Monday, August 20, 2012
Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp the Healthy Way
I am, and always have been, a dessert kind of girl. Sugary snacks are a big weakness, but right now, the hubby and I are committed to losing weight and packing on some muscle, so sweet treats are pretty much off limits for us. I'll admit it, it's kind of a downer.
But, I got to thinking. There are all kinds of clever ways to substitute high-fat, high-calorie, and glucose-packed ingredients with foods that are better for you and easy to find at your local grocery store. Baking does not always have to be fattening. Don't get me wrong, it would probably be difficult to find a low calorie carrot cake that is smothered in cream cheese frosting (that would be my dessert of choice, by the way), but there are alternatives that can still feed your sweet tooth.
I decided that the main ingredient of my dessert should be fruit because they're generally sweet by themselves anyways and I figured that starting with something that is healthy to begin with would make things a little easier. After much debate, I decided on apples because they bake well and I was really craving some apple pie. Plus, apples are more of a fall fruit, so as we move into the colder months, you'll still be able to enjoy this recipe.
This dessert is a bit like apple pie without the calorie-laiden (but mouthwateringly delicious) crust. However it does have a very tasty walnut crumble that when baked up, makes for some crunchy goodness that perfectly compliments the juicy apple mixture that lies beneath. The apples end up very soft with a light syrup at the bottom of the baking dish to give it just the right amount of sweetness. Have I convinced you yet that this is totally worth trying?
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1/3 cup regular oats
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup I Can't Believe It's Not Butter stick
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
5-6 Red Delicious apples, peeled and sliced
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, brown sugar, oats, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon in a mixing bowl; mix in I Can't Believe It's Not Butter with a fork or pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Stir in walnuts.
Combine sliced apples with the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. I used a 1/4 cup to measure the maple syrup and agave nectar, filling the cup approximately halfway with the syrup and then filling the remainder of the cup with agave nectar. The original recipe just called for using maple syrup, but I used half agave nectar because it is lower in calorie and has a low glycemic index, so it won't spike your blood sugar. Overall, it is a healthier alternative to regular maple syrup and it tastes great.
Spoon apple mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with the crumb mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Adapted from this recipe.
If you're having company over and you want to dress this up a little, you can always add a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream to it but I really love this one on it's own. And I think it tastes just as good (maybe even a little better) straight out of the fridge, but I am one of those people who LOVES cold apple pie.
This makes 9 servings and each serving is under 200 calories! So, you can indulge without the guilt.
Hope you enjoy this recipe and if you give it a try, I'd love to hear how it turned out. If you know of any great low-fat, low-calorie desserts, please share!