Caramel Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich


Yes. You read that title correctly. Caramel Apple. Grilled Cheese. Sandwich. Last Friday, I wasn't really interested in cooking dinner. I just wanted to relax during the Giants game with a snack. After a good 20 minutes of rummaging through my pantry and fridge, I had a couple apples leftover from when I made Honeycrisp Pie, plenty of cheese, and a new bag of King's Hawaiian sliced bread (that I'd been wanting to devour since I picked it up). Bread, cheese, and apples...not exactly an innovative combination. Quite plain when you think about it. However, I was craving something sweet. Not just sweet, but...gooey and satisfying. A grilled cheese sandwich sounded like an awesome idea, too. I posted this creation on my Instagram, never intending for it to make it on the blog, but I got a lot more positive feedback than I thought I would. So, due to popular demand, I gladly made another one this afternoon to...uh..."research" and "formally" come up with a recipe...Yeah, that's it. For blog purposes! Well, without further ado, this is how to make my Caramel Apple Grilled Cheese! :D


The foundation of any good sandwich, sweet or savory, is the bread. The filling can be ah-mazing, but if the bread isn't the right texture, the slice isn't the right thickness, or the crust ratio is off...That can all seriously sabotage your sandwich-mojo. For caramel-apple-grilled-cheese intents and purposes, I used King's Hawaiian (I love this stuff). It's a sweet and delicate-textured bread, but it can hold up against the creamy cheeses and keep its shape when grilled.

The "glue"...the rich, heavenly glue...holding the filling together was a mixture of mascarpone and cream cheese. Then, to give the sandwich its oozy-melty element, I used slices of fresh mozzarella. I do think that Brie would be a tasty alternative, but mozzarella is a mild, milky cheese without too much of a salty bite or moldy funk. The last key component was the apple. Juicy and not-too-tart Honeycrisps are the best, in my humble opinion, but Granny Smiths would still be great in there too.

Now, to make the Caramel Apple filling... I started off by combining sugar, sea salt, and water in a saucepan over medium heat, gently stirring only until the sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture will bubble and thicken for a few minutes...seemingly refusing to caramelize for eternity...Then, suddenly, it will start to transform into a golden, amber color. (Keep an eye on your caramel! The difference between caramel and burnt sugar is just a few seconds!) I added a splash of heavy cream to finish the sauce, stirred to smooth everything out, then turned off the heat. After the caramel cooled to room temperature, I mixed in the slices of fresh apple.


Assembling this sandwich was the best part...well, other than eating it...This is the part when I couldn't help but dip my finger in the mascarpone cream and get a couple licks, pick out a few bites of caramel-coated apple, maaaybe munch on a couple slices of mozzarella. (Snack within a snack...gift that keeps on giving...)

Ok, really. Assembling is very quick and easy. Take your first slice of bread, butter one side, then smear the mascarpone-cream cheese onto the other side. Pile on the apples, making sure to spoon on some of that caramel sauce too. Finally, layer on the mozzarella and another buttered sliced of bread. On to the panini press or grill pan. And then...


Smush.

Grill the sandwich just until the bread is toasted and the cheese has melted. A little bit of caramel sauce might leak out, but...


That's what the extra sauce in the pan is for! Drizzle some of that delicious, sticky caramel right over the top. If this act of indulgence makes you feel guilty, just remember...it tastes soooo good! Do it do it do it! It's like eating a nice, crispy piece of the best stuffed-french-toast that you've ever had. There's a creamy richness that every grilled cheese has to have, crunch from the toasted bread and fresh Honeycrisp, and that boost of sweetness from the layer of golden-brown caramel. But, not to worry, the cheese is the perfect balance to keep this sandwich from being cloyingly sweet!

As a snack, breakfast, or a dessert...whichever way you want to serve it, add this recipe to your sandwich arsenal. :)


Caramel Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Print Recipe

Ingredients:
1/4 cup White Granulated Sugar
Pinch of Sea Salt
2 tbsp Water
1 1/2 tbsp Heavy Cream
1 Honeycrisp Apple, peeled, cored, & sliced (1/4")
2 tsp Mascarpone Cheese
2 tsp Cream Cheese
4 1/4"-in. slices of Fresh Mozzarella or Brie Cheese

2 slices of Sweet Bread (Hawaiian or Brioche)
Butter, softened for spreading

  1. Combine sugar, sea salt, and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stir gently until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture will bubble and thicken for a few minutes. Then, when the mixture has become a golden, amber color, add the heavy cream. Stir to blend well, then remove the pan from the heat and allow the caramel to cool to room temperature.
  2. To finish the caramel apple filling, mix in the fresh apple sliced and make sure to coat every piece with the caramel sauce.
  3. Start assembling the sandwich by buttering one side of one slice of bread, then smearing the mascarpone & cream cheese on the other side. Spoon on the caramel-coated apples, layer on the slices of cheese, then top with another buttered slice of bread.
  4. Grill on a panini maker or grill pan until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.
  5. Serve by cutting in half and drizzling extra caramel sauce over the top.