What’s Inside: Hasselback Apples are the perfect sweater weather dessert because they encapsulate all of the best flavors of Fall — maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, and of course, apple. This is a 5-star dish that only requires a few staple pantry ingredients and minimal effort to make at home.
What Exactly Is Hasselbacking?
Before we dive into how to make these decadent, delicious, and delightful hasselback apples, let’s address the elephant in the room …
What the heck does “hasselback” mean?
According to TASTE Magazine, hasselbacking is a popular cooking method in which starchy foods like apples, potatoes, or even chicken breasts are sliced not-quite-all-the-way through in thin, even layers that are then stuffed or topped with additional flavorings. This method decreases the amount of time the food needs to cook because more of its surface area is exposed to heat, and more flavor cooks into the food, filling the slits with fats and seasonings. The finished product is crispy on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside. Plus, the hasselback pattern is a very attractive look.
The most widely circulated origin story is that hasselbackspotatis were first served in the 1950s at the Hasselbacken Restaurant and Hotel in Stockholm — and very few people noticed. For another half-century or so, it kicked around in pages of cookbooks and appeared on restaurant menus, largely without fanfare. It became trendy among food bloggers in 2011, which is when everyone seemed to hasselback everything.
How Do I Hasselback an Apple?
All you need to perfectly hasselback an apple is a sharp knife, a steady hand, and this technique.
- Slice the apple inside to remove the core and trim its ends..
- Starting at the outermost edges of the apple, cut most — but not all — of the way through each apple half at 1/8-inch intervals.
- Place the halved apple with their cut sides down in an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with melted ghee/butter/oil.
What About the Crumble Topping?
Don’t get me wrong; I love a good baked apple all on its own. But you do NOT want to skip this sweet, crunchy, streusel-like topping. It truly takes this dish to the next level.
Simply combine the flour, unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut oil or melted ghee, vanilla extract, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, and cardamom in a mixing bowl and set aside. Once you have prepared your hasselback apples, sprinkle the topping over the apples by hand, pressing on top of the apples. As they cook, the slits will open and the topping can wiggle down inside. Perfection!
Baked Apples Are the Perfect Fall Dessert
This dessert features all of the Fall flavors you crave when the temperatures start to drop that are typically found in sugar-rich dishes like apple pie, apple crumble, apple cobbler, and even coffee cake.
This hasselback apple recipe, however, will nip those cravings in the bud while staying on track with your clean eating journey.
Key Ingredients for Paleo Hasselback Apples
- Apples: It’s really up to you which type of apples you go with for this recipe, but I recommend honeycrisp. They’re sweet, tangy, crunchy, and hold up well to the added flavors, hasselback slicing, and baking process.
- Tigernut, Coconut or Almond flour: To keep these Paleo and AIP (nut-free), I used Tigernut flour in the topping for these hasselback apples. For non-AIP, you can easily use almond flour, as well!
- Shredded coconut: This one is optional for texture, instead of the traditional oats used. Make sure you get UNSWEETENED shredded coconut. If you can’t find it, you could get the unsweetened coconut flakes and pulse them a bit smaller. Other nuts like walnuts or pecans would also work well here in place of or along with the coconut. The nutty bite in the topping goes well with the apple flavor for the nut-lovers.
- Natural sweetener: Honey or maple syrup would work here; it just depends on your preference. I will say that maple syrup makes this dish even more Fall-y and brings out that cozy feeling we look for in food this time of year.
- Spices: Cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla bring this dish together and are reminiscent of apple pie and apple cobbler. For AIP, just use the cinnamon.
Tip: Top this dish with a heavy dollop of coconut yogurt or even homemade ice cream. You won’t regret it. Trust me!
How To Make the Best Hasselback Apples
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
- Hasselback your apples. (Follow instructions above to learn how.)
- Place hasselback apple halves flat sides down in an 8-inch square baking dish coated with melted ghee/butter/oil.
- Combine topping ingredients in a mixing bowl and sprinkle over the apples, pressing on top of the apples.
- Cover your pan with tin foil, and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and continue to bake for approx.10 minutes or until apples are tender.
- Remove pan from oven and let cool a bit before serving. Add a dollop of non-dairy yogurt and more coconut or chopped nuts on top, if you’d like. Enjoy!
More Paleo Dessert Recipes To Try
If you’re a fan of these hasselback apples, then you’ll love these other Paleo dessert recipes:
- Paleo Twix Bars with Tahini
- Chocolate-Covered Paleo Banana Pumpkin Truffles
- Non-Dairy Chocolate Custard Ice Cream
- Pegan Plantain Blondies
- AIP Paleo Banana Cream Pie Parfaits
Easy Paleo Hasselback Apples
- 2 large apples I like honeycrisp, peeled, cored, and halved vertically
- 2 1/2 Tbsp melted ghee/grass-fed butter or coconut oil, divided (use coconut oil for AIP)
- 3 Tbsp raw honey or maple syrup, divided
- 1/4 cup tigernut flour coconut, or any nut flour like almond flour; (use coconut or tigernut for AIP)
- 1 Tbsp shredded coconut unsweetened
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (omit for AIP)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (omit for AIP)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1-2 Tbsp optional topping: coconut yogurt
- Preheat oven to 400f degrees.
- Starting at the outermost edges, cut most (but not all) of the way through each apple half at 1/8-inch intervals.
- Place apple halves, cut sides down, in an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Coat apples with 1 Tbsp melted ghee/butter/oil, 1 Tbsp honey/maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. You can brush this on or pour over and rub in with your hands.
- Cover pan with tin foil and bake for approx. 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine 1 1/2 Tbsp ghee/oil, 2 Tbsp honey/maple syrup, flour, shredded coconut, vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, cardamom, and sea salt in a mixing bowl to create your topping. You can mix this with a spoon or fork by hand (it should reseemble a crumble).
- Remove the pan from the oven and remove the foil, carefully. Sprinkle the topping over the apples by hand, pressing on top of the apples with a spoon (as they cook, the slits will open and the topping can wiggle down inside). Add the pan back to the oven (uncovered) to bake for another 10-15 minutes or until apples are tender. If you'd like the topping to be crispier, you can broil it for just 2-3 minutes, watching it carefully.
- Remove pan from oven and let cool a bit before serving, add a dollop of non-dairy yogurt and optionally add more coconut or chopped nuts on top If you’d like! Enjoy.