11 November 2013

Eats: baked cinnamon apples

If I have to pick one flavor that encompasses every good feeling I have about fall, it would have to be apple. NOT PUMPKIN. Pumpkin is stinky and tastes pretty gross until you doctor it with tons of sugar and nutmeg and cinnamon. Pumpkin is totally overrated. Apples are where it’s at! Sweet and delicious, all by their lonesome.

That’s not to say, though, that apples aren’t super tasty with those ubiquitous fall spices, especially cinnamon. I’ll happily eat cinnamon-spiced apples year round. Goodness knows I ate my weight in caramel apple empanadas from Taco Bell in my single days, no matter what month it was. No shame!

So in this weekly installment of my recreation of my Bar Italia dinner slash Thanksgiving recommendations, I’m here to present: baked cinnamon apples. They weren’t actually a part of my dinner at Bar Italia (it had sweet potatoes instead) and they’re not always featured on the Thanksgiving table. But considering how cheap they are, how straightforward this recipe is, and how daggum delicious apples are, they should be a part of your dinner this fall!

We start with... drumroll... apples. I used four for this recipe, and it made plenty for Mr. P and I to eat for several days. Scale appropriately for your Thanksgiving feast!

These honeycrisps were the least expensive at the store. It’s a beautiful day when the honeycrisps are quite literally the cheapest you can buy.

Then you gotta peel them and slice them. Sorry, if you’re not the sort of person who enjoys peeling and slicing. I did it with a knife the old-fashioned way, without any fancy tools, because I am the sort of person who enjoys peeling and slicing.

It takes some time to get through all four. What, like you’ve got other stuff you’ve got to cook for dinner? Oh, you do. Okay. You’re not just having apples for dinner. Well, good thing you can make these a day or two in advance, whenever you’ve got time for slicing! They’ll only get better the longer they can marinate in the fridge.

Once they’re all sliced, throw them in a greased baking dish. I used a pyrex casserole bowl and cooking spray, but you could use real butter if you’re feeling fancy.

Then you need to mix up the good stuff: cinnamon and sugar. I loosely followed these guidelines and used one and a half tablespoons of brown sugar, two teaspoons each of white sugar and cinnamon, a teaspoon of nutmeg, and a dash of salt.

I also used a bowl that was too small to mix all those ingredients. Whoops.

The spices get stirred into the apples, along with two tablespoons of water and – bonus! – a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

They may not look like much now, but stick them in a 350-degree oven for 40-45 minutes, covered, stirring every fifteen minutes, and they’ll turn out like this:

IT’S FALL, Y’ALL. How do you like them apples?

(Oh please, like I could write this entire post without making that joke. Are you new here?)

The best part about these apples – aside from how ridiculously simple and delicious they are – is how the leftovers will go with other dishes. We ate them first with pork, but I ate them later for lunch with some pan-fried pesto gnocchi. It may sound odd, but it was delicious! Then I ate them for breakfast with imaginary pancakes. Would’ve been better if the pancakes were real, but at least the apples were delicious.

My point is, these apples are everything that’s right about fall. Enjoy them while apples are a dollar a pound!

Finally, here’s what’s for dinner at Casa P this week:

Sunday: tomatillo pork carnitas (bumped from last week)

Monday: we’re heading to a playoff football game for Mr. P’s school, and I’ll be heading there straight from work. Dinner might be a Chipotle burrito smuggled in my purse!

Tuesday: pork lo mein with snap peas

Wednesday: salsa chicken with saffron rice and asparagus

Thursday: pesto alfredo pasta with artichokes and roasted red pepper

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: stroganoff meatballs with noodles and asparagus

Happy Monday, and a special Happy Veterans’ Day! Hope your week is starting off right!


Janice said...

Apples? I like them in all kinds of ways: Out of the bowl, rinsed and polished. How about in a cinnamon apple bake (see Aunt Linda for awesome French Toast apple breakfast recipe!), in a pie, exactly as you prepared them in this blog post, and most importantly..... dipped in caramel!