Baked Apples

The other day, Eric said, “Everyone should go to the apple orchard at least once a year. THAT’S how you carpe´ the season.”

For the past few years, we’ve gone to the apple orchard around this time of year with our friends the Johannsens and their four kids. Here’s how it typically goes….We get there, and their boys run off the stored energy of a 45 minute car ride.

Then, we make our way to the actual orchard. The kids bite into about 3 apples apiece, dropping them on the ground, wiping off dirt, and chewing on them again, while we adults get serious about picking apples and try to keep the youngest ones from eating anything rotten.

Inevitably, after filling our apple bags, Sarah and I spend 10 minutes trying to crack each other up with apple poses, and apple butts, while Brad and Eric try to outdo each other in a manly competition to see who can chuck an apple farthest away using only their mouths. Kind of like an olympic discus toss, except with apples…and mouths.

We end the day by eating dinner together at Emma Krumbee’s restaurant, next to the orchard, and watching kids fall asleep on the way home. This year, Sarah told me about baked apples from her family recipe book on the way to the orchard, and I couldn’t get them off my mind. She used the kids’ naptime the following Saturday to teach me how to make them.

If you’re looking for an easy dessert that you can truly make your own, this is it. We used Haralson’s apples, but any good baking apple will do. You just cut the core out of the apples (with a fancy dancy corer if you have one….or by hacking them out with a paring knife like we did). Then, you jam pack the holes with the best parts of baking: butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, and raisins. Love raisins? Jam more in there. Want to bathe in brown sugar? There’s always room for more. These baked apples will make you love fall more. They are easy. They are forgiving. And you should make them this week. With apples you get at the orchard.

Baked Apples

Baked Apples

(recipe from my friend Sarah's Grandma Helen )

(yields as many as you want to make)

I'm not putting amounts next to these ingredients because this recipe is that flexible. If I had to guess, each apple got just under a tbsp. of butter, maybe a 1/2 - 1 tbsp. of brown sugar, just a pinch of ground cloves, a tsp. or so of cinnamon, and a 1/2 tbsp. of raisins. The amount of each ingredient that you put in each apple is not even close to crucial. Pack more of what you like most in the apples, and make sure they holes are jam packed.


baking apples (as many as you want)


butter (chilled)

brown sugar


ground cloves

vanilla ice cream (for serving)


Preheat oven to 350*

Cut the core out of each apple, while keeping the apple whole. We used a paring knife to cut a square around each core...first from the top, then from the bottom. We then used our thumbs to muscle the cut square out of the apple, leaving a hole where the core was. Or, you can use one of one of those corers.

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. (Feel free to use a smaller pan if you're only making a few apples). Place the apples in, sitting upright. Jam the cored apples with the cinnamon, butter, brown sugar, raisins, and cloves - as tightly as you can, in any ratio combination you like. (Only a pinch of cloves...and I wouldn't overdo it on the butter (no more than 1 tbsp. per apple).

Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 350* for 45 minutes to an hour or until apples are soft (easily pierced with a fork). Some might split open, and you'll definitely have gooey buttery sugary goodness all over the bottom of the pan. Wonderful.

To serve, put an apple in a bowl with some vanilla ice cream, then drizzle with the melted goodness from the bottom of the pan.

Eat yours and then try not to take bites from the person's bowl sitting next to you.

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16 thoughts on “Baked Apples

  1. Hooray! I love how tidy the step-by-step photos turned out. So uniform. So clean. I love Berget-Johannsen Orchard Awesome-ness!!!!

    • You should go to, so you can have a profile pic next to your comments like the cool kids. Unless, of course you like the Anonymity Ghost.

  2. THANKS for the awesome brownies!!!! Love them. Love your new site too. How do you put your collages together for your blog? I am doing photos for my son’s blog at school and needed to do some of these tonight. I love how your’s look and how they turned out. On my own site I always just leave the photos big, but I when you are trying to tell a story, it’s great to use collages!

    I am bummed we missed you today. Two different cars were pulling away as we were walking back from preschool up the ally behind our house. I think we just missed you.

    Thanks again and thanks for taking the time to make a fun, local, good food blog!

    • For the collage, there’s nothing too fancy… I just create a photoshop document the width of my blog area (645px) and a generous, but arbitrary height (900px). In your blog it looks like the width would be 910px. I bring in a few photos using [Layer - Duplicate] or [File - Place] depending if it’s already open in Photoshop. Then once I have four or so pics in there, I play around with resizing until they line up right and look good. Then the key is using [Image - Canvas Size] to readjust your canvas so that you don’t have a ton of extra white at the bottom.
      Hope that was as helpful as it was wordy!

      • I am impressed that you can see 10 pixels of difference in a blog!!!! :)

        I’ll give it a shot…haven’t used canvas size before and will give it a try. I’ll come back if I have any questions!

        Are you a photographer? You guys have fantastic photos on here. It really makes it more fun to read!

        • I wish I could say that I just eyeball a website and say “910px”…. b/c that would be like a web design super power. However…on a mac if you hold down [command - shift - 4] it pulls up the screenshot crosshairs. As you drag the crosshairs it gives you the pixel width and height.

          We’re not pro photographers by any means. Thanks for the complement though. I think two keys for us are 1) taking a ton of photos (with the idea that 1 out of 10 will be a blog-worthy) & 2) using photoshop curves to give it some extra visual flavor.

          I still have a lot to learn though….like how to have better control of depth of field in camera. And there’s always a lot to learn about photoshop!

          • It’s fun to learn and practice though! Do you ever use actions? In terms of DOF just make yourself practice a bunch at places like the park knowing you can throw out bad pics. I started out in aperture priority when first learning about DOF. I think it’s probably just better to jump right to full manual. Make a bunch of mistakes but look at the exit info and make corrections.

          • I feel like most of the actions I’ve tried to download were too heavy-handed. I created my own “Vintage Curve” action since I use that look so often. Do you have any recommendations for quality actions?

          • I think the Pioneer Woman has great actions that are free. Have you ever visited her blog? You do need to tweak everything a big but I like her black and whites. I also like the CoffeeShop actions. They are also free. Those are the two places I started when I first used actions.

            I am going to give the collage a shot for my son’s class website tonight! Thanks for the tips.

  3. Ooooh- I have had these stuffed apples! Sarah brought them as a bible study treat years ago. So delicious and fall-y. And I, too, enjoyed the brownies. And I’m still enjoying them.
    Everyone is telling me how much they are enjoying your blog- it’s fun to look at. Great pics- pretty people, delicious food.

  4. I made these baked apples last weekend for a dinner party we attended–they were a big hit! Even my husband who only likes unhealthy desserts enjoyed them!

  5. Pingback: ‘Tis the Season… | Carpé Season

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