6 Healthy Treats to Make After Apple Picking — Fall Fest

Whether you prefer sweet Fujis or tart Granny Smiths, here are five healthy ways to use up your freshly picked apples this fall.
By: Emily Lee
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Flat Apple Pie with Perfect Pie Crust

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Ready your wicker baskets: It’s apple-picking season. If you’re planning a trip to your local orchard, you’re probably already dreaming about the wonderfully sweet, tart and spicy treats you can make once you get your apples home. Maybe they’re destined for a good old-fashioned apple pie — or maybe you’ll bake them whole with a medley of comforting fall spices. Of course, the butter and brown sugar used in most apple dishes are just as desirable as the fruit itself. But even if you’re using the new season as an opportunity to get back into good eating habits, you don’t have to miss out on this fun autumn pastime. With a few simple modifications, you can make your favorite apple dishes a light treat rather than a once-in-a-while indulgence. From sweet Macouns to tart Granny Smiths, here are six healthy ways to use up your freshly picked apples this fall.

Deep-dish apple pie is certainly delicious, but it can be a bit cumbersome to eat. Ree Drummond makes a flat apple pie with a crisp, firm crust that’s perfect if you’re looking to grab a slice on the go. By simply reducing the amount of crust involved, you’ll also reduce the number of calories.

ALEX_G_BAKED_APPLES_RUM_CINN_H.jpg

ALEX_G_BAKED_APPLES_RUM_CINN_H.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Alex Guarnaschelli bakes cored Granny Smith apples in a buttery, spicy glaze that more than makes up for the total absence of pie crust. She suggests eating these baked apples with rum raisin ice cream, because she loves the flavor combination, but vanilla ice cream or lemon sorbet would be delicious, too.

Photo by: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Tara Donne, FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Take Melissa d’Arabian’s dessert empanadas on your next tailgating excursion — or sneak one into your child’s lunchbox for a sweet surprise. Depending on how much time you have, you can fill the tender cream cheese crust with either store-bought or homemade applesauce.

Ina Garten Homemade Applesauce

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012,Television Food Network,G.P.

Marshall Troy, FOOD NETWORK : 2012,Television Food Network,G.P.

Speaking of applesauce, Ina Garten’s homemade version is out of this world and so worth the 20 minutes of prep work. She uses cinnamon, allspice and freshly squeezed orange juice to enhance the flavor for very few extra calories.

Apple Muffins; Ellie Krieger

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Replacing butter with applesauce in these sweet and fragrant muffins doesn’t just make them more nutritious — it also makes them moist and deepens their apple flavor. Enjoy them for dessert, or as a sweet on-the-go breakfast.

Mulled Cider

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

Many orchards bottle and sell fresh apple cider using their own harvest. If you come away from your apple-picking adventure with a few bottles, try mulling the cider into this classic fall party drink. Bobby Flay uses a combination of allspice, cinnamon and cloves to create the signature blend of comforting fall flavors. While nutritionists are quick to point out that hard cider isn't exactly "health food," it's still a nutritional step up from spiked eggnog and other cream-laden fall and winter drinks.

For more fall apple dishes, check out these recipes from our friends:
The Lemon Bowl: Sparkling Apple Cider Punch
Creative Culinary: Boozy Apple Crisp
Homemade Delish: Apple Chips
Napa Farmhouse 1885: "Grownup" Caramel Apples
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