Fall is in the air, my friends! Just look at the gorgeous lawn confetti – is there a better kind? I mean regular confetti is just kind of a nuisance. Don’t even get me started on cards with glitter…
Anyway, this past weekend was chock full of both work and play. We didn’t seem to have a minute of down time!
Play: having an impromptu get together with friends and their kids after work on Friday. Prayer hands emoji for Tarzan on Netflix so the adults could chat over wine.
Work: winterizing our landscaping with my trusty electric hedge clippers (peace out hostas,) since the next few weeks are going to be crazy and I don’t think I’d have another chance until mid-November. Felt really, really good to get it done, but holy hamstrings – I’ll be walking like our good friend Tarzan for at least another couple of days.
Play: Spending Saturday at my parent’s house circled around the first fire of the season. Leaves raining from the sky, warm, crackling fire at our fingertips, apple cider nearby – it was the perfect fall afternoon.
Work + play: testing the recipe for Caramel Apple Crisp with Easy Caramel Sauce! (Ok I won’t even lie, it was definitely more play than work – look at that gooey caramel sauce made with just 4 ingredients and ZERO corn syrup!)
I’m so happy to be partnering with Fisher Nuts for the third year in a row developing recipes like Caramel Apple Crisp with Easy Caramel Sauce using their high-quality nuts – the only brand of recipe nuts entirely free from preservatives.
I talk about this in my Gluten-Free for Beginners ebook, but preservatives can be really hard on people with Celiac Disease or other autoimmune disorders whose systems are ultra-sensitive to preservatives, artificial coloring, etc. Bottom line, I love that Fisher Nuts are just that – NUTS, and nothin’ else.
Which I included in my luscious homemade Caramel Apple Crisp with Easy Caramel Sauce. This easy, gluten-free dessert recipe has me ALL kinds of excited!
I don’t know a single person who doesn’t love apple crisp. Cinnamon-spiced apples blanketed under crisp topping then baked until golden brown and bubbly are high on the GIMME THAT list of pretty much everyone I know. Add homemade, 4-ingredient (including salt!) caramel sauce and toasty Fisher Nuts chopped pecans into the mix, and this fall-inspired dessert is going to send you into overdrive.
The inspiration for this dessert came from a recipe for Caramel Apple Bars that I made every fall when I lived in Minneapolis. Probably because the average high is somewhere around negative 75 starting in October and I needed something warm to hunker down with. Well, somehow it got filed away in a 3-ring binder and hadn’t see the light of day in 8 years when I unearthed it from a dark cupboard last week.
Anyway, I attempted to reduce the sugar and butter in it and, well, it was terrible. This dish however, is loads easier, two of the three components can be made days ahead of time, and let’s just take a look at the photo – caramel + apple + crisp. No other words needed! Ok, I can’t help myself – complete. decadence!
How to Make Homemade Caramel Sauce:
Start by making the homemade caramel sauce. I have yet to find a gluten-free jarred caramel sauce so I turned to the interwebs to find an easy corn syrup-free recipe. Ree Drummond’s popped up and, just as the name implies, it was super easy to make. No thermometers involved, no hard ball/soft ball stage to look out for – simply combine 1 cup brown sugar with 1/2 cup half & half, 4 Tablespoons butter, and a dash of salt in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat.
Cook the sauce while stirring gently until thickened, 8-10 minutes, then add 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract and cook until thickened again, another minute or two. Honest to goodness it is the easiest caramel sauce you will ever make. So yummy!
How to Make the Crisp Topping:
Put the caramel sauce off to the side to cool a bit (you can make it several days in advance – just store in the refrigerator in a mason jar until ready to use,) then make the crisp topping.
Add 3/4 cup certified gluten-free old fashioned oats, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup gluten-free flour baking blend, 1/2 cup chopped Fisher Nuts pecans, and 6 Tablespoons butter to a bowl then use your finger tips to combine and set aside. Or, make the crisp topping a day ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Final steps! Peel then slice 4 Granny Smith Apples and toss with 4 teaspoons gluten-free flour baking blend and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, then add to a nonstick-sprayed baking dish and drizzle 1/2 of the Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce on top (about 1/2 cup.) You can use whatever apples you have on hand, but I like tart Granny Smith’s to balance out the sweetness of the caramel sauce.
Sprinkle the crisp topping on top then bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the apples are tender and caramel is bubbly. If your crisp starts to brown too early, gently place a sheet of foil on top and keep baking. I had to do this around the 10 minute mark, but every oven is a little bit different.
Let the crisp cool anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, then scoop into dishes, drizzle the reserved caramel sauce on top, and d-e-v-o-u-r.
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Caramel Apple Crisp with Easy Caramel Sauce
Gluten-free Caramel Apple Crisp with Easy Caramel Sauce is decadent and delicious. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream for a heavenly fall treat!
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled then thinly sliced
- 4 teaspoons + 1/4 cup gluten-free flour baking blend, divided
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup certified gluten-free old fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped Fisher Nuts Pecans
- dash of salt
- 6 Tablespoons butter, cut into pats
- For the Easy Caramel Sauce (makes 1 cup):
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- dash of salt
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- For the Easy Caramel Sauce: Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir slowly until caramel has thickened, 8-10 minutes, then add vanilla and stir until thickened again, 1 more minute. Remove from heat then let cool slightly. Can be done ahead of time - cool caramel sauce slightly then pour into a mason jar using a funnel and store in the refrigerator. Warm for 30 seconds in the microwave before using.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees then spray a medium-sized baking dish (like 8x8" or 10x7") with nonstick spray. Add apple slices to a large bowl then toss with cinnamon and 4 teaspoons flour until well coated. Transfer to prepared baking dish then drizzle 1/2 cup Easy Caramel Sauce on top.
- Combine oats, brown sugar, chopped pecans, remaining 1/4 cup flour, salt, and butter in the bowl then use your fingers to combine mixture until crumbly. Top caramel apples with crisp then bake for 30-40 minutes or until apples are tender and caramel is bubbly. NOTE: If crisp topping begins to brown before apples are tender, gently place a piece of foil on top and continue baking.
- Allow Caramel Apple Crisp to cool for 20 minutes-1 hour before scooping into bowls then topping with reserved Easy Caramel Sauce.
Easy Caramel Sauce from Ree Drummond.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Since the caramel sauce is super sweet, I backed off on the sugar in the crisp topping, so this dessert isn’t tooth-achingly sweet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a DESSERT, but the crunchy, roasty nuts and oats really help balance out all the flavors. If you went apple picking recently, or have plans to go this weekend, be certain to save some of your pickings for this fabulous fall treat!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Fisher. The opinions and text are all mine.