Weeks ago, thoughts of Pumpkin-Spice Cheesecake Swirled Brownies and Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies danced in my head. The Jewish High Holidays were coming up! A perfect excuse to bake something totally delicious and indulgent and not have to eat it all myself? Oh, yes. Who eats healthy on holidays? Not me!
And yet when the night before Yom Kippur fell upon us and it was time to stuff our bellies before the long fast, we found ourselves noshing on two very different desserts, free of gluten, eggs, and dairy. So what’s left when you remove all of that? Plenty of good whole grains and good-for-you-fats, and tons of deliciousness. My taste-testers will swear to it.
It all started when I came across Ricki’s recipe for gluten-free, vegan Cookie-Dough-Topped Brownies on Diet, Dessert and Dogs. In general, I lack enthusiasm when it comes to making healthier baked goods with cleaner ingredients, which might by surprising because I put so much effort into making healthier versions of everything else I love to eat. The typical long ingredient lists usually turn me off, and that combined with the fact that I pretty much only bake when there’s a good occasion to do so makes me feel like I should just “go all out” when I do. But something about this recipe made me feel otherwise. I quickly went out out of my way to gather the necessary sorghum flour, coconut oil, and unsweetened baking chocolate (I had just about everything else!) and got busy in the kitchen.
I didn’t quite know what to expect, but when the hubby gave them two thumbs up, I decided they were good enough to serve to my family for our pre-Yom Kippur dinner. And because we have an unspoken rule that there must always be more than one dessert no matter how small the crowd, I still had to come up with a second recipe. I thought about making one of the previously mentioned indulgences, but I almost felt a little guilty doing so – like, I started something with this gluten-free, almost-vegan (because I used honey, not agave) brownie and I wanted to see how far I could push it. Not to mention, it seemed like a much smarter choice to fulfill our dessert cravings with good whole grains and good fats to sustain our energy throughout the fast, rather than loading up on refined sugar and other “bad” carbs likely to digest quickly and leave a feeling of emptiness.
That’s when I remembered Nisrine’s Strawberry Quinoa Cobbler recipe from earlier this summer. I never got around to making it then, but it seemed perfectly adaptable to the fresh, local apples readily available this time of year.
The result? This stuff was seriously good. Then again, I can’t think of anything not to like about warm, lightly sweetened apples with plenty of cinnamon under a hearty topping of nuts and whole grains. And knowing that it’s good for you? Brownie points, indeed.
4 medium or large apples
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons (40gm) honey (or agave syrup, for vegan option)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup dry quinoa (90gm)
4 tablespoons (80gm) honey (or agave syrup, for vegan option)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup (1oz) pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Rinse the quinoa and place in a small saucepan with one cup of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 12-15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the apples. Toss with the cornstarch, two tablespoons honey, and cinnamon. Pour into a 9″ or 10″ pie dish or similar sized baking dish.
When the quinoa has cooled off a bit, mix in the remaining ingredients (honey, coconut oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon and pecans.) Pour over the apples.
Bake for 40-25 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned and crisped in parts, and the fruit is bubbling through. Serve warm.
The featured ingredient in this month’s SOS Kitchen Challenge, hosted by Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs, and Kim of Affairs of Living, is none other than the apple.The purpose of this challenge is to share foods that are vegan, contain no refined sugars, and only whole, natural ingredients. I’m pretty sure this fits the bill! Head over to check out plenty more wholesome, apple-containing recipes.