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Today begins Apple Week on SouthernPlate.com!
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My Grandma Lucy just loves baked apples. of course we all do but they have always been such a treat for her. Growing up, it was a rare occasion to get them and she often tells us a story of the one day she got one for dessert. They were sharecropping in a field at a nearby farm and Grandmama and her family had walked over there in the morning to work. It was customary that when you worked the field for a family, they provided a mid day meal for you. It got to be lunchtime and they were cold and tired as they headed up to the main house. As they walked in the door, the smell of baked apples filled the air. “Those apples smelled so good. I’ll never forget that, never.”
They all sat down to eat their meal but Grandmama said all she could think about was those apples and she sat there trying to eat and hoping so bad the lady had made some for them. When they finished eating the lady who owned the house came to the table with two big old pans of baked apples, one for everyone.
Grandmama said “There was a lot of workers there so you know that woman musta put a good bit of time into coring all those apples for us, but they sure were good! We didn’t hardly ever get baked apples and we sure did enjoy those. They were the best things!”
I remember asking her, just a few years back, “Grandmama, why didn’t y’all ever get baked apples?” and her answer was so obvious that you and I would likely never think of it, but it made perfect sense when she replied “Because we didn’t have no apple tree!”
So today I’m going to show you the simple way to make baked apples, and how to do it in your slow cooker (or crock pot, as most folks call it). This is a simple recipe, prepared like they did it in the old days where you just core your apple, stuff it with some good stuff, and bake away! But now the bonus is that you can do it in the morning and come home to that same smell my Grandmama walked into all those years ago.
Now, I doubt I’ve ever made these the same way twice. It’s just one of those recipes you can throw together and customize to your liking or based on what you have on hand.
Today, I’m keeping it simple but I’m going to give you lots ideas to personalize it and make it your own and I want to hear your ideas in the comments on this post, too!
For starters you’ll need:
- Apples (about five fit into my slow cooker)
- Dried Cranberries (or raisins, or leave these out entirely)
- Brown sugar (I’m using dark but light is fine. You can also use white sugar if that’s what you have)
- Butter (or margarine)
- Cinnamon & Allspice (you can leave the allspice out if you like but I love how it enhances the cinnamon. Also, if you are a nutmeg lover you can add that as well. I’ve never been a nutmeg fan so I avoid it)
You can also add: Pecans, walnuts, oats, or anything else you come up with!
Place your brown sugar, cinnamon, and allspice (or whatever spices you are using) in a small bowl and stir them up really well.
Add in your dried cranberries or raisins and stir those up as well.
Usually when I cook with raisins or dried cranberries I like to soak them in really hot water for a few minutes to plump them up a bit before adding them to the recipe but these will be slow cooking with plenty of steam in there so there isn’t any need to do that here.
Core your apples.
I’m not a big fan of kitchen gadgets, mainly because I am unorganized and so I either lose them or can’t find a place to keep them, but I did break down and buy one of those apple corer thingiemabobbers. It is about the size of a vegetable peeler and it sure is neat! I like that thing.
After you core your apples peel off just a little strip around the top.
This is supposed to keep the apples from splitting as they cook but I mostly just do it because Mama told me to….
Now place them in the bottom of your slow cooker and use a spoon to fill each apple with your sugar mixture.
Then, take your finger and push the filling down in there and fill it up some more!
Top each one with a pat of butter.
You can also cut the butter into your sugar mixture but this works just as well and is less work.
You work hard enough as it is, it’s okay to take an easy pass.
Cover with lid and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 3-4, or until tender.
My husband loves these served with a scoop of ice cream.
Leftovers are great heated up the next day and served with oatmeal!
Remember to add nuts, oats, spices you like, and anything else to really make this recipe your own!
Oooh, how about serving it with ice cream and caramel sauce?
“When bobbing for apples, an idealist endlessly reaches for the
best apple, a pessimist settles for the first one within reach,
while an optimist drains the barrel, fishes out all the apples and makes pie.”
Submitted by Jenny (thanks, Jenny!). I’d love for you to submit your positive or uplifting quotes to use in future Southern Plate posts. To do so, please visit my Give A Penny page by clicking here.