Monika’s Molecular Meals: Gluten-Free Apple Crisp With Vegan No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

By Monika Knapp | 28 July 2021 2192 views
gluten free apple crisp

This Gluten-Free Apple Crisp Recipe Is Perfect For Any Meal, Family Gathering, Or Holiday Dinner

Monika's Molecular Meals: Gluten-Free Apple Crisp With Vegan No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

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Are you ready to say goodbye to heavy, sickeningly sweet apple pies?

Then say hello to this lightly spiced, good-for-you, gluten-free apple crisp.

It’s a dessert that’s not only easy to make (ready in about an hour!)… but it’s so low in sugar, that you can actually eat it for breakfast and feel good about it. 

Because if I’m being totally honest… I’ve never been wild about apple pie anyway.

(I know, I know… probably not a super popular opinion. But I’m entitled to it!)

Crisps have so much more potential for flavor!

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While a pie crust usually consists of just a few ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, butter, and water)… a crisp topping often contains oats, nuts, and spices as well.

A crisp’s very nature and makeup give it a leg up when it comes to flavor.

And the great thing about a crisp is that it’s completely customizable. 

There’s no fussing over pastry dough—there’s no par-cooking your ingredients. There’s no letting anything “rest” or “rise” (unless you count the time waiting after it’s done baking before you eat it!).

If you want to add a little more cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or something else, you can go for it, without worrying about whether or not you’re going to “mess up” the recipe.

This recipe really is perfect for experimenting with different flavors and customizing to make it your own.

It’s perfect for a tasty weeknight treat, and elegant enough for a Thanksgiving feast.

Here’s how it’s done:

Monika's Molecular Meals: Gluten-Free Apple Crisp With Vegan No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

FTH’s Spiced Gluten-Free Apple Crisp (So Delicious Nobody Will Know It’s Secretly “Healthy”!)

Equipment Needed: 9×9 glass baking dish; food processor or blender; oven

Recipe Time: 1 hour

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 4-5 apples, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced (see Recipe Notes for the best types of apples to use)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple butter (store-bought is fine, as long as it’s gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour or alternative gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, lightly crushed (see Recipe Notes for technique options)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp maca powder (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp Calvados, fruit brandy, or rum (optional)
  • Kosher salt as needed
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Directions:

1) Assemble the base.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Butter or oil the sides of a 9×9 glass baking dish (honestly, any size will do as long as there’s a nice layer on the bottom of the entire pan and you make sure it bakes all the way through).

Add the apple slices, coconut sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and optional Calvados into the dish and toss to combine. Taste and adjust as needed.

2) Prep the topping & bake!

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the apple butter, oat flour, oats, and remaining spices, along with another generous pinch of salt.

Pulse until well-combined, then add in the hazelnuts and pulse a few more times (whole chunks of nut are perfectly fine).

At this point it should resemble a coarse meal—if it seems too dry or wet to you, add more flour or apple butter until you get the texture you want.

Spread the topping on the base in an even layer, and slide it into your preheated oven.

Bake until the top is dark and the smell is making your mouth water—about 45 minutes.

Now here’s the most painful part… let it cool for 15 minutes before digging in. 🙂

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Recipe Notes

  • The best apples for baking in desserts have less sugar and a firm texture. Jonagold, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Honeycrisp apples (or a mix of several of these!) are all great options.
  • You can crush your nuts on a cutting board as-is, but this can get quite messy. Try putting them in a bowl and then crushing them using the bottom of a mason jar or the side of a knife instead.
  • Maca powder comes from a root that some studies show can help balance hormones and support a healthy weight. I love it for the malty, nutty flavor (and it’s easy to find on Amazon!).
Monika's Molecular Meals: Gluten-Free Apple Crisp With Vegan No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

Make This Vegan No-Churn Ice Cream While Your Crisp Is Baking For An Easy Weeknight Dessert Your Whole Family Will Love…

I actually kind of discovered this recipe by accident.

I made a pear & persimmon tarte tatin last week and had some leftover coconut cream in the fridge, so I decided to try an experiment.

(Thankfully, this kitchen experiment turned out better than some others have!)

While the tarte tatin was baking, I whipped about 1 cup of coconut cream in a stand mixer along with 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 1 Tbsp of rum, 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, the zest from 1 orange, and a pinch of salt.

What I soon discovered was that some of the coconut water from the can had mixed into the cream, so it wasn’t stiffening up quite the way I would’ve liked.

So I decided to throw in some mixed toasted nuts, and popped it in the freezer to see what would happen.

And you know what?

It froze up, and the texture was almost identical to real ice cream!

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The one drawback is, it does take about an hour to freeze… and if you let it freeze too long, you’ll have to soften it a little before you scoop it.

But it’s so simple—and utterly delicious. (Feel free to leave the nuts out if you’re allergic or aren’t a fan.)

While I’m sure you can tell the difference between this and “real” ice cream if you really try… it’s a very close match!

Try serving it to your friends and family without telling them, and see if anyone notices! (I bet they won’t–they’ll be distracted by how delicious it is.)

If you don’t want to use confectioner’s sugar, you can substitute coconut sugar or another “healthy” sugar substitute, like one of these:

3 Secretly Healthy Sugar Swaps That Taste So Good Your Taste Buds Won’t Even Notice The Difference…

As someone who’s tried many diets, including a lot of low- or no-sugar ones… I’m no stranger to experimenting with different sweeteners in my food.

I’ve tried just about all of them in a bid to reduce or even eliminate my use of normal table sugar.

And to be honest… a lot of them really and truly SUCK.

They have a weird aftertaste… or affect the texture of the food, in a way that makes it so different it’s basically a new dish… 

And usually at some point, you just want to give up and use the real thing, because that’s what you wanted in the first place after all.

(Another annoying part about using artificial sweeteners in desserts? You almost always have to eat more to feel satisfied. Ugh.

That just defeats the purpose!)

Luckily, I recently discovered 3 surprisingly healthy sugar substitutes that aren’t full of nasty chemicals… and actually make desserts taste GOOD!

If you’ve been following my recipes for a while, then you’re probably already familiar with one of them… coconut sugar.

I personally love baking with coconut sugar, because even though it does still have calories in it… it won’t spike your blood sugar, and it’s also chock-full of vitamins like zinc, potassium, and calcium.

Not to mention the flavor is incredible… kind of like a mix of brown sugar and maple syrup. 

As a matter of fact, if you’re watching your weight, my two other favorite sugar swaps are even lower-calorie than coconut sugar… so it’s a win for both your taste buds AND your waistline:

Click here to see all 3 of my favorite secretly healthy sugar swaps.

[Note: This post was updated by Fit Trim Happy on April 12, 2020.]