In the church I pretty much grew up in, there was a sweet elderly lady named Annabelle, who made the best cooked apples you ever put in your mouth. This was a Southern Baptist Church, so for anyone not familiar with the Southern Baptists, they love to eat and the church potluck happens quite frequently. These potlucks are held for virtually any reason you can think of so everybody can get together and eat! There are jokes about the Southern Baptists and their "eatin' meetins" as my daddy calls them...lol. However, I do think those frequent potluck dinners are one of the things that bond those members of Southern Baptist churches so tightly together and also create some of the best cooks in the world. It's a great way to try new recipes and see what other people are cooking and such. Whole cookbooks are created off of these potluck recipes.
Now, back to Miss Annabelle and her apples, without fail, at any church supper, Annabelle brought these apples for one of her dishes. They were always in the same dish...I can see it right now, and there was always the same number of apples, cooked exactly the same way. If you were lucky, you were in the front of the line and got one of them. Everybody loved them, but no one could figure out exactly what made them so good. So I asked someone one day, why don't you ask her for the recipe. They looked at me like I was crazy and said she won't give out the recipe. Nobody has ever been able to get her to tell them.
So, I asked her, of course...lol. She just said it was a little of this and a little of that and nothing special...not really a recipe at all. I could tell she didn't want to tell me, so I never asked again. About a month went by and one day Annabelle called me over to her before church and pressed a neatly folded piece of paper into my hand. She whispered it was the recipe for her apples. I was shocked and honored. She said that is wasn't that she didn't want to tell people how she made them, but that they just weren't anything special and not really a recipe at all...just so simple. She said it was just what they had to cook with way back and that is how she started making them that way. The key to the taste is two things really...real butter and light corn syrup. I would have never thought of the corn syrup at all, but I could see how when sugar was limited, you would use corn syrup. It made perfect sense.
So even though, this is not some complicated recipe, it's very special to me, because someone trusted me with it many years ago and I have made it ever since! These are always on my Christmas dinner menu! Here is what you will need for these apples:
4-5 nice size apples, peeled, cored and cut in half ( A good cooking apple is best, but any type works. I used Jonagold)
3 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup water
Peel, core and cut the apples in half. If you have one of those nifty apple coring devices, it makes it much easier. I think I got mine from Pampered Chef. Place the apples in a baking dish with the cavity side up. Cut the butter in pats and place in the center of each apple half. Sprinkle evenly with the white sugar. Mix the vanilla in with the corn syrup and then drizzle that over the apple halves. Sprinkle with the cinnamon. Pour 1/4 cup water evenly around the bottom of the dish.
Place in a 350 degree oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes. With a spoon, gently flip the apples over after the first 15 minutes and spoon the pan juices over the top. Place back in the oven and bake for 15 more minutes. Some variety of apples may not take this long, so check them at about 25 minutes. Some apples are done with that much time.
Spoon the juices back over the apple halves and serve!
Cooked apples are a popular side dish in the South and they compliment pork and poultry especially well!