Saturday, September 21, 2013

Healthy Baked Apples

As apples are in season during the Fall and cinnamon is a common Autumn spice, baked apples are a popular treat during the breezy, chilly season.  However, buttery, sugary toppings can quickly turn this apple dessert into a high-calorie treat.  I love sweets and treats as much as the next person, so I created a baked apple dessert that is nutritious and better for you, yet still sweet and satisfying.  There is no need to deny yourself a little sweetness; you just have to be a little more aware of what ingredients you use and how you use them!  This recipe for Healthy Baked Apples not only gives you a scrumptious dessert, but it also provides healthy nutrients for your body!

  • 1 large Gala apple or Granny Smith - you can use any apple your prefer, these are just nice baking sizes
  • 2 tbsp. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp. pure maple syrup (invest in the pure version - you don't need any of that high fructose corn syrup!)
  • 1 tbsp. raisins
  • a sprinkle of water or almond milk
  • lots and lots and lots of cinnamon
  • drizzle of almond milk (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using an apple corer (if you don't have one, play around carefully with a knife), remove the core of the apple leaving the bottom of the apple intact - don't cut all the way through.  Once you have this starting hole, take your knife and cut a "bowl" out of the top of the apple.  To shallow out the inside a little, use a spoon to scrape at the edges.  Don't remove all of the inside - just enough for filling.  Sprinkle the inside of the apple with cinnamon, lightly coating all of the apple flesh.
For the filling, combine the oats, walnuts, raisins, maple syrup, and spice with cinnamon to your liking (you can be quite generous with the cinnamon!) in a bowl.  Sprinkle a tiny amount of water or almond milk, lightly moistening the oats.  Once the filling is all mixed evenly together, the cinnamon sticking, to the other ingredients, stuff the filling into the apple.  Sprinkle a little more cinnamon on top, and then place the apple on a baking sheet and put it in the oven.  Bake the apple for about 45 minutes, or until the apple skin feels soft and squishy when you poke it and juice begins running out of the apple. 
Serve the baked apple warm, and squish the oats into the flesh of the apple - this will pick up extra juices from the apple.  I also drizzled my apple with a little bit of almond milk, just for gluttonous purposes ;)

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