In the last week we’ve made not one but TWO trips to the apple orchard because they are just SO good right now and there are new varieties every day! Our first trip we picked tons of Jonathan and Grimes and the second time it was all about the Fujis!
So, needless to say we’ve been eating a LOT of apples. And of course I’ve done a little baking…I gave my mom’s German Apple Cake a healthy makeover and it turned out DELISH. But I think our favorite thing so far has been dehydrating apples and making dried apple slices! The kids can’t get enough. And the Jonathan’s are perfect for dehydrating because they’re actually super sweet with a little tartness. Yum!
So with all the dehydrating, I was super excited to stumble upon this recipe for Cinnamon Apple Pie Energy Bites that utilizes dried apples but I knew immediately I wanted to take the recipe a step further and make them into Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars! And with a little adjusting of ingredients, that’s what I did and the results were DELICIOUS.
All the flavors of apple pie, a touch of salt, tiny chunks of almonds and dried apples, minimal ingredients and no added sugar, make these perfect for snacking or even breakfast! We love them!
1 ½ c. Dried Apples, finely chopped in food processor
1 ½ c. Raw, Toasted Almonds (you don't have to toast the almonds but I prefer the flavor it gives them)
1 ½ c. Medjool Dates, soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes
5 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
1½ t. Cinnamon
1½ t. Apple Pie Spice
½-¾ t. Sea Salt
Line a 9x9 pan with foil or parchment paper
Blend almonds and dates in a high powered blender or food processor until a thick paste forms. You can get it as smooth as you like..I left a few bits and pieces of almonds in mine because I like the texture.
Transfer the almond/date mixture, along with all other ingredients to an electric mixer. Beat on low speed until everything is well combined and blended. Adjust spices, etc to taste.
Press into your lined pan and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to allow mixture to set. Remove from pan and cut.
Every time I walk into the grocery store lately, all the beautiful berries are calling my name. Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are just begging to be bought right now and I just had to find a recipe that I could use some of them in. I was struggling to find something that wasn’t a pie or layered cake when all the sudden I remembered a recipe I had made years ago for Strawberry Almond Muffins. I also remembered it was very good so I thought maybe I’d give it a shot…but with a few changes, of course. 😉
Instead of strawberries I decided to use blackberries and also wanted to add some white chocolate. The original recipe called for all-purpose and whole wheat flour but I wanted a slightly lighter muffin so I went with cake flour in place of the whole wheat. What resulted was one of the most delicious, tender and tastiest muffins ever! Now you could say this muffin was verging on cupcake status but hey, I see nothing wrong with that! All I know is I loved these and if you need a recipe to use up some berries, I encourage you to try this one! Feel free to substitute raspberries or sliced strawberries, if you’d prefer. You really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose.
Line 2, 12-cup regular muffin tins with cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in almond and vanilla extracts.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Beat ⅓ of the flour mixture until the butter/sugar mixture, then beat in half the milk. Beat in another ⅓ of the flour. Beat in the final half of the milk and then the last ⅓ of the flour. Fold in white chocolate chips and almonds. Very gently fold in the blackberries and divide the batter evenly between the muffin tins (some of mine were quite full so you could probably get more like 25-28 muffins out of this recipe).
Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack or eat while they are still a bit warm...they are VERY good like that. (I topped mine with a little white chocolate and single blackberry for the photos..up to you if you want to do that but be sure they have cooled completely if you do.)
I spied these dark chocolatey little bites of protein on Pinterest (where else?) the other day and knew right away I’d like them. (See original recipe here.) These are full of good fats and protein from the almonds, wheat germ, flax seed and protein powder and are lightly sweetened with dates and agave. Oh and how could I forget the ground coffee. Yes, it gets mixed right in with everything else for one powerhouse of a snack! Forget the Snickers when you are feeling that afternoon slump…eat a couple of these for some REAL energy and nutrition.
P.S. This recipe makes ALOT and my food processor wasn’t quite big enough so I had to split it into two batches. Just FYI.
3 Scoops Plant-Based Chocolate Protein Powder (I prefer Garden of Life Chocolate Protein and Greens)
2 T. Pure Vanilla
1 c. Dates, finely chopped
¼ c. Agave
½-3/4 c. Warm Water
Chopped Bittersweet Chocolate (Prefer Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks), Cocoa Powder or Coffee Beans (for rolling/decor)
Place all the ingredients excluding the agave and water into your food processor. Blend until smooth.
Add the agave and then slowly add the water, pulsing as the consistency thickens like dough. Form dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in an air-tight container and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. Remove from fridge, form into 1-inch balls and roll in chopped bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder or garnish with a coffee bean.