Sometimes I sneak away very early on weekend mornings and run on the treadmill in my in-laws’ basement. It’s nice to get my workout in before Alex and Owen are up…and also there are usually back-to-back episodes of The Pioneer Woman playing on the Food Network.
I’ve never even made one of her recipes, but for some reason I am obsessed with her show. I think it’s like the food equivalent of Duck Dynasty or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The canned vegetables! The cream of mushroom soup! The ranch dressing! I can’t tear my eyes away.
Last weekend she made an apple brown betty with a loaf of white bread and two sticks of butter. It was a little bit horrifying, but it got me thinking. It’s no secret that I love apple desserts (see maple applesauce cake, apple crisp-stuffed apples, and no-bake gluten-free apple crumb bars), why not an apple brown betty?
I adapted my version from an old Cooking Light recipe. Unlike the Pioneer Woman, I used whole wheat bread and only three tablespoons of coconut oil. Think of this as the lightest apple crisp you’ve ever had. It’s all the deliciousness of the filling, with just a sprinkle of the toasty, crunchy topping.
Serve this warm with whipped coconut cream, sorbet, or vanilla ice cream. Leftovers are delicious with yogurt for breakfast. For a non-vegan version, you can replace the coconut oil with butter.
Whole Wheat Apple Brown Betty
Makes 6 servings
Adapted from Cooking Light
4 (1-ounce) slices whole wheat sandwich bread (use the heals if you have them)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 pounds tart apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled cored, and thinly sliced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Pulse the bread in the food processor until finely ground (you should have two cups). Transfer to a bowl and toss with the melted coconut oil.
In a large bowl, combine the apples, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, lemon zest and juice, apple cider, and vanilla.
Spread half of the apple mixture (including the juices) in the bottom of an 8-x-8-inch baking dish. Top with half of the bread mixture. Repeat with the remaining apples and breadcrumbs. Bake until the topping is crisp and the apples are bubbling, about 1 hour.