Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Caramel Apple Bites (Vegan & Refined Sugar Free!)

I had a different post scheduled for today, but I moved everything around because I just had to share this recipe today! One of my favorite Fall treats are caramel apples. I love a tart Granny Smith apple coated in sweet caramel. I was so excited to experiment with this sugar free version of a caramel apple by making a caramel out of dates!

I love that these caramel apple bites are refined sugar free and I love that they are significantly less messy than traditional caramel apples (ie. whole apples on a stick). I was able to prep all the ingredients and the Bean put everything together. I got everything set up for her in about 15 minutes and then she got to decorate her heart out. Easy peasy!

Making this date caramel is easy as can be - pack a half cup with pitted dates. Put the dates in the food processor. Add in 4 Tablespoons of water, 4 Tablespoons of coconut milk and 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla. Process until smooth and caramel like.

Once the caramel is processed, you may choose to add a little more coconut milk to make the caramel smoother. I recommend adding a half Tablespoon at a time. 

This caramel does taste a little different than caramel that you may be used to. I was a little thrown off by the taste at first but the Bean never questioned it! Yes, our sugar loving little Bean just accepted this as straight up caramel. She didn't even think to question this caramel. In fact, she wanted to eat it off a spoon. Maybe I thought it tasted different because I knew it was made with dates. Who knows? It is still totally delicious, just not as sweet as you might be expecting!

When the caramel was done, I transferred it out of the food processor into a small bowl and I got all of the other toppings ready. I sliced up 3 Granny Smith apples and put out little bowls of sprinkles, chopped pecans and mini chocolate chips.

Above is the Bean's little station before and after she did her decorating. Can you say sprinkles everywhere? Our dining room table has a plastic protective layer under the table cloth, so I just folded back the table cloth to make a decorating station for the Bean.

I set up the apples, the caramel, the toppings along with a plate for her to decorate over and a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. She dipped the apples in caramel, coated them in whatever toppings she liked they set them on the cookie sheet to congeal.

Once she had all the apples decorated, I put the cookie sheet in the fridge to let them harden a little before enjoying them. I recommend sticking your caramel apples in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving them.

For the most part, the Bean was able to decorate these on her own. I gave her instructions and then just let her run free. The Bean is pretty independent in the kitchen so these were an easy project for her but she still had a lot of fun! With more supervision, these caramel apples could be a fun activity young bakers but more capable in the kitchen teens will still have a blast with these! I love that they are easy enough for beginners but still delicious!

Refined Sugar Free & Vegan
makes approximately 40 apple bites

3 Granny Smith apples, sliced
mini chocolate chips
pecans, chopped
*any other toppings you may like

for the caramel...
1/2 cup dates, pitted
4 Tablespoons water
4 Tablespoons coconut milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Add the dates, water, coconut milk and vanilla extract to the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth and caramel like. Add a little more coconut milk (1/2 Tablespoon at a time) to thin if necessary.
2. Transfer the caramel to a small bowl. Prepare other toppings (chocolate chips, chopped pecans, sprinkles...). Slice the apples in thin slices.
3. Dip each apple slice in caramel then decorate with any desired toppings.
4. Set the decorated apple slices on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
5. Let the caramel apples congeal in the fridge for about 30 minutes before enjoying them.

Happy Fall, friends!

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