A lovely twist on baked apples that is just as satisfying and a wee bit quicker to make. The scent of cinnamon makes these the perfect dessert on a chilly night and a great addition to a party buffet.
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon vegan buttery spread (like Earth Balance)
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
2 Granny Smith apples (Gala, Fuji and McIntosh are nice here, too), halved, cored; do not peel
1 cup sparkling apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
Pinch sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Mint leaves, for garnish
Place buttery spread and rice syrup in a flat-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Lay apples in skillet, cut sides down, and cook until the apples are beginning to brown at the edges, about 3 minutes. Add apple cider, cinnamon sticks, salt, nutmeg and vanilla. Cover, reduce heat and cook until the apples are tender enough to pierce easily with a fork, about 15 minutes. Do not over cook, as the apples will be mushy. Remove from heat and arrange apples, cut sides up, on a platter. Increase heat under skillet to high and deglaze any remaining liquids to form a thick syrup. Remove cinnamon sticks and spoon whatever liquid remains over the braised apples. Garnish with mint leaves and serve.