Monday, October 21, 2019

Cheesy Dapper Apple Squares

  Do you like the combination of salty and sweet? I love love LOVE it, so it's always exciting when I find a new recipe with that particular dynamic. Usually my go-to is anything with salted caramel, but then I found this recipe. It uses a classic paring, apples and cheddar cheese, which is a marriage made in salty sweet culinary heaven! I once read an article that said "apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze!" I guess I can't argue with that, huh?
 Now, if you've never heard of serving sharp cheese with apples, think of a fancy schmancy party where they serve different kinds of wine with a plate of different fruits and cheeses. It's the same thing! They just GO together. I've heard of melting slices of cheddar cheese over a warm apple pie, I've also heard of cheese being baked right into the pie crust, but I've never seen it baked into a layered apple square such as this. It's fabulous! I found this exact recipe on several websites and no one seems to vary it very much, so I immediately knew that it would be pretty perfect as is. I think I read somewhere that it's a Pillsbury Bake Off winning recipe, but I have no idea exactly who came up with it in the first place. I saw another comment that said she has been making this recipe for over twenty years, so it just goes to show you that you just can't beat something that stands the test of time.
 Give this recipe a go for your next Fall get together. Halloween Party? Thanksgiving? Or just any random day you're feeling a little salty and sweet. It's definitely a new favorite!!!

1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
6 oz extra sharp Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
2-1/2 cups baking apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts or slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, baking soda, and butter. Set aside 1-1/2 cups of the crumb mixture and pat the rest into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place the cheese slices on top of the crumb mixture.
In a medium-size bowl, combine the apples and granulated sugar. Layer over the cheese. Add the nuts to the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle over the apples. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely, or chill,  then cut into 2-inch squares.

Extra sharp cheese is definitely the way to go here. You really don't want a mild Cheddar because it needs to stand up against the sweet. 
The only variation I saw on all of the sites I read was the addition of a little cinnamon in the crust. I contemplated adding spices, but decided against it because I didn't want it to compete with the sharpness of the cheese. I'm sure it will work whichever way you decide to go.
Instead of doing slices of cheese, I finely shredded mine. It just seemed to me that I could have more even coverage with the shreds. Tbh, I wanted MORE cheese, so I think I'll add a little extra next time.
And since I was using sweet Honeycrisp apples instead of a tart Granny Smith, I added a little spritz of lemon juice when I tossed the apple slices with the sugar, just to brighten the flavor a bit.  I left out the chopped nuts because I didn't hand any on hand, but you do you!
Oh, one other thing.. I've seen this recipe on some sites that say to grease the pan, others say ungreased. Anytime I'm making dessert squares, I always line the pan with parchment paper because it not only makes it easy to lift the whole batch out of the pan in one piece, but it also gives a little extra nonstick insurance, which is always a good thing.

No comments: