Dear winter: pbbbhhtthhh (also: recipe for baked apples)

Baked apples and ice cream.

Baked apples and ice cream.

That’s the sound of me sticking my tongue out at winter, which seems to have no shortage of cold and snow to dump on the midwest. Weather like this, I have two things I take shelter in: exercise and food. But. swimming is the way I stay active in the winter, and that gets harder as the temperature dips. There’s been a couple of mornings so cold, that when I go to the pool for my morning swim, I find that my toes tingle in the water. (I may have to buy new socks. Seriously, this weather!)

So, yes. Exercise and food are two ways to not go crazy in the winter. And balancing eating habits when it’s sub-zero is hard: on the one hand, you want to eat everything in sight, curl up under a blanket and sleep until spring. And the rest of you knows this is a bad idea.

To compromise: healthier versions of sweet, indulgent desserts.* Apple pie is awesome, and I finally mastered how to make a good gluten-free crust, but crust has a ton of butter and sugar in it. Also, a ton of extra carbs.

So, here is my compromise: delicious baked apples, with brown sugar and butter. And instead of crust, I’ve used nuts (because nuts are super tasty when baked, but also good for you.)

Apples and ingredients.

Apples and ingredients.

Ingredients:

7 to 9 small apples

1 bag chopped hazelnuts (or other chopped nut of your choice)

1 bag whole walnuts

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup brown sugar (or other sweetener of your choice)

cinnamon, to taste

1/2 stick of butter (or Earth Balance vegan butter)

lemon juice (optional; to keep apples from turning brown)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel the apples, then slice them into bite-sized pieces. (This is much easier if you have an apple slicer.)

    Super useful kitchen tool.

    Super useful kitchen tool.

  3. Toss the apples in a bowl with a tablespoon of lemon juice. (You can skip this step, as the lemon juice is just to prevent the apples from oxidizing and browning.)

    Peeled apples.

    Peeled apples.

  4. Melt the butter in the microwave (about 30 seconds, depending on your microwave and how cold the butter is.)
  5. Mix the butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and 1/2 of the chopped nuts together.
  6. Pour the mixture over the apples, evenly coating all the apples.
  7. Line your baking pan with walnuts and the remaining chopped nuts.

    Pan lined with walnuts, in lieu of crust.

    Pan lined with walnuts, in lieu of crust.

  8. Pour the buttery apples onto the walnuts.

    Raw apples waiting to join the walnuts.

    Raw apples waiting to join the walnuts.

  9. Bake the apples for 45 minutes, or until the apples are browned and softened.

    Baked to perfection.

    Baked to perfection.

  10. Eat plain, or with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. (I recommend either Guernsey Dairy ice cream, or So Delicious coconut milk ice cream.)baked apples1edit

*Yes, I know it has butter in it. Think of it as a good reason to go swimming more often.

 

Baked apples with walnuts

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

7 to 9 small apples

1 bag chopped hazelnuts (or other chopped nut of your choice)

1 bag whole walnuts

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup brown sugar (or other sweetener of your choice)

cinnamon, to taste

1/2 stick of butter (or Earth Balance vegan butter)

lemon juice (optional; to keep apples from turning brown)

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Peel the apples, then slice them into bite-sized pieces. (This is much easier if you have an apple slicer.)
    3. Toss the apples in a bowl with a tablespoon of lemon juice. (You can skip this step, as the lemon juice is just to prevent the apples from oxidizing and browning.)
    4. Melt the butter in the microwave (about 30 seconds, depending on your microwave and how cold the butter is.)
    5. Mix the butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and 1/2 of the chopped nuts together.
    6. Pour the mixture over the apples, evenly coating all the apples.
    7. Line your baking pan with walnuts and the remaining chopped nuts.
    8. Pour the buttery apples onto the walnuts.
    9. Bake the apples for 45 minutes, or until the apples are browned and softened.
    10. Eat plain, or with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. (I recommend either Guernsey Dairy ice cream, or So Delicious coconut milk ice cream.)

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