3 tablespoons butter
4 firm, crisp apples halved and seeded
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks (about 4 inches each) halved
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place butter in a 13- by 9-inch baking pan and set it in preheating oven to melt while preparing apples.
Remove pan from oven; sprinkle brown sugar over butter. Arrange cinnamon stick evenly over sugar and place apples, cut side down, over cinnamon sticks. Bake until apples are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from oven, turn apples, cut side up, and spoon sauce over apples. Return pan to oven and continue to roast until golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
To serve, spoon a half apple into each bowl, sticking a cinnamon stick in each core. Serve as desired (see suggestions above).