Mini Apple Crisps (Vegan/GF)
sum•mer (n): the existential struggle between wanting to be in shape and wanting to shove ALL THE FOOD INTO YOUR FACE
You know the feeling. Summertime finally hits, and you’re ready to hit the beach and show off that bod you’ve been working on. But two weeks in, you’ve had a few too many margs and entirely too many s’mores and then you realize you haven’t even hit the vacation part of your summer vacation yet and you’re like “HOW DID THIS HAPPEN” and then you end up eating more s’mores and it’s all just kind of a mess.
I know this feeling well. A week ago, I got back from spending over two weeks in San Francisco (um, hi, TONS of amazing food) at the American Bach Soloists Academy. It was a wonderful experience, but I definitely ate WAY too much. As in, I literally ate ice cream every day. And I mean literally, literally. But it’s OK, because since I’ve gotten back I’ve been eating strictly high-protein, high-fiber, and low-carb, and my body has totally deflated and I feel GREAT. I don’t want to think it’s due to the total lack of gluten… But it’s probably the lack of gluten… :'(
Had I not been in San Francisco though, I would have been eating up a storm anyway with my dad’s side of the family on our annual trip to West Virginia. Since I know your follow-up question is, “What’s in WEST VIRGINIA?!,” I’ll do my best to explain our vacation in nouns: mountains, fresh water springs, the freshest air you can imagine, hikes with the best views (see below), hills, golf, shuffleboard, a spa (!), no cell service, family, friends that are basically family, and food food food butter food food food butter FOOOOOOD!
The kitchen serves the same meals every week, and if your visit happens to include a Tuesday or Saturday (or both) you will get apple crisp for dessert at lunch. That apple crisp is no freakin’ joke. Sometimes I will save up my calories on Tuesday or Saturday and order a double apple crisp. Or, a single at lunch and another single at dinner. Haters gonna hate.
I have made the apple crisp recipe from the resort’s cookbook many-a-time, but true to the tradition of southern comfort food, it is packed with butter and sugar. So when The Recipe Redux told us this month’s theme would be vacation eats, I KNEW I wanted to come up with a healthier alternative to that recipe. And, even though I associate this dish with summer, it’s also a perfect dish for autumn. While baking them today with my apartment smelling like cinnamon and my windows wide open letting in the 75˚F breeze, I almost for a second thought it was autumn. I also got to stand over my food photography table and eat fresh, hot apple crisp straight out of the oven with relatively low guilt. It was preeeeeetty great.
In the end, it’s true that there’s no amount of indulgence that a bit of post-vacation discipline can’t cancel out. Or, at least that’s what I tell myself. But sometimes, you can indulge without really indulging, which is why these mini apple crisps are going to give me life for the 50 weeks out of the year that I’m not on vacation. Here’s to a delicious end to Summer 2016!
- 1 large apple, peeled and thinly sliced (a very crisp variety is best, i.e. fuji, honeycrisp, or granny smith)
- cinnamon for sprinkling
- 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbs. raw turbinado sugar or coconut palm sugar
- 1 tbs. unsalted almond butter
- 1 tbs. coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 tsp. maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Fill two shallow ramekins (mine are ~6" in diameter and 1" high) with apple slices. Sprinkle each with a light coating of cinnamon.
- In a food processor or blender, blend 3/4 cup of the oats until they make a coarse flour-like consistency. Set the other 1/4 cup aside in a mixing bowl.
- Add the processed mixture to the remaining whole oats.
- Add cinnamon, kosher salt, and sugar. Mix to combine.
- Add almond butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup. Using a fork (or your hands), incorporate wet ingredients until a crumbly streusel texture forms.
- Sprinkle oat mixture loosely onto apples.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown and toasted.
- This recipe yields a high crisp to fruit ratio. If you like more fruit (I do!), use two apples instead of one and fill the ramekins as high as you like before topping.
- I used 1/2 tsp. honey (which isn't vegan) but maple syrup functions similarly and would taste just as good.
- I didn't have any on hand, but vegan ice cream or coconut whipped cream would be amazing on this crisp!