Sometimes caramelized apples can show up in the most unexpected places: tossed with leafy greens in an Italian salad, as a topping for pancakes, waffles and French toast, or ladled on a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Wherever they may turn up, caramelized apples are always a welcome addition to any dish. Just when you expect to be served a boring salad or a monotonous pancake, these sweetened apples show up to add flavor, texture and panache. You can serve them with pork chops or fried chicken in place of applesauce. You can also pair them with crisp, fried bacon—the sweetness of the apples balances the saltiness of the bacon. Or chill them in the refrigerator and serve them with whipped cream as a dessert.
In addition, if you happen to have some apples that are too tart for your taste, you can convert them into caramelized apples to make them more palatable.Aside from being versatile, caramelized apples are easy to prepare—and inexpensive, too, with apples now being more affordable and available. You can use any variety of apple—Red Delicious, Fuji or Gala apples. Just make sure to choose fruit that is firm and fresh.
Here’s the recipe for caramelized apples.
½ c butter (1 stick)
½ c brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp lemon zest (from one lemon)
1 tsp vanilla
Peel the apples then slice each apple into two. Remove the cores. Cut each half of the apple into four to eight equal pieces, depending on how large the apples are. You should have eight to 16 pieces per apple.In a large, wide saucepan, over medium heat, heat the butter until almost melted. Stir in the brown sugar and sprinkle the cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and vanilla.
Add the apples and stir to coat the apples with the liquid. Simmer while stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and turn brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. The apples should still be slightly firm. Be careful not to let them turn mushy.Transfer to a heatproof bowl and let cool slightly. Serve on top of ice cream, waffles, French toast and pancakes, and as a side dish with ham steak, pork chops and fried or roast chicken. You can also add this to green, leafy salads. Or chill the apples and serve with whipped cream. Store any leftovers in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Makes four to eight servings.