Sweater weather, colorful leaves and pumpkin spice lattes galore. Fall is in full swing, and the only good that comes from rapidly dropping temperatures are all the tasty things that accompany the cold. We all know that pumpkin is the real star of fall, but that diva needs to step aside and stop overshadowing other seasonal treats. Welcome to the spotlight, apples.

Apples are not just what we eat once a day to keep the doctor away, and they can be used for so much more than an excuse to eat unreasonable amounts of peanut butter. Fujis, Granny Smiths, McIntosh – they all have so much potential, and I’m about to teach you how to take advantage of them. How do you like them apples?


Add to sandwiches


Photo courtesy of Kirby Barth

Alright, let’s start off with something simple. Apples are a great way to add fresh flavor and crisp texture to a basic sandwich. My personal favorite is a chicken salad sandwich with thinly sliced green apples and your choice of cheese (I like to use Brie). Spread some cranberry sauce on there for an added fall flavor bonus, then stick it in a toaster oven and you’re good to go.

If chicken salad isn’t your thing, adding apple slices to a peanut butter sandwich or a grilled cheese can turn a mundane sandwich experience into a pleasant surprise for your taste buds.


Apple Chips


Photo courtesy of Christine Pitula

You actually have to turn your oven on for this one. But don’t you worry. That’s about as difficult as this recipe will get, unless you count waiting for them to get out of the oven. The standard recipe calls for a simple combination of cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on your apple slices. However, you can add whatever flavors your little heart (or tongue) desires. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a cayenne and brown sugar concoction to add a little spice to your snack.


Caramel Apples


Photo courtesy of Alexandra Hayes

When I was younger I couldn’t make it through the fall without a caramel apple, but now I can’t even remember the last time I had one. That’s about to change. Caramel apples are so easy to make and they are a great way to get into the spirit of the season. Take this classic fall treat to the next level with toppings, because if you don’t have toppings what’s even the point? Some suggestions: sprinkles, crushed cookies/candy bars, and crushed nuts.


Apple Pie


Photo courtesy of epicurious.com

If you’re like me, you quickly disregarded the idea of making an apple pie because it seems too difficult. But wait, there’s hope! It turns out that baking an apple pie is SUPER easy when you buy the piecrust instead of making it from scratch. Simply place the bottom crust in a pan, put the sliced apples on top, sprinkle them with a mixture of 1 cup of sugar and ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg, top that with some butter (1/2 a stick, unsalted, cut up into bits), and then place the second piecrust on top. Poke holes into the top crust for ventilation and then stick it into the oven at 375 degrees for one hour – and voila. Easy as pie. If you’re the ambitious type and want to make your own piecrust, add some cheddar cheese to the mix. Sure, it’s not the classic American apple pie mom makes, but when has cheese ever made anything worse?


Boozy Apple Treats


Photo courtesy of buzzfeed.com

Last, but definitely not least, try making an alcoholic apple treat. If you prefer eating to drinking, but still enjoy that warm and cozy feeling only alcohol can provide, try making caramel apple jello shots. Disclaimer: I have never done this before, and it looks challenging. But if you’re up for the challenge, let me know when you’re making them so I can come over.

If you want something easier without sacrificing your autumn apple addiction, there are plenty of apple cocktails to choose from. None of them involve actual apples, but I’m sure you won’t care too much after a couple of drinks.