Baked Applesauce

Well, folks, this is just about the easiest (and BEST) applesauce you will ever make.  No peeling, no dicing, no slicing, no kidding.  I just can’t decide what I like most about it, the fact that it’s so easy to make, or the awesome apple-pie flavor.

So how easy is this?  Ready?  Just cut your apples in half, scoop out the core, place on a baking sheet, bake.  That’s it.  (Please see follow-up post after the recipe).

The only thing that consistently annoyed me was peeling all the dang stickers off the apples.  I finally decided to just leave them on and it made not a bit of difference.  Of course, they just came off with the skins.

 When they cool, the skins slide right off and, I love this part, I just mix the apples with a little cinnamon, brown sugar and a pinch of salt right there on the baking pan.  No bowls or pots to clean, just a couple of baking pans.

 And then there’s the flavor….baking the apples instead of cooking them on the stove imparts all the lovely nuances of apple pie/baked apples/apple cobbler, well, you get the idea.  Heavenly.

I like to use a combination of golden delicious and macintosh for this, but any baking apples you have handy will work great.  The sweetness/tartness of your apples, and your own preferences will determine how much sugar you will want to add… for 7 apples I used less than ¼ cup of brown sugar. 

Oh, and I forgot to mention the bonus of how your kitchen smells while these apples are baking.  Quite lovely. 

Have I convinced you yet?  Well, let’s see, applesauce on oatmeal, applesauce on ice cream, applesauce on pancakes, applesauce with cottage cheese, applesauce on corn fritters (a childhood staple of mine), or how ‘bout a bowl of applesauce?

Baked Applesauce
For a printable recipe, click here

Makes about 3 cups

3 lbs (8-9) baking apples (golden delicious, macintosh, granny smith, etc.)
Brown sugar to taste (about 1/4 cup)

Pinch of salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon (or to taste)
2 to 3 tablespoons water, if needed

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Spray 2 shallow baking pans with cooking spray.

Cut apples in half vertically and core them. (I use a melon-baller).  Place the halves, cut side down on the baking sheets, cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake apples until tender, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slip fruits from their skins back into pan, scraping any pulp from peels. Discard skins. 

While the apples are still warm, mash them with a fork (or leave chunky), stirring in some brown sugar, a pinch of salt, ground cinnamon and a bit of water (if needed) to help scrape up any brown bits in the pan and to lighten the texture of the applesauce. (note: I've made this dozens of times and have never needed to add water).

Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.