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Healthy Apple dessert

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I love to snack. Not only do I love to snack, I love dessert. My husband is the same way. Just last night he was canningasking about getting oreo McFlurries from McDonalds (which we didn’t).

When I went to the farmer’s market last weekend I bought a whole bunch of apples and when I got home I tried to decide what to do with them.

I had first considered applesauce, but I’m not really a fan and I didn’t want to take the time to mash up these huge apples. Then I thought about my days (recent days…a few months ago) as a server at Cracker Barrel. Mmm…Cinnamon Apples. Theirs are good as long as they’re fresh, but I was betting I could make them better.

I have the book, “Blue book of preserving,” and it has a recipe for just about everything I might want to can or freeze. I flipped through the book and found the recipe for preserving apples and then I found the recipe for applesauce.

The applesauce recipe said you could add a little cinnamon or other spices to your apples. The apple recipe I found called for sugar. At this point in my cooking career, I’ve learned that if you can’t find a recipe for what you want to make, take two or three recipes and make it up as you go. Yes, you’re bound to have a few mess ups and non-edible food, but hey, experiments are how good  recipes were created.

I sliced up four or five of the apples I had (like I said they were pretty big). While slicing, to keep the apples from browning, sqeeze some fresh lemon (or lemon juice if you don’t have lemons) onto the apples. It won’t change the flavor, but it will make prettier apples.

I put my apples in a pot with just enough water to cover the apples and cooked them until they were soft. Then I poured out the water and added my “syrup” mixture.

The recipe book called for a cup of sugar mixed with the apples. Well, my Dad is trying to cut out all sugar and hey, we could all use a little less sugar. So, I decided to experiment. I’d read in my wonderful book that honey can be used as a 1:1 substitute for sugar. Well, I just so happened to bought fresh honey at the farmer’s market that same day.

20130511-081153.jpgSo to make the syrup I mixed 1 cup of honey and 4 cups of water (that’s what the book called for). I think next time I’ll do 3 cups of water just to make the syrup a little thicker, but it was good the way it was.

I mixed that in with the apples and turned the heat back on. I poured in an unmeasured amount of cinnamon (I’m a taste tester). If I were to guess I’d say about a tablespoon or two.

The thing to remember is, when you’re tasting it now, the flavor won’t be very bold because the juice hasn’t had time to soak into the apples, so don’t over season them.

Once that was done, I poured my apples into jars and canned them, but if you’re inviting people over for dinner and you want an easy, healthy dessert, I’d just pour this in a bowl and put it in the fridge covered.

If you want to can them, fill hot jars leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove the air bubbles and adjust the cap. Pints and quarts need to process 20 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

When you’re ready to eat the apples, just warm them up for about a minute or two and serve. They were delicious and 100% healthy because you’re just eating apples and honey. And yes, I think they taste better than Cracker Barrel.

–Erica

 

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