An apple a day…we’ve all heard the saying encouraging us to eat an apple everyday to stay healthy, avoid trips to the doctor, etc. Check out this terrific article with current research and info proving that old adage that apples are truly one of the world’s healthiest foods! Apples are remarkable little nutritional powerhouses – providing lots of fiber (including soluble fiber proven to decrease levels of “bad” cholesterol), buffer blood sugar spikes and aid in weight loss by sustaining feelings of fullness; along with several antioxidants likes Vitamins C and E (source).
Apples are also a good source of the flavonoid querticin. Quercitin is interesting because research has shown that topical application of quercetin provides protection against free radical damage and provides skin soothing benefits, especially when combined with silicones and lipid ingredients (for example in a good antioxidant serum, source). Consuming quercetin is thought to provide similar protection, and research is ongoing to determine the extent to which bioflavonoids can help fight the signs of aging. Read more about Quercitin, the nutrients apples provide; and the world’s healthiest (type) of apple here. In the meantime, we should all try to eat more apples and other fresh fruits.
I try to vary the types of apples our family eats. Hubs likes to dip apple slices into unsweetened almond butter, and My mom likes to sprinkle her slices with sea salt. The baby is found of homemade applesauce (thank you, NutriBullet!). But sometimes, especially as the weather here is turning toward fall, I find myself craving the warm, soothing comfort of sweet baked apples spiked with cinnamon, ginger and cloves and topped with crunchy, crumbly yumminess.
This recipe satisfies those cravings without sacrificing health and nutrition by incorporating apple in various formats including whole organic apples I found from a local vendor. It’s a perfect Thanksgiving or holiday dessert recipe because it’s quick and easy to throw together while you manage other cooking and all the craziness that holidays bring. I think your family will enjoy this recipe as much as mine did!
• 8-10 small apples, preferably organic and/or locally grown, washed and chopped
• 1 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
• ½ cup Whole pitted dates, chopped
• ½ tsp. Ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. Sea salt
• pinch each Ground Allspice, Ground cloves, and Ground ginger
• 2 Tbsp. Unsweetened apple sauce
(Consider making your own fresh apple juice for highest nutrient profile. Read more here.)
• 1.5 Tbsp. Tapioca starch
• ½ cup Maple Syrup
• 1 cup Gluten-free Rolled Oats (substitute ½ cup each Coconut and almond flours for Grain-free/Paleo version)
• ½ cup Coconut Sugar
• ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
• ½ cup Chopped walnuts
• ½ cup Chopped almonds
• 2 Tbsp. Unsweetened apple sauce
• ¼ cup Coconut Oil, melted
• Measuring spoons + cups
• Glass measuring cup
• Small mixing bowl
• Nonstick coconut oil spray
• 8 X 8” Baking dish
• Aluminum foil
1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius) and spray the inside of an 8 X 8” or 9 X 9″ baking dish with nonstick coconut oil spray.
2. Place chopped apples in bottom of prepared baking dish then sprinkle with vinegar. Toss lightly to combine. Add the dates and spices to apple mixture. Then stir well to combine and set aside.
3. In a glass measuring cup, stir together apple juice, apple sauce, and maple syrup. Then mix tapioca starch into syrup mixture and using a wire whisk or fork to beat mixture well until no visible lumps of starch remain. Pour apple juice mixture over chopped apple mixture and toss well to combine.
4. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
5. While apple mixture cooks, combine next 6 ingredients (rolled oats – chopped walnuts) in a small mixing bowl. Stir to combine. (BTW, you probably want to use a larger bowl than I did here. I made a mess!)
6. Create a small well in the center of oat/nut mixture then pour in the melted coconut oil. Stir well to combine. Mixture should resemble very course crumbs.
7. After baking for 45 minutes, carefully remove apple mixture. Then increase oven temperature to 400° Fahrenheit (204° Celsius).
8. While oven temp increases, carefully remove aluminum foil (be sure to open the side away from you first to allow steam to escape). Then sprinkle oat crumble topping evenly over apple filling and return to oven. Bake uncovered 15-20 more minutes at 400° Fahrenheit or until lightly browned on top.
Serving Suggestions and Notes: You’ll want to keep a close eye on this during the second baking time to avoid burning the oats and nuts. In my oven, it took about 18 minutes at 400° to brown the crust without burning any of the nuts.
I recommend allowing the crumble to cool slightly before serving. This is especially yummy topped with coconut (or dairy-based if you must) ice cream and a few more chopped almonds or walnuts and perhaps drizzled with a little local raw honey if you’re seeking an especially decadent dessert (vegan should stick with a little more maple syrup)!
Final note, this same crumble topping works perfectly for this Sweet Potato Soufflé which is delicious if you’re looking for another phenomenal holiday recipe sure to win raves from friends and family alike!
Wisdom for the Day:
“May the Lord bless their land with crops, the best gift the sun can give, the best produce of each month, the finest fruits from the oldest mountains, the best from the ancient hills, and the most plentiful crops of the earth.” ~Deuteronomy 33:14-16 (God’s Word Translation)
Read more here.