Thursday, September 12, 2013

First Apples of the Season -- Drunken Baked Apples

Once upon a time, a friend of a friend and I went through a breakup at the same time. Sometime soon after, I put out a desperate Facebook message begging someone to get a drink with me, and she responded. After drinks were drunk and stories were told, our friendship blossomed. One of our early "friend dates" was a trip to the apple orchard, where we picked way too many apples and took just enough goofy pictures. Today, Emma is one of my dearest friends, and the apple picking with pictures has become a yearly tradition.

Everyone knows that I'm trying to find ways to smuggle myself out of New England, but even if I do make it to a warmer climate (Before winter maybe? Please?) there is one thing I'd miss: Fall. Apple season in particular. I love the crunch of an apple picked fresh from the tree, and as with most produce it's just worlds better right off the farm.

Last year, due to a crazy winter, the apple trees were not producing enough apples for picking, so we had to forgo visiting our favorite orchard. We went to another orchard (and might do a second trip there later in the season) but thankfully this year's winter was at least tolerable, and Quonquont Farm was open for picking!


Something about Quonquont Farm just makes me happy. And after seeing some amazing wedding photos recently taken on the farm, the whole time I was planning a fantasy wedding in my head. Plus, they don't charge extra to make you pick. In fact, it costs slightly less to pick your own than to buy pre-picked--I hate how some places gouge the price for picking your own--and the farm always has a great variety of apples ready for the picking! While my favorite apples weren't quite ready yet, we had Paula Reds, Mollie's Delicious, Mcintosh, and either Gala or Fuji (can't remember which, and they look so similar) to fill our baskets with.

 We also made a little friend!

Seriously, these spiders were EVERYWHERE and they were SO cool. I've never been one to run from creepy crawlies, I think spiders are so neat. However, if one were to randomly drop on me, I wouldn't be too thrilled. So we kept our distance and admired these beauties from afar.

Emma finds a Charlie Brown Apple Tree

I feel like the legions of families with children and random passerby were probably rolling their eyes at our silly selfies, but we didn't quite care.

Sampling as you go is discouraged.

 Overall, it was an awesome day that resulted in way too many apples! I picked the largest, a half bushel I believe (mostly baking apples, with some gala/fuji type for eating plain), and Emma got the smallest and ended up giving most of hers away to another friend who enjoys baking--I guess picking is most of the fun for her, hehe. So expect tons of apple recipes coming up. Johnny Appleseed's birthday is the 26th, and I'll be doing a round up of all sorts of yummy apple recipes then, so stay tuned!

The first recipe I created with the fruits of my labors (heh, punny) were these awesome baked apples. Sidenote: I tried my damndest in Photoshop to lessen the effects of not-natural light, but the pics still look kinda crappy. Food photography gurus, any suggestions?

I've had a bottle of Maker's Mark hiding in the corner of my liquor cabinet for about a year now, only to be brought out for special occasions though, in truth, I've used it more for recipes than drinking. I decided to finally kill it with this recipe. I initially wanted to make bourbon whipped cream to dollop over the top, but somehow it went right from cream to butter. So now I have bourbon butter! Thankfully I used a little in the sauce, so they still have that great bourbon flavor. Happy Apple Season, everyone!

Drunken Baked Apples

  • 4 large baking apples (any kind of apple will work, but ones specifically used for baking are best)
  • 1/2 stick butter (salted for a bit of a salted caramel effect, but either works)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar + 4 more tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 3 tbs + 3 tbs cinnamon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbs bourbon
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

-Peel and core apples, trimming the bottom so that they don't wobble, and place them in a buttered baking dish that allows the apples to touch. Sprinkle generously with 3 tbs of cinnamon sugar, and pack each with a tablespoon of brown sugar.

-In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well incorporated. The sauce should be thick, but able to be poured.

-Pour mixture over and around apples. Bake for 30 minutes or until the apples are fork-tender. Halfway through baking, use a spoon to spoon the sauce over the apples. Before serving, pour sauce over apples or drizzle with caramel.


  1. I love apple season more than anything in the world! But I haven't been apple picking in wayyy too long. This treat looks delightful :)


    1. Right outside the city there's this awesome farm that you can pick at, I forget the name, but you get to ride a little train out into the orchard. It's adorable.

  2. yum!! I have a series of obligations (read: stupid weddings) keeping me from apple picking so I'm SO jealous. these apples look delicious and I wouldn't be the least upset about accidentally making bourbon butter. sounds like a great topping for a sweet potato

  3. I miss living in a place with great apple orchards. Fresh apples are just amazing. Though they get soft in no time, a fresh, crunchy McIntosh is just about the best tasting apple ever. For real. So jealous of your yearly trips. Thanks for the pics!

    1. If you keep them in the fridge they last a looong time... months even! But yeah, Macs do get soft rather quickly. I grabbed mostly baking apples though.

  4. That's such a great tradition. I've been researching apple orchards all week. I think we might go to two of them on Saturday!

  5. That was NOT a little friend, that was a GIGANTIC one!!

    1. I love him. He was my friend. There were SO MANY of them!

  6. Apple picking sounds so fun. I can't wait to see all the recipes you come up with! And this one looks amazing, look at how buttery they look, yum! x

  7. I haven't gone apple picking since living in Boston but you've inspired me to drag the.boy this year! It's just so much fun. And then you end up with apples. Win. These baked apples are beautiful. I want to shove one in my mouth for real.

  8. Bourbon butter? I'll happily take that and make some drunken baked apples! It's been so long since I've gotten apple picking, I'm totally overdue for a trip.

  9. Drunken apples is an excellent choice for a bountiful apple collection! These look so simple and delicious!

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  11. These apples look fantastic! Seriously yummy. Living in NY state, we go apple picking every year, too. We are going in a couple of weeks and I can't wait. I love fall and all the fall produce.

  12. Ashley, it seems that there is no better way to spend a wonderful few hours with a very good friend than apple picking and baking something delicious with the fresh loot afterwards. Your recipe looks so perfect for the season and delicious - looking forward to your upcoming posts with more lovely apple recipes!
    Have a great Monday!

  13. Love this idea. I have done it with pears before but not apples. I wish we had an apple farm close. Very jealous of your day on the farm!

  14. Apple picking is great fun and at the end of the day you usually have more apples than you know what to do with! This looks like a delicious "adult" apple recipe!