Tart or sweet, apples are always a favorite here at Bigelow Tea. For National Apple Month this October, we’ve gotten to the core of cooking up different ways to savor their crunchy texture and juicy flavor using Bigelow Teas.
Baking is one method that enhances the taste of this fall fruit. So we’ve paired apples with different Bigelow Teas in recipes that go straight into the oven. Here are two of our favorite picks. Our simple Bigelow ® Cinnamon Stick ® Baked Apples work well as a side dish or a dessert, and our Apple Cider Muffins are a tasty snack or breakfast treat. Both are full of delicious apple flavor!
Bigelow® Cinnamon Stick® Baked Apples
1 ½ cups hot water
4 Bigelow® Cinnamon Stick® Tea Bags*
6 medium apples (Cortland, Granny Smith, or any other slightly tart baking apple)
3 tablespoons, plus 6 teaspoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
*Variations: Substitute “Constant Comment®” Tea for the Cinnamon Stick Tea and/or add 1 teaspoon raisins to each apple cavity before baking (along with the brown sugar).
Baked apples are a simple side dish, which are perfectly paired with either pork or poultry. When baked with Bigelow® Cinnamon Stick Tea, they become a rustic autumn substitute for applesauce. Alternatively, serve the baked apples with ice cream for a delicious dessert!
Preheat oven to 400º and place rack in middle of oven.
In a measuring cup, steep tea bags in hot water for 5 minutes. Thoroughly squeeze tea bags into cup before discarding. Add 3 tablespoons brown sugar to tea and stir until dissolved. While tea is still hot, add butter and stir to combine. Set aside.
Horizontally slice the top of each apple off and reserve. Using a melon baller or spoon, scoop out the core and seeds of the apple, making sure not break through the bottom.
Place the apples in a 8 x 8 inch (or 7 x 10) glass or ceramic baking dish and spoon 1 teaspoon of brown sugar into each cavity.
Gently pour prepared tea over the top of the apples and bake for about 40 minutes, or until apples are soft.
Place the baked apples on a platter and transfer 2/3 cup of the juices to a small saucepan. Boil until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Pour juices over the top of the apples and serve warm.
Apple Cider Muffins
¾ cup milk
4 Bigelow Apple Cider Herb Tea Bags
1 to 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, grated (1 cup)
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
Yield: Makes 10-12 medium muffins.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease muffin cups or use muffin liners.
Combine milk and tea bags in a small saucepan. Heat over medium/low heat until bubbles form around the edge, stirring occasionally. (DO NOT BOIL.) Remove from heat and let cool (15-20 minutes); remove tea bags, squeezing out liquid. Set aside.
Grate apples in food processor with a shredding blade or by hand with a cheese grater. Set aside.
In large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Add apples and nuts; mix well. In separate bowl, whisk together oil, sugars, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add tea-infused milk; stir until well blended. Add dry ingredients all at once and stir until moist. Do not over-mix. Batter will be loose.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Top image by William F. Yurasko via Flickr.com