The finished drunken holiday apples. Photo: CC-foodiesathome.

Cooking with booze is one of the great culinary rites of the holiday season. Apples sauteed with butter, sugar, and cinnamon and polished off with a splash of bourbon, rum, or liqueur are one of the easiest, tastiest gluten-free holidays deserts to make.

Start by finding yourself some good, crisp, tart apples. I prefer Granny Smiths, Braeburns, Galas, or Pippins, as their tartness combines well with the sweetness of the sauce. But, I've had success with Golden Delicious and Jonathans, as well.  Remember, the alcohol boils off during cooking, so this desert treat is safe for kids. I recommend serving these delicious treats with a big helping of vanilla ice cream. This particular recipe makes enough apples to serve about a dozen people.

1/2 stick of salted butter
12 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup bourbon, dark rum, or liqueur such as Amaretto, Frangelico, or Grand Marnier

Wash, core and peel apples.

Slice apples into 1/2 to 1/4-inch wedges

Soak apples in booze for 30 minutes. Pour off booze, reserving 1/2 cup.

In a medium bowl, mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, if desired.

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat.

Add apples and cook slowly, allowing them to brown slightly.

When apples have softened and browned, add sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.

Pour in vanilla and just enough booze to coat the apples, up to 1/2 cup.

Stir well and heat until apple mixture is juicy and the juice boils.

Reduce heat to low and simmer about 10-20 minutes until apples are tender, and most of the liquid evaporates. Stir as needed to avoid sticking and burning.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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