Once fall arrives, going apple picking is one of the first activities I plan with my friends. I love walking through orchards with the crisp fall air around me and plenty of homemade apple cider doughnuts for snacking, but the best part of apple picking is the bounty I get to bring home.
Apples are delicious eaten straight out of hand, but they also have the ability to swing savory or sweet in recipes. I can't go a whole season without making a pie (and we do have some tasty recipes for those), but there's so much more you can do with apples. Here are 15 ideas that might just inspire you to fill up two bags of apples at the orchard instead of one.
If you're looking for your whole kitchen to fill up with the delicious smell of cinnamon, this is the recipe for you. This tender cake pulls double duty as a tasty coffee cake for breakfast and an easy after-school snack.
Pears and apples are a smart combination in this easy free-form tart, but know that you can also use all apples with an equally delicious result.
Any apple will work for this recipe. The real key to making applesauce is time, which makes it perfect for the slow cooker. Savor it over the week on its own, with pork chops, or even dolloped on ice cream.
Apple crisp is apple pie's more relaxed cousin. Skip crimping a crust and let your slow cooker do the work. A layer of paper towels just under the lid keeps the topping from going soft, so you can set it and forget it.
Nutty brown butter makes this quick bread extra special. After browning the butter on the stove, the batter is stirred together in minutes. If you happen to have leftovers, use the bread to make an indulgent and delicious French toast breakfast.
These sticky, sweet muffins have a secret shortcut: prepared pizza dough. It's mild and not sweet at all, so the cinnamon sugar, dried fruit, and lemony glaze can really shine. You'll want to eat these while they're still warm with a cup of coffee nearby.
Every bite of this cake makes it worth the effort to make it. The cake itself is full of fresh apples, cinnamon, and cardamom. The frosting is a honey-sour cream buttercream creation you could (and just might!) eat with a spoon, and the crisp oat topping comes together easily in a skillet on the stove. Add even more drama with a drizzle of honey over the whole thing.
Bring the doughnut shop home. Perhaps the only thing better than a freshly made doughnut is one studded with fresh apples. After quickly frying them, they get brushed with a basic vanilla glaze. Bet you can't eat just one.
With a flaky crust, warm spiced apple, and rich caramel sauce, these dumplings are right behind pie as the ultimate apple dessert. The dish is begging for something creamy, so be sure to have whipped cream or ice cream on hand for serving.
Homemade brunch just got even better. Flaky puff pastry is filled with crisp bacon, sweet caramelized onions, fresh apples, and, if you'd like, melty cheese. The best part? You can make them ahead. Simply assemble and freeze, so you have them on hand to bake at a moment's notice.
Grilled cheese is comfort food at its finest. Thick, crusty bread holds together two different cheeses, ham, and sliced Granny Smith apples, but this technique will work with any melty cheese, meat, and cooking apple of your choosing.
Yes, apples have a place on your pizza too. Keep to a creamy white sauce, then pile on the apples, cured meat, and fennel. We love adding some dressed greens, such as arugula, as a fresh topper for serving. And if the spelt crust isn't for you, start with a prepared dough and save yourself some time.
Brussels sprouts and apples are a natural pairing — especially when combined with a warm brown butter dressing. Any hint of bitterness from the Brussels sprouts is mellowed by the sweet, crisp apples and the warm dressing.
Think of this adaptable recipe as more of a guide or suggestion. Kale can be tossed with any apple, dried fruit, and hard cheese that you'd like. Pancetta crisps up nicely, but we also like this with bacon or prosciutto.
This buttery apple cake is a German classic, and it's simple enough to bake up during the week.