This blog is the first in a 3-part series; whole-heatedly dedicated to my favorite fall food, apples.
To say I'm obsessed with apples would be an understatement. I can be caught almost any hour of the day sinking my teeth into a crunchy apple (I have the far-from-elegant habit of scarfing them so quickly that I was once told that I eat apples like a trucker - whatever that means!) They're hydrating, sweet and satisfying. To me, the perfect conclusion to a meal, mid-morning snack or late afternoon pick-me-up.
Since my mom always told me, "Life is unpredictable, better have dessert first," I'll kick off this "apples 3 ways" blog series with some sweetness.
After stuffing myself silly in the apple orchards, I still had more apples than even I could eat. In these predicaments, there is only one solution; baking.
My mission began with the muffins pictured below. I had set out in hopes of a protein-packed breakfast treat. I mixed Greek yogurt, eggs, almond meal, apple and dried cherries. Despite the pretty picture, they were a flop - dry and dense (which didn't stop me from eating them, but does not make for a blog-worthy recipe).
This kind of screw-up in the kitchen helps me to keep a playful attitude. It's a great reminder that I'm doing this for fun; because I love trying new recipes and more than anything, I love fueling with nourishing treats that satisfy the monster in my belly. So, I set the muffins aside and moved on.
Second go at baking was definitely worth it. Here is how it went:
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup crumbled pecans and 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 cups nonfat milk (milk substitute is fine, but I wanted the protein in real milk)
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract (when feeling frisky, I substitute vanilla for bourbon - I highly recommend giving it a try)
- 3 cups thinly sliced red apples. No need to waste time peeling; most of the antioxidants are in the skin. I like to use the sweet varieties like Fuji, HoneyCrisp or Pink Ladies (if using a tart variety, try tossing the sliced apples in 1/3 cup honey + 2 tsp ground cinnamon)
- Preheat oven to 375 and grease a baking pan (I use coconut oil spray from Trader Joe's)
- Mix dry ingredients: oats, pecans, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in large bowl
- In another bowl, whisk together liquids: honey, milk, egg and vanilla, then combine well with the oat mixture
- Layer apples (with optional addition of more honey & cinnamon) on the bottom of the pan. Layer the batter of goodness evenly on top and lightly pack down
- Bake for ~40 minutes or until top is crisp and lightly browned, and apples are soft
- Let cool, then dig-in! If you have the willpower to save some, this crisp is also great alongside a scoop of yogurt for breakfast
Maybe not as picture-pretty as the muffins, but a warm, sweet treat I was more than happy to partake in. Hope you love it!