Who loves baked cinnamon apples? Or the better question is, who doesn't love baked cinnamon apples? I brought this dish along with plain Greek yogurt to our bookclub (we spend 30 minutes talking about the book and the other 2.5 hours talking about everything else...its the best and I love the fact I'm reading free-reading books again). It makes me feel better than watching TV, so for your health I totally recommend book clubs and/or reading for pleasure-Try it out! Would love to hear what you think.
I was thrilled and relieved when my fellow book clubbers urged me to make the Baked Apples this week's post. Great idea! And quite frankly, I had a busy week so we ate many of the recipes already posted and the dinner I planned to post wasn't as much of a hit as I hoped. Lesson to everyone: when you have a challenging week, revert back to tried and true recipes that don't burden you even if it feels repetitive. Next week can be more exciting :)
So back to the apples:
I found this Baked Apple recipe over 10 years ago in Cooking Light's Special Edition Make it Simple magazine while waiting in line at NYC's Citarella market. Its recipes utilize common kitchen gadgets to make cooking easier. As a dessert, I topped it with a dollop of Greek yogurt flavored with vanilla. For leftovers, I've mixed it in with 1 cup yogurt or oatmeal. And it's so good, you could eat it alone.
Why I love this recipe (from a nutritional perspective): First and foremost, it includes what I consider 2 delicious superfoods: apples and walnuts. Apples contain fiber that fill you up, lower your cholesterol and keep your digestive track, well, on track (unless you're sensitive to FODMAPs, but watching portions help), so it's a perfect snack that can take the edge off your afternoon munch attack or even a pre-dinner snack the whole family will enjoy to whet the appetite, not ruin it.
For all the nutrition geeks, apples contain quercetin and catechin (green tea's main antioxidant) that build your immunity, decrease inflammation and lead to glowing skin-yes, that's my secret...well that and Garnier BB Cream with SPF ;). Walnuts contain plant based omega 3's that help reduce inflammation and positively affect your heart and brain health. Foods that contain healthy fats and fiber like walnuts also help with feeling satisfied. It doesn't necessarily stop you from eating, but leads to feeling full longer. Count out 1 to 1.5 ounces (14 to 21 walnut halves) and put the bag away to ward off unintentional overeating.
Why I love this recipe (from a practical standpoint): You pop it in the microwave for 20 minutes, walk away and come back to perfection in a microwave safe bowl. Unforeseen bonus: the house smells great too!
I've only made this recipe as a dessert, so I have not reduced the brown sugar appreciably except when I ran out and used about 2 tbsp less (it tasted the same). I will post again after reducing the brown sugar and let you know the outcome.
If you want a scrumptious sugar-free apple snack in more like 20 seconds: Slice apples, toss with a generous amount of cinnamon in a plastic baggie so both sides are covered. Surprisingly so good. I just gave it to my husband and he wanted not to like it ("Where's the peanut butter?" he asked.), but then ate 5 more slices. Nothing defines a winner more than going back for seconds!
To your health,
Photo credit: Me. Baked Apples atop steel cut oats
By: Rita LaReau
RECIPE BY COOKING LIGHT
2 cups dried cranberries
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 Gala Apples, cored and chopped (about 3 pounds)
How to Make It:
Combine all ingredients in a large microwave-safe dish. Microwave at high 20 minutes or until apples are soft, stirring occasionally.
Chop the nuts (or buy walnut pieces found in the baking aisle) and apples the night before, and combine with the rest of the ingredients in the morning. Ida Red and McIntosh apples also work well.