Healthy, yet addicting. These Sweet & Sour Apple Rings are the kind of “candy” you don’t mind your children eating…if they ever get any.
Reminiscent of a Different Time
When I was younger, I remember vacationing with a bunch of families and their kids by a lake. There was the coolest general store on the dock that sold these Jolly Rancher hard candy stix in flavors like watermelon, apple, and cherry. They were only $.10 a piece and all the kids would buy and trade candy stix all week long. For one, the memory evokes feelings of pure JOY and freedom in a time when kids could wander around in “rat packs” buying candy with money we somehow always seemed to have. Secondly, candy was a treat, and at $.10 a piece, it was a treasure that brought us kids together.
Why am I reminiscing about candy on my healthy blog? The memory does spark JOY, but the real reason is I accidentally discovered a healthy treat that took me back to that dock at 10 years of age sucking on an Apple Jolly Rancher Stick. I was baking Sourdough Apple and Rosemary Dinner Rolls which called for dried apples. I didn’t have any dried apples in the house, so I quickly cored and sliced 6 apples, rinsed them in fresh squeezed lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown, and I popped them in my Excalibur Dehydrator for a few hours.
Totally expecting the spongy apples you buy in the store, which kind of give me the willies, I only made enough for the recipe. When they were finished dehydrating, I popped one in my mouth to try, and yep, you guessed it…10 years old sucking on an apple Jolly Rancher stick. The cool part… this was healthy. It didn’t even cost $.10. I wanted everyone to try; I was so excited…and then I didn’t want anyone to try. I suddenly wanted to hoard them all for myself. I began searching through the cupboards for a secure place no one would ever look…including me (don’t you hate it when you hide something in such a good spot that not even you can remember where it was?) Suddenly, I snapped out of my gremlinic state (yes, I just made up that word) and realized they weren’t for me. They were for the dinner rolls…all of them. Sadly, I set them aside for my recipe and decided that I would have to make another batch the next day…with enough to share.
How to Make These Sweet & Sour Apple Treats
These are the easiest snacks under the sun, besides popcorn, and they are like popping candy…only without the side effects. Just take about 6 apples (I used Honeycrisp because they are my favorite), and peel and core them. Fuji and Gala apples are fine too if you want a sweeter apple. Granny Smith for a more tart taste. I think Honeycrisp are the best of both worlds, but why choose? Use a variety of apples.
Either using a mandoline or a chefs knife, slice the apples 1/3″ thick( does anyone actually measure these things?) I am guessing the thicker the cut the more spongy they will be. I am not into sponge. I want a little more crispy, like a chip. In a bowl, toss with the juice of one fresh squeezed lemon to coat. This prevents your apples from turning brown and adds that tart flavor. If you are not wanting tart, then dilute your lemon juice with water.
Now you could sprinkle with apple pie spice or cinnamon or just leave plain, which is what I did because I was using it in my bread recipe. Lay them out on the dehydrator racks and set to your dried fruit setting. My setting is 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 57 degrees Celsius. Let it dehydrate for at least 4 hours or until desired crispness. The longer you dehydrate the longer they will keep. I didn’t need them to keep for longer than 5 minutes because I practically ate them all in one sitting. Probably not the best idea since technically that is 6 apples in one sitting. They are addicting.
More Than Just Snacks of Pure Sweet & Sour Bliss
Use these as a snack on the go, tossed into an apple chicken salad like Panera’s Fuji Apple Chicken Salad, or reconstitute and use in the Sourdough Apple and Rosemary Dinner Rolls. They are a great way for using up an abundance of apples and preserving that Autumn Flavor all winter long. Not to mention the fact that with every bite you get to be a kid again, sucking on that apple Jolly Rancher stick.