Healthy baked apples, filled with a simple gluten free granola, are about as autumn as you can get. They make a nice special breakfast or dessert, especially when topped with extra maple syrup.
Apples often outshine pumpkin for me at this time of year. I eat at least one every day while they’re in season, starting my morning with an apple and nut butter, and include them in virtually every baked good.
I think apples are sometimes taken for granted as they’re so widely available year round, but they are a seasonal fruit. Best from late August up to December depending on the variety and your region, some types store very well and you might be able to get local apples right up into spring and early summer.
We didn’t have a great year for tree fruit in my region this season, with record breaking heat and minimal rainfall for extensive periods in the summer and heavy rains at other times, stunting the crops. They seem to be one of those very reliable foods that are always there in any case, and although I didn’t love them as a child, I appreciate a good sweet apple now.
P.S. if you look very closely at the wall behind me in some of these pictures, you can see the spackle on the drywall! I hadn’t painted yet and had to really get in there in photoshop to remove it. I got a little careless after a couple of hours. The walls are painted now and they are beautiful.
P.P.S. as some have already asked, my sweater is from Armed Angels. (Thanks mom.) It’s a couple of years old and doesn’t seem to be in stock anymore, but I love, love all of their clothes.
Healthy Baked Apples
Baked apples are an autumn staple in Germany, and I grew up with my mom making them for us every September. Apple season comes a bit later here than in the Canadian prairies, so I’ll be going strong with this recipe right up until Christmas.
When we first moved here, I made this recipe all the time for breakfast. My omi was shocked and appalled and refused to eat them at first; baked apples are strictly for dessert! It’s an old school outlook, because this newfangled healthy version is good at any time of day.
These ones are stuffed with olive oil granola and dark chocolate, which lets the apples bring in most of the sweetness, but you can use any granola you like. Topped off with a drizzle of maple syrup, they make an excellent fall dessert and an even better breakfast. Treat yourself.
What’s the best apple for baking?
I like Elstar or Boskoop, but any firm and slightly tart apple variety will do well. Choose one that you love, because this recipe is 90% apple – a mealy type that you don’t want to eat raw won’t be any better baked.
Honestly, after three years over here, I don’t remember the Canadian varieties I liked best as well as I should. The apples grown at my parent’s farm are obviously perfect, as the ones you grow up with always are.
Macintosh and red delicious are crap – common knowledge, I think? – and granny smith is too sour. Pink lady, honeycrisp, or jonagold would be good.
How to make this easy baked apple recipe
You may have an apple corer, which makes this recipe even easier! If not, just carefully cut the centres out of each apple, making plenty of space for the stuffing. You want about 4cm (1.5 in.) in diameter for each core.
Fill the apples with granola, adding a square of dark chocolate halfway up, and bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes. They should keep their shape for the most part, but will taste the same even if they explode.
Serve hot, either plain or with a drizzle of maple syrup, vanilla ice cream, or your favourite yogurt. I had a vegan ice cream on hand to photograph these with but 1. Turns out it was yellow, and 2. It was absolutely awful and I just couldn’t include it.
What else can I fill these with?
If you don’t have any granola on hand and are experiencing a sudden craving for stuffed apples, here’s a quick fix. Mix about a half cup of rolled oats with a tablespoon each of coconut sugar, coconut oil, and dairy-free milk, add a sprinkle of cinnamon, and use that.
You can add extra nuts or seeds to make it a bit more interesting – and maybe morning appropriate – but it’s an easy solution, and a delicious one.
Although I’ve linked to my olive oil granola in the recipe, this hazelnut granola would be just as good, or even cardamom rose granola if you’re a risk taker. If you have a favourite store bought granola, then use that. It’s a flexible recipe.
More great apple recipes for autumn
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- 4 medium apples, cored
- About 8 tablespoons of olive oil granola*
- 4 squares dark chocolate
- Maple syrup, for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and line an oven safe dish with parchment paper (this helps catch any errant chocolate).
- Make sure the cored area in the apples is quite large, as you want a good amount of filling. Place the apples into the prepared dish - lifting them after the filling is added is a no go.
- Add about a tablespoon of granola into the middle of an apple, then add a square of dark chocolate, and top with another tablespoon of granola. Repeat for each apple.
- Bake the apples for about 30 minutes. It will depend on the size of you apples. They should be fork soft, but not complete mush, so take them out when there's still a bit of bite.
- Serve warm, with a drizzle of maple syrup or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or yogurt.
* See above for tips on how to switch out the granola for other fillings.
Serving Size:4 people
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265 Total Fat: 4g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 42g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 9g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3g