The Perfect Cheese Plate and Caramel Apple Butter
A cheese plate is without a doubt the easiest appetizer going. It’s assembling – not cooking, and that right there is why it always shows up when I have people over for dinner. I buy some great cheese, and then 9 times out of 10, I shop my pantry to fill it out. I rarely make the same one twice. I like my cheese plates to have variety. Sharp cheese, mellow, spicy, soft, hard. And then I like to add a few kinds of crackers, nuts, olives, meats, fruits, and a jam or chutney to round it out. Sweet, salty, bitter, crunchy, and soft. They are always interesting and everyone is happy.
Assorted crackers and breadsticks
Caramel Apple Butter (recipe below)
I am thrilled to be working with Sargento® Cheese again this year. I absolutely love working with this company and have loved getting to know their products. They have recently released Sargento® Tastings®. These blocks of cheese are made for snacking. 8 varieties to choose from, and I love them all. I really like the size of these little blocks of cheese, and that you can try new ones all the time. I always have a few cheeses in the fridge, and made this cheese plate one evening when I didn’t feel like making dinner. A glass of wine, and I was perfectly content calling this a meal.
I like to keep a few jams, jellies, and butters around to go with my cheese. I love the sweet/savory combination more than anything. I made this caramel apple butter that I found in Better Homes and Gardens. It is very simple, and while it takes awhile to cook, it is zero effort. I think that this goes so well with the cheddars, a lot like apple pie. So good. I made a half recipe, I wasn’t going to can it, and I only needed a jar or two. We ate one, and I gave the other away. It also makes a great gift.
Caramel Apple Butter
- 4 1/2 pounds tart apples (I used Golden Delicious, not tart, but what I like)
- 3 cups apple juice
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1. Peel and chop apples. Add to a large Dutch oven or 8 quart pot with apple juice.
- 2. Add the vanilla seeds and pod to the pot. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat.
- 3. Simmer, covered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until very tender.
- 4. Take the vanilla bean out, but save it. Run the apples through a food mill, blender, or food processor.
- 5. Measure 7 1/2 cups and put it back into the pot. (You may have some leftover.)
- 6. Add the vanilla bean back to the pot and add brown sugar, sugar. lemon juice, lemon juice, and cinnamon.
- 7. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat.
- 8. Cook, uncovered for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, or until the mixture is very thick and the liquid has been cooked out.
- 9. Take the vanilla pod out. Transfer into 6 half pint jars. You can can this recipe but adding the butter to hot sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in boiling water canner for 5 minutes