apple pie bites

Date and Nut Apple Pie Bites with Maca

We’re so excited to share with the LearningHerbs community one of our favorite fall-inspired recipes: Date and Nut Apple Pie Bites with Maca. This herbal recipe is one of over 75 included in The Kosmic Kitchen Cookbook.

Where we live, nothing says fall like apple pie. Apples are a big deal here in west Sonoma County! The heritage variety Gravenstein has been cultivated here for commercial production since the late 1800s and provides the Bay Area with fresh apples all season long. Instead of baking a pie with sugar and flour, we decided to make snack-sized versions to enjoy all the seasonal spices and sweet apples.

Maca has a nutty flavor that plays well with walnuts, and is a warming and energizing adaptogen, great for the cooler fall months.

apple pie bites

A Look at Fall Energetics

This time of year is synonymous with drier, cooler weather, reminding us to nourish and ground ourselves. To ward off cold and dry imbalances, it’s important to focus on foods that have the opposite qualities: heavy, oily, and moistening. Look for flavors that are wholesomely sweet such as root vegetables, squash, and pumpkins.

Soups and stews are perfect for daily meals, as they provide easily digestible nutrients that keep skin, hair, and nails supple. Enjoying seaweeds cooked in broths and adding sea salt to meals will help moisten the body as well.

It’s no surprise that many foods during this time of year feature warming herbs and spices—apples stewed in cinnamon, squash with savory garlic and sage, a warm mug of tea sprinkled with nutmeg—these flavors impart comfort and nostalgia as well as aid in warming the body and stoking digestive fire.

As the season is changing, rituals should transition from the lighter, cooling qualities of summer to heavier, warming qualities. Taking hot baths to soothe muscles and calm any anxiety will be a key practice to balance the body. Slathering on and massaging the skin with oils will help create a protective barrier from the dry air and further relax the nervous system.

Taking time to give extra attention to the body through food, herbs, and rituals will make you less susceptible to the common colds floating around this time of year. Spending time listening to your body, creating space to be alone, and enjoying the stillness of resting are just what this season calls for.

apple pie bites

Key Adaptogen: Grounded Energy with Maca

This recipe calls for maca powder, but feel free to use another adaptogenic powder or restorative blend that works well for you and your unique body. Maca is perfectly warming and sweet, which helps to balance out some of the elements of the fall season.

Maca (Lepidium meyenii)

Energetics: Warming, sweet, slightly bitter

Parts Used: Root

Benefits: Maca root, endemic to the Andes of Peru and Bolivia, has long been a traditional food source for its high nutritional content of amino acids, vitamins, fiber, and fatty acids. This warming, slightly sweet, and nutty-flavored root is used to promote stamina, fertility, and healthy libido while helping bring balance to the endocrine system.

apple pie bites

Date and Nut Apple Pie Bites with Maca

Recipe from The Kosmic Kitchen Cookbook by Sarah Kate Benjamin and Summer Singletary (Roost Books, 2020).

What you’ll need…

  • 2 apples, cored and diced
  • ½ tablespoon maca powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons raw hemp seeds, divided
  • Pinch of sea salt
  1. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the diced apples, maca powder, spices, and water. Cover and cook over medium heat to let the apples soften, making sure to stir to prevent burning.
  2. Once apples are softened, remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Then add the mixture to a food processor along with the walnuts, dates, 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds, and a pinch of sea salt and pulse until the mixture becomes doughlike. Add 1 teaspoon of water at a time if the mixture is too thick and hard to work with.
  4. Scrape down the food processor, removing the mixture and adding it to a mixing bowl.
  5. On a small plate, add 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds in an even layer.
  6. Wet your hands to make the bites easier to handle, then scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough into your hands and roll it into a little ball.
  7. Once all the bites are made, roll one side in the hemp seeds.
  8. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Yield: Makes 12 Bites

apple pie bites

Kosmic Creative Team: Photos by The Kosmic Kitchen, Anna-Alexia Basile, and Jorge Novoa. Styling by Alysia Andriola. Cookbook cover and interior design by Amy Sly. Cover and title page lettering by Alicia Schultz.

apple pie bites

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apple pie bites

  1. Is maca safe for toddlers in this recipe?

    • Maca is considered generally safe. However, I have never used it with children. You may wish to look up the traditional uses before deciding. I personally did not give toddlers energy bites of any kind. In my experience, toddlers have tons of energy already!

  2. What could be substituted for the walnuts? I am allergic to walnuts.

    • If you can eat other nuts, I would use your favorite.

  3. Maca has always caused me to have spotting (i.e. feminine bleeding through). Not sure why, but I’m sharing this just as an fyi for others in case it happens to you too.

  4. Would you please share how much 2 cited apples equates to? I have teeny apples from my tree so would appreciate a measurement. Thank you!

    • “Cored” apples, dang auto correct

    • Tha’ts a good question. I think it will depend on the average grocery store apple size. I would start with 3-5, depending on how teeny yours are, and you can make adjustments in step 3.

  5. Have you tried to freeze these?

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