Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Writer's Snack: How to Make Apple Pie Fruit Roll-Ups by Cleo Coyle

Sitting is the new smoking. Have you encountered this phrase yet? It's making the rounds. If you have the sort of occupation that requires you to sit for long periods of time, the recent health news that "prolonged sitting is shortening our lives" is less than cheery. 

Like many writers, I do plenty of walking to counteract the sitting. Then, of course, there's the issue of noshing. One can only eat so many carrot sticks before one's nose begins to twitch, so I'm always on the lookout for snacks that satisfy without expanding my, er...assets.

These Apple Pie Roll-Ups fit the bill. They’re chewy and sweet with the flavor of apple pie so they taste great with a cup of coffee or tea, yet this "fruit candy" is low in fat and calories and insanely easy to prepare. May you...

Eat with joy! 
~ Cleo 

Culinary mystery writer
Cleo Coyle is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
Cleo Coyle's
Apple Pie
Fruit Roll-Ups

The apple sauce, maple syrup, vanilla, and spices in this recipe blend together to make a sweet, chewy snack that tastes just like apple pie. It's guilt free, too. While store bought Roll-Ups can include such unsavory items as corn syrup, cottonseed oil, and artificial colorings, this homemade version uses better tasting (and better for-you) ingredients. Best of all, you’re in control of the recipe so you can make your Roll-Ups as sweet or as tart as you like. You can even use artificial sweeteners if you’re trying to cut sugar out of your diet. ~ Cleo

To download this recipe in a PDF format
that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Makes 1 half-sheet pan (18" x 13") of Apple Pie Fruit Roll-Ups


1 23-ounce jar (2-1/3 cups) natural,
    unsweetened apple sauce 
    (do not use chunky apple sauce) 

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (or use your favorite sweetener, 
      adjust amount to your own taste) 

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

½ teaspoon apple pie spice (*or make your own, see directions 
    at end of recipe) 

Directions: Whisk together all ingredients until well blended. Line a rimmed half-sheet pan (18 x 13-inches) with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Pour the apple sauce mixture into the paper-lined (or silicone lined) pan. 

TILT the pan in each direction until the mixture is evenly spread over the entire pan. (For best results, do not use a utensil to spread the mixture. Tilting will give you the best results for an even thin layer over the entire pan.) Bake at 170 degrees Fahrenheit for about 8 hours (yes 8 hours). Do not increase the heat. The low heat and long cook time is necessary for the apple sauce to properly dehydrate. 

When is it done? As the roll-up slowly gives up its moisture, it will harden and “finish” from the outside edges in. Watch for the center of the pan to become as dry and un-sticky as the outside edges. Then you know the roll-up is done. Do not over-cook. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Carefully peel the fruit roll-up off the parchment paper or silicone sheet. (See my photos.) Wrap immediately in plastic to preserve the chewiness of the roll-up and prevent over-drying. 

How to store: You must wrap the roll-up in plastic fairly soon after it’s finished dehydrating to prevent it from over-drying. No need to refrigerate. It should keep up to two weeks this way.

*Apple Pie Spice: Here’s how to make your own: For every 1 teaspoon mix the following: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (some cooks replace cardamom with ginger).

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 
To learn more, click here. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

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  1. This is really something, Cleo! What a nifty idea. Can't wait to try them!

  2. Cleo, how easy is this and how wonderful for moms (and dads) on the go, for kids, for office workers, for writers! Yum! Thank you for sharing and for the beautiful step by step pix.

    Daryl / Avery

    1. Avery/Daryl - Great note, thanks for mentioning moms/dads/kids. These are especially great for children, chewy and fun to eat, and if you make them yourself, you can leave out the stuff that's not so great for kids (the artificial colors and flavors, the cottonseed oil and corn syrup, etc)...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. Wow, Cleo, sitting is the new smoking? that's a horrifying thought but I'm afraid it's true. I read we're all supposed to get treadmill desks now so we can keep moving as we write:(.

    On the other hand, the dog keeps me moving too:).

    the fruit roll-up sounds great. I can't wait for peach season...

    1. Lucy/Roberta - As hilarious as it sounds, the "treadmill desk" does exist. I have something called an "air desk" that simply raises my laptop to a standing height. I could theoretically use it on a treadmill, but I mainly use it to vary my writing positions so that I can stand at times instead of always sitting. On the other hand...

      You can't beat dogs for keeping you active, no matter the weather, they need their walks, which means you get them, too.

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. Cleo, I'm so glad you shared this. Who would have thought they would be so easy to make? I'm sure this is much less expensive than buying them and it doesn't contain a lot of chemicals. Sounds absolutely delicious. Who doesn't love the flavors of apple pie? They'd be great on a summer picnic or outing!


    1. You're so right, these would be great to take on a road trip, much healthier than candy and no refrigeration needed! Thanks, Krista, have a great week...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. Another winner!
    Do you cut it into more manageable pieces before wrapping in plastic? Then you wouldn't have to unwrap the whole thing for a quick bite.
    Peaches, raspberries, mango, the possibilities! For some you could use the applesauce as the base and add another fruit as a puree.

    1. You're such a sweetheart, Libby, and, yes, indeed, you can certainly cut the large roll-up into smaller pieces before wrapping in plastic. Kitchen shears are the best way to cut them up.

      As far as other flavors, I'll be posting more Roll-Up recipes as summer fruit becomes more plentiful. I think it's a nice way to make good use of over-ripe fruit.

      Thanks again for stopping by the Kitchen, Libby, have a delicious week...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter