I love baked apples. But I find that they’re not terribly popular among children, and here’s my guess as to why: they’re full of things that kids are tentative about. Raisins? Nuts? Yeah.
Not wanting my children to miss out on the deliciousness that is the warm baked apple, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, I compromised. Following is my attempt to appease the pickier eaters (read: children) among us. Cored, unpeeled apples are placed in individual baking dishes, basted with flavored juice, stuffed with a crumbly filling, and then – aha! – topped by each person to their own preference. Dried fruits, nuts, and candies are placed in bowls and scooped as desired onto each one’s apple before baking.
Yes, the ingredient list is long – but prep is not. And when you’re done, you can sit down with a delicious dessert – it can bake while you’re eating dinner – and enjoy the peace and quiet that happens when everyone loves the dessert.
Okay…maybe just until it’s gone!
What you need:
Ingredients for the filling:
- 1/3 c. packed brown sugar
- 1/3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/3 c. wheat germ
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. nutmeg
- 1/4 t. ginger
- kosher salt, a pinch
- zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange, optional
- 6 T. butter, softened
Ingredients for the basting juice:
- 1/2 c. apple juice (or cider)
- 2 T. maple syrup
- 1 t. vanilla extract (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 t. lemon juice or orange juice
Topping bar options:
- Dried Fruits:
- chopped prunes
- chopped apricots
- slivered almonds
- chocolate chips, any kind, mini or regular-sized
- white chocolate chips
- butterscotch chips
- 10 apples, unpeeled, cored (Rome, Gala, McIntosh, Granny Smith, Cortland)
- whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, optional, for serving
- 10 individual custard or baking cups, buttered
- medium bowl and fork
- jar with lid
- measuring cups and spoons
- apple corer
- small bowls and spoons (for toppings)
- baking sheet (to hold baking dishes)
Time: 20 minutes prep, 10 minutes assembly, 20 minutes baking
Multiplying the recipe: You can easily double this recipe, if you have enough ramekins.
How to Make Individual Baked Apples:
Mix the filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, oats, wheat germ, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and zest (if using). With the fork, mix in the softened butter until crumbly. Set aside
Mix the basting juice: In a jar with a lid, place the apple juice, maple syrup, vanilla, and citrus juice. Cover and shake to combine. Set aside.
Assemble the toppings: Place the toppings in small bowls, with small spoons to scoop them with.
Prepare the apples: Wash and core the apples. Place each one in its own baking dish, and place all the baking dishes on a baking sheet. Add about a tablespoon of the basting juice and then scoop some of the filling into the middle of each one, packing it down a bit.
Assemble the apples: Preheat the oven to 425F. Place all the toppings and the baking sheet holding the apples on a table. Gather your little ones (or friends), give each an apple in its dish, and invite them to add their own desired toppings. Once everyone is finished, add basting liquid and/or filling as necessary. The basting liquid should come about 1/4″-1/2″ up the side of the dish.
Place the dishes back on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the apples for 12-20 minutes. Check the softness by piercing each apple with a sharp knife. When the knife slips easily through to the center of the apple, it is done baking. Enjoy apples with a scoop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.