Vegan Salted Caramel + Apple Donuts
There was a period in my life a few years ago during which I ate a lot of donuts. And by a lot, I mean nearly every day. And if not every day, then I would sometimes eat two donuts in a day to make up for lost time. I am simultaneously embarrassed and proud of this phase. Embarrassed because I couldn't restrain myself from eating donuts and became the very embodiment of gluttony. Proud because I managed to not contract diabetes despite my heavy consumption of refined sugar and empty carbs. Luckily, that phase did not last very long, and I am proud to say that these days, I enjoy donuts on an occasional basis instead of a daily basis.
And second, I want to mention that, yes, I am fully aware that these aren't actual donuts, particularly given my storied history of traditional donut consumption. But, these apple slices are shaped like donuts and lend themselves quite well to sugary toppings, just like old fashioned donuts, so we will be calling them apple donuts.
To make perfectly round donut slices out of apples, I use this inexpensive apple corer that I bought on Amazon. Admittedly, my knife skillz aren't the best, so there's no way I'd be able to delicately core an apple without this tool. I've tried, and I basically ended up with chunky apple blobs (appetizing, no?), but if you have more delicate hands, you may have more success.
And for the caramel sauce, I'm happy to report that it's completely raw and requires nothing but a food processor. If you really want to make it even more decadent, you can heat it up on the stove for a few minutes before serving. In addition to lathering this sauce on apple donuts, I recommend you use it as a dessert dip for berries or any other fruit, as a replacement for maple syrup when you're eating pancakes or waffles, and as a topping for all kinds of ice cream. I am 100% confident you will love it.
Salted Caramel Apple Donuts
Raw Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo
1 cup Medjool dates (if you don't have a high speed food processor, you may need to soak your dates for 10 minutes to soften them)
1/2 cup raw coconut nectar (I use this brand)
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Large pinch of sea salt
3-4 organic apples (I prefer really crisp apples like Fuji, Granny Smith or Pink Lady)
1-2 lemons, juiced
Toppings of choice: strawberries, raspberries, shredded coconut, crushed walnuts, pumpkin seeds, vegan chocolate chips, tahini, vegan whipped cream (some of these toppings are not Paleo - modify to suit your dietary needs).
In a high-speed food processor, add the dates, raw coconut nectar, coconut milk, almond butter, vanilla extract and sea salt. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth, creamy and thick. You may need to scrape down the sides as you go. Taste for salt and additional salt to your taste.
If desired, heat the salted caramel sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warmed through.
For apple donuts, remove apple core using apple corer or a paring knife. Then slice into rounds that are approximately 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick.
Soak the apples in a lemon juice water mixture to prevent them from browning. Use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every 1 cup of water that you need. Soak the apples for 10 minutes and then pat dry with a paper towel.
Dip the apples into the salted caramel sauce. Then add your desired toppings. Place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes in order to firm up before enjoying.