We’ve had an especially abundant apple crop here in southern Vermont this year. Despite an unusually hot spell when temperatures rose to near 100 degrees for days on end, and lots and lots of rain, the apples are as crisp and sweet as I’ve ever remembered. As the apples ripen on the trees and orange pumpkins fill the fields, it triggers the baking instinct in many of us.
This past year, I’ve done a lot of experimenting with coconut sugar instead of using refined sugar. Coconut sugar is made from sap in coconut flower buds; once the water is boiled off, it becomes coconut sugar in its crystalline form. Make no mistake, sugar is sugar, but coconut sugar is less refined than both white sugar and brown sugar. Coconut sugar still affects blood glucose levels: the average glycemic index of coconut sugar varies according to source, ranging from 35 to 54. White sugar has a glycemic index range of 60 to 65. Bottom-line, coconut sugar is a more natural form of sugar, and it has a slightly lower glycemic index, so why not use it in baking, particularly since it imparts a hint of caramel flavor in baked goods?Apples are the perfect fruit to pair with coconut sugar. The caramel-like flavor pairs well with the tanginess of apples and the spices that typically accompany them.
For two years, I have subscribed to an apple CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) run by Scott Farm in Brattleboro. Every week, I get at least two varieties of heirloom apples like Greenings Rhode Island dating from the 1600’s and Hudson’s Golden Gem from the early 1900’s. We eat a lot of apples, and when we get overwhelmed with them, I make applesauce and dehydrate some apples for use throughout the winter. In the following recipe, applesauce and dehydrated apples are used to make a portable form of oatmeal for breakfast on the go. You can easily substitute store-bought applesauce and dehydrated apples.
Oatmeal Applesauce Breakfast Bars
- 3 cups (300g) GF rolled oats, divided
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (240g) unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup (110g) coconut sugar
- 4 tablespoons (55g) butter
- ½ cup (80g) raisins (regular or golden)
- ½ cup (40g) chopped, dehydrated apples
- Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and line a 9x13 pan with overhanging parchment paper.
- In food processor, blend 150g oats, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- Add eggs, applesauce, coconut sugar, and butter. Blend until just combined.
- Add remainder oats (150g), raisins, and apples. Pulse 5-6 times.
- Bake 33 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.
- Cool and cut into bars.