Baked apples are one of those super simple desserts you can easily whip up when the mood strikes. And believe me, the mood for these babies strikes often. It's the tasty appliness of an apple pie without the extra work of apple slicing, dough rolling, and flour covered clothes. Maybe you can make a pie without looking like kindergardeners used you as a chalkboard, but I can't.
Plus, these apples are packed with brown sugar, cinnamon, and cream cheese. Sort of like an inside out apple cheesecake, if apple cheesecakes were cheesecake with an apple inside.
I like using granny smith apples best because they resist turning into a sweet mush like some apples varieties do once they're baked. Grannies hold up to the heat nicely and offer a good balance of sweet and tart against the sugary filling.
The process of making them is so simple that I probably didn't need to shoot step by step photos. But I did.. so we're going to look at them.
Step 1. Cut the core out of the apple while leaving roughly 1/2 an inch at the bottom intact. I didn't have an apple corer handy so I just sort of jabbed away at them with a paring knife until I was happy with the size of the hole. Top tip: Don't hold the apple in your hand while you're cutting unless you're partial to having your palm jabbed with sharp things.
The filling doesn't even require a mixer: measure out some cream cheese and press half of it into the bottom of the apples. Then stir together the remaining cream cheese, brown sugar, and cinnamon....
... and stuff it in the apples and top with a dab of butter. The bottom of the baking pan is covered with a bit of boiling water and they head to the oven to bake down into something delicious.
Delicious, and ..um. Ugly. I suppose I should instruct you to admire their humble rustic beauty, but I personally think they look kind of dull and wrinkly. Sorry baked apples However, I'm not shallow when it comes to desserts, plus the best place to hide ugly food is in your stomach. Nobody will find it there!
But what they lack in looks they make up for x 1000 in flavor. Cream cheese center with a cinnamon sugar syrup that's been seeping into the apple as it bakes. They're best served warm from the oven, even better topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If you do end up with a leftover or two, you can warm them up in the microwave, or just mush up into a decadent apple sauce to enjoy with a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
Baked Cinnamon Cream Cheese Apples
4 Granny Smith Apples
3 TBSP softened cream cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP butter
Preheat the oven to 375
1. Core the apples leaving 1/2 an inch at the bottom to keep all the sugary juices in
2. Take half of the cream cheese and divide it up between the four apples. Press into the bottom of the hollowed out core.
3. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and remaining cream cheese. You might need to pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften the cream cheese enough to combine. Divide amongst the apples and top with a dollop of butter.
4. Cover the bottom of the baking pan with boiling water (roughly 1/2 a cup or so) and carefully place in the 375 degree oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until the apples are soft but still holding their shape. Serve warm either on their own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.