With the holidays come indulgences. It’s hard to resist the scents of seasonal delights that fill the kitchen. I’m a big believer in moderation, not depravation. After all, these festive days only come once a year.
On Sundays, I love shopping at the local farmers market. The fall produce is so colorful and inspires my cooking. I’ve never been into baking, but I could not resist the beautiful array of apples I saw on a recent visit. I immediately thought, what would be cozier on a chilly December day than an apple crisp! I bought a mix of several beautiful varieties and headed home to troll my favorite food blogs for ideas. I looked in my cabinets to see what I had on hand, and came up with this recipe. It’s my healthy, gluten-free twist on a good old fall favorite. SO easy, and will make your home smell heavenly. It’s so delicious, and guilt-free, that I’ll confess to even having it for breakfast one morning!
HEALTHY HOLIDAY APPLE CRISP
5 – 6 Apples: I like to mix different types. It adds interest and depth of flavor, as well as texture since some apples are firmer than others. My latest concoction: Fuji, Honey Crisp, and Ginger Gold.
¼ cup of Maple Syrup: Nothing better than a natural sweetener without any chemicals or additives. Like good olive oil, you can taste the difference between good and poor quality syrup. I like Brad’s Organic Maple Syrup because it’s rich, pure, and made right here in New York.
2 tablespoons of Cinnamon: I love cinnamon so I put quite a bit in this recipe, not only for the taste, but for the health benefits. Did you know cinnamon: 1) Reduces LDL cholesterol levels (a.k.a. the harmful type of cholesterol), 2) Regulates blood sugar, 3) May reduce the proliferation of cancer cells, and so much more!
1 teaspoon of Nutmeg: Nutmeg might be a quintessential fall spice. I like to buy it whole and grate it fresh. The aroma always reminds me of one of my favorite desserts, pumpkin pie.
1 teaspoon of Ginger: Another spice that I find is so much more fragrant and flavorful when ground fresh. Since it’s only called for in small amounts for most recipes, I buy a decent-sized piece, peel it, and freeze it. It lasts virtually forever, and the freezing makes it much easier to grate.
2 tablespoons of Golden Flax: I always have a bag of ground flax in my refrigerator. It’s chock full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. I use it in smoothies, on eggs, even as a topping on frozen yogurt!
1 tablespoon of Cinnamon: Because I can’t get enough! You can certainly omit if you are not as a big of a cinnamon fan as me.
3 tablespoons of Coconut Oil: Most apple crisp recipes call for a TON of butter, like ½ a stick or more! I rarely have butter on hand as I cook with either olive oil or coconut oil, so I figured, “Hey, let’s give this a try,” and used coconut oil instead. Worked like a charm.
1 ½ cups Gluten Free Quick Oats: I used to feel lethargic most days and thought it might be an iron deficiency but my blood checked out just fine, so I did some research and decided to see how I felt after omitting gluten from my diet. Don’t get me wrong, when I go out for an authentic Italian meal I’ll get “real” pasta, or when I’m craving pizza, I get “real” crust. But I’ve made simple adjustments in my daily diet that have left me feeling much more energetic, so I’m not advocating you go gluten-free, it’s just a choice I made that makes me feel better.
Maple Syrup: I drizzle a little all over the top to help the crisp caramelize.
It’s simple! Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9 x 13” glass baking dish with coconut oil (I use the type in a spray can to make this step easier). Slice and core the apples. I like to leave little remnants of skin on to add texture and fiber. Toss with the other filling ingredients and coat well. Mix up topping ingredients and spread evenly over the top. Remember to drizzle a bit of maple syrup across the top at the end. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until apples are soft and the top is golden brown. Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving. Since this apple crisp does not have butter or cane sugar you might find it a tad dry, so I love to put a dollap of my favorite vanilla frozen yogurt on top, which not only adds moisture, but is the perfect compliment. Right now I’m loving Stonyfield Organic Oikos Nonfat Vanilla Greek Frozen Yogurt. It’s rich and creamy and does not have that artificial taste of some frozen yogurts. Plus it’s peppered with tiny flecks of real vanilla bean. Y U M! Lastly, since we tend to eat with our eyes, I always like to add a pop of color to my desserts, so this time I happened to have some fresh raspberries in the fridge, so I sprinkled a few on top.
I hope you enjoy my recipe, and would love for you to share your thoughts if you try it out! What’s your favorite healthy holiday treat to make?
Share on Facebook