You know that feeling of elation where you jump up and down and squeal like a pre-teen girl? That is what spending the weekend in Oaxaca for Day of the Dead last weekend was like for me. I have always dreamt of going there for Day of the Dead, but what teacher can take off several days in the fall to head to Mexico? Certainly wouldn’t fly anywhere I have worked. But this year it happened to fall on a weekend in which I happened to have extra days off. Where to go, where to go? I thought of different cities where I could spend my long weekend exploring, and then…lightbulb! I decided to head to one of the cities most well known for their Día de los Muertos festivities to check out what actually goes on during this celebration. What did I find? That it was like how I had always learned and taught my students. Locals were very open about discussing their altars and traditions, there were parades and fun costumes all over, fireworks, face painting, decorated graves with music and families, and food everywhere.
After spending an amazing weekend celebrating and eating tons of tacos, coconut paletas from La Michoacana, and ahem, shopping, I was officially out of energy for much cooking or baking when I got home. And it was also the first time it actually felt like fall and I had to put socks on my feet inside the house. The lack of sleep and the fall-like weather were the perfect storm to convince me to put this long thought recipe to the test. This is the lazy baker’s dream. Not to mention a health nut’s perfectly “legal” indulgence. It is like apple pie without the crust. I was about to get Jason Biggs all on this!
Inside out baked caramel apple
4 medium apples
1/4 c. unsweetened apple butter
1/4 c. almond milk
1/2 tbsp. almond butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Pre-heat oven to 400˚F.
Cut the tops off the apples. Chop the apple insides into small pieces and set aside. With a knife, hollow out the inside of the apple, removing the core. Make sure to leave a big enough space for you to fill the apple.
In a small bowl, whisk together the apple butter, almond milk, almond butter and salt.
Pour a small amount of the apple butter “caramel” into each apple cup. Top with some chopped walnuts and apple. Pour another small amount of caramel and layer again with walnuts and apple. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of each apple.
Place stuffed apples on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Top with vegan, sugar-free vanilla ice cream. Get the recipe below.
Vanilla bean ice cream (Vitamix)
6-8 coconut milk(light or full fat) ice cubes
1/4 c. cashews (or 2 tbsp. cashew butter or coconut butter)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
1/4 tsp. salt
2 pitted medjool dates
2-3 ice cubes
Place all ingredients into the Vitamix and use the tamper to push down into blade, until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
Notes: If you don’t have a Vitamix blender, use 1/2 can of coconut milk, unfrozen. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Place in a glass container and place in freezer for 3 hours, whipping every 30-45 minutes.
Check out more Vitamix ice cream tips and tricks
I absolutely adored Oaxaca and getting to know the smaller parts of town outside the city center. Though I was there for a short time, I feel I was really able to see the beauty in the people, the streets and the art of the city.