Apple, Walnut & Quinoa Crunch

Curiously crunchy, packed with unexpected protein and wholesomely sweet, my recipe for Apple, Walnut & Quinoa Crunch is a fall season treat that won’t play tricks with your healthy lifestyle. This all-natural ingredient goodie is a sensible “candy” alternative that kids will actually beg for and moms won’t lose their heads over. Whip up a batch for yourself and another for those hungry ‘lil goblins haunting your house.  If allergic or just avoiding, you’ll be happy to know this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.

Based loosely on an old-fashioned “nut brittle” recipe, my version uses absolutely no corn syrup or granulated table sugar at all – instead, I’ve used a reduction of apple cider thickened with a bit of coconut sugar. One of the first ciders I look forward to in autumn is the Honey Crisp Apple Cider from Litehoue Foods. This Cold Pressed, 100 percent pure apple juice has a unique tart taste that is wonderfully balanced with sweet. It’s perfect poured straight from the container, served hot or cold, and also makes a great ingredient in recipes where you would prefer wholesome sweetness.

Top a glass to the rim with Honey Crisp Apple Cider for an eerily easy Halloween beverage the kids will love – grown-ups can fire it up however they like!

Another nutrition notable, my Apple, Walnut & Quinoa Crunch will satisfy that sweet tooth a little longer because it features protein-rich ingredients like quinoa and black walnuts that keep you feeling fuller longer. Quinoa has been a trendy health food for a while now, and for good reason. These little seeds are a complete protein source, boasting the entire amino-acid chain and are also easy to prepare – but this recipe actually uses quinoa uncooked!. But have you ever heard of BLACK walnuts? Unlike traditional (English) walnuts, which are yummy and nutritious themselves, black walnuts contain the most protein of ANY tree nut and have more dietary fiber than their English walnut cousins.

I like to munch on this Apple, Walnut & Quinoa Crunch straight off the pan and it is also delicious topped on Greek yogurt! For long runs and hikes, I like to pack a little plastic bag full for on-the-go energy that won’t melt or get yucky.

Apple, Walnut & Quinoa Crunch

Serves 4 | Finish in 1 hour 20 minutes
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Curiously crunchy, packed with protein and wholesomely sweet, this is the perfect addition to any fall foods!

Ingredients

1/3 cup  uncooked tri-color quinoa (can substitute another color)
1/2 cup  black walnuts, chopped (can substitute regular walnuts)
1/2 cup dehydrated baked apple chips, crumbled
1/4 cup rolled oats, packaged in gluten free facility
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 cup Litehouse Honey Crisp Apple Cider
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking liner as I did)

Using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa well under cold running water and spread out on a paper towel to dry. This will prevent bitterness.

Add quinoa, walnuts, oats, crumbled dehydrated apples, and salt to small mixing bowl, stirring to combine.

To a small saucepan, 1 ½ cups apple cider and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, until volume has been reduced to ½ cup liquid. Add coconut oil, coconut sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and simmer for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Pour apple cider “syrup” over the dry ingredients and stir to thoroughly coat. Arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into a uniform layer with a metal spoon. Uniformity in thickness will promote even cooking and keep edges from burning.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, rotating the pan around on the oven rack at the halfway point.  When removing from oven, color should be deep golden brown in color. Allow to cool completely so that it hardens up before breaking into bite-sized pieces.  

If you realize, after cooling that still soft in the center, you can return it to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, keeping a close eye.

Store leftovers in a sealed bag or container at room temperature up to one week, or in the freezer for up to three months.


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