No need to add sugar for this sweet treat

By Jim Bailey

The secret to these deliciously decadent desserts? There is not one bit of added sugar found anywhere in this recipe.

Honestly, it will have every single family member or friend asking you for the recipe, even if they aren’t watching their sugar levels.

2 cups apple cider
9 hard apples*
1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
3 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon each nutmeg and allspice, divided
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/3 cup sugar-free maple syrup
1/4 cup shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)

Begin 30 minutes before preparing recipe by boiling down the apple cider in a large skillet until you have 1/2 cup. Turn off heat and set aside.

Peel, halve, cored and dice 3 apples. Add to skillet over medium low heat with reduced apple cider, along with cranberries and half of the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

The mixture should be slightly simmering. If not, increase heat.

Cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until crisp tender, not falling apart.

Meanwhile, make crisp topping by combining oats, flour, melted butter, maple syrup and remainder of spices along with cheese and walnuts, if using. Thoroughly blend together; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

Decoratively spiral-peel each of the 6 remaining apples if desired, or simply leave as is.

Cut off the tops of each apple, about an inch down. Scoop out core and carefully scrape apple flesh to create a wall of apple flesh that is about a 1/2-inch thick.

Place apples on a lined cookie sheet or walled baking pan or casserole dish.

When diced apples are cooked, evenly divide and fill each apple.

Evenly divide crisp topping over each stuffed apple. If there is any juice left in pan, drizzle over the top of each.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until the apple slightly gives when carefully squeezed on the sides.

Remove from oven to serve as is, or with a scoop of ice cream on top. Serve hot.

* Such as Empire, Cortland, Gala, Granny Smith, Braeburns or Macouns.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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