There is nothing like the smell of applesauce and cinnamon cooking on the stovetop in the fall time. So comforting. My mom always made applesauce a few times in the fall and canned it, and the past few years I have picked up on the habit– even though I am living in the tropics where apples aren’t local, and are no more or less expensive this time of year than any other. Old habits die hard!
I read that the sense of smell is the most powerful at evoking memories– and I definitely feel that is true. Applesauce is certainly one of those emotion and memory evoking smells. My mom also put a kettle with cinnamon sticks and cloves on our wood stove when I was young, so whenever I smell a spiced candle or chai, I remember those cozy afternoons watching the snow fall from the warmth of my childhood home. And of course– turkey roasting brings back floods of memories of holidays spent with my family. Those smells have to be the most comforting for me.
My favorite way to cook applesauce is to leave it chunky, and to puree the peels rather than discard them (see my method in my very first blog post, Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce).
The past few years, I have been using this method to make a quick, healthy apple crisp dessert. I don’t know why I have never posted the recipe before! It takes about 3 minutes to throw together, 20 minutes to bake, and then is one of the best desserts you could ask for.
Using really chunky applesauce makes it similarly “saucy” to apple pie filling, sans the sugar and flour. The filling of this apple crisp is 100% apple.
It’s healthy (fruit, oats and nuts!) and very low in sugar– in fact, it has less sugar than most breakfast cereals. With a dollop of greek yogurt, it would make a fantastic breakfast.
If you’re low on time, skip pureeing the peels, or just leave the peels on the apples. I wouldn’t recommend using store bought applesauce. It’s too watery, and without the chunks, it doesn’t really give the illusion of apple pie filling!
- 1½ cups Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce
- ½ cup oatmeal
- 1 tablespoon butter (I like salted), or sub coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons pecans (sub walnuts, hazelnuts, or raisins)
- cinnamon, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add ¾ cup applesauce to 2 individual baking dishes.
- In a small bowl, mix together oatmeal, butter, sugar, and nuts. Use a fork to blend the butter into the mixture. If using coconut oil, simply melt and mix in.
- Top each dish of applesauce with a sprinkle of cinnamon, then top with half of the oat mixture.
- Bake for 22 minutes, or until applesauce is hot and the oats have begun to brown.
- Enjoy hot or cold!