Get ready to meet your simplest, most wholesome vegan dessert: ginger cinnamon baked apples. Think apple pie without the crust! Top the warm, freshly baked apples with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream for a low-key dessert, or enjoy them on toast or oatmeal. They’re wonderfully versatile and easy to make.
Do you know that feeling of wanting a homemade dessert of some kind, but feeling completely overwhelmed by the notion of breaking out multiple measuring cups? Or a rolling pin? Or—yikes—a cake decorating set?
I know this feeling. I love baking homemade vegan desserts, and most of the time, I get excited about a fun new pastry project.
Sometimes, however, I crave the comfort and joy of a freshly baked dessert without the many steps that it takes to get there. Baking is, after all, a science, and it demands some focus and precision.
Unless you make these ginger cinnamon baked apples. They won’t need you to be focused or precise. They won’t put demands on your time.
In fact, they’ll give you big rewards in flavor with minimal effort. Sometimes, this kind of treat is exactly what the doctor ordered!
The old saying may be tongue-in-cheek, but honestly, I eat an apple most days.
All things told, apples are probably my favorite type of fruit. I add them to steel cut oatmeal. I turn them into cake, crisp, and waffles, add them to salads and slaws, and even blend them into soup.
When I’m not preparing apples in those various ways, I love to snack on raw, juicy, crunchy slices. There’s nothing like a perfectly tart, sweet, in-season apple.
At the same time, there’s so much to be said for cooking apples.
For one thing, cooked apples can be easier to digest for many folks than raw apples are.
This is true of fresh vs. cooked fruit in general: if you have a very delicate digestive system, then you may benefit from eating fruit that’s been softened broken down through baking, stewing, or sautéing.
Cooked fruit, like the baked apples that I’m sharing, can be a nice alternative for the very cold winter months. It’s warming and cozy in a way that fresh fruit isn’t.
They simply have a gentler texture and, depending on whether you serve them warm or cold, more potential coziness.
These ginger cinnamon baked apples don’t have to be a dessert. I’ll get to all of the many ways that you can enjoy them outside of dessert-time.
Yet they are a great dessert, and more importantly, they’re a hands-off dessert.
Listen, much as I love a wonderful slice of apple pie with streusel topping, there’s no denying that it requires a fair bit of work.
Even my foolproof vegan applesauce spice cake, which is one of the easier treats that I’ve published, is still a recipe that takes some time, measuring, and attention to detail.
The ginger cinnamon baked apples are more like a “dump and bake” recipe. Peeling and chopping the apples is the most work you’ll need to do.
Otherwise, you’ll add them, along with a few seasonings, to a baking dish, and you’ll allow the oven to do the rest of the work.
Speaking of that, let me walk you through the steps to making them.
To be clear, these are baked apple cubes, rather than whole baked apples. (If you’re curious about the latter, you can check out my baked, stuffed apples—another favorite apple recipe!)
So, the first step in making the baked apples will be to core, peel, and cube them.
You do have the option to leave the skins on the apples, if you like. Personally, I prefer the tenderness and uniform appearance that results when the skins are removed. I think it’s a nicer presentation, especially if you serve the apples for dessert.
Next, you’ll oil an 8 or 9-inch / 20-23cm square baking dish. A rectangular dish is fine as well, but you won’t need one as big as a standard 9 x 13-inch size; I’ve used one that’s 7 x 11-inches / 8 x 28cm.
Add your chopped apples to the dish, along with the following:
Let’s dive into those ingredients momentarily.
The ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla give these baked apples their characteristic flavor. You could, in theory, omit one or even all three of of them, but I love that the apples are infused with spices.
Sugar adds a touch of extra sweetness to this recipe. While coconut and cane sugar are offered, brown sugar and maple syrup will work in the recipe as well. You don’t need a lot of sweetener here; the recipe calls for two tablespoons.
Finally, you’ll need a fat source to help give the baked apples a little richness and a pleasant texture. I personally think vegan butter is best, but coconut or avocado oil are both reasonable substitutes.
Any vegan butter will be fine in the recipe; you can use the brand that works for your tastes, priorities, and budget.
Mix the apples with their seasonings and transfer them to the oven.
You’ll bake the apples in two stages. First, you’ll bake them covered for 30 minutes. This helps to lock moisture in and soften the fruit.
Then, you’ll uncover the baking dish and bake for 15 additional minutes, or until the apples are tender, golden, and the juices have thickened up a bit.
At this point, they’ll be looser than pie filling but more concentrated and glazed than they were before you uncovered the baking dish.
This is the best part: enjoy your baked apples!
I’d say that the best thing that you can do with the apples is to put them into serving bowls while they’re still warm, then top each one with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Think apple pie à la mode, without the pressure to make pie crust!
However, there are so many other things that you can do with the baked apples.
The list of ways in which I like to enjoy this simple treat grows by the year. But here are a few things that I like to do with a warm, fresh batch of ginger cinnamon baked apples:
Embrace the joy of eating homemade food every day with the hearty and wholesome recipes in The Vegan Week.
In addition to being easy, versatile, and very yummy, the baked apples are also a nice make-ahead option.
Once prepared, the apples can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They can be frozen for up to 8 weeks. Defrost them in the fridge overnight before enjoying them.
To re-warm the apples, simply microwave them in 30-second intervals till warm, or you can place them in an oven-safe dish and reheat them in a 350°F / 175°C oven for 10-15 minutes, till hot.
I love this wholesome fruit dessert and its many uses and possibilities. I hope that you’ll love it, too. There’s no better thing to do with a half bushel of autumn apples!