Yield: 6 servings
6 gala apples
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup prepared caramel sauce
¼ cup candied pecans, chopped
¼ cup chopped sugared dates
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
2 tablespoons butter, softened and divided
½ cup coarsely ground gingersnap cookies
Garnish: additional prepared caramel sauce
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Slice ½ inch off the tops of apples, including stems. Set tops aside. Remove cores to within 1⁄2 inch from the bottoms of apples. Make holes 2 inches wide.
2. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine cream cheese, brown sugar, caramel sauce, pecans, dates, and apple pie spice. Pulse until combined. Stuff each apple with about 2 tablespoons cream-cheese mixture. Dot each apple with 1 teaspoon butter. Replace apple tops. Place apples in a cast-iron biscuit pan.
3. Bake until tender, approximately 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove apple tops; sprinkle with gingersnap crumbs, and replace tops. Drizzle with caramel sauce just before serving, if desired. Serve immediately.