The baked apples soften into a spoonable treat while the brown sugar melts down into a caramel syrup. The only thing that could make this simple dessert even better would be a scoop of ice cream on the side.
Dressed up with a scoop of ice cream, a dollop of crème fraîche, or a drizzle of chocolate sauce, baked apples are a crowd-pleaser — and it’s a good one to have in your back pocket for gluten-free and vegan guests, too.
Oatmeal-Brown Sugar Baked Apples
Serves 4, easily multiplied for larger crowds
- 4 medium apples, like Jonagold, Fuji, or Honeycrisp
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
- 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon butter, divided in four
- 1 cup hot water
Orange zest, lemon zest, grated ginger, candied ginger, raisins or other dried fruit, chopped nuts, cream cheese, mascarpone, peanut butter, Nutella
To serve: Ice cream, crème fraîche, whipped cream, coconut whipped cream
- Preheat oven to 375°F ( 190°C ) with a rack in the lower-middle position.
- Remove the core of the apples, cutting to within a half-inch of the bottom of the apple and creating a well roughly 3/4-inch wide. This is easy to do with an apple corer, but can also be done with a melon baller, grapefruit spoon, or a paring knife.
- Mix the brown sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and any extras in a bowl. Divide this mixture between the apples, packing the wells firmly.
- Arrange the apples in a baking dish (like an 8×8-inch Pyrex dish), and top each one with a pat of butter. Pour the water into the bottom of the dish and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes and remove foil. Continue baking uncovered until the apples are soft and the brown sugar has melted into a syrup, an additional 20 to 30 minutes. You can test the apples by poking a paring knife through the oatmeal mixture and into the interior of the apple; it should slide into the apple easily with no resistance. The skin on the apples will also become wrinkled and soft by the end of cooking.
- Serve with a scoop of ice cream, crème fraîche, or whipped cream. Leftovers will keep for up to a week and can be reheated in the microwave or eaten cold.
• Gluten-free baked apples: Be sure to use a gluten-free brand of oatmeal if making this for someone with a Celiac or gluten intolerance.
• Vegan baked apples: Skip the butter and serve the apples either plain or with coconut whipped cream.