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Baked Apples With Maple Syrup-and-Nut Stuffing

Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: About 45 Minutes Serves: 6 Servings 6 medium apples
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds
3 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs light-brown sugar
1 Tbs butter
Dash ground cinnamon
About 3/4 cup apple cider

For the littlest kids, you can eliminate the nuts if you like; the syrup-and-cider glaze makes the apples delicious even without the filling.

1. Core the apples, hollowing a bit more to make room for the filling. Peel the skin off the upper third of each apple. Using a sharp paring knife, cut several small "X"s along the peel line so that the juices and steam can be released. Cut a very thin slice off the top and the bottom of each apple.

2. In a bowl, combine the nuts, 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup, the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon and stir well.

3. Place the apples in a lightly buttered baking dish that's large enough to hold them without crowding. Divide the filling among the apples, packing it in firmly and allowing any excess to mound on top. Drizzle the remaining syrup over each apple and pour the cider around the apples. (You can prepare the recipe up to 8 hours ahead of time at this point; cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.)

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the apples for 45 minutes, or until they are tender and the filling is light golden brown, basting with cider from the pan every 10 minutes. Serve the apples hot. (If you'd rather serve them at room temperature, bake them about 6 hours ahead of time. Cover the baking dish and refrigerate. Bring the apples to room temperature before serving, topped with the pan juices.)

How Kids Can Help: Mix the filling and help stuff the apples; pour the syrup and cider over apples. 209 calories, 8.9 g fat (1.9 g saturated), 3.8 mg sodium, 5.2 mg cholesterol

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