An Easy Autumn Dessert

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many people are dreading time in the kitchen. After all, that's one heck of a feast waiting to be made. However, do yourself a favor: Relax. Not everything needs to be difficult and Thanksgiving will be great as long as you surround yourself with friends and loved ones. The menu, while traditionally vast, is not really the focus of the day.

Now that you've taken a moment to breathe, consider something a little different for your dessert needs. Sure, pumpkin pie is amazing, but it's also somewhat fussy. Why not enjoy another great autumn-inspired dessert that's actually pretty good for you and takes less than ten minutes to assemble:

Yes, you read that right. These amazing baked apples take about eight minutes to put together. The recipe below gives instructions for 4 servings, but you can easily double or triple it for a larger crowd. And did I mention that it smells amazing while it bakes? Also, if you are like me, the filling will drip a bit into the pie plate as it bakes and prepare a wonderful sauce that you can scoop up and drizzle over the apples when you serve them alongside a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Beyond that, because the filling is made by dumping the ingredients into a plastic bag and working it into crumbs, you can simply toss the bag when you're done and marvel that you have fewer dishes to do later. On a day like Thanksgiving, the thought of fewer dishes is music to one's ears!

Now, just in case I haven't already convinced you to feature these beauties on your Thanksgiving dessert table, let me also suggest that they are also great throughout the fall and winter whenever you are looking for a quick, comforting dessert that isn't going to send you to the ER because it's loaded with all the sins. I've even been known to whip some of these up for breakfast and serve them with yogurt and honey. Now that's something to be grateful for!

Easy Baked Apples

  • 2 good baking apples
  • 1/3 c. chilled butter
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. oatmeal — NOT INSTANT
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Slice each of the apples into 2 halves and, using a melon baller or similar implement, remove the cores so that there are indents in the center of each apple half. Set the apples with the cut side up inside a baking dish or pie plate.

Combine the remaining ingredients (butter through cinnamon) in a small resealable bag. Seal the bag; press and pinch the mixture until coarse crumbs form. Using your fingers, press a quarter of the mixture into each of the indents on your apples. The mixture should fill the indents and cover most of the top of the apples.

Bake the apples in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until the top is bubbly and the apples are soft enough to poke easily with a fork. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30-40 minutes