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Baked Apples with Cinnamon, Walnuts and Maple Sugar

Baked apples are an American classic.  We serve them for breakfast on grey November mornings and for dessert on Sunday evenings when a little cosseting is in order.  Look for Rome apples at your market:  They have a lovely sweet-tart flavor, hold their shape when baked, and are big enough to pack the hollowed-out core with a cassia stick and lots of cinnamon-maple sugar butter.  Pungent Indonesian cassia underscores the sweetness of the apples.  

To serve 4 


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons granular maple sugar, or brown sugar (see note below)
3 tablespoons powdered Indonesian cassia
4 large Rome or other baking apples
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon raisins
4 sticks Indonesian cassia, 3-inches long
1 cup apple cider
Heavy cream, if desired


1. Set the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the butter, sugar and powdered cassia until thoroughly blended. Mix in the raisins and chopped walnuts.
3. Wash and core the apples, making a hole about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Leave 1/2-inch of apple at the bottom; do not cut all the way through.
4. Place one cassia stick in the hollowed-out core of each apple and fill in with the butter mixture.
5. Place the apples in a baking dish and pour the apple cider around them.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the apples are soft and the filling has browned slightly.

6. To serve, pour the apple cider over the apples.  If desired, pass heavy cream in a pitcher.

Note: Granulated maple sugar can be ordered from Buck Hill Farm, Fuller Road, Jefferson, NY 12093.  Telephone: 800/348-6676.  Fax: 607/652-2476.  Web: www.buckhillfarm.com.

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