To make the syrup, mix cider, date sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat, simmer for 5 minutes, and add vanilla extract. Remove from heat.
Wash apples and remove cores, but do not cut all the way through to the bottom. Peel a wide strip around the top edge.
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix together walnuts, date sugar, lemon peel, and dried cranberries. Fill each apple with walnut mixture to within 1/4 inch of top. Insert a cinnamon stick into the center of each apple.
Place apples upright in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Pour prepared syrup over apples. Bake for 30–40 minutes or until tender, basting frequently with pan syrup.
While apples are baking, make meringue, if using: Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar and continue beating until stiff and shiny. Blend in vanilla extract.
When apples are done, remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 450°. Spoon or pipe meringue decoratively over the upper one-third of each apple. Return apples to oven and bake for another 3–4 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown. Watch carefully to avoid burning.
To serve, pour hot syrup onto each plate and place a baked apple on top. Remove cinnamon stick before eating.
Cinnamon-Walnut Baked Apples
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Carbohydrates 64g21%
Dietary Fiber 5g20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.