Imagine a few perfectly crisp and tart Granny Smith apples dipped in rich homemade caramel sauce and wrapped in sweet drop biscuit topping. Sounds good, right? Now imagine the whole thing swirled with creamy vanilla bean ice cream and some more of that homemade caramel sauce. Yeah, it’s pretty much perfection and it goes by the name Caramel Apple Crumble.

The true pinnacle of autumn desserts. 

Granny Smith ApplesVegan Apple Cobbler

It was well after both my culinary training and years as a professional baker that I came to understand the difference between cobbler, crisps, and crumbles. As far as I was concerned, the words were largely synonymous with each other; perhaps just region variations of one another. However, when you are a culinary school graduate, professional baker, and food blogger, people expect you to know things about food and after saying, “I don’t know” a few too many times, I decided it was time to do a little internet pastry research. This is what I found out:

All three desserts are similar – a dessert containing fresh fruit, sugared and baked, then topped with a type of pastry. Like pie, all three desserts bake until the juices of the fruit begin to bubble up and create the thick, syrupy fruit filling we are all familiar with. The difference is in the toppings. 

Crisp and Crumbles: may be interchangeable depending on the region but it seems like there is one simple difference: crisps are topped with a streusel that contains oats whereas crumble’s streusel does not.  

Vegan Blackberry Crisp - notice the oat-filled streusel

Boysenberry Bourbon Crisp

Cobbler: topped with sweet drop biscuit that rises when cooked, creating the look of a cobbled road.

After doing my research, I was

       a) pleasantly surprised that I have both a crumble and crisp correctly represented on my blog
       b) equally surprised that I had never made a cobbler before. Ever.

So I decided to remedy the situation.

Vegan Apple Cobbler

This Caramel Apple Crumble is quick to throw together with ingredients you likely have on hand, incredibly delicious, and truly is the perfect fall dessert. 

Vegan Caramel Apple Cobbler
Serves 6
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Apple Cobbler Filling
  1. 4 Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. juice from 1/2 of a lemon
Apple Cobbler Topping
  1. 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup white sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 cup (solid) coconut oil
  7. 1/4 cup almond milk
  1. Caramel Sauce (see below)
  2. Non-Dairy Vanilla Ice Cream
Caramel Sauce
  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 2 teaspoons corn syrup
  4. 1/4 cup coconut milk
To make Apple Cobbler
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8" cast iron skillet or 8x8" baking pan. Set aside.
  2. Place apples in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients for apple filling and toss to evenly coat. Transfer to prepared pan.
  3. To make the cobbler topping, combing flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt in a small bowl. Fold in coconut oil and almond milk until flour mixture turns into a thick dough; you may need to use your hands to get dough evenly mixed. Take spoonfuls of dough and drop them over the apples until evenly spread over apple filling. It does not need to cover apples completely - the topping will expand when baking.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is lightly browned.
  5. Removed from oven and serve with caramel sauce and non-dairy vanilla ice cream.
To make caramel sauce
  1. Place sugar, water, and corn syrup in a very clean medium sized pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Do not stir. Boil for about 10 minutes until the sugar has melted and begins to turn a rich golden brown. Immediately remove from heat and slowly add coconut milk while whisking continuously. The caramel will bubble up quite a bit so use caution while adding creamer.
  2. Whisk until combined. Pour caramel through a sieve into a jar and allow to cool to room temperature. The caramel will thicken as it cools.
  1. Caramel can be omitted for a classic Apple Cobbler
My Darling Vegan

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