There are a ton of options out there for holiday desserts, and many of them are loaded with sugar. If there is a dessert you look forward to eat every year during the holiday season (I’m looking at you, pumpkin pie), then I say have a small piece and thoroughly enjoy it. But if you’re looking for ways to cut back on sugar and still create a super tasty dessert, then look no further than these cranberry & oat-stuffed apples!
Yes, there is still sugar in this recipe. Not a lot, and much less than traditional desserts – only 16g per serving (less than most 6-ounce yogurts, for reference), and it comes with 4g of fiber from the apples, cranberries, almonds and oats. In my kitchen, I mostly use a combination of granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey and maple syrup because I like their flavor and they are affordable, but there are many other sweetener options out there, like stevia, date syrup, monk fruit, etc, and you’re welcome to use whatever combination you’d like. Just note that some sweetners are much sweeter than others, so I’d suggest reading the directions on each package to determine how much to substitute.
My goal with these recipes is to share healthier options that are affordable, practical and enjoyable. And that, of course, contain more nutrition than the traditional variety (which is why I featured apples, cranberries, almonds and oats).
Keep in mind as you go through this holiday season that it’s okay to enjoy sweet treats in moderation, and that most recipes will still be delicious if 1/2 of the sugar is cut out (this sweet potato casserole is the perfect example!). Sugar isn’t nutritious, but if it’s threaded in small amounts through a balanced diet, it is okay – and it’s necessary to make some food palatable. I want you to also remember not to feel guilty if you eat some sugar – you can still eat a balanced, healthful diet without cutting out ALL sugar.
Now, go ahead and enjoy a cranberry & oat-stuffed apple, if that’s your thing! 😉Print
A lightened-up holiday dessert of baked apples stuffed with cranberry sauce and a crumbly oat and almond topping.
- 1 cup whole cranberries
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, honey or maple syrup
- Zest and juice of 1 medium orange
- 4 apples, halved, seeded and cored
- 4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
- ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 3 tablespoons chopped sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, honey or maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Place the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and orange juice to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until cranberries have burst and the mixture is thickened.
- Place the apples in the prepared baking sheet and brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon and remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter.
- Spoon about a tablespoon of cranberry sauce into the well of each apple half. Spoon about a tablespoon of the oat mixture on top of the cranberry sauce and press it down gently.
- Wrap the baking dish in aluminum foil and bake 20-25 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until the apples are slightly tender and oat topping is lightly browned.
- Serve apple halves in bowls and drizzle with honey or maple syrup.
Cooking Tip: Use a melon baller to seed and core the apple halves.
Substitution Tip: Try chopped walnuts or pecans instead of almonds. Use sweetener of choice in this recipe (there are endless options).
- Serving Size: 1 apple half
- Calories: 165
- Sugar: 16g
- Sodium: 2mg
- Fat: 8g
- Saturated Fat: 4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 4g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 25g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 2g
- Cholesterol: 15mg
Keywords: dessert, stuffed apples, apple, apples, cranberry, cranberries, oat, holiday