Your child may not be ready to learn knife skills, so this recipe with far less knife work than the typical applesauce is the way to go. Other than the halving and coring of the apples, best done by an adult or older child, it can be made by your little chef.
The recipe calls for a small amount of sugar, but try it first without any sweetener. Children who haven’t been introduced to sugar will not miss it.
Baking applesauce takes less active time than cooking it on the stovetop, since you don't have to peel and chop then check on it and stir it; you just stick it in the oven and don't give it another thought for 45 minutes.
Let the baked apples cool enough for comfortable handling, then let the fun begin!
Makes about 5 cups, 6 to 10 servings
12 medium apples (about 6 pounds), halved and cored
1/2 cup water
1 or 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar, optional
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 18x13x1-inch half-sheet pan with cooking spray. Place the apple halves cut side down on baking sheet and add water to pan.
- Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, until the apples are wrinkly and falling-apart soft. Remove from oven, and leave the apples in the pan to cool a bit for safe handling.
- Leaving apple halves skin-side up on the baking sheet, mash each one of them completely down with fork. All the soft apple will squeeze out and you'll be left with a clean piece of peel to discard. Sprinkle the mashed apples with lemon juice.
- In small bowl, whisk together sugar (if using), spices and salt. Sprinkle the warm apples with mixture. Keep stirring until mixture is dissolved. If too dry, add a little water one tablespoon at a time.
- Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.
The following are good sauce apples: Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Empire, Rome, Macoun, Pink Lady, Jonathon, Jonagold, Gala.