Baked apples just may be that little something sweet you want after dinner.

My version of baked apples is good because the apples aren’t overly spiced. You have the good apple taste but with the crunchiness of pecans in the center. Time for baking can vary depending on the size and variety of the apples and also how “cooked” you like yours. I want mine slightly cooked but not mushy.

Opinions differ when it comes to what kind of apple to bake. Some apples stand up to heat better than others. Apples with a crisp, firm flesh tend to bake better, and there are quite a few available in the store that fit that criteria.

Some people do not remove any of the apple peeling before baking, but I like to remove about the top fourth of the peeling. Sprinkle that peeled part, along with the center where you removed the core, with a sugar and spice mix then fill the cavity with coarsely chopped pecans and bake. Since apples are naturally sweet you don’t have to pile on lots of extra sugar. Instead of white sugar, you can add some brown sugar or raw sugar if you like. I baked my apples on an orange slice. While baking, the citrus adds extra flavor and it also helps the apples stand upright. The apples cook in a light apple or orange juice syrup, which is spooned over them during the baking.

A warm baked apple is the perfect finish to a light meal on a cold night and a small dollop of cream, frozen vanilla yogurt or ice cream makes it even better.

Corinne Cook is a columnist for The Advocate. Reach her at