Thursday, October 27, 2011

Allergy-friendly Candy Apples

This recipe is linked to Wellness Weekends and Allergy-Friendly Fridays
Be sure to visit those pages for more yummy Halloween treats!

Hi everyone! I meant to post this recipe last week. I was traveling, and I thought I'd done well in planning ahead to write this post on the road. I made the apples early, took photos, loaded all of the photos onto my laptop, and edited photos while on the plane. Perfect! Now I just had to add the recipes and upload to the blog...
Guess what I forgot at home???

Yup. The recipes.


But now I'm back, and here you go...

Here are recipes for THREE versions of candy apples. No gluten, corn, soy, dairy, or refined sugar. Bonus: they are RAW vegan! Yes, raw vegan treats for Fall : ) Who needs Halloween candy? These taste MUCH better- and they are better for you.

As I was thinking about writing this post, I came across some pre-made candy apples in Publix (our local grocery store).
Here are the ingredients: 
Obviously these are not an option for anyone with a corn allergy, or kids who may be sensitive to artificial flavors or dyes.

There were also caramel apples: 
Corn syrup, refined sugar, dairy PLUS sugar, soy, more dairy (can you really call dipotassium phosphate "milk"?), more soy, even MORE soy, something unpronounceable, imitation vanilla- really, there is not any FOOD in here, except for the apples. And it contains three of the eight major allergens.

How about the chocolate turtle apples?
Yeah. More of the same. 

So, now that you are convinced you probably do not want to feed this commercial, pre-packaged "food-like substance" to your family... here is an easy & healthy alternative.
I started with the biggest, prettiest Fuji apples I could find. You can use any variety of apple you like.

Note: next time I would choose the smallest apples I can find, not the largest. I was dazzled by the beautiful large apples in the store. But as I was making the apples, they were really too big and heavy, and they were much too big to eat. Each of these apples was enough for 2-4 people. Too big. But they were pretty : ) 

A smaller apple would be easier to handle (especially for kids) and it would also give you a better candy-coating-to-apple ratio.

OK, on to the recipes. I experimented with caramel, chocolate, and white chocolate apples. 

I used the "I Am the Best" Caramel Sauce recipe from Cafe Gratitude's I am Grateful (un)cookbook

Raw Vegan Caramel Apples
Lollipop or popsicle sticks

1 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 teaspoon himalayan salt
1/4 cup raw almond milk
1/2 cup raw agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
1/2-1 teaspoon yacon syrup

Place all ingredients apart from the yacon syrup in high speed blender. Pulse or start on low and gradually increase the speed until you have achieved a smooth texture (you may need to add a little more almond milk).

Now blend in 1/2 teaspoon yacon syrup, slowly. Taste and add a little more yacon syrup if you like. Note: if you add too much yacon syrup, the color will change from golden to green!

Note: I added about 2 Tbsp melted raw cacao butter to this recipe in the hope that it would harden on the apple once it cooled. It did not harden as I'd hoped, and I also thought it changed the taste (it was still good, but it was much better without). I did not try it, but I think adding 1 Tbsp coconut butter to the recipe might have the "hardening" effect I was going for. So you might try that if you are feeling adventuresome. If you try it, I'd love to hear how it works out.

Insert a popsicle or lollipop stick and dip apples in caramel:
Sit on plate or bowl. This is where I'd hoped it would harden, but it never did (it was still yummy though)
Some of the caramel slid off, and I wound up with a thin coating of caramel, something like this:
Roll apple in topping of your choice, if desired. I used a coconut and pecan mixture left over from another recipe:

Next up: Chocolate apples. The chocolate part of this recipe is from Sarma's Living Raw Food (un)cookbook.

Raw Vegan Chocolate Apples
Lollipop or popsicle sticks

Chocolate coating
1 1/4 cups coconut oil, warmed to liquify
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons raw cacao powder
3 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt

Blend all chocolate ingredients until smooth and fully emulsified.

Dip apples in chocolate. Roll in topping, if desired. I used chopped almonds. This topping will harden even faster if you put it in the fridge.

Last one: White chocolate apples!

White Chocolate Candy Apples
Lollipop or popsicle sticks

White Chocolate (recipe from Lisa at Vegan Culinary Crusade)
1/2 cup melted raw cacao butter (place it in a bowl of hot water until it becomes liquid)
1 tsp vanilla bean (extract or powder)
1/4 cup raw agave syrup (if you keep it in the fridge give it some time on the counter to warm up so it won't cause the cacao butter to solidify too quickly).

Stir everything together in a bowl.
Dip apples in white chocolate coating. Let cool to harden. It is OK to put in fridge, but do not put in freezer. The white chocolate coating is ok in the freezer, but frozen apples thaw out to be mush.
Note: I did not try it, but I think adding 1Tbsp coconut oil to this recipe would make a nice smooth coating that hardens. Let me know if you try that and how it turns out!

Enjoy your healthy, allergy-friendly candy apples! 
I'd love to hear which one you choose, and how it turns out.


  1. These look fabulous, Natasha! Looks like a fun project for the weekend. Hope you had a great trip!!


  2. Thanks Jenny! The trip was great. Now it's back to the real world : )

  3. Yum! What a fun idea, (how frightening are the ingredients in the store bought variety!?!) I think the addition of coconut oil would totally help them "set" a bit more. Just found your blog, am loving it :)

  4. Thank you fridge! I agree, I cannot believe those ingredients. Not to mention you know those corn, soy and cottonseed oils are likely GMO. Yuck!

    I just wandered over to your blog. Aw what sweet babies! Too cute! I love the VW bus photo. I was just in Ocean Beach, San Diego and saw more VW busses than I'd ever seen in my life. I thought it was the coolest thing.

  5. First of all- just WOW. I'm going to make these for my mom (a caramel apple addict) sometime this week. She's been eyeing those publix ones!

    Second- that white chocolate one does not LOOK yummy, but it SOUNDS very yummy ;)

    Third- you mentioned a high speed blender. Which has me wondering: what are your kitchen basics? from machines to things like parchment paper? I'm wondering b/c I'd like to simplify our kitchen- make it less cluttered and more useful for actual cooking. So i'm wondering about your (semi-pro?) one!

  6. MamaK- the caramel apples are awesome. That caramel is so good I could just eat it with a spoon. Don't put the cacao butter in it though, that really didn't work :) My challenge was getting it to stay on the apple, it wanted to slide off- but it stays on for a little while (long enough to look pretty for presentation:) I ultimately just chopped up the apple and swirled it around in the bowl with the caramel that had slid off :)

    I can't figure out why my raw vegan white chocolate doesn't turn out smooth and pretty like Lisa's! Maybe if she happens to read this post, she'll share her secret :)

    That's a great question about kitchen basics. I use a Cuisinart food processor (a LOT, even more than the blender), and a VitaMix blender (LOVE). I've also discovered that I love my ceramic knife. I have one little ceramic knife, and I use it for EVERYTHING (fruits and veggies). Ceramic knives can be expensive, but I found this one at Home Goods for less than $10. My other huge love is mason jars. One of these days I'm going to do an entire post on why mason jars rock :)

  7. Do you think something could sub for yacon syrup? I've seen it in lots of recipes, but I've yet to find it in a store. I guess I need to order some online...but until then, any ideas? Also, although it wouldn't be raw anymore, do you think subbing maple syrup for agave would be OK in these recipes? I'm allergic to agave. TIA!

  8. Hi Veggie V. I think yacon is probably key to this recipe. I haven't tried subbing anything else, but I have tried subbing ingredients in other Cafe Gratitude recipes, and they are not quite the same. I think you could probably make a substitution and come out with something similar, but once you find yacon syrup, I'd encourage you to try this recipe again with the yacon at least once :) BTW, I ordered my yacon online too, and since then I've noticed it in my local health food store. If yours doesn't carry it, ask, and they might be able to order it for you. I know my local store will order ingredients for customers.

    As for a sub for agave... yes, I think maple syrup would work. Honey would work too- although it's not vegan (not sure if you are vegan, or eat honey). Depending on the recipe, and the desired consistency of the final product, you might try date paste (you can make your own and it would be raw). There is also something called Lyle's Golden Syrup which is 100% cane sugar (not raw). It is VERY sweet, you do not need very much of it! You can find Lyle's in some regular grocery stores, or health food stores/Whole Foods, or I have also seen it in our local Cost Plus World Market (it's a British brand). There is also brown rice syrup (not raw)- found in health food stores. I hope those ideas help? Let me know if you try this recipe or others with one of those substitutions, I'd be really curious to hear how that turns out.

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