Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #166: Vanilla Apple Crisp

By Renee Korczak PhD, University of Minnesota Nutrition Graduate

Photo Credit - MissMessie/Flickr
Photo Credit – MissMessie/Flickr

When the seasons change from summer to fall, there is nothing better than taking advantage of the naturally sweet and crispy apples found in Minnesota’s orchards. I was born on the east coast and never tasted such varieties like Honey Crisp and SweeTango; my mouth waters just thinking about these two delicious fruits.

Apples are important to incorporate into our diets because they contain a soluble fiber called pectin. Pectin is a viscous fiber that can gel in our stomach, promoting fullness and optimal macronutrient absorption. Besides their fiber content, apples also contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Quercetin is especially beneficial to our immune system boosting levels to help fight off common colds and the flu. Below is one of my favorite recipes that can be served for dessert on a chilly fall day.

Vanilla Apple Crisp

Adapted from

(Serves 12)


  • 8 cups of thinly sliced peeled apples (your choice of apple)
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
  • 2 tbsp. sweet unsalted butter
  • 12 vanilla wafers, crushed to about ½ cup crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups Cool Whip topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss apples with ¼ cup of the brown sugar and 1 tsp. of the cinnamon, spoon into 8 or 9 inch square baking pan.
  2. Combine oats, the remaining ¼ cup brown sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a medium bowl, cut in butter with pastry blender or knife until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add wafer crumbs and mix well. Spread crumb mixture evenly over the apples and drizzle the vanilla extract over the apples.
  3. Bake 30 minutes or until the apples are tender, serve warm or cooled with whipped topping.

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