Mini Caramel Apple Pies

Apples are a seriously underrepresented ingredient here on 1IC. There’s only about 3-4 good apple recipes and that’s a shame because 1) apples are delicious and 2) a study of older Australian women found that an apple a day reduces risk of death by 35%! Imagine a miracle drug that reduces your chances of dying by 35% and only costs like $.50… An apple a day, I guess it’s true!

So if you’re looking to get more apples into your diet, this recipe might be the way to go. Each cupcake-sized pie is made with a whole wheat crust stuffed with a mixture of minced apples and a delicious date-based caramel sauce, all baked until golden brown and delicious. It’s super sweet and satisfying, but sweetened entirely with fruit (other than a tablespoon of maple syrup) and made with whole grains and nuts. It’s the kind of apple pie you can feel good about eating for breakfast.

Best of all, these little mini pies are really easy to throw together in about 20 minutes and there’s only three steps. They are perfect for this time of year and would make a great addition to any Thanksgiving or holiday party.

Makes: 6 mini pies


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 5 tablespoons applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 + 7 medjool dates
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 large apples (any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Step One: Crust

To make the crust, first combine the applesauce, coconut oil, maple syrup, 3 dates, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times, scraping down the sides after each run, until the ingredients are somewhat integrated. Next, add the 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup rolled oats and pulse the mixture just a few times (don’t over-mix the wheat or it will become rubbery) until you have an even dough that is somewhere between sticky and crumbly. Note: if it’s too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons more applesauce, too sticky, add a dash more flour.

Divide this dough between 6 (lightly oiled) cupcake molds, taking your time to press evenly along the bottom and sides. Set aside to chill.

Step Two: Caramel

This caramel is one of the hidden gems in the vegan universe. It’s so sweet and tastes just like caramel, but is made entirely with dates and almond butter. To make, combine in a blender: 7 pitted medjool dates, 3 tablespoons of almond butter, 3 tablespoons almond milk, a teaspoon of vanilla, and few dashes of salt. Blend until smooth and add just enough almond butter as needed to create a thick but flowing sauce. Amazing, right?

Preheat the oven to 350º F

Step Three: Bake

Mince two large apples into small pieces. I basically cut the apples like an onion, into small rectangular slivers so that they will cook more quickly and fit better into the small molds. When ready, mix the apple slices in a bowl with a generous amount of the caramel sauce (probably not all of it) and a decent amount of cinnamon. Fill each pie crust to the brim with this mixture and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes, just until the tops of the apples or crust start to turn dark brown.

Serve warm with a drizzle of leftover caramel sauce and another dash of cinnamon.


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    • Hi Nancy, the reason I used apple sauce is to cut down on the oil needed. If you want to go 100% oil free, you might be able to get by with extra apple sauce in place of the oil.

  1. Sure wish you would publish your recipes so that they could be easily printed out – without all the pictures. Most other writers do a separate print style – can you not do this too? Thanks

  2. I made this with gluten-free all-purpose flour from Trader Joes for the crust. Though the caramel filling was delish (I could have added 2 more dates to make it perfect!), my crust was indeed rubbery.

    Did the rubbery crust problem happen because I ran the processor to long (I acheived actual dough balls) or because it was gluten free flour?

  3. Hey Felicia! Two things about that… 1) the rubbery texture of over processing would come from the gluten itself, so that’s definitely not the case with GF flour! 2) it might have been the GF blend itself – that stuff is always tricky.

    Also this crust is definitely not a standard flaky pie crust that’s 80% butter – there’s definitely a whole grain, hearty texture to it, but it I didn’t find it rubbery or too chewy, so I’m guessing it was mostly the GF flour.

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