Cinnamon Baked Apples with Hazelnut-Fennel Brittle

photo credit: Rebecca Wellman

Baked apples satisfy the craving for apple pie without the commitment. The spiced nut brittle adds a caramelized crunch reminiscent of candied apples.


Hazelnuts, whole, toasted and skinned, 1 cup
Granulated sugar, 1 cup
Water, 1/4 cup
Babe’s honey, 2 tbsp
Salt, 1/4 tsp
Fennel seeds, 1 tbsp
Baked Apples
Brown sugar, 3/4 cup
Ground cinnamon, 2 tsp
Apples, 8 medium, such as local Gravenstein, Spartan, Jonagold,Rome Beauty or Spy
Butter, softened, 8 tsp

For the brittle, coarsely chop hazelnuts. Measure out 1/3 cup and set aside. Finely chop remaining nuts and set those aside for the apples.

The best way to approach brittle is not to rush and to keep the heat moderate. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a thick-bottomed medium sauce pan, stir sugar with water, honey and salt over low heat until dissolved. Increase heat to medium and let boil and bubble until light amber. Occasionally (and carefully) swirl pan to prevent any dark spots. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes. Immediately pour onto parchment. Tilt baking sheet to spread out as thin as possible and sprinkle with chopped nuts and fennel. Let cool completely. Break into shards.

For the apples, in a bowl, mix brown sugar with cinnamon and finely chopped nuts. Trim bottoms of apples so they sit flat. Core apples, using a melon-baller. Peel a 1/2-inch ring around the cored opening. Stuff apples with cinnamon sugar mixture. Press 1 tsp butter into top of each.

Place in a 9X13-inch baking dish. Pour in 1/4 cup water. Cover and bake in preheated 375F oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until very tender, 10 to 20 more minutes. Pierce with a sharp knife to check they are soft all the way through. Serve with vanilla ice cream and tuck in shards of brittle.


Comments are closed.