This is one of my favorite ways to use the last of the fall apples once spring comes. You know, these are the ones that have been in storage long enough to be a little too spongy to eat plain but still too good to feed to the critters.
- 6 Large apples – I prefer Honey Crisp, but go with what you love
- ¼ lb + 2 Tbsp salted butter, softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup chopped nuts – I prefer pecans, but, again, go with what you love
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 Tbsp grated orange peel (if using dehydrated orange peel, soak first in apple cider)
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 cup apple cider (you can use water, but cider is yummier)
- ¼ lb salted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Wash and mostly core the apples (leave a little in the bottom intact so that the yummy bits do not escape).
- Soften 2 Tbsp butter and rub over outside of apples, coating as completely as possible.
- Mix ¼ lb butter with brown sugar, nuts, dried cranberries, orange peel, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.
- Fill cores of apples, packing tightly and mounding up a bit on the top
- Put filled apples in a baking dish and pour cider around, not over, apples. Add cloves to the cider and sprinkle apples lightly with salt.
- Bake at 350 for about an hour until the filling starts to brown and apples are soft.
- Once apples are done and put aside to cool, start the caramel.
- Melt 1/4 lb. butter is a heavy bottomed pan. Add brown sugar and heavy cream and stir constantly until sugar is totally dissolved and mixture has been at a low boil for 3 minutes. (Keep stirring briskly or you will make sweet cement and ruin your pan.) Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Use caution, as there may be a boil over when you add the vanilla.)
- Remove and plate the still warm apples (cereal bowls work well to contain all of the deliciousness) and drizzle slightly cooled caramel over the top.
P.S. A scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream on top may make you swoon.
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