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There are few things as aromatic and delicious as a bubbly apple crisp right out of the oven! One of my fondest memories of childhood was picking apples in the fall. We loved the apple farms abundantly located throughout our northern town in Massachusetts.

Apple picking was easy for us kids because we picked from the dwarf apple trees in the region. Afterward, we would all get a glass of cold, sweet apple cider and gobble down huge slices of apple pie. Since I no longer live in that region, every year I order the same apples from these farms so that I can receive a child memory shipped to my doorstep.

When they arrive, we devour those lovely apples just as they are, and if there are any left over, we make skillet apple crisp. The buttery apple crumb topping is just heavenly. I don’t like to use sugar because I want the apple flavor to shine through, so I use either honey or maple syrup. Sometimes I use both. Below is my winning recipe.

Simple Skillet Apple Crisp – Using Honey Instead of Sugar

7 – 8 apples (peeled and cored) I used Macintosh, but you can use any combination you want

Juice of one lemon

Three tablespoons of apple juice

1/2 cup of honey or maple syrup (more or less depending on the sweetness of your apples and your taste)

One teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

one tablespoon of flour


1/2 cup of butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup of honey or maple syrup

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup oatmeal (uncooked)

Pinch of cinnamon



In a large bowl, squeeze the juice of one lemon over the cored and peeled apples. Add the apple juice and combine well.

In a separate bowl, heat honey until pourable and then add the cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over apples and combine. Then add the flour and toss well. Set aside. Take a medium sized cast iron skillet and generously grease the bottom and sides. Heat the skillet until the butter melts. Pour apple mixture into the skillet and cook lightly just until the apples start to soften ever so slightly. I love using an iron skillet because not only does it increase the iron content of the food, it also provides more even cooking.  Food cooks faster and remains hot longer.  Another bonus is that when you cook food in a cast iron skillet, it makes for a beautiful, nostalgic presentation.  This is the kind I have here.

Crumb Topping:

In a bowl, combine the salt, cinnamon, flour, and oatmeal. Heat the butter and honey together until mixture is pourable, and then combine with the flour/oat mixture. Arrange this crumb topping over your apples, and it is ready for the oven. Place the skillet on a lined sheet pan to catch any juices or spills. Cook for about 30 – 45 minutes or until the crisp is golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Delicious!

Do you have any recipes for skillet apple crisp that doesn’t use sugar? What do you use instead?


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