Let’s face it, there’s nothing better than a crisp, sweet, deliciously juicy apple. And now that apple picking season is at its peak, we’re ready to flavor our autumn menu with this mouth-watering fall fruit. From apple cinnamon smoothies to apple pie oats, there are so many nutritious and delicious recipes to choose from. As for healthy fall treats? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered on that front too. Enter: healthy caramel apples. Perfect as a healthy Halloween snack or yummy chilly night treat, nothing says fall quite like this sweet and gooey dessert.
But before we give you the sweet and simple recipe, you may be wondering how caramel apples — traditionally made with ingredients like butter, heavy cream, and loads of sugar — can be healthy. And good news, we’re spilling our secrets — healthy swaps! In true FitOn fashion, our recipe is free from all those sneaky, processed ingredients. Instead, our lightened-up dessert is made with just the good stuff: real, whole foods. Free from dairy and gluten, sweetened naturally with fiber-rich fruit, and made with less than 10 ingredients, you’ll want to bite into this gooey (plant-based) goodness.
Ahead, the healthiest homemade caramel apples that will make your fall season that much sweeter.
How to Make Dairy-Free Healthy Caramel Apples
Free from dairy, sweetened naturally with dates, and made with real, whole food ingredients.
- 1 ½ cups Medjool dates, pitted (about 15-20 dates)
- ½ -1 cup non-dairy milk (cashew, oat, or almond is preferable)
- 2-3 tbsp cashew butter (sub almond or peanut butter)
- 5-6 medium to large organic apples, room temperature
- ½ tbsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp pumpkin spice or cinnamon, optional
- Pinch of sea salt
- Skewers or popsicle sticks, to serve
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
- Cacao nibs
- Chopped nuts (almonds or pistachios)
- Unsweetened goji berries
- Dairy-free chocolate chips or finely chopped paleo chocolate
Step #1: Prep Your Ingredients
To start, prep your Medjool dates. Soak the pitted Medjool dates in ½ – 1 cup non-dairy milk (as needed to cover) for 4-6 hours or overnight. Once soaked, strain Medjool dates and reserve soaking liquid.
Then, line a sheet or tray with parchment paper and set aside. Note: you will want to reserve space in your fridge for this tray size.
Step #2: Make Your Dairy-Free Caramel Sauce
In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine soaked Medjool dates, cashew butter, vanilla, sea salt, and optional pumpkin spice. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 tbsp of reserved soaking liquid at a time to blend. Taste test and adjust any ingredients as needed.
Once smooth and blended, transfer mixture to a medium-large bowl and chill in the fridge.
Step #3: Prep Your Stems
Next, prep your apples. Wash and pat dry, then insert a popsicle stick or thick skewer into the stem of each apple.
Step #4: Coat Your Apples With Caramel
Remove chilled caramel from the fridge. Using a spatula or butter knife, coat each apple with dairy-free caramel sauce. Alternatively, you could roll/dip each apple in the sauce.
Step #5: Cover Your Caramel Coating with Toppings
Next, top your treat! Add your toppings to a bowl or plate. Then, roll your caramel-coated apples in toppings of choice.
Step #6: Chill & Serve
Once coated with caramel sauce and toppings, place apples on parchment paper and chill before serving. When ready to enjoy, remove from the fridge and serve immediately!
Dessert Made Dairy-free & Delicious
What are you waiting for? Head to the farmers market and load up your cart with fresh fall fruit. These dairy-free, and delicious healthy caramel apples will save you time, stress, and a blood sugar spike.
Free from added sugar, no cooking or baking required, and delicious to enjoy, you’ll be biting into these sweet treats all season.