Fall is finally here and that means one thing for me: fall baking. There's nothing better than the smell of warm cinnamon coming from the oven, and apples are a natural choice for baking with spices.
The hard part is picking which of the many varieties of apples to include in your baked goods. Every apple has a slightly different flavor; some are better for eating fresh, and some are better for baking. The best baking apples are the ones that keep their shape. Here are five of our favorites.
1. Granny Smith
The Granny Smith apple is my go-to apple for any baked or cooked recipe. The tart apple helps to keep the end product from being overly sweet, and it keeps its shape beautifully when baked.
And although you don't have to, I prefer to peel my Granny Smiths. The skin is slightly thicker, and visually the pale green color doesn't add much to the presentation.
2. Jonathan or Jonagold
These apples are very similar in flavor and how they behave when baked. Jonathan apples are mildly sweet and tart. Jonagolds are a combination of Jonathan and Golden Delicious, so it sways slightly on the sweeter side than tart. Both are crisp and juicy when eaten fresh and hold their shape well when baked.
Don't push this small apple to the side. It's slightly softer than the other apples on this list, but still keeps its shape well. With a good balance of both sweet and tart flavors, it shines in savory or sweet applications.
As part Granny Smith, the Braeburn apple brings the same great qualities to a recipe, but it's slightly sweeter. The reddish, pink exterior with streaks of yellow and green also makes for a pretty presentation.
Apples are good for more than baking: 15 Apple Names That Could Be Baby Names
Perhaps the easiest apple to find, the Honeycrisp wins the prize for being one of the most versatile and widely available. With a crisp, juicy texture, Honeycrisps are lovely eaten out of hand, but they also bake up wonderfully. As the name implies, these apples are sweet with a hint of honey, but they are still mild enough to play well in any baked good.
Honorable Mentions: Empire and Golden Delicious
What are your favorite apples to bake with?