I don't know how many grilled cheese sandwiches I've eaten in my lifetime, but I'd wager a guess that the number is pretty high. They're probably one of my favorite foods — there's the nostalgia factor, of course, but also the deliciousness factor. And the versatility! There are so many things you can do with a grilled cheese beyond just sticking a slice of processed American cheese in the middle and calling it a day. I love grilled cheese so much that when we move to our new house in a month or two, I want to have a DIY grilled cheese party where we'll have all different toppings laid out and guests can assemble their own sandwiches. Yes, I am serious about my grilled cheese.
This Maple Sage Apple and Cheddar Grilled Cheese is something I make myself for lunch whenever I happen to have bread, cheese and an apple in the kitchen. It's easy enough to throw together for a quick meal, but it's also tasty enough to serve to guests — like, say, if you were throwing a Game Day DIY grilled cheese party. Giving the apples a quick sauté makes them tender and glazing them with just a little bit of maple syrup makes them the perfect compliment to a good cheddar cheese. I make this with both smoked and sharp cheddar — if you want the gooey, stringy grilled cheese effect, go with sharp, but if you want a smoky, almost bacon-y flavor, stick with the smoked cheddar.
Sandwiches are only as good as the bread they're made on and for this grilled cheese, I used Cobblestone Bread Co.'s Knead for Seed Wheat Bread. Being the grilled cheese connoisseur that I am, I can tell you this — the bread should not be an afterthought! It's an integral part of the sandwich, so using gourmet breads is key. The earthy flavor of this seed-studded wheat bread pairs well with the maple sage apples — it's a hearty bread, but it's still tender, not tough or dry like some whole wheat breads. It would also be a delicious base for my other favorite grilled cheese sandwich, sautéed mushrooms and onions with thyme and Swiss cheese.
- 1 tablespoon butter plus more to spread on bread
- 2 small apples thinly sliced (I like Honeycrisp or Braeburn)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 slices Cobblestone Bread Co. Knead For Seed Wheat Bread
- 4 ounces shredded sharp or smoked cheddar cheese
- Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and cook, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes, or until the apples are golden and just beginning to brown on the edges. Drizzle the maple syrup over the apples and continue to cook 2-3 minutes more, continuing to stir, until the syrup has formed a light glaze on the apple slices. Stir in the sage, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.
- Butter a slice of bread and place it buttered-side-down on a large preheated griddle on medium heat. Put ⅛ of the cheese on top, then layer with ¼ of the apples, and another ⅛ of the shredded cheese. Place another slice of bread over the filling and butter the top. Repeat to make 4 sandwiches. Cook the sandwiches for 3-5 minutes on each side (the length of time will depend on whether you're using an electric griddle or stovetop, so keep an eye on them!), then transfer to a cutting board, cut in half and serve.
Compensation for this post was provided by Cobblestone Bread Co. via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Cobblestone Bread Co. or AOL.