Vegan Apple Crisp

I have noticed that my 12-year-old son has been eating a lot more food lately. He seems to constantly be hungry and often comes home from school and tucks in to a pile of food and then is ready to eat again at dinner. AND he told me that I’m not packing enough food for his lunch – it must be a growth spurt! My husband reassures me that this is part and parcel of raising a pre-teen boy and he reminisced about how he and his older brother would come home from school as teenagers and devour foot-long hotdogs, sandwiches and frozen pizzas and then whip up a dessert of apples, brown sugar, oatmeal and mounds of butter in the microwave to top things off. And that was all before dinner!

I want to make sure that my children are eating as much healthy food as possible when they are at home (hotdogs- yuck!) so I try to keep fruits, veggies and nuts on hand for snacking. I also talk to them about food and the best choices for getting filling and nutritious protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

But that chat with my hubby got me thinking about a hearty dessert. So I set about veganizing his apple crisp recipe to retain the flavor, decrease the sugar and eliminate the butter (and skip the microwave). This apple crisp is filling, warm, gooey and comforting. I recommend eating it soon after it comes out of the oven and is still warm – perhaps with a scoop of vanilla coconut or almond milk ice cream. Just be quick – a growing boy might devour it before you even get a taste!

Vegan Apple Crisp (adapted from Vegan Lunch Box, Jennifer McCann)

apple crisp 1

1/2 cup golden brown sugar
2/3 cup spelt flour (plus 2 tbsp. for tossing with apples)
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
6 tbsp. melted coconut oil (plus a bit more for greasing the pan)
8-10 apples, peeled and sliced thin
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. maple sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9 x 9 square cake pan with coconut oil.

To make the topping – mix brown sugar, flour, oats, nuts, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Add the coconut oil and mix well until combined. Set aside.

Toss the sliced apples together with the lemon juice, maple sugar and 2 tbsp. of oat flour. Put the apples on the bottom of the cake pan.

Top evenly with the topping.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the apples are cooked and softened and the topping is golden brown.

Enjoy!

apple crisp 2

Monster Cookies

These cookies are the delicious result of a few failed baking experiments of late. I have been trying my hand at vegan substitutions in some of my favourite recipes and I’ve made some real clunkers. Here are a just a few of the things I’ve learned:

1. Coconut oil as a straight butter replacement may make your berry muffins gummy and thin – yuck!

monster cookie 1

2. Apple sauce in place of eggs in a traditional chewy cookie recipe may result in cookies as thin and as full of holes as lace – weird!

monster cookie 2

3. Even the dog will turn his nose up at pancakes made with soy milk and ground white chia seeds – not good!

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But I am nothing if not determined and baking is my very favourite thing to do. So I forged on, whisk in hand and I eventually turned out a healthy, yummy and kid-friendly cookie that is packed with nutrient dense foods and actually resembles a bakery-worthy dessert.

I called them “Monster Cookies” because of the amount of goodness I was able to pack into these babies – spelt flour, freshly ground almond meal, oats, pumpkin seeds, nuts, dried fruit, flax meal and chocolate.

Unfortunately because of the nuts these are not school-friendly but they do make an awesome after-school snack. They are chewy, crunchy and chocolatey. Mmmmmm…who could ask for anything more from a cookie?

And yes (in case you were wondering)- even the dog liked them!

Monster Cookies

monster 3

3/4 cup of light spelt flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup almond meal (I ground raw almonds in my coffee grinder)
1 cup oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthum gum
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (try Enjoy Life brand)
3 tbsp. of ground flax meal + 12 tbsp. water (flax eggs)
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan margarine or organic butter, melted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add seeds, cranberries, nuts, raisins and chocolate chips and toss until covered in flour mixture.

Mix the flax and water and let sit for 5 minutes to get goopy.

Whisk together the margarine and oil. Add flax eggs and whisk for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Add maple sugar and agave and stir to combine.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well combined.

Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the parchment (approx. 1 tbsp. size) leaving space in between each cookie (I was able to put 12 on a regular sized baking sheet). Bake for 12 minutes.

Enjoy!