October is almost over and if you’re like me, you’re probably searching for ways to use up all the apples you picked this fall. Apple crisp is always my go-to.
I hesitated to call this recipe “the best” because first of all, I’m not that confident in myself and second of all, it’s based on my opinion. However, when I tried to find a sugar-free version, I wasn’t surprised to find that every recipe contained either artificial sweeteners or maple syrup/honey.
I don’t like the term sugar-free for that reason. Every time I see a sugar-free recipe, it either contains artificial sweeteners or maple syrup and honey. They might not be “refined sugars”, but they’re still very sweet, which would trigger my cravings. I don’t think using maple syrup, honey or even white sugar is bad in moderation, but because of my addiction, they’re not an option for me.
Also, I don’t like using the term sugar-free because technically, there’s still sugar (carbohydrates) in dates, apples, oats and flour. I usually prefer the terms “no added sugar” or “sweetened with fruits”. This dessert still has a lot of carbs, but it doesn’t have any “added sugar”. Does that make sense?
Alright, I’m done. I just wanted to clarify the way I see things. 😉
This recipe would make a great healthy Halloween dessert! Or breakfast. I’ve done that before. Honestly, this recipe is probably healthier than most baked oatmeal.
Speaking of Halloween, I don’t even have a costume yet… Not that I’m trick-or-treating or anything, but every Halloween, I go for a walk with Lola (my black lab). I put on my costume and dress Lola as Cleopatra (she’s been wearing the same costume for probably 9 years) and I walk for 2 hours. It’s my little tradition. 🙂
In the last few years, I’ve been a ninja, a doll and Harry Potter’s patronus (nerd). I loved each of these costumes, but I can’t seem to find one I like this year! I spent more time searching on Pinterest than I care to admit. I’m probably just going to end up wearing an old costume. Hah!
I guess I should get back to the recipe.
I used Cortland apples since that’s what I had, but feel free to use your favorite apples for baking. I also left the skin for added nutrients (and out of pure laziness), but once again, feel free to peel them! If it’s baked long enough, I find that the skin becomes soft enough, but it probably depends on the apples you’re using. I combined the diced apples with a bit of cinnamon and lemon juice for added flavor and layered them at the bottom of a 12″ cast iron skillet (I used one from Victoria Cookware). It makes a thin, gooey yet crispy apple crisp. My favorite!
Then, you move on to the best part: the topping.
The apples add a bit of sweetness in this recipe, but I felt like it needed a bit more. I only added 1/4 cup of dates which is really not a lot, but in my opinion, that’s all it needed. I must say though, if you’re used to eating rich desserts, you might not find it sweet enough. In this case, feel free to add a few tablespoons of maple syrup. The texture of the topping might change a little, but I’m sure it would still be delicious! Like I said earlier, this recipe is healthy enough for breakfast. You could drink a glass of milk (or soy milk) for added protein. YUM!
For the topping, I used a combination of oats and spelt flour. I tried a version with whole wheat flour which was also good! I haven’t tried a gluten-free version, but you could try using a gluten-free flour mix if needed. I started by cutting in cold margarine into the flour and then added mashed/pureed Medjool dates, oats and salt. Once it’s all mixed together, you crumble it on top of the apples and bake it for 45-50 minutes until the apples are tender and the topping is golden brown.
Finish it off with a big scoop of plain nice cream! Yup, that’s what I’m eating this Halloween. Hope you try it too!