These apple rings taste like the intersection of a caramel apple and a Samoa Girl Scout cookie. (Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post)

These apple rings taste like the intersection of a caramel apple and a Samoa Girl Scout cookie. (Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post)

Nutritious apple ring ‘Samoas’ would make a Girl Scout proud

This recipe takes your staple apple-and-peanut butter snack to the next level.

This recipe takes your staple apple-and-peanut butter snack to the next level, transforming it into a downright crave-able treat.

Slicing apples into rings turns the fruit into attractive and crisp platforms, ready to be slathered with peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter you like). The spread not only adds healthy protein, but also in coating the apple, it eliminates the unappealing browning of the fruit. It also allows all kinds of tasty morsels, such as raisins, mini chocolate chips, or a sprinkle of granola, to adhere on top. Put out a variety of toppings for kids and let them design their own.

The accompanying recipe below, involves my dream-team topping duo — coconut and melted chocolate — and tastes like the intersection of a caramel apple and a Samoa Girl Scout cookie.

Baking sweetened shredded coconut until it is browned and caramelized achieves the quintessential deep, toasty look and flavor of the cookie. (This can be done up to a week ahead, making the snack easy to pull together on a whim.) That golden goodness is packed onto peanut butter-smeared apple rings (here, sweet red apples work best) and then drizzled with melted chocolate to mimic the look of the iconic cookie.

The result is a good-for-you sweet treat that is sure to put a skip in your step.

Apple ring ‘Samoas’

Make ahead: Toasted coconut may be made 1 week ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. The finished apple rings can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut

2 sweet red apples, such as Honeycrisp, Fuji apples or Gala apples (unpeeled)

6 tablespoons smooth, natural-style peanut butter

1½ ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Scatter the coconut onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Cool completely.

Slice the apples crosswise into ¼-inch slices, cutting through the core. Discard the outermost slices, and use a melon baller or small spoon to remove the core and seeds from the center of each, forming apple rings.

Arranging the apple slices in a single layer on the baking sheet as you work, spread a thin layer of peanut butter on one side of each ring, then top with a generous amount of toasted coconut, pressing the coconut down slightly so it adheres.

Place the chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave it on high in 20-second bursts, stirring well in between, until just melted. Use a fork to drizzle the chocolate onto the tops of the apple rings; then transfer the tray of apple rings to the refrigerator. Chill, uncovered, for 15 minutes, before serving, until set.

Makes 6 servings (about 12 rings). Nutrition per serving: 240 calories, 5 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, no cholesterol, 110 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 16 grams sugar.

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