Let’s add Hasselback Apples to that prized collection of sneaky recipes that look and feel super-duper special and five-star fancy but are actually a sneaky way to eat more dessert with minimal effort.
Hasselback Apple outward appearance: Glossy magazine cover. Martha Stewart. Grandma’s from-scratch apple pie. Delicious.
Hasselback Apple inner reality: The coffee stain on my glossy magazine cover. Betty Crocker. I was craving apple pie but feeling too lazy to make apple pie. Delicious.
A few weeks ago, I had a crisper drawer full of apples threatening to spoil and a strong hankering for something warm and comforting that I could top with vanilla ice cream. I wanted it to be apple-centric like a pie…without the work of making an actual pie. My sweet solution: Hasselback Apples.
Like an apple crisp, this easy Hasselback Apple recipe is relatively fuss-free, but what I love about it is that it really puts the fruit first. You still get plenty of the streusel goodness—the bits stuffed between the apple slices melt and infuse the apples with butter and cinnamon, while the bits on top turn crisp and golden—but the apples are the star.
If you are looking for a lighter dessert, these healthy Hasselback Apples are also a stellar option. While the recipe includes enough brown sugar and butter to make them taste indulgent, one serving is a fraction of the calories you’ll find in a standard slice of apple pie.
In fact, if you swap the ice cream for a dollop of Greek yogurt, you might even get away with eating one for breakfast.
The Hasselback Apple recipe is also easy to scale and make ahead for a crowd. I included an amount for three apples (six halves), but you can easily reduce it for a smaller group or multiply it for a dinner party.
To make the recipe in advance, a few hours before you’d like to serve, slice the apples, top them with the streusel, then pop the whole pan in the refrigerator. Bake the apples during dinner, and by the time dessert is ready, your whole kitchen will smell like tantalizing, fall-spiced Yankee Candle brought to life.
In the oven, the apples sweeten and soften, while the brown sugar and oats caramelize on top. The thin, tender layers of fruit slice easily with a fork, and you are guaranteed to get just the right amount of streusel in every bite.
What I love most about these Hasselback Apples, in addition to the fact that they are simple to make and sublime to eat, is their duo appeal. The taste is old fashioned, comforting, and familiar, but the presentation feels modern and fresh.
In other words, your grandmother and your hip foodie friend will both approve. They will both ask for second helpings too!
More easy, healthy apple dessert recipes:
Tools I used to make these Hasselback Apples:
- 3 large firm crisp-sweet apples — such as Pink Lady or Honeycrisp (do not use a soft variety like Cortland or McIntosh—they will not hold their shape)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter — divided
- 3 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar — divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon — divided
- 3 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons white whole wheat flour — or all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Low-fat vanilla ice cream — or vanilla frozen yogurt for serving
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9x13-inch or similar glass or ceramic baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Peel the apples, then cut them in half from top to bottom. With a melon baller or small spoon, remove the core. Turn the apples cut-side down on a cutting board. Starting at the outermost edges, cut 1/4-inch slices most (but not all) of the way through each apple. Place apple halves, cut sides down, in the prepared baking dish.
- Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Brush the mixture evenly over each apple.
- Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the pan from oven, uncover, and let cool 10 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
- While the apples cool, make the streusel topping: Melt the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in the same bowl or saucepan used previously. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, oats, flour, and salt. Carefully fan open the apple halves and with a fork or spoon. Work the some streusel between the slices and sprinkle some over the top.
- Return to the pan to the oven and bake uncovered at 425 degrees F until the apples are tender and the topping is brown, about 10 to 15 additional minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve warm with ice cream.
- To make the recipe in advance: Assemble the apples in the baking dish up to the point of baking. Keep in the refrigerator, covered with foil and unbaked, for up to 4 hours. Bake just before serving.
- Hasselback Apples taste best the day they are made but can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave.
- Make it gluten free: Swap a 1:1 GF all-purpose baking blend, oat flour, or almond meal for the white whole wheat flour; use certified GF rolled oats.
- Make it vegan: swap a buttery vegan spread for the unsalted butter.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 half apple with 1/3 cup low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt) — Calories: 225, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 104mg, Carbohydrates: 32g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 27g, Protein: 7g
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