Is there really anything sweeter than the ooey-gooey delicousness of apples and cinnamon baking in the oven? These baked apples are simple, require very little prep time and are so warming, healthful and yummy in the tummy.
Health Benefits of Apples
Apples are one of my favourite budget-friendly foods. You really get a lot of nutritional bang for your buck when purchasing apples, especially when they’re in season. They’re packed with:
- Antioxidants, particularly Vitamin C, an essential nutrient for the immune system and to support the body in times of stress
- Soluble and insoluble fibre, which helps to support digestive health, blood sugar balance and cardiovascular health. One particular type of soluble fibre in apples, called pectin, also has great binding properties in gluten-free baking!
- Quercetin, a polyphenol that aids with seasonal allergies
- Flavanols and polyphenols that reduce inflammation
Research on apples reveals that they contain anti-cancer, anti-asthma and anti-diabetic properties, can help protect the cardiovascular system, respiratory tract, bones and liver, as well as support cognition and brain health.
Apples also have polyphenols that, when combined with its fibre, help to generate beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.
What Type of Apple Should I Use?
Any type you love, really! I’ve used red apples in this recipe, but most of my recipes are quite flexible and forgiving. Some suggestions:
- Pink Lady
- Granny Smith
There are many different and unique seasonal apple varieties all around the world, so use what’s available to you.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
The sweet scent of cinnamon is grounding and so comforting, and the health benefits that come along for the ride are an amazing bonus.
Cinnamon contains compounds that help with blood sugar balance and cognition, and it has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. You may also be surprised to learn that spices like cinnamon are a good source of fibre.
The temperature of our food has an impact on how we feel and our health. This does not necessarily refer to the actual physical temperature, but on the effect it has in our bodies. Warming foods help to generate heat in the body, and this warmth often lends to a sense of comfort and ease. Cinnamon is a warming spice and combining that with some high protein and essential fat-containing walnuts, sweet chewy raisins, a pinch of nutmeg, decadent honey and the warmth of cooked apples, and we have a warm hug in a bowl.
Ceylon vs. Cassia Cinnamon
Whenever possible, I aim to use Ceylon, or ‘true’ cinnamon instead of cassia cinnamon, which is widely available but is of lower quality and doesn’t have quite as potent health benefits. Cassia has a stronger flavour and is higher in coumarin, a compound that can be toxic in very high amounts.
Ceylon has a mild, sweet flavour and is much easier to get from your local health food store or online than it used to be.
More Spices and Nut-Free Options for Baked Apples
Not into cinnamon, or want more? Other spice options for these apples include:
- Fresh or dried ginger
- A pinch of turmeric
- Fennel seeds
- Pumpkin spice mix
If you’re looking for a nut-free option, try:
- Shredded coconut
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Or you’re welcome to use other nuts like pecans, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, or whatever nuts you have on hand.
Can we still be friends if you don’t like raisins?
Sure! If you’re not into raisins in baking or these baked apples, opt for figs, dates, cranberries, apricots, goji berries or mulberries (or a mix!).
Baked apples for one, or a crowd!
What I adore about this recipe for baked apples is you can make one for yourself, or bake it for a crowd for a healthy dessert. This recipe is also nice to make ahead or for weekly meal prep, as these will keep in the fridge for several days (and the flavour keeps getting better and better).
You don’t want to freeze this recipe, as the consistency will turn to mush after defrosting.
More Fun With More baked apple Toppings!
Add fun, flavour and texture to your baked apples with:
- Dairy-free vanilla ice cream
- Dairy-free chocolate chips
- Coconut yogurt or kefir
- Homemade granola
- Melted coconut oil
- Chocolate sauce
- Caramel sauce
- Fresh fruit
- Melted ghee
I hope you enjoy making this as much as I do – the smell of baking alone will bring everyone to your kitchen.
Thank you to gourmet.com for the yummy looking baked apple photo used in the header and recipe card image.