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Apples: A Sweet or Savory Treat

Apples make their appearance this time of year. When your fruit bowl overflows, get creative and add apples to most anything.

Apples go beyond the basic apple pie and applesauce. They can be added to sweet and savory dishes alike and are used by chefs around the world.

Apples top the list (along with bananas) as the most popular fruit in the United States. This is no surprise since they are versatile, portable and last many months in proper conditions. Most of the apples purchased in the United States have been sitting around for months, but nothing compares to the fresh, local apples available now.

Being transplants to the area, we often spend holidays with friends. My friend, Stacey, serves her Snicker’s Salad every Thanksgiving and it has become one of my favorites. She is unsure where the recipe originated, but a quick internet search revealed many variations of the basic recipe she relayed to me.

Because I can never leave a recipe alone, I have tweaked hers ever so slightly. Her recipe has three ingredients: Non-dairy whipped topping, Granny Smith apples and Snicker’s candy bars. I added a bit of cream cheese, which adds a touch of richness and allows the Snicker’s Salad to act as a dessert. Or breakfast when nobody is looking!

On the savory side, apples pair well with cheese. Incorporated in a sandwich, they lend crunch and texture. Paired with goat cheese, apples are an elegant addition to an appetizer plate.

For the grilled sandwiches, I used a Panini press, however, a standard griddle or fry pan will work. You will just need to flip the sandwich like a standard grilled cheese.

Shredding the cheese before adding to the sandwich ensures that it melts thoroughly. Ciabatta bread turns the ordinary grilled cheese into an elegant meal. After slicing the ciabatta roll, flip the slices so the cut side will touch the press or griddle when you are grilling. Butter the bread slices before grilling or brush the bread with the bacon drippings for added flavor.

Hit one of these orchard or the farmers markets: , , , or , or and try some different varieties.

Snicker Apple Salad

Makes about 8 cups

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 16 fun-sized Snickers bars, chopped
  • 3 medium Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
  • Additional chopped candy bar or chopped peanuts for garnish (optional)

Whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the whipped topping and brown sugar. Whip until smooth. Fold in chopped candy and chopped apples.

Refrigerate until serving.

Apple-Gouda Panini

For each sandwich, you will need:

  • 1 ciabatta roll or two slices hardy bread
  • 1 ½ ounces shredded gouda cheese
  • 4 or 5 thin apple slices
  • 2 slices cooked bacon
  • Pepper

Butter one side of each bread slice.

On the unbuttered side of one bread slice, place half the cheese. Sprinkle the cheese with fresh ground pepper. Arrange the apple slices and bacon on top of the cheese, then top with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with additional pepper if desired. Top with remaining bread slice, buttered side facing out.

Grill to your desired doneness.

Apple and Sage Bites

Makes about 24 appetizer bites

  • 24 bagel chips or other crispy bread round
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 sage leaves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 24 thin apple slices
  • Honey for garnish

In a small bowl, mix the cheese, olive oil, sage leaves, pepper and salt.

Spread each bagel chip or bread round with the goat cheese mixture. Top each round with an apple slice.

Arrange on a platter and drizzle with honey immediately before serving.

Carolyn October 18, 2011 at 04:11 AM
Patti ! Your column is back! Yea!
Carolyn October 18, 2011 at 04:14 AM
Patti do you remember how popular Taffy Apple Salad was? Maybe you are too young, but it was really popular in the '80s . It's awesome, but takes forever to make. Have you ever come across or adapted a quick version?

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