Daphne Oz's Oatmeal Cookie Baked Apples Taste Like Dessert, but Are Healthy Enough to Eat for Breakfast
"When you can find ways to make your healthy eating feel indulgent, special, celebratory or fun, you are THIS much more likely to stick with it and have fun with it," Daphne Oz says of the motto that inspired her new cookbook, Eat Your Heart Out (buy it: $27, Amazon), and her culinary philosophy in general.
As proven by recipes like her brownie-like Chocolaty Banana Muffins and her juicy chicken breasts with balsamic onions and plums, the TV host, author, mom and rep for WW (the rebranded Weight Watchers) is a master at balance. And one tempting recipe she recently shared on Instagram is living—or should we say baking—proof.
"A lot of us are leaning back into our healthy routines, but we still want dessert—or an easy snack that hits all those sweet notes," Oz says as she opens the Instagram video for her Oatmeal Cookie Baked Apples. "It comes together so quickly."
Ideal for a healthy breakfast or a snack with a hint of indulgence, Oz says, this recipe is "very melty…soft and luscious in the center," and tastes like an oatmeal cookie stuffed inside an apple. (Love experimenting with unique stuffings for your fruits and veggies? We bet you'll also dig Rachael Ray's pasta-stuffed peppers.)
Begin with six medium Honeycrisp apples, or any baking apple that will hold its shape. Remove the core using a melon baller (buy it: $10.99, Bed, Bath, and Beyond) or a sturdy 1 tablespoon measuring spoon, leaving a ½-inch border on each edge. Place the apples in an 11- by 7-inch pan or a muffin tin (what a brilliant hack to keep things upright!), then prep the filling.
In a large bowl, combine old-fashioned oats (this adds fiber "to fill you up," according to Oz, and helps create the cookie-like consistency). Next add almond flour, coconut sugar ("which has a malty note," Oz says), maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, currants (raisins also work), coconut oil and salt. If you're feeling nutty, toss in some chopped walnuts or pecans, she suggests. Stir to mix the ingredients until a crumble forms, then spoon or use your hands to evenly sprinkle the oatmeal filling into each apple.
Drizzle the tops with the juice of half of a lemon, then bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 to 50 minutes. Once they're showcasing "a wonderfully crisp surface," Oz explains, and "some of the skins begin to pucker and split as the apple softens and gets juicy," remove the dish from the oven. Allow the stuffed apples to cool as you prep the simple vanilla sauce that she calls an "almond vanilla cream dream."
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add unsweetened almond milk (or any type of milk you prefer), maple syrup or coconut sugar, a splash of vanilla, tapioca flour (buy it: $3.99 for 16 ounces, Amazon) and a pinch of salt. Whisk often until thickened, or for about 2 minutes.
In a separate saucepan, if you like (Oz does!), warm some almond butter with a dash of cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Stir over low heat and add more unsweetened almond milk until the nut butter mixture is pourable "almost like a caramel texture," Oz advises.
Enjoy your baked apple topped with warm vanilla sauce and/or almond butter sauce.
"Look at how this melting apple just falls apart," Oz says, as she uses a fork and knife to slice into one of the finished products. "Tender, roasted apples…this is definitely a beautiful treat to warm your January heart."
While these baked apples certainly look delicious, EatingWell's Associate Nutrition Editor Jessica Ball, M.S., RD, says they're packed with quite a bit of added sugar from the coconut sugar and maple syrup. "The total added sugar that is recommended for your day is 10% or less of your total calories," she says. So while you may not want to eat these tasty treats for breakfast every morning, they'd make a great special occasion breakfast or dessert option.