A few weeks ago we took the kids apple picking at Quarry Hill Orchards outside of Cleveland and it was so much fun. It’s a nice, low-key kind of place, with no entrance fee — just pay by the bag, $25 — and no fuss. No wagon rides or petting zoos or corn mazes, but just really, really good apples and great, wholesome, socially distanced fun for everyone. They also have a cute shop.
But then we got home with this huge bag of apples and WHAT WERE WE GOING TO DO WITH THEM?!?! One can only eat so many sliced apples for lunch, you know? I was determined not to waste a single apple, so I decided to experiment. We had a couple go-to apple recipes already but thought it would be fun to try a bunch of new things and see what happened. We did end up using all the apples and got 12+ recipes out of it! (The + because we made a couple things twice! Like apple crisp. We decided we like apple crisp more than apple pie — debate us in the comments! haha)
I wanted to share the recipes we tried — our successes and failures — in case you also find yourself with way too many apples and want to find some new ways to eat them. Which one of these do you want to make?
- Our favorite apple crisp recipe, via The Chunky Chef — do you know the difference between an apple crisp and an apple crumble? Basically, crisp is a crumble that has oats in the topping, and it originated in America, while crumble is British. This recipe is quick, it’s easy, there are no crazy ingredients, and it’s truly delicious, which makes this the perfect dessert!
- This isn’t so much a “recipe” as just a yummy way to use your apples, and kids will love it: grilled cheese with thinly sliced apples. Any variety of strong-flavored cheese, like sharp cheddar or smoked gouda, will balance the sweetness of the apples. Mmmm.
- mini apple-cheddar popovers, via Cabot Cheese — I tried this recipe twice. The first time they were ok but kinda boring. The second time, I cut the cheddar and apple chunks larger and added more shredded cheese on top, and they were really good. I’ll make these again for sure. I also would like to try making them full size instead of mini. I should ask for a popover pan for Christmas, hint hint!
- applesauce — do you even know how easy applesauce is to make? When my friend Amy taught me how to do it years ago it blew my mind. I mean, it’s SO EASY. All you need to do is cut up some apples, however many you’d like (I did 5 or 6 to make a big batch), and you can either peel them or not depending on your preference. Put them in a big pot with a little water, just enough so the apples are in water but aren’t covered in it, maybe half a cup depending on how many apples you used. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring and mashing, until they’re the texture you’d like, adding more water if necessary. Then when they’re all finished add cinnamon and sugar if you’d like. Seriously, they’re that easy, and you have complete control over how much sugar you want to include, unlike the super sugary, not-so-good-for-you stuff you buy at the store.
- root vegetable tagine, via Eating Bird Food — this is one of our absolute favorite dinner recipes in the fall, and it’s even better with the addition of a diced apple to give a pop of such a delicious brightness. I added the apples at the end with the apricots. We like this served over rice, and it makes great leftovers.
- sharlotka apple cake, via momsdish — this was a new-to-me cake that I decided to try based solely on the fact that I didn’t need to buy anything I didn’t already have. I’d describe the texture as similar to a meringue cookie — sweet and crisp with a chewy center — plus chunks of apple. I liked it, but didn’t love it. Andy really did not like it. Of course that could very well be due to me not being a particularly good chef!!!
- waffles with cinnamon apples, via Mel’s Kitchen Cafe — We love waffles for a “special” breakfast that’s also really easy, but they were even better when we added a big scoop of hot delicious cinnamon apples on top. I used my usual waffle recipe (I’m a big fan of the Fanny Farmer cookbook recipe I grew up with, complete with my mom’s penciled notes on the page) and whipped up a batch of delicious cinnamon apples to go on top (I skipped the cinnamon syrup part). They were delicious and the kids looooved them.
- chocolate (caramel) apple slices, via Domestically Blissful — I love the idea of a caramel or candy apple, but they are such a huge pain to actually eat. A sliced version is just perfect, and we had SO MUCH FUN with the kids putting on the toppings. We actually skipped the caramel and only did chocolate since our caramel was too runny, and then we put together a toppings bar of sprinkles, chopped peanuts, coconut and mini marshmallows, basically whatever we could find in the pantry that would stick to an apple without being weird. Be sure to check out Domestically Blissful’s tips for how to make the apples last and not fall apart. Ours lasted a couple of days in the fridge without getting gross and runny, so this recipe was a huge success and great family activity.
- brussels sprouts with apple and bacon, via Martha Stewart — we’ve been making this recipe for years, since Andy and I first decided that maybe we should actually start cooking meals at home every once in a while, long before kids, and it’s been on our regular rotation ever since. It’s a perfect side with salmon… especially apple cider-glazed salmon because you cannot go wrong with more apple.
- baked cinnamon apple chips, via Jessica in the Kitchen — these were so good. Like, so so good. I only made one tray but I should’ve made four more! Especially since they disappeared pretty instantly. Thanks Andy.
- apple cheddar soup, via Canadian Family — full disclosure: this soup was good, especially as a dip for grilled cheese, BUT not great. We found it a little too sweet with not enough of the rich cheesy flavor we were hoping for, which maybe means we added too much apple? The first night it had a weird texture, like that lumpy thing that happens when you try to melt cheddar. The recipe has you put the soup in the blender before you add the cheese, but the following day I put the leftovers in the Vitamix for five minutes and it was a much better texture. I still didn’t love it though. I’d like to try a different cheddar-apple soup recipe.
- apple cinnamon muffins, via Recipe Girl — another big hit in our family. These are a great breakfast muffin… or any time of day, really. They’re soft and chewy, with a bit of texture from the diced apples, and really flavorful from the cinnamon and brown sugar. I actually skipped the crumble topping because I was being lazy, but I did sprinkle plain oats on some before they went in the oven, as an experiment, and they turned out really good.
Here are some other apple recipes I really wanted to try (maybe I need to get another bag of apples!!):
- cheddar apple butternut squash soup with cinnamon pecan crumble, from Half Baked Harvest
- spiced brown sugar cake with cinnamon apple filling and maple caramel German buttercream, from Cloudy Kitchen
- salted maple apple tarte tatin with cinnamon pumpkin seeds, from Half Baked Harvest
- Dutch apple fritter bread, from Simply Scratch
- French apple cake with maple ginger custard sauce, from B. Sweet Dessert Boutique
- chai apple and almond puff pastry tarts, from Vegetarian Ventures
Do you have an apple recipe that you love? Let us know in the comments!