baked apples, recipe courtesy of Once Upon a Chef. Filled with brown sugar and spices, and then baked in boozy apple cider, baked apples are perfect for a chilly evening when you’re craving something sweet and comforting but don’t want to expend much effort. The hardest part is coring the apples, but a melon baller makes quick work of it.

Prep Time: 25 minutes, Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minute


  • 6 baking apples, preferably Fuji or Gala
  • ½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1½ cups apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or bourbon (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. Using the smaller side of a melon baller or a sharp-edged measuring teaspoon, remove the core, leaving the bottom ½ inch of the apples intact. (Do not use an apple corer, as it’s hard to prevent the corer from going all the way through the apples.)
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  4. Place the apples in a 2- to 2.5-quart baking dish (they should fit snugly). Spoon the brown sugar mixture evenly into the apples. Top each apple with a chunk of butter.
  5. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the apple cider (or juice), brandy (if using), and lemon juice. Pour around the apples. The liquid should come about 1 inch up the sides of the baking dish. Add more cider if necessary.
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the apples are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Let cool for a few minutes, then carefully transfer the apples (and some of the cooking juices, if you like) to serving bowls. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Photos: Apples in crates, iStockphoto.com/Nes; recipe photos courtesy of Once Upon a Chef.

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