Friday, November 23, 2012

Cinnamon-Spice Baked Apples

The sweet smell of these Cinnamon-Spice Baked Apples filled my grandmother's home as we finished off our Thanksgiving dinner. These baked apples have a way of coming to the table amazingly delicious and still wonderfully healthy. The key to a wholesome dessert is simple: quality ingredients with natural sweeteners. There are plenty of natural sweeteners that don't have the harmful effects of white sugar. Natural sweeteners like raw local honey, organic maple syrup and, as used in this recipe, fresh dates are nutrient dense foods that have additional health properties. Dates are rich in potassium, iron and other nutrients while aiding in digestion and the function of your nervous system.

5 medium sized apples
5 fresh dates
1/4 C chopped raw walnuts
1t cinnamon and a few cinnamon sticks
1/2t allspice and few whole allspice berries
1/2t nutmeg and a few nutmeg kernals
1/2t ginger
maple syrup
Pasture-raised cream

1. Find a corning ware dish with a lid that your apples fit inside nicely. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Core the apples using an apple corer or sharp knife.
3. Using a food processor, or simply a bowl and spoon, mash the dates with a bit of water to make a thick paste. Start with just a drizzle and add as needed, the amount will depend on the softness of the dates you're using.
4. Mix in chopped walnuts and spices.
5. Stuff the cores with the date/walnuts mixture and cover the tops of the apples, rub the leftovers all over the apples.
6. Place a small bit of water in the bottom of your dish, a quarter of a cup is plenty. Place the cinnamon sticks, allspice berries and nutmeg kernals in the bottom of the dish.
7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the apples are soft to the touch with a knife but not mushy.
8. Pour cream into a large bowl and whisk at a constant pace until the cream begins to whip, be careful not to turn it into butter. Serve each apple with a very large dollop of  freshly whipped cream., a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup, if so desired.

These apples are a favorite in my family. Try them for any dessert not just thanksgiving as they are quite the hit!

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