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Serves four


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Dry-toast the almonds in a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet about three minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove from the heat and chop into small pieces. Place in a bowl with the dried fruit and cinnamon.

Mix together the almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, almond extract and a pinch of salt in another small bowl. Stir into the nuts just until the mixture is moistened.

Core the apples and peel a 1/2-inch band of skin around the middle of each apple to prevent them from splitting. Rub the peeled area with the cut lemon. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of filling into each apple. Place the apples in a baking dish or pie plate and pour the juice on the bottom. Bake, uncovered, until the apples are tender, 45 minutes to an hour, basting every 15 minutes. A teaspoon of lemon or orange zest is a delicious addition. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe excerpted from The Healthy Hedonist Holidays by Myra Kornfeld (Simon & Schuster, 2007).

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