Maple Apple Cheddar Melt

The pairing of apples and cheddar cheese is just one of those culinary combinations that work beautifully well. The crisp sweet fruit is the perfect vehicle for the buttery piquant cheese. I can remember many family hikes fueled by freshly picked McIntosh apples, thick slices of sharp cheddar cheese, and either hearty whole wheat bread or airy rice cakes.

Given the popularity of this ingredient duo, it seems inevitable that apple grilled cheese sandwiches would become a common lunch or light dinner (or even breakfast!) menu item. Indeed, I have both a) ordered variations of this sandwich from restaurants and b) made my own versions at home… but every apple grilled cheese sandwich I’ve eaten has featured raw apple slices enveloped by melted cheese.

Well, you won’t find any raw apples in this Maple Apple Cheddar Melt. In fact, the cooking of the apple slices is the key component to this recipe – the feature that distinguishes this type of sandwich from all of those other apple grilled cheese sandwiches. Apple slices are sauteed with a touch of pure maple syrup and a dash of aromatic cinnamon. The tender sweetened apples are layered with reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese¬†between two slices of whole wheat bread. The compiled sandwich is then cooked grilled cheese-style until the cheese becomes hot and gooey and the bread golden brown and crisp.

Although not well-suited to bring along on a hike, this sandwich is perfectly delicious when eaten hot off of the stove… any time of day.

Maple Apple Cheddar Melt

adapted from Kevin‘s Caramelized Apple Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, & sliced thin
  • canola oil cooking spray
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • a few shakes of ground cinnamon
  • 2 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
  • 2 (1 ounce) sandwich slices 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, such as Cabot

Directions:

  1. Heat canola oil spray-coated nonstick pan over medium heat.
  2. Add apple slices & maple syrup and cook, stirring often, until the apples are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ground cinnamon.
  3. Lay cheese slices on one piece of bread. Spoon apples over cheese and top with remaining piece of bread. Coat both sides of sandwich with canola oil cooking spray.
  4. Lower stove heat to medium-low. Add sandwich to skillet and cook until the bread is golden-brown and the cheese is melted, flipping halfway through, about 2-4 minutes total.

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