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Gluten-Free Apple Crumble

March 10, 2013


One of the most wonderful parts about moving to Minneapolis has been the fact that we are now, once again, surrounded by plenty of things to do in a city filled with people our age. While we enjoyed our time in Grinnell, it never felt like our long-term home. And while we don’t know how long we will live in Minneapolis, it’s a place we could easily see ourselves living for a long time. A place where we hope to develop deep friendships and really start to build a life.

I’ve never been a huge fan of entertaining or having people over for a meal. Perhaps it was because we didn’t have much extra space and having people over always felt like a huge undertaking to make enough room for everyone to sit comfortably. Another factor might also have had something to do with the fact that I felt the need to pull out all the stops by making a meal that seemed both effortless and impressive. When your title at work is “food editor” it seems like people expect something great.

But lately we’ve been making it a habit to have friends over for dinner once a week, sometimes even more than that, and I absolutely love it! It’s cheaper, friendlier and more casual than going out to eat at a restaurant. There’s something nice about having friends into your home while managing to not go crazy preparing over-the-top dishes. When friends come over, especially on weeknights, I’ve been relying on dishes that are big on flavor and easy to prepare in advance: slow cooker beef stew and buttermilk biscuits, wild rice casserole with lentils and a large salad, my mom’s three bean chili and cornbread. Is this the absolute best work I could do in the kitchen? Absolutely not, but I’m starting to realize that it’s not really the point. It’s secondary to conversation and community.


It seems wrong not to end the meal with a little something sweet when friends are over, doesn’t it? And since I’m not sure my friends would all share my enthusiasm for a piece of dark chocolate and warm almond milk, I’ve taken to preparing fruit crisps and cobblers since they’re super easy and slightly healthier than a piece of cake. The great part is you can tailor the amount of sugar to suit your tastes. I usually cut the sugar in most traditional recipes in half since the fruit is so naturally sweet and too much sugar seems to mask the fruit’s flavor. Last week I made a crisp with frozen mixed berries and this week I used the apples I had on hand.

And since you never know what people are or are not eating these days, I made this crumble gluten-free to err on the safe side. I promise that even if you aren’t eating gluten free (we certainly are not) you will not feel as if you are eating a sub-par version of a traditional fruit crumble. It’s hearty and flavorful thanks to the almond meal used in the topper. If you can’t find almond meal locally, feel free to make your own almond meal by pulsing blanched almonds in your food processor until they are finely ground, just be careful not to over-process and turn your almonds into almond butter.

Gluten-Free Apple Crumble
Makes 4 generous servings
*3 medium gala or granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
*3 tablespoons quinoa flour or other gf flour of your choice
*1/4 cup sugar
*1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*2/3 cup rolled oats (certified gf)
*1/4 cup almond meal (I buy mine at Trader Joe’s)
*1/4 cup brown sugar
*4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
*Gluten-free ice cream (optional)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the apples, quinoa flour, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Toss to coat evenly. Spoon into an 8×8-inch baking dish.
*In a second bowl, combine the oats, almond meal and brown sugar. Add butter to flour mixture and combine with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle mixture atop apples in baking dish. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and filling is slightly bubbling around the edges. If you like your apples soft and almond applesauce like (which Joe and I prefer) bake 50 minutes. If you prefer your apples to have a bit of crunch I would suggest taking the crumble out around 40 minutes.
*Cool slightly. Spoon into dishes or plates and top with ice cream, if desired.

Happy Baking!


Whole Wheat Cinnamon Applesauce Bread

November 8, 2012

I’m back with yet another recipe for quick bread. But this time I’ve mixed things up and used something other than pumpkin or banana. Since apples are as good as they get around this time, I figured it was overdue to make a cake with applesauce and chunks of fresh apple. It’s almost as good as enjoying a slice of apple pie, only a lot healthier and a whole lot easier.

I based this recipe off Jenna’s recipe for Whole Wheat Applesauce Loaf Cake. Her version looked amazing, and I’ve had it pinned on Pinterest for the longest time. But since I was hoping to enjoy this for breakfast, I decided to cut back on the sugar and leave off the cream cheese frosting. But if you’re looking to make things a little sweeter and more decadent, hop on over to Jenna’s site for the frosting recipe. I also added in a bunch of chopped apples, which gives this bread a rustic, hearty texture and appeal.

Like all quick breads in our house, this one didn’t last long. I ate it every morning for breakfast until it was gone, and I think I’ll be making another loaf this weekend, it’s just that good.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Applesauce Bread
Adapted slightly from Eat Live Run’s Whole Wheat Applesauce Loaf Cake
*1/2 cup sugar
*1 stick butter, softened
*1 large egg
*2 cups whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*3 teaspoons baking powder
*1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
*1/2 cup peeled, chopped apples
*1 tablespoon coarse sugar

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter and cream together until smooth and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the egg and beat until well combined.
*In a second bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir until well combined. Add the flour to the wet ingredients, along with the applesauce. Beat until just combined. Stir in the chopped apples by hand. Transfer batter into prepared loaf pan and top with the coarse sugar. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the loaf pan. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Happy Baking!

Whole Wheat Apple CInnamon Bread

January 13, 2011

I have the most delicious bread for you. Serious goodness coming your way. It had such a profound impact on me that I made it last weekend, and then I baked another loaf this week and am already down to a single piece. In my own defense, I brought four slices to work yesterday.

While writing about this apple bread, I began to realize that I have a slight obsession with quick breads of every kind. So if, for some unknown reason, apple bread isn’t your thing, maybe one of these is:

Butterfinger-Pumpkin Bread 
Whole Wheat Flax Seed Banana Bread  
Banana Bread Ultimate

Since the snow keeps falling and the wind keeps blowing here, I don’t think I’ll be getting sick of hearty quick breads any time soon. Anyone else out there have a favorite quick bread recipe? Share them in the comments below! 

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Bread
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook 

The first time I made this bread, I skipped the refrigeration stage. While the bread was still delicious, it didn’t hold together like I wanted it to. The second time, with refrigeration, yielded a much more pleasing result. Don’t skip this step and save yourself some grief. 

*3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
*1/4 cup all-purpose flour
*2 tablespoons ground flax seed (optional)
*1 tablespoon baking powder
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*2 large eggs
*1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
*3/4 cup granulated sugar 
*2 tablespoons apricot or peach preserves
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
*2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped

*Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, flax seed, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
*In a second bowl with an electric mixer or by hand, beat together eggs, butter and sugar until creamy and well combined. Stir in preserves and ground cinnamon. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in chopped apples.
*Transfer batter to loaf pan and smooth top with a spatula. Refrigerate in the loaf pan for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and just slightly soft in the center. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the loaf and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to eat.

Happy Baking!


Lazy Girl Apple Crisp

September 20, 2010

Despite what the sweets on this site may suggest, I’m a bit of a health nut. I bake because it soothes me, makes me feel happy and gives me a creative outlet. But after one slice, bite or piece is eaten by me, I typically take those baked goods and gift them off for others to enjoy, both because I like to share my baked goods and because I don’t trust myself with an entire cake, pie or dozen cookies in the house.

So when a craving for something sweet hits, my house isn’t exactly full of ready-to-eat junk food options. My solution? Lazy Girl Apple Crisp. The name says it all: it takes little to no time to prepare, it’s in the realm of what might be considered healthy as far as desserts go, and it hits the spot when the craving for dessert strikes.

A couple years ago, I made a variation of this dessert for Jamie Oliver, with both apples and pears. I believe his exact words were, “That apple thingy, or whatever it was, was absolutely delicious.” And hey, if it’s good enough for Jamie then I think it’s most certainly good enough to share with you all.

Lazy Girl Apple Crisp 
(Printable Recipe)

*2 Tbsp. butter
*2 medium apples, roughly chopped*2 Tbsp. brown sugar
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*2 Tbsp. golden raisins
*1/2 cup granola
*1/4 cup whipped cream

*In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add in apples and brown sugar. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until apples are softened.
*Add in the cinnamon and golden raisins. Cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and divide among two glasses or bowls.
*Top with granola and whipped cream.

Happy Cooking!


Warm Balsamic-Poppy Seed Salad

December 29, 2009

The snow is everywhere here and it is cold, very cold. I’m positive that no matter how many Iowa winters I endure, I will never truly grow accustomed to temperatures that dip into the negatives. I’m convinced if New Year’s were to fall during June or July, when temperatures are sweltering, resolving to eat healthier and lighter fare would be much easier than in January when you live in an only slightly milder version of the North Pole.

The Iowa tundra on Christmas day

Since that’s just not the case, my ‘lighten-up’ salads during the winter are often filled with flavors both savory and sweet, with dressings that are deceptively rich. In truth, I think eating toast with very liberal amounts of crunchy peanut butter would be the perfect breakfast and lunch day after day, but that hardly seems like a good healthy eating technique, and much less exciting to share with you dear readers.

This salad is an example of a salad warmed up for winter weather. Filled with veggies, fruit, toasted pecans and a delicious balsamic-poppy seed dressing, it’s sure to satisfy even the most intense cravings for rich, decadent food. One last tip – warming the dressing slightly in the microwave before pouring it over the salad is a great way to add an extra boost of comfort to any salad.

*Romaine lettuce
*1 medium apple, chopped
*2 Tbsp. chopped pecans
*2 Tbsp. dried cranberries
*Dressing: 2 parts balsamic vinaigrette, 1 part light poppy seed dressing

*Toss together an enjoy!

Happy cooking!

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