Cider Caramel Apple Crisp – This gluten-free, vegan apple crisp is UNBELIEVABLE! It’s entirely naturally sweetened and the cider caramel is going to change your life!
Post updated & video added Sept. 2017. Originally posted, Oct. 2014.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally riding the pumpkin train, but September and the fall always gets me excited about apple everything, too. Every year, we wait expectantly for cloudy gallons of apple cider to appear in stores and scoop up as much as we can. It’s alway so sad when the last cider of the season is finished!
This Cider Caramel Apple Crisp a everything good about apple season. It’s made from in-season apples and sweetened with a cider caramel sauce that makes this crisp absolutely mouthwatering. I’ve brought it to book clubs (where we’ve finished off double batches in the blink of an eye), served it for Thanksgiving, and made it on rainy fall afternoons when the house called for a little cozying up. It’s a perfect fall dessert.
The real star here is totally the cider caramel. Made from a reduction of apple cider (or apple juice if you can’t find cider), it lends concentrated apple flavor and just the right amount of sweetness. I’m always amazed as I bite into it that there isn’t more sugar involved.
Drizzled over thinly sliced apples and the perfect blend of warm spices, it makes the house smell almost as amazing as it tastes. It’s just lovely on its own. Topped with a little vanilla ice cream (NadaMoo vanilla is my favorite dairy free ice cream), it goes to the next level.
NOTES ON THE RECIPE:
Can’t find apple cider? You can totally use apple juice. I’ve tried it both ways. I do prefer cider, but apple juice works just great.
Need a grain-free topping? If you’re following a paleo or grain free diet, this is a great grain free crisp topping. The rest of the crisp is 100% gluten and dairy free, so you’d just need to swap out the topping.
Can’t have nuts? No worries! I’ve tried this topping with gluten free flour instead of the almond flour and additional oats instead of the pecans.
Make ahead tip. This cider caramel sauce will keep for about a week, so you can totally make it ahead of time. The leftovers (if there are any!) are unbelievable on everything from ice cream to you morning oatmeal.
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This caramel recipe was inspired by Hannah of Honey and Jam. She posted a great recipe at Cup of Jo a few years ago, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since. Thank you, Hannah!
For the cider caramel:
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil (can use butter or ghee if you like)
For the filling:
- 6 cups sliced, peeled apples
- 1/2 cup cider caramel
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch salt
For the topping:
- 1 cup rolled oats (I use gluten free)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (can sub additional oats)
- 1/4 cup almond flour (can sub white or GF flour)
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil (can sub butter or ghee if preferred)
- 3–4 Tbsp cider caramel
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the Caramel:
- Place cider in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the cider reduce. When it’s about half of it’s original volume, add the syrup and coconut oil. Continue to reduce until you have 1 cup of cider caramel. Caramel will be very liquid when hot, but will thicken a bit as it cools.
For the Filling:
- Make the filling by tossing apples, caramel, and a pinch of salt together. Pour into a 2 quart (8×8″) baking dish.
For the Topping:
- In a medium bowl, make the topping by tossing together oats, pecans, almond meal/flour, oil, syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Blend with a fork until well combined. Sprinkle crumble topping over the apple filling.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool before serving. Drizzle remaining cider caramel over the crisp and serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or coconut cream if desired.