We need a break from the madness and I have just the thing: baked apples.

They're so easy to make but there are a couple of tips you should know upfront, like choosing the right kind of apple. Some turn to mush or explode out of their skin and others stay weirdly firm.

I like it when the apple is intact but soft enough to eat with a spoon. I like Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp and Jonagold the best, and then Cortland, Granny Smith, Pink Lady and McIntosh. The others don't fare so well. Choose your baking dish that doesn't have too much empty space around the apples.

Start by using a paring knife to hollow out the apples, but don't use an apple corer because it will slice right through it, which is not what you want. You only want to remove the core and seeds while keeping the bottom of the apple in tact so you have a nice vessel to fill with sweet things and butter.

Here's where you get creative. You'll only want one tablespoon of a sweetener of your choice: brown sugar, coconut sugar, artificial sweetener, maple sugar or syrup, honey, etc. Add a pinch of your favorite spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, or cardamom. You'll also need a pinch of Kosher salt and a little butter to help make them more saucy and tasty.

Pour an inch of water in the dish, or for sweeter apples, use apple cider – and if you wish, a splash (or three) of brandy or Kentucky bourbon.

Put them in a 350-degree oven and bake for 45 minutes. At 30 minutes, check to see if the liquid evaporated away, and add more if needed.

Most importantly, when you pull them from the oven, let them stand for five to 10 minutes to avoid burning your mouth. Scoop a little liquid into each bowl with the apple and top off either with a splash of cold heavy cream or a scoop of ice cream. Enjoy and bon appetite!

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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