Almond Butter Baked Apple
Like most doctors, I am a big fan of eating apples. The old saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away is actually true. Apples are a potent source of flavonols, important for fighting free radicals and calming inflammation in the brain. Flavonols also keep the immune system strong so it can fight off cancer and infections. These baked apples are stuffed with nutrient-dense almond butter and dates, with a bit of ginger for a spicy kick. Make them ahead of time and warm them up for breakfast.
- 4 medium-sized apples
- 4 tablespoons of almond butter
- 1 date, pit removed, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup cashews, raw or roasted
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons Vanilla Bean Cashew Cream or unsweetened Greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Wash the apples and blot dry. Using a paring knife or apple corer, remove the core and stem end of the apple, making sure not to puncture all the way through the bottom of the apple. (If you do, just patch the hole with a piece of the apple core.)
- Stuff each apple with a spoonful of almond butter.
- Sprinkle the chopped dates and crystalized ginger over each apple.
- Once each apple is packed and a little overflowing, snuggle into a rimmed baking dish. Stir olive oil and maple syrup together in a small cup and pour over the apples.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the apples are tender and a pool of juices collects in the bottom of the baking dish.
- To serve, dollop each apple with a spoonful of Vanilla Bean Cashew Cream, if using. Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with cashews.
Brain Health Notes:
- Apple peels contain up to 6 times more antioxidants than the rest of the fruit. Whenever possible, eat the peels!
- Both apples and almond butter are great sources of fiber which helps slow the absorption of simple sugars and keep insulin from spiking.
- Cinnamon, through a mechanism of elevated sodium benzoate levels, helps increase neurotrophic factors in the brain — important for encouraging the survival of existing neurons and stimulating the birth of new ones.
- To cut back on sugar in this recipe, omit the ginger or the dates. Or, omit the maple syrup and drizzle with olive oil only.
- Almond butter has a brain healthier fat profile than peanut butter; it is mostly mono- and polyunsaturated fats with very little saturated ones.
- Seek out almond butter without added sugar or processed oils, such as palm oil. If your supermarket offers freshly ground almond butter, that is usually the best choice.
BHK Cooking School Notes:
- Substitute any natural nut or seed butter you like for the almond butter —cashew, sunflower seed, or pumpkin seed butter would be good. I especially love stuffing apples with tahini (sesame seed paste.)
- Instead of dates, stuff your apples with diced dried apricots, cherries, or currants.
- Instead of sprinkling with cashews, top with your favorite granola. Here’s mine: Brain Works Granola.
Reposted from Annie Fenn, M.D. and the Brain Health Kitchen.