This peanut butter pretzel apple crisp is a healthy-ish dessert that’s perfect for your holiday table or anytime. The classic apple and peanut butter flavor combination is packed into this yummy treat. Oil-free, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free.
Hi, friends! I have a treat for you! Literally – this is a treat recipe. A dessert, if you will. It’s an idea that came to fruition (see what I did there?) after being left on the “stuff I want to make” list for years. It took a few tests to get it right, but my family didn’t mind one bit. It didn’t hurt that our house smelled amazing after each trial.
One of the reasons it was a little bit tricky is that I wanted to make it without oil or vegan butter, or even refined sugar. If I can make a dessert a bit healthier while still tasting awesome, that’s always my goal. Now, granted, this has peanut butter in it, and pretzels which are not exactly healthy foods, but again, this healthy-ISH. Each serving has a whole apple in it, so that’s gotta count for something, right? And instead of sugar, I used the power of maple syrup and apple cider, which works perfectly and bumps up that apple-icious flavor even more. Apple-icious – another word I made up because I could. I feel alive with word creation power. Anyway…here’s how to make it! Because I know you want to.
“She could peel an apple in one big, long, curly strip.” Name that movie. Also, I can do that too! It’s so satisfying. This is my way of telling you that you need to peel the apples first. I mean you don’t HAVE to, but I do.
Chop those babies up into big chunks, especially if you like the apples to have a bit of bite to them. I use Granny Smith apples, because the tart flavor is my fave, but you can use any apple you like. Keep in mind that apples are like kids – they all behave a little differently when heated. That sounded so much better in my head. Just be glad I didn’t say “when baked”. Excuse me, I need to go have a laughing fit and then I’ll be back.
(laughs hysterically at her dumb and inappropriate joke)
Ok, I’ve recovered and we can move on with the apple crisp now. Add the chunky apple pieces to a wide skillet or pan that’s big enough for the apples and deep enough for what comes next – which is the apple cider and maple syrup. You’re going to cook the apples in that liquid for just a few minutes until the apples are slightly softened.
Then, use a slotted spoon or a strainer to remove the apples to an 8×8 baking dish, leaving as much liquid in the skillet as you can. Here comes the fun part. Add the peanut butter to the apple cider and maple syrup mixture, and cook it down until it’s nice and thick but still pourable. It will take a few minutes for the water in the apple cider to evaporate enough for the thickening to happen. But it is SO VERY WORTH IT.
When the sauce is thickened, remove most of it to a heatproof liquid measuring cup or bowl. Leave about 1/4 cup in the pan, because it will be mixed with the topping. But first…you’re going to pour a 1/2 cup of that glorious sauce onto the apples and stir it in. If you’re not salivating right now, maybe see a doctor?
Now it’s time for pretzels, baby! Two cups of mini pretzel twists are what you need. And just a little bit of oats for good measure and to make you feel virtuous. Crush the pretzels up but leave some big pieces so you can tell they’re pretzels, and mix with the oats. Add them to the reserved sauce in the pan and stir to combine.
Spread the topping out evenly over the apples and press down just slightly. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350F, and then….apple crisp perfection.
It’s going to look like this. And you’re going to want to eat it immediately, if not sooner. So, I’m going to go ahead and suggest that you do that. But let it cool down for a few minutes first. You’re not an animal.
Your favorite dairy-free ice cream is very appropriate in this scenario. I am a big fan of the cashew milk ice cream made by So Delicious. It really lives up to its name. Classic vanilla is always a good idea, but they also make a salted caramel flavor that is perfection. But whatever you do, don’t forget to drizzle the rest of the sauce you made over the top. It’s the crowning glory and brings it all together.
What are you still doing here? Why aren’t you at the grocery store buying all the apples? Ok, ok, you have a life, I get it. But find some time to make this so your life will be even better, and then come tell me all about it. The apple crisp, I mean. You can tell me about your life, too. Just keep in mind, you’ll be telling everyone else in the comments. 😉
Thank you for being awesome and making these recipes! I get a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that there are people who read my ramblings and make my food. Talk about the best job ever. <3 HOW IS THIS MY JOB? Off I go to dust off another idea and give it a go! I hope my family is ready to try it 3 or 4 times in a row.
Peanut Butter Pretzel Apple Crisp
- 6 Granny Smith apples
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups mini pretzels*
- 1/4 cup rolled oats*
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Peel and chop apples into 1″ pieces and add to a wide skillet along with the apple cider and maple syrup.
- Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes until apples are slightly softened and the sauce has slightly thickened.
- Remove the apples with a slotted spoon into an 8×8 casserole dish, leaving the liquid in the skillet.
- Add peanut butter to the skillet and cook over medium heat until thickened but still pourable, about 5 minutes.
- Pour sauce into a heat-proof liquid measuring cup, leaving about 1/2 cup in the skillet.
- Crush pretzels into course pieces and mix with the oats.
- Add pretzel pieces and oats to the skillet and stir to combine.
- Pour half a cup of the sauce into the dish with the apples and stir to combine.
- Spread the topping evenly over the apples and press down gently.
- Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until sauce is bubbling and the topping is browned.
- Serve warm with the reserved sauce and your favorite dairy-free ice cream. I highly recommend the So Delicious Cashew Milk vanilla or salted caramel flavors.