Healthy Caramel Apples

Dreena BurtonBy Dreena Burton  , ,   , ,

October 25, 2014

Apples can help balance blood sugar with their rich content of nutrients, including soluble fibre like pectin.

"These apples are perfect treat for children, but adults also allowed in this snack club!" - Dreena

  • Yields: 4 - 6 Apples

Ingredients

cups pitted dates, packed (I use honey dates)

½ cup plain non-dairy milk (to soak dates)

- 4 tbsp raw cashew butter (see note and can substitute)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (or the seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)

⅛ tsp (rounded) sea salt

couple pinches freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

4-6 organic apples (or more, depending on size)

popsicle sticks or spoons

Coatings - unsweetened shredded coconut, grated chocolate, mini chocolate chips, chopped dried cranberries, almond meal, chopped pecans, etc.

Directions

1Combine the dates with the non-dairy milk in a bowl and let soak for about an hour.

2Drain the dates, gently pushing the excess milk through a sieve.

3In a food processor, combine the dates with the cashew butter, vanilla, and sea salt (and nutmeg, if using). Process until very smooth, scraping down the processor bowl as needed, and puree again. (If using the coconut butter alternative, you will probably need a touch of milk to help get the mixture moving, add a teaspoon at a time until it smooths out). This will take several minutes.

4Transfer to a container and refrigerate.

5When ready to coat your apples, insert a popsicle stick into the stem end of each apple (if you don’t have any sticks handy, try inverting a spoon so you insert the handle into the apple and you hold the rounded ‘spoon’ end).

6Lift the apple and use a butter knife or spatula to coat your apples with the caramel (not too thick as the caramel is very sweet, but thick enough for it to be substantial and for the toppings to adhere).

7Place in a container or on a tray or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and serve, or refrigerate for up to a day before serving.

Note:  I really like raw cashew butter in this caramel for a couple of reasons.  First, it is a very thick/dense nut butter, so it helps make the caramel a little thicker.  Second, it has a mellow, soft taste that works well in this caramel.  But, you could substitute regular cashew butter, or raw/regular almond butter, or macadamia butter.

Nut note: For best flavor I’d choose either cashew, almond, or macadamia nut butter.  If you have a nut allergy, you can either opt for sunflower butter (and maybe add some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to the mixture to bump up the flavor), or omit altogether and just have a date paste.  This also works if you want to reduce the fat content in the caramel - you can either reduce the nut butter or omit it altogether.

Kitchen Tip:  This makes a softer caramel, easy for spreading.  If you’d like a firmer caramel, simply omit the soaking step, and combine the dates with the cashew butter (or other nut butter), using the full 4 tbsp (1/4 cup).  The mixture will form into a ball in the food processor.  You can use it to roll for little chewable caramels for children that can be left as is, or coated in grated chocolate (or ground chocolate chips). 

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