A cozy healthy butternut squash sweet potato casserole sweetened with pure maple syrup. Topped with a crunchy almond flour oat topping! Absolutely amazing for Thanksgiving!
Happy Monday! I’ve been observing my life from the outside lately and watching it fly by faster than it ever has. I can’t get to half of the emails in my inbox and barely have time to figure out how we’re decorating our family room. We still don’t have a couch and our bedroom still isn’t all the way complete. My hope is that Thanksgiving will bring some quiet, relaxing time with a cup of tea and good food to fill my belly. (And that I’ll get to respond to some emails from you all, of course!)
Healthy Apple Crisp naturally sweetened with maple syrup and topped with a crunchy oat pecan topping! Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.
Whoa. Just whoa. That’s how I feel about this healthy apple crisp (we’ll get to it), but also how I’m feeling about life in general. I came back from Israel last Tuesday to the election news and my heart nearly fell out of my body. I spent Wednesday laying in my bed crying. Crying, because I was just so disappointed and all the other adjectives I could go on and on about.
Two days ago it was right around 85 degrees here in Chicago… in September! Since the weather seems to be still favoring the summer months, I thought it would be perfectly acceptable to deliver this beautiful warm blackberry crisp made with almond flour, crunchy almonds & oats.
Milly is snuggled on my lap right now purring and happily curled into a little warm ball. Tony is still sleeping and the apartment is still and quiet on this crisp morning. I’ve got my coffee (which I’ve made too strong) and my Grandma and Mom are here for Thanksgiving festivities.
My plan is to make them a big bowl of green chile stew and this apple crisp recipe for them tonight. Spicy and sweet before we stuff ourselves silly tomorrow. That’s the way I roll.
As you may or may not have noticed, this past month I’ve been trying to do my best to bring you more savory recipes. When I did my reader survey last year, many of you wanted more healthy meal options.
But sometimes I just can’t help but bake, I think it’s my true calling in life. Last week I had a 6am flight out of Chicago to see Tony. I knew I had to leave by 4am in order to skip traffic and give myself enough time. You think that I would have went to bed at 8pm the night before, but nope, there I was baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies at midnight. I call it stress baking. Some things never change.
All I pretty much want to do today is tell you about how intoxicating and delicious this casserole is. But first I need to tell you about the long journey to Chicago and my new apartment.
I honestly can’t tell you how much I despise moving. It actually could be one of the worst things ever. Thank goodness for my boyfriend because I wouldn’t have been able to get through the move without him. I kid you not, I would have given up on packing, curled up into a ball and probably just cried in my bedroom corner. I’m the worst at it. I get distracted way too easily and end up going through old photos, digging through my closet and who knows what else. I have moving ADD. For reals.
This month has been wonderful. I took some time off after quitting my job, searched for a new apartment in Chicago, went on a mini vacation with Tony, spent time with good friends I haven’t seen in a while and have really gotten back into running.
Last week I ran around 15 miles, which really isn’t that much but I have been only working out every other day (if that), so I felt pretty proud of myself. The MapMyRun app on my phone has me addicted to timing my runs and competing with myself. I’ve also gotten Tony to run with me a few times. Even though he’s a professional athlete, the man hates to run. I don’t get it.
From around noon until 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, I was in my kitchen testing out new recipes. It’s actually my little weekend ritual. I jam out to music, dance around, get creative, trash the kitchen, and make my entire apartment smell like fresh baked goodies.
I hope you all had a magical Thanksgiving full of good food and major amounts of pie to put a smile on your face. Sorry I have been so busy lately traveling that blogging has been difficult.
My thanksgiving was lovely and full of laughter. We had roasted turkey, green bean casserole, blueberry brie cheese over Italian crackers, sour cream mashed potato, and an incredible sweet potato casserole with an oatmeal pecan brown sugar streusel. Three days later, I’m still not sick of leftovers.
I wish I would have snapped photos of how beautiful everything turned out, but I was too busy running around the kitchen and enjoying time spent with good people. However, I have to admit that I tried to make some of the dishes healthy because I knew that I had to have dessert; which on Thanksgiving is actually more like my main meal. This year’s included a ridiculous chocolate ganache pie with a toasted marshmallow topping and this stupidly good apple crisp served warm and topped with vanilla bean ice cream.
I was in a food coma for a good 36 hours.
Obviously worth it.
A couple of months ago Joanna of A Cup of Jo asked me if I would create a recipe for her basic food series. Of course, I said yes!
At first I wasn’t sure which recipe I would share, but since I’ve been making the best apple crisp for years, I knew that this was truly sensational It’s also one of my most requested recipes and for some reason, men can’t seem to get enough of it. Have I mentioned that baking for men is totally romantic? You must try it out.
This recipe always makes me fall in love with the simplicity of apple crisp all over again. I love when that happens.
Brown butter, vanilla bean, bourbon, and an incredible oat crisp in this recipe will knock your socks off. There’s also a bit of almonds in the topping, but you can use pecans or omit completely – it’s up to you.
Oh yes I did put bourbon in this crisp, because baking with bourbon is just freaking awesome. Go ahead, try the recipe and you’ll taste the difference. PROMISE.
I truly can’t seem to put into words how fantastic this apple crisp is though. Everyone always asks me for this recipe, and I’m sure they’ll ask you, too! It’s best served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
For the filling:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 medium-sized Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. bourbon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease an 8x8 baking pan.
To make the topping: Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and almonds in a large bowl until well-combined. Add in the pieces of butter and use your hands to squeeze and combine until the mixture becomes crumbly and resembles wet sand. (Alternatively, you can cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or place all of the topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse until just blended. My favorite method is to use my hands, as I believe you get the best crumbly topping that way.)
Once finished, place topping in the fridge and begin making the apple filling.
To make the filling: Place butter and seeds from the vanilla bean in a medium saucepan, and turn heat on medium. After a couple of minutes the butter will begin to crackle and foam—make sure you whisk consistently during this process! Another minute or two, and you will notice the butter turning a slight brown (caramel) color on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent it from burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
While the butter is cooling, place apples, 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and bourbon in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the brown butter to this apple mixture and toss again to combine.
Take a heaping ½ cup of the topping mixture and toss with the apple mixture. Place the apple mixture in prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with topping. It may seem like a lot of topping, but the apples will cook down and the topping will provide an excellent crunchy exterior.
Bake the crisp on a baking sheet (just in case the filling bubbles over!) for 55-60 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.
Feel free to use different nuts instead of almonds—or leave out nuts completely. If you don’t have bourbon on hand, you can use whiskey, or replace with ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
I read a couple of chapters of the Hunger Games this weekend and decided that these adolescent fantasy books have become way too addicting. It’s hard for me to date anyone whose skin doesn’t sparkle in the sunlight.
I’m trusting you’ve seen Twilight to get that joke. If not, ignore my interest in vampires and just eat this blueberry apple crumble.