Apples, what’s not great about them? Teachers love them, doctors are afraid of them, and they taste great in both solid and liquid states. There are over 75,000 varieties of apples worldwide, 2,500 of which are grown in the U.S. That means if you had an apple day, it would take you seven years to try each kind!
Apples grow in all 50 states, but commercially there are only around 100 varieties, which is still a massive amount. The top 10 apple varieties sold in the U.S. are Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Cripps Pink, Empire, Rome, and Honeycrisp. When cooking with apples, it’s often a judgment call depending on the apple’s texture and sweetness. Most commonly, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Pink Lady apples are used when baking.
Apples are fantastic food ingredients that can be incorporated in more than just pie. Here are dishes that include appetizers, sides, entreés, and desserts, and we even included an apple cocktail or two, where our good friend the apple shines through.
Vegan Apple Almond Breakfast Bars
(Courtesy of Joi)
Ditch the store-bought granola bars and start your day off right with these homemade Vegan Apple Almond Breakfast Bars from Joi. Not only are these bars easy to make, healthy, and delicious; they pack more fiber than a bowl of Colon Blow cereal.
- 1.5 cups oats
- 1 cup oat flour
- 2 tbsp flaxseeds
- 2 tbsp JOI Almond Base
- .25 cup maple syrup
- 2.25 apples, grated
- .5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- .25 cup almonds
For Drizzle (optional)
- .5 tbsp JOI Almond Base
- .25 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl combine all ingredients except the almonds, and stir until incorporated
- In a small baking dish, line with parchment and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Pour the mixture in and press down firmly. Press almonds into the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- When the bars come out allow them to cool down and then drizzle with the topping. Enjoy!
- In a small bowl whisk the JOI almond base and powdered sugar.
- Drizzle over bars.
(Courtesy of Savory Spice)
Many apple-related baking recipes call for apples to play second fiddle to some sort of dough. This apple bake recipe makes the apples the star. This is a simple dessert recipe that’s delicious and healthy. If you want to make it a little less unhealthy and even tastier, add some whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream while it’s still warm from the oven.
- 3 large apples*
- 1 cup rolled oats
- .5 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- .25 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tbsp. Pie Spice or your Favorite Pumpkin Pie Spice
- pinch of salt
- 4 4bsp. unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut apples in half lengthwise.
- Use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out the core, making a 1-inch well in the middle of each apple half.
- Set apples in a baking dish cut side up.
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Add butter and use a pastry cutter or your hands to mix butter into dry ingredients until mostly combined.
- Pack each apple half with a generous mound of oat mixture.
- Cover the baking dish with foil then bake the apples for 20 to 40 min. (see *Tip below) depending on how soft you want the apples.
- Remove foil and bake another 10 min. for the topping to caramelize slightly. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
Tip: Baking time is going to vary by apple size and type. We found McIntosh and Red Rome apples to soften the fastest, in about 30 min. total. Other varieties like Fuji, Red/Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Gala took up to 50 min. total to soften. Bake for less time if you want apples to hold their shape and still be firm enough to eat with a knife and fork. Bake longer if you want them to be spoon-soft.
Barley Risotto-ed w/ Gingered Apples, Goat Cheese, and Arugula
(Courtesy of Abra Berens)
This vegetarian dish comes from James Beard-nominated chef and farmer, Abra Berens, for the upcoming release of her upcoming cookbook, Grist: A Practical Guide to Cooking Grains, Seeds, and Legumes (Chronical Books, 2021). You get two excellent recipes in one with this creative dish. First, is the gingered apples that can be enjoyed by themselves, atop ice cream. or in a savory mix like the Risotto-ed Barely. Gingered apples also freeze perfectly for later use.
For Main Dish
- Olive oil or butter
- 4 sprigs thyme or rosemary (optional)
- 1 onion (about 8 oz [225 g]), thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- .5 tsp salt
- 1.5 cups [300 g] pearled barley
- 1 cup [250 ml] white wine or hard cider
- 6 to 8 cups [1.5 to 2 liters] water or stock, brought to a boil, and kept hot
For Gingered Apples
- 2 oz [60 g] fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
- .5 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of salt Neutral oil
- 3 tart apples (about 1.25 lb [570 g]), medium diced
- 1 oz [30 g] butter
For Gingered Apples
- Combine the grated and ground ginger with sugar, pepper, and salt.
- In a large frying pan, heat a glug of neutral oil until almost smoking hot. Add the apples and pan fry until deeply caramelized, about 5 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium-low, flip the apples, and add the ginger mixture. Cook until the apples brown lightly on the bottom, then add the butter and remove from the heat.
For Main Dish
- In a medium pot, heat a glug of olive oil over medium heat. Fry the thyme (if using) until the leaves stop popping and are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the pot and reserve for later.
- Add the onion, garlic, and salt to the pot and sweat until tender, about 7 minutes.
- Add the barley and briefly toast for about 2 minutes. Add the white wine and start the stirring.
- After dishing the barley-sotto into bowls, top with a couple of spoonfuls of Gingered Apples and dot goat cheese all over.
- Dress the arugula with a glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt, then heap the salad on top of the risotto.
Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel
(Courtesy of Eatzi’s Market)
For those of you familiar with the Jewish casserole with a German-sounding name, Kugel is as much an adventure in texture as it is flavor. Traditionally served as a side dish, this cinnamon apple twist from the metro Dallas favorite market and eatery (Eatzi’s Market) could even be served for dessert.
Ingredients (18 Servings)
- 5 cups Apple Juice
- .5 lbs Raisins, Small
- 4 lbs Apples (Granny Smith)
- .5 Cup Lemon Juice
- 2 tbsp Oil, Canola
- 2 tsp Cinnamon, Ground
- .25 tsp Nutmeg, Ground
- .25 tsp Cloves, Ground
- 2 lbs Sugar, Brown Light
- 6 lbs Wide Egg Noodles (cooked al dente and rinsed)
- 2 Dz Eggs
- Peel and core apples. Slice apples thin.
- Soak raisins in apple juice & lemon juice while preparing all other ingredients.
- Spray hotel pan (200 pan) and line with parchment paper.
- Heat oil in a rondo and saute the apples until they start to soften.
- Add the sugar and spices and cook until all the sugar melts.
- Continue to cook until the apples are half translucent.
- Add the apple juice and raisins and bring to a boil.
- Continue cooking until the apples are cooked through. Cool slightly.
- Temper the eggs into the apple juice mixture and very quickly add the noodles and toss.
- Pour noodle mixture into the hotel pan and mash down the noodles to compact them.
- Bake at 300 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, or until no juices rise up when touched.
- Cool, cover, and store in the walk-in.
- Cut pan 6 x 3 for 18 pieces
Raw Broccoli Apple Salad
(Courtesy of The Daring Kitchen)
As kids, getting us to eat something as healthy as this Raw Broccoli Apple Salad might have been a challenge for our parents. As adults, this crisp, fresh, and delicious salad is welcomed. Not only because we’ve grown to appreciate fruits and veggies, but also to fit into our swimsuits.
- 2 garlic cloves
- .25 cup apple cider vinegar
- .5 cup olive oil
- .5 tsp salt
- .25 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 apples
- 3 cups broccoli
- 1 onion
- .5 Cup raisins
- .5 Cup sunflower seeds
- Finely chop the garlic
- Add the olive oil, chopped garlic, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and cider vinegar to make a delicious salad dressing.
- Chop apples, broccoli, onion and add the sunflower seeds and raising.
- Add the dressing and toss.
Chicken Apple Meatballs
(Courtesy of Dish it Girl)
The secret to great meatballs is packing them full of other ingredients to add flavor and moisture. These small balls of wonder can barely contain their flavor. The apple in the recipe releases its juices to add flavor, moisture, and pairs excellently with the carrots and onion. Drizzle this with some of your favorite sweet and savory BBQ sauce and you’ve got yourself a party.
- 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
- .5 cup carrot, chopped
- .25 cup onion, chopped
- .5 cup apple, chopped
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp almond milk ( or regular milk)
- 1 egg
- .5 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp tarragon, chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups bbq sauce
- 1.5 cups chicken stock
- Add the butter to a large saute pan with high sides. Add the carrot to the pan first and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Then add the apples and onions, saute for another 3 minutes. Turn off heat, and let the mixture cool down.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl add the breadcrumbs and milk, whisk together. Let it sit for 2 minutes.
- Then add in the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, egg, tarragon, and garlic. Mix to combine.
- Add the carrot, apple, and onion mixture to a bowl. Along with the ground chicken.
- With your hands mix all ingredients until well combined. Do not over mix!
- Form the mixture into balls using about 2 tbsp of the ground chicken mixture per ball. When doing this keep wetting your hands, it helps the ingredients not to stick!
- Heat the olive oil in a large ceramic pot or saute pan with high sides.
- Add the meatballs to the pan and brown them on all sides. Work in batches in order to not crowd the pan. Move the meatballs around with tongs in order to brown on all sides.
- Set aside meatballs as they finish. Once the meatballs are done frying, discard any excess oil from the pan.
- In a small bowl whisk together the bbq sauce of your choice and the chicken stock
- Add the meatballs back to a ceramic pot or frying pan. Then cover them with the sauce. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 7 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
Kale Apple Slaw
(Courtesy of Bradley Griffen)
This recipe from chef Bradley Griffen, owner of the funky chef-driven hot sauce company Wallowing Whistlepig, is a perfect side, salad, or burger topper. It utilizes Granny Smith apples and apple cider vinegar. It’s a fantastic year-round fresh, delicious, and nutritious dish.
- 2 bunches of kale (cut into thin strips)
- 1-2 apples cut into strips (prefer Granny Smith)
- 1 cup of mayo (I prefer Duke’s)
- .5 cup apple cider vinegar
- Between .5 and 1 cup granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you like your slaw)
- 1 large pinch of salt and pepper
- Put everything in a bowl and mix well. Best served chilled.
Maguro Sashimi and Goat Cheese
(Courtesy of Uchi)
With some dishes, a little bit of apple goes a long way. Impress your guests at your next dinner party by whipping up this elegant and delicious Maguro Sashimi and Goat Cheese. Thanks to our friends at the nationally renowned, James Beard award-winning restaurant, Uchi, in Austin for this recipe.
- 3 oz. big eye tuna
- 1.5 oz. soft chevre goat cheese
- .25 large Fuji apple, skin on
- 1.5 tbsp san bai zu
- 1 clove garlic (micro brunoise)
- 2 tsp pumpkin seed oil
- 1 oz. red shiso microgreens
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Slice quartered Fuji apple into about 8 thin wedges.
- Slice tuna into small, bite-size pieces and mix with an apple in a chilled stainless bowl with cold san bai zu, salt, and pepper.
- Plate seasoned and dressed tuna and apples in a chilled plate or bowl and sprinkle with goat cheese.
- Add pumpkin oil to the plate and garnish with micro red shiso.
- Finish with another pinch of kosher salt to taste.
Apple Pie with Bacon Fat Crust
(Courtesy of Schaller & Weber)
A best apple recipe roundup wouldn’t be complete without the American classic, apple pie. So why not kick it up a notch and incorporate bacon somehow? The meat curing pros Schaller and Weber have done it with this delicious, from-scratch apple pie with a bacon fat crust.
For the Crust
- 2.25 cup flour
- .5 cup frozen butter, cut into equal 1/4 inch cubes
- 1/3 cup Schaller & Weber Double-Smoked Bacon fat rendered and frozen (or reserved bacon fat from home)
- pinch of salt
- 8-10 tbsp ice-cold water
For the Filling
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2.5 pounds apples, peeled and cored, then cut into wedges
- .5 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- .5 teaspoon kosher salt
- .75 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
For the Crust
- Cut butter into equal ¼ inch cubes and freeze until solid, at least one hour
- Freeze rendered bacon fat to ensure it is as firm as possible.
- Add flour, salt, butter, and bacon fat to a food processor, pulse approximately 10 times for 1-2 seconds until butter is integrated but not finely ground.
- Add ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time to the food processor until the pie crust begins to form a ball.
- Remove the crust from the food processor, wrap it with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
For the Filling
- Melt butter in a large saute pan set over medium-high heat and add apples to the pan. Stir to coat fruit with butter and cook, stirring occasionally.
- Whisk together the spices, salt, and 3/4 cup sugar, and sprinkle this over the pan, stirring to combine.
- Lower heat and cook until apples have started to soften, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour & cornstarch, & sprinkle over the apples. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat, add cider vinegar, stir and scrape fruit mixture into a bowl and allow to cool completely.
- Place a large baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 425ºF.
- Put the cooled pie filling into a prepared crust and add top crust. Press the edges together, trim the excess, then crimp the edges.
- Using a sharp knife, cut three or four steam vents at the top of the crust.
- Lightly brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
- Place pie in the oven and bake on a hot baking sheet for 20 minutes.
- Reduce temperature to 375 degrees F. Continue to cook until the interior is bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes more.
- Cool on a wire rack for at least two hours.
Best Apple Drink Recipes
Last Bries of Summer
(Courtesy of Fitz Bailey, Coopers’ Craft Mixologist)
This is an excellent summer-to-fall transition cocktail. Brought to you by a Bourbon Trail staple stop, Brown-Foreman, this drink is refreshing enough for trying to cram in the last few warm-weather activities and comforting enough to enjoy by a bonfire on a chilly fall night.
- 1.5 oz Coopers’ Craft Barrel Reserve
- .75 oz Orange Simple Syrup
- 2 tbsp fig preserves
- 1.5 oz apple cider
- Dash balsamic vinegar
- Sparkling Water
For OJ Simple Syrup
- .75 cup sugar
- .75 cup orange juice
For OJ Simple Syrup
- Heat and whisk until combined on a low boil for 2 mins.
- Take off heat and allow the mixture to come to room temp.
- Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake until chilled.
- Strain, garnish, and top with sparkling water.
- Serve in a highball glass.
(Courtesy of Crystal Head Vodka)
Apple cider is a versatile mixer that goes great with any spirit. This recipe from Crystal Head Vodka, which is owned by Dan Aykroyd (who knew), is easy to make and super tasty on a nice fall evening.
- 1.5 oz. Crystal Head Vodka
- 1 oz. dark rum
- 4 oz. apple cider
- 1 cinnamon stick
- In a cocktail shaker, add Crystal Head Vodka, dark rum, and apple cider with ice.
- Shake vigorously for 10 – 15 seconds.
- Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with cinnamon stick, finely grated cinnamon, and thinly sliced apple.
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