Is there anything quite so quintessentially fall as a caramel apple? They’re one of my favorite treats–arguably of all time–and I rarely miss the opportunity to bite into a crisp, tart apple covered in rich, chewy caramel.
Chocolate shops at the airport most certainly not excluded.
The only trouble with my favorite recipes is that they’re essentially sugar laden with more sugar, butter, cream… not always the healthiest of treats, am I right? But since the base is an entire apple, I decided to take on the challenge of turning the classic fall dessert into a totally healthy and raw recipe.
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I was inspired to take the raw salted caramel dip I’ve been making for years, made of dates and almond butter, and essentially dehydrate it to make caramel “sheets”. I then cut rectangles out of the dehydrated caramel and wrapped it around the apples, finally covering them with coconut, almonds, and a raw chocolate ganache. Could that get any better?
I used our oven to dehydrate the caramel, since we returned the two we got from our wedding registry after we realized we have zero space for them and they truly only do one thing. If you’re mostly raw or even frequently raw, they’re an amazing little investment, but if you opt for raw only here and there–admittedly less than we should–you can use your oven on the lowest temp with the door cracked open. It worked beautifully for me, though it technically doesn’t keep the concoction 100% raw, and it keeps the recipe minimal, which I love.
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It also takes hardly any hands-on active prep time, and induces far less anxiety than hovering over a pot of caramel waiting for the “soft ball stage”. And all-around win! This raw caramel apple is about to become an autumn staple in your home, I can juuust feel it.
Raw Caramel Apples
A rich, chewy caramel apple made from dates and nut butter. Almost raw, this is a deliciously healthy makeover of the classic fall treat!
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 6 hours
Servings 6 -8
- 2 cups pitted dates , preferably Medjool, soaked in water for 4 hours
- ¼ cup raw nut butter (almond or cashew recommended)
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- pinch sea salt
- seeds of 1 vanilla bean , scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- about 6-8 small organic apples , very small sliver of bottoms cut off to steady the apples
- sticks or popsicle sticks , stuck down the core of the apples
- flake coconut , optional, for coating
- chopped almonds or peanuts , optional, for coating
- raw ganache (recipe follows), optional, for coating
- Raw ganache:
- 1/2 cup Medjool dates , pitted
- 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 3/4 cup cacao powder
- 1/4 cup refined coconut oil
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Ready dehydrator or preheat oven to very lowest setting.
Make the caramel: drain dates and add to blender along with raw nut butter, lemon juice, salt, and vanilla, and blend until very smooth.
If making in the oven: Place a Silpat on a baking sheet and spread the caramel mixture into a thin layer, using a dough scraper to even the surface. Place in oven and leave door open. Let dehydrate for about 2 hours, or until the surface of the caramel is dry.
If making in dehydrator: Spread caramel mixture into a thin layer on prepared dehydrator pans, and use a scraper to even the surface. Dehydrate at least 2-3 hours, or until the surface of the caramel is dry.
Once the caramel has dehydrated just enough, remove from oven/dehydrator and, using a dough scraper, cut caramel into rectangles and remove gently from Silpat or dehydrator pans using the dough scraper. Try to lift the caramel off the sheets rather than just scraping it. It won't just pop off, but should retain its shape and consistency. Pat to the surface of the apple and roll in coconut, almonds, peanuts, or drizzle with ganache. Keep in refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days.
To make raw ganache: Blend the dates to a paste, then add in coconut milk and cacao powder. Blend to combine. Add in warm water and blend again until smooth. Lastly, add in your melted coconut oil and process until smooth, glossy, and all-around lovely. Drizzle over caramel apples.