Frugal, Organic, Sugarfree - What More Could A Dessert Want to Be?

Apples at farmers market for frugal dessert photo

Via Ed Yourdon @ flickr.

Deep from the innards of the TreeHugger test kitchen (ok, there's no TH test kitchen, just the hordes of us hungry bloggers trying to keep both budget and taste buds happy) emerges a new, quick, and decidedly healthy everyday dessert: sauteed cinnamon apples. The beauty of this dessert is that it takes few ingredients and the main one, apples, are generally available throughout the year, and sometimes even from local sources (at those heroic year-round farmers' markets). Apples have never-ending health benefits, and this dish is ready in a jiffy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. So buy some organic winter apples at the market (nearly any variety except for the very mushy will work) and get ready to chop.

Frugal apple dessert photo

An apple a day, or two or three
Yes, even the cheaper bagged organic apples will work for this recipe. Just core and peel (optional peeling) one good-sized apple per person, and slice as you would for an apple pie. Heat about one teaspoon organic butter in any skillet (to make this vegan use a light-tasting coconut oil and use a bit less) and when the fat is melted and just about to sizzle, add the apple slices.

Sugarfree with stevia, or rich with maple syrup.
These sautéed apples don't need a lot of sugar to caramelize, in fact, the sweetener in this recipe is completely optional. You can add a large pinch of stevia, or a tablespoon of maple syrup for richness if you like. Organic granulated sugar also works. Just sauté, stirring occasionally, for about five to ten minutes. Oh, yeah, and douse liberally with cinnamon. We like our apples still with a bit of bite (closer to five minutes cooking) though that means they are less caramelized. In the last minutes, it's optional to add a couple of tablespoons of chopped organic walnuts or pecans.

Breakfast with yogurt, dessert with whipped cream
The apples are a good warm breakfast alternative when you can't face oatmeal but want something good for a winter morning. Unsweetened organic yogurt with a pinch of real vanilla powder is delicious with the apples. This recipe is so forgiving and open to experimentation - it's great with organic muesli or that super-expensive organic granola you hoard. And for a more everyday but still luxurious dessert, serve the organic apples with organic whipped cream. Voila! Frugal, family-friendly, delish.

Read more about local eating and apple loving
Can We Eat Local All Year Long?
Frugal Green Living: Find Your Dinner at the Farmer's Market
Washington State Farm Markets Booming
Recipe of the Week: It's Still October, Bake an Apple Pie

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