It’s a new year, and with new beginnings often comes the anticipation of a fresh new start, great things to look forward to, and an invincible spirit to fuel the way forward. Admittedly, I’m trying to muster up some of that bright spirit, perhaps it’s the cold and cloudy days of winter, the sunshine (internal one as well) just seems to ebb and flow. The simple cliché of looking at a glass half full can be motivating, I trail the sentiment by adding “glass half full of wine” which brings a smile. And without intending to wallow too long, I’ll find inspiration in the oddest of places to whisk me to an entirely different state of mind.
While we’re talking clichés, throw in lemons into lemonade and it describes this recipe. A basketful of green apples, untouched and starting to loose their appeal, managed to morph into a surprisingly delicious heart-warming dish. The title might include crisp, crumble, granola, or crunch, either way it can be described as truly yummy. Maybe Apple Oatmeal Crumble or Hot Apple Nut Granola. I might just call it: Apple Nut Inspiration.
The consumers of yum, yes the yumivores out there, will be surprised by the amazing creamy nutty flavor of walnut oil if you haven’t had it before. Added benefit, high in omega-3 and rich in other vitamins, walnut oil replaces butter in this recipe making it a heart healthy one. It’s a wonderful recipe to add to your new year menu. Simply composed of sliced apples, ground oats (homemade oat flour), whole oats, almond slivers, walnuts, half a teaspoon of sugar and that’s it. Simple, but the true taste of apples shine and the crunch of the nuts is superb, it’s a little bit of warmth to enjoy inside.
Inspired by a bowl of apples and Epicurious’s Apple Oatmeal Crumble and on their power breakfast menu, here’s my version of an apple walnut crisp:
Apple Nut Inspiration
2 small Granny Smith apples
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar*
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3 tablespoons ground oats
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons walnut oil
1/8 cup walnuts
1/8 cup almond slices
* note on the sweet, you can substitute with honey, or add a tad more sugar
the sweetness is intended to come from the fruit
** dried fruit, such as cherries, blueberries or apricots can be added
Preheat oven to 375°F. Peel and halve apples, then core. Cut apples into thin slices, add to a mixing bowl and toss with and 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar. Drizzle 1/2 of the walnut oil on the bottom of a single-serving ceramic bowl or ramekin, then fill with the apples slices. Stir together remaining walnut oil, oats, ground oats, salt, almonds and walnuts (add more or less based on preference but apples should be fully coated). Spread until evenly distributed on top of apples. Bake until topping is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer dish to a rack to cool at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adjust the quantity according to your baking dish. Though Granny Smith are great for baking, use your favorite apple of choice. Use different nuts such as pecans or hazelnuts, the recipe is simply meant to serve as inspiration. If the crisp or crumble comes out dry, add a drop of water or even coconut juice next time. Here the apples came out creamy, some caramelized by the walnut oil, the oats and nuts super crunchy. The Apple Walnut Oatmeal Crumble or Apple Nut Inspiration can be enjoyed for breakfast, taking only minutes to prepare it’s a great last minute brunch idea. It can be easily reheated. Serve in the evening with frozen vanilla yogurt and it makes a delicious dessert, or top Greek yogurt with some of the apple nut mix midday for a power lunch. Spices weren’t added to keep the flavors clean, the walnut oil and nuts are amazing on their own. Play with the ingredients, it may inspire you to try something new. Apple Nut Inspiration may not bring the sun out, but a feel good comforting dish to eat, I assure it will warm you up inside. And you’ll feel good about eating it. Grab a spoon and go!