apple bites three ways: butterscotch’d, bacon’d, and brie’d

Happy Halloween!! Are you headed to a party and in need of some fall snack inspiration? Or three ideas? Something relatively easy but crowd-pleasing? This was my dilemma last week. Between Google and Pinterest I had approximately 3 trillion recipe inspirations but none of them jumped out at me. Instead my eyes were assaulted by the thousands of candycorn turkeys.

I was craving homemade butterscotch, but also wanted something savory and possibly absolutely involving cheese. Then again, do I ever not want cheese?

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Thank goodness I finally found some inspiration and had way too much fun pairing apple varieties with three styles of snack toppings.

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Are you thinking right now, what is the difference between butterscotch and caramel? Well I’m glad you asked. Deb Perelman has a great answer to that question.

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APPLE BITES
inspired by Lucy’s caramel apple bar

note: the butterscotch bites are not gluten-free, but the bacon and brie bites are both gluten-free

butterscotch with cinnamon graham crumble:
Butterscotch recipe from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from The Washington Post
makes approximately 32 small bites

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (109 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (118 ml) heavy cream
1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 medium Granny Smith apple
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon, plus more to taste
8 graham cracker halves, (about 60g)
toothpicks

bacon with cheddar and paprika:
makes approximately 16 medium-large bites

1 medium Gala or Honeycrisp apple
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 oz aged white cheddar cheese, I love using Beecher’s
5-6 slices bacon
smoked paprika, for dusting
toothpicks

brie with fig jam and mint:
makes approximately 16 medium-large bites

1 medium Pink Lady apple
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 oz Brie
roughly 1/4 cup fig jam
16 medium-sized mint leaves
toothpicks

Butterscotch’d: Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add sugar, cream, and salt. Whisk until well combined. Bring to a gentle boil for 5 minutes, careful not to burn and whisking frequently. After 5 minutes, remove from heat and add vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon salt (I ended up using 3/4 teaspoon salt, but taste for yourself after adding only 1/2 teaspoon, and see if you want to add more). Put butterscotch in refrigerator for about 1 hour before assembling apple bites.

Place your graham crackers in a ziplock bag and roll with a rolling pin until they become a sandy powder. Then dump in 1 teaspoon cinnamon and give the bag a good shake. Feel free to add more cinnamon as desired. Next, cut the apple into slices, about 16th’s. Then cut each slice width-wise so you have bite sized pieces. Toss slices in a bowl with the lemon juice.

To assemble, spoon a nickel sized amount of butterscotch on each apple slice. Sprinkle with cinnamon graham mixture and spear each piece with a toothpick.

Bacon’d:

Fry or bake your bacon to desired crispy-ness, careful not to burn or overcook as bacon can crumble when speared by toothpick. Set aside. Cut apple into slices, approximately 8ths, then cut each slice width-wise.  In a medium bowl toss apple chunks with lemon juice. Cut your cheddar cheese into 16 equal slices/pieces.

Assemble by layering the apple pieces with cheese, then about 1/3rd of a bacon strip (making sure you will end up with enough bacon for all the bites). Spear each piece with a toothpick (I found that it was easiest to spear the bacon through the fattier portions). When plated, dust generously with smoked paprika.

Brie’d:

Cut apple into slices, approximately 8ths, then cut each slice width-wise. In a medium bowl toss apple chunks with lemon juice. Cut your brie into 16 equal slices/pieces and prepare 16 medium-sized pieces of mint for assembly.

Assemble by layering apple pieces with cheese and then adding about 1/2 teaspoon fig jam. Spear apple bites with toothpicks before adding your mint (otherwise mint will “sink into” the jam and cheese when speared by toothpick). Garnish with mint leaves.

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