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Apples bring to mind strolls through the orchard, crisp air, and cinnamon and spice. Of course, you have to end a lovely fall day with cider and sweet apple pies, donuts or breads!
For those of us trying to stay a little healthier this year, we can still enjoy these sweet fruits as part of some better-for-you dessert recipes. We’ve pulled together a list of five healthy dessert recipes to make the most of this delicious, crisp fruit so you can have a sweet and guilt-free end to your fall days.
Apple-Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread
Healthy and decadent don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and this recipe proves it. Plus, it’s super easy to make! The bread base is actually a package of refrigerated reduced-fat homestyle biscuits coated in ground flaxseed, cinnamon and sugar. Place these biscuits in a loaf pan, alternating with slices of apple. Top with the rest of the flaxseed mixture and chopped walnuts. To get that gooey, pull-apart consistency, boil orange juice, butter, and brown sugar, and pour this mixture over the biscuit/apple base, then bake. While it bakes, prepare the icing by whisking together cream cheese, orange juice, vanilla, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar. All told, the recipe calls for under 3 tablespoons of sugar, and adds the fiber, protein, and nutrients of walnuts and flaxseed meal!
Healthy Apple Crisp
Want that nostalgic taste that takes you back to your grandmother’s kitchen but with a healthier twist? This is it! This apple crisp recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour, oats and chopped pecans to get the crumbly texture of the crisp and a mixture of brown sugar and pure maple syrup to get the sweetness. And just like Grandma’s recipe, cinnamon and nutmeg come together to give the Granny Smith apples a warm spice.
To get the crumbly top for your crisp, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pecans with cubes of cold butter (or vegan butter) and use your hands to mix. Then, for the filling, let the apples soak in the flavor of the maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and bourbon (or vanilla) before placing it in your baking dish and topping with crumble. Bake until the filling bubbles and the top is crispy and serve it warm. Yum!
Sauteed Cinnamon Apples
Make things simple and quick with this recipe without sacrificing any of the homestyle flavor of apple pie filling. Simply chop your favorite apples and place them in a frying pan with a bit of water. Cover and cook until slightly softened. Add butter or coconut oil and cook for another few minutes, then add maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon; stir, then cover to cook until the apples are soft. For the final step, remove the lid from your pan and let the apples brown and the sauce caramelize. This recipe makes a great side dish, dessert, or topping – so get creative!
Healthy Apple Muffins
If you’re like us, muffins are dessert, breakfast, snack, basically an any-time treat! And these healthy apple muffins make that midnight second-dessert guilt-free. The recipe calls for better-for-you ingredients like whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, apple sauce and a natural sweetener like maple syrup or honey. Not to mention it uses two whole cups of apples, one grated and one chopped! When combined, these ingredients make a light, fluffy muffin with satisfying chunks of apple.
Low-Fat Apple Cake
For a show-stopping apple cake, try this low-fat recipe. It’s tart, beautiful, moist, and fluffy, and it turns out great even if you’re a beginner baker. The secret to its tart taste is the lemon juice that you soak the peeled and thinly sliced apples in, plus a dash of lemon zest in the batter. When you prep the batter, beat the sugar, eggs, lemon zest and salt until they’re thick and creamy. Then mix in the dry ingredients, and finally fold in a third of the apples. Pour the batter into a cake pan and top with a layer of apple slices. They’ll stay just that pretty when they’re baked too, and they look and taste great dusted with powdered sugar!