Put an End to the Default Desk Lunch with Apple Butter

Desk lunch Apple Butter Recipe LeadDidn’t catch last month’s recipes? Here’s the scoop on this new series: Every month, we share four office lunch recipes that feature the same specialty ingredient (think apple butter, toasted coconut flakes, matcha.) The specialty ingredient is one that you may be hesitant to pick up at the store for fear of only using once and then relegating to pantry-placeholder status until (or well beyond) the use-by date. So, we recipe tested our way to a convenient excuse for you to work something new and entirely interesting into your office lunch routine!

New month, new lunch! This November we’re mixing up our default desk lunch with another specialty ingredient, apple butter. Many orchard-goers turn their apples into “butter” (or cider or dessert) this time of year, jarring the fruit to use once the apple season is over. Now is the perfect time to work this specialty ingredient into your office lunch! Before the recipes, let’s get to know the ingredient.

Apple butter:

  • It is a staple at Farmer’s markets and orchards but you should still be able to find some in the jam section at most grocery stores.
  • It is a highly concentrated apple sauce wherein the sugar from the apples actually caramelizes, turning the butter a rich brown color.

  • It can range in color and taste depending on how it’s made (IE: how long it’s cooked down)Some apple butter is light brown and apply, while others are dark brown and almost caramel-ey.
  • There’s no dairy in apple butter – the term is just used to refer to the butter-like consistency.

Chickpea Salad with Apple Butter Dressing

apple butter salad

While we love this chickpea salad as it is hearty and full of fall, this apple butter dressing could be drizzled over all of your fall salads!


1/3 Cup Apple Butter
3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard
1 Tablespoon Honey
¼ Cup Olive Oil
½ Lemon, juiced

2 Ounces Sharp White Cheddar
½  Butternut Squash
1 14 Ounce Can Chickpeas
½ Head Radicchio
¼ Cup Roasted Pecans
¼ Red Onion
1 Honey Crisp Apple, cubed


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Peel, deseed and cube the butternut squash. Cube the cheese. Thinly slice the radicchio. Roughly chop the pecans. Peel and thinly slice the red onion. Quarter, core and cube the apple. Drain the chickpeas and pat dry.

Place the squash and chickpeas on a sheet pan (you may need to separate them between 2 sheets pans if they are crowded) and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; toss to thoroughly coat. Roast in the oven, tossing halfway through, 20 to 23 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork.

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until combined.

In a medium bowl, combine the cheese, squash, chickpeas, pecans, red onions, apple and as much dressing as you desire. Toss to combine and transfer to a tall jar with a tight fitting lid. Top with the sliced radicchio. Store in the refrigerator. To prepare for lunch, gently shake the contents of the jar to mix the radicchio and dressing into the chickpea salad.  You may want to add more dressing as the chickpeas and squash tend to soak it up.


Open-Faced Apple Butter, Ham & Gruyere Sandwich

Open Faced sandwich

We’ve taken the classic ham and cheese and added a few key ingredients that take it from default desk lunch to desk envy status! 

1 Slice Multigrain Bread
3 Slices Ham
2 Slices Havarti Cheese
2 Tablespoons Apple Butter
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
A few slivers sliced Red Onions


Preheat oven to 500 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk to combine the apple butter and Dijon mustard. Place the bread slice on a sheet tray. Spread as much of the apple butter condiment as desired onto the bread. Top with a few pieces of red onion slices and top with the ham and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 4 to 6 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. If you want to store the sandwich, let cool, wrap in foil and when ready to consume, warm the sandwich in a toaster oven until the cheese has melted.


Peanut Butter & Apple Dip

Apple butter dip

This here is a surprisingly filling, energizing recipe that is also extremely healthful – perfect as we get ready for the holiday season!

1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
¼ Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
½ Cup Apple Butter
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Combine everything in a bowl and stir to combine. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate. Enjoy with sliced apples, Asian pears, pita chips or celery sticks.


Apple Butter Muffins

Apple Butter Muffin

We know you love breakfast for dinner, so we decided there’s no reason breakfast can’t work for lunch,specially when all you want in November is something hot, spiced, and flavored with the best of fall!


2 Cups Flour
¾ Cup Sugar
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
½ Teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs
¾ Cup Milk
½ Cup Oil
½ Cup Apple Butter

½ Cup Sugar
8 Tablespoons Flour
¼ Teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Butter


In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl add the egg, milk, and oil and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Do not overmix! 

For the streusel, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cube the butter and add it to the flour mixture. Using your fingertips, gently rub the butter into the mixture until it is crumbly.

Spray muffin tins with cooking spray and evenly divide the batter between the cups. Put a tablespoon of apple butter over top the batter, then using a toothpick, swirl the apple butter into the batter. Divide the streusel topping between the tins.

Bake at 400 for 15 to 18 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.



DIY Halloween Candy, the Trick for Homemade Treats

Halloween Butterfinger Almond Joy

While we fancy ourselves the kind of people who would reach for the chocolate truffle over store-bought peanut butter cups, we’ve found that there is one exception to this rule: Halloween. This time every year, we start salivating over the nutty crunch and the rich flakiness of our favorite candy bars. We’re not proud of it, but we won’t deny it.

So, we’re two weeks away from Halloween, we’re hosting, and we need to decide on our festive menu. Our motto this year? Give the people what they want! Let them (read: us) indulge in the guilty pleasure of a classic candy bar. But instead of buying a bag of fun-size treats, make your own, and let your guests bite into a dark chocolate-dipped morsel to find the sweet surprise of a familiar taste.

Read on for Homemade Halloween Candy Recipes


Homemade Butterfingers™

butterfinger lead

Servings: 12 2-Inch Pieces

1 Tablespoon Butter
3 Cups Candy Corn
1 ¼ Cups Smooth Peanut Butter
20 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (about 3 Cups)
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil

Parchment Paper


Prepare the pan:

Butter a 7-inch by 3-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper, leaving at least  a 1-inch overhang on 2 opposite sides.

Make the filling:

In a small saucepan, heat the candy corn on medium heat, stirring frequently, about 2 to 4 minutes, or until melted. Immediately add the peanut butter and stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan and evenly spread out. Place in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes, or until completely cooled.

Melt the chocolate:

Once the filling is cool, fill a small pot with an 1 inch of water; heat to a simmer on high. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the pot (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Add the chocolate chips and heat, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir in the oil and turn off the heat.

Butterfinger process

Coat your candy:

Remove the filling from the loaf pan and cut into ½-inch-thick slices, then cut each slice in half to create small bars. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place 1 butterfinger bar at a time into the melted chocolate. Using a fork, thoroughly coat each bar in chocolate. Using the fork, remove the bar from the chocolate and gently tap the fork against the side of the bowl to get rid of any excess chocolate. Using a toothpick, gently slide the coated candy off the fork and onto the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining bars and chocolate. Transfer to the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until cool and set.


Homemade Almond Joys™

Almond joy final

Servings: 25 to 30 Bars

¾ Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
2 ½ Cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes
30-35 Whole Raw, Skin On Almonds
20 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (about 3 Cups)
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil


Roast the almonds:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the almonds into a single, even layer on a sheet pan. Toast 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Make the filling:

In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, sugar, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Stir in coconut flakes to combine. Using lightly oiled hands, form the mixture into 25 to 30 logs and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Press a roasted almond into the top of each log. Transfer to a freezer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until completely firm.

almond joy process

Melt the chocolate:

Once the filling is cold and firm, fill a small pot with 1 inch of water; heat to a simmer on high. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the pot (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Add the chocolate chips and heat, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir in the oil and turn off the heat.

Coat your candy:

Line a sheet pan with parchment. Using a fork and a toothpick, dip 1 log into the chocolate and then gently tap the fork along the edge of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate. Using the toothpick, slide the chocolate coated bar onto the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with remaining bars and then transfer to the fridge for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until cool and set.

Happy Halloween-ing!

All trademarks and copyrighted items mentioned and shown in photos are the property of their respective owners. All photos were taken by Blue Apron.

Five Ways to Make Chili for Game Day

Chili with Tortilla Chips

You don’t need anything more than a bowl and spoon to enjoy your chili. But, since it’s Super Bowl weekend, why not use your chili to up the ante on a handful of other indulgent snacks? Here are five ways to eat your chili this game day!

On Spaghetti

Now that’s Cincinnati style. Garnish with minced red onions.

FriesOn French Fries

Bake the fries to save time and oil.

Baked PotatoesOn Baked Potatoes

We’ve already talked about this.

Tortilla Chips

On Tortilla Chips (make them homemade!)

Call them nachos. Then top with guac.

Sloppy Joe BunsSloppy Joe-Style

Chili: now between the bun.

Cranberry-Walnut Muffins


Presenting: the muffin you’ll need to get you through fall. Through the Halloween sugar hangover and the family visiting for Thanksgiving weekend. Through the lazy Sundays, and even through Christmas morning. With their jewel tones and sweet cinnamon spicing, these are an unforgettable staple, a simple meal that manages to have pizzazz.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

There’s an actual method to muffins, a formula that’ll help make sense of the recipe you’ll see at the bottom of this post. Essentially, muffins are quick breads, baked goods that use a leavener like baking powder to rise (as opposed to bread, which could be known as “slow bread,” and takes its time when rising). Like zucchini and banana bread before them, cranberry-walnut muffins should be moist and just slightly chewy. At their best, they’ll melt in your mouth.

How do they get this way? Well, first you combine the dry ingredients. That means sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices–here, cinnamon.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

In  a second bowl, we combine the wet ingredients: eggs, oil, and orange juice.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

When we combine the two, we do so with a light touch, pouring the wet ingredients over the dry and then folding together gently. This preserves a light crumb and that melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes people go back for seconds.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron
Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

When the wet and dry ingredients are just barely combined–it’s far better to see a few streaks of flour, which will be absorbed during baking, than to overmix–we throw in the good stuff, cranberries and walnuts. The fall flavors of this pair are what elevate this muffin to its true height.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

Baking is a cinch: scoop the batter into muffin tins and stick in a hot oven for around 20 minutes.

Once they are risen and golden, they’re ready to eat!

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

All muffins are best warm, still hot from the oven. These are instant gratification in muffin form, and fortunately for early birds, there’s not much need to let them cool.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

Smear with butter, if you like.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

Get the recipe below.

Continue reading “Cranberry-Walnut Muffins”

Five-Ingredient Cider Caramels

Making candy at home is nowhere near as tough as it sounds. With just five ingredients and some careful attention to bubbling sugar, you can make these cider caramels, which have a deep, slightly tangy apple flavor and are utterly addictive. Best of all, wrapped up in little squares of wax paper, a handful of these caramels makes an incredible edible gift (or a trick or treat!).

Let’s get started. The five ingredients you’ll need are: apple cider, butter, cream, cinnamon and brown sugar.

Cider Caramels from Blue Apron

First, you cook the cider down into a delicious, wholesome syrup. Because of the natural sugars already in the cider, as the liquid simmers, it becomes much thicker. Still, it retains its apple-y tang, a flavor that’ll eventually lend greatness to the finished caramel candies.
Cider Caramels from Blue Apron

To the cider syrup, add sugar, cream, and butter–the ingredients that make this into a caramel. They’ll dissolve into the cider syrup. Yum.Cider Caramels from Blue Apron

Bring the mixture to a simmer, incorporating everything together. Here’s where you’ll need a special piece of equipment – a candy thermometer. The thermometer allows you to bring the caramel to just the right temperature so it’ll set into candies later.Cider Caramels from Blue Apron

Prepare your pan by lining it with parchment so the caramel doesn’t stick…Cider Caramels from Blue Apron

Add spices to the caramel, then pour it into the prepared pan.

Cider Caramels from Blue Apron

Cider Caramel67

After that, the only skill you’ll need is patience. It takes about 2 hours for the caramel to set. When it does, cut the square into square-ish shapes (it’ll still be kind of soft, but do the best you can. Plop a candy in the middle of a parchment piece, then…Cider Caramels from Blue Apron

Roll up, twisting the ends, just like you’re making a bit of old-fashioned homemade candy. Oh wait, you are.Cider Caramels from Blue Apron

Keep the candies out on the counter for snacking, or pack a few into a pretty box for gifting to friends.

Cider Caramel Final

Get the whole recipe below.

Continue reading “Five-Ingredient Cider Caramels”

Meet the Blue Apron Autumn Cookbook

Autumn cover

Each season, we celebrate the harvest by eating produce at its peak. At every possible meal, we cook up and eat simple and delicious dishes. And, whenever we can, we reach for the right seasonal volume for inspiration. Now that it’s September, that volume is Autumn Cooking with Blue Apron: A Collection of Simple, Seasonal Recipes: vol. 1.

Autumn is a season of good food. The harvest comes with heaping helpings of pumpkins and squashes, kale and brussels sprouts, and apples and pears. All of those ingredients get incorporated every single week into our dinners for two. You’ll find the best of the best of those recipes in the pages of the cookbook, which is on pre-sale right now.

Blue Apron Fall Desserts

But we didn’t stop there. In order for you to bridge the gap between cooking with Blue Apron and getting into the kitchen the rest of the time, we also created chapters around desserts (like pumpkin pie), projects (like gratin), and feasts to share with your friends. Even better, each recipe chapter begins with a run down of all the beautiful varietals of the vegetable or fruits it features.

Field Guide to Pumpkins

Order your copy now!

Missed Summer Cooking with Blue Apron? Read about it here.

Beyond Dinner: Homemade Chai Tea

As you hopefully know by now, Blue Apron is now on video! Every week, we post a new film on our YouTube channel and over here on the blog.

Today we’re sharing one of our chef’s classic drinks: a homemade cup of chai. There are many different ways to brew the spiced, milky tea, but we want to show you what happens when we start at Chef Matthew Wadiak’s favorite New York City spice store, in the East Village, then head back to the test kitchen armed with spices and loose-leaf tea.

Ready to come along? Warning: you’ll be craving a cup of chai in no time!

Like watching cooking videos? Subscribe to our channel on YouTube!

How to Cook & Prepare Pumpkin for Recipes

Pumpkins aren’t just a decorative gourd. Sugar pumpkins, the small orange pumpkins you find at the grocery store in the fall, are sweet and edible. Sugar pumpkins can be the star of vegetarian dinners, or the base of a seasonal dessert. Read on for our favorite ways to cook and prepare whole pumpkins.

How to cut a whole pumpkin

These tiny squash are cute, but they can be a little hard to crack. We tested a few methods for breaking open a pumpkin. In the end, we found that the easiest method is to knock, slam or drop the pumpkin onto a hard, sturdy surface—a counter, floor, or driveway—until the shell cracks. Insert a strong knife into the crack  and cut into wedges from there.

Here’s a close up of that crack we created after slamming our pumpkin against a butcher board. Feel free to use this as an opportunity to release a little stress.

how to prepare a pumpkin

After you’ve inserted the knife, you’ll be able to split the pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds with a spoon, and cut away the stem of the pumpkin. From there, you can prepare the pumpkin following your recipe instructions.

How to Use a Whole Pumpkin Instead of Pumpkin Puree

If your pumpkin pie recipe calls for canned pumpkin puree, you can easily use a whole pumpkin instead. To make homemade pumpkin puree, start by preheating the oven to 400°F. Then cut your pumpkin in half using the method above, scoop out the seeds, and get ready to roast.

Place your pumpkin halves cut side up on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until the flesh is soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork.

Remove the pumpkin from the oven, and let it sit until it is cool enough to handle. Once cool, peel away the outer pumpkin skin, and place the flesh in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, and use in place of canned pumpkin puree.

Looking for more recipe ideas? Here’s how to cook that winter squash or pumpkin up for a savory dinner.

Video: How We Find Cooking Inspiration–at the Farmers’ Market

Blue Apron is now on video! Every Thursday, we’re posting a new video on our YouTube channel and over here on the blog. Subscribe for educational how to’s, entertaining cooking adventures, and behind-the-scenes looks at how we create and source our meals.

We’ve already helped you cut down your prep time in the kitchen by finessing your knife skills and making short work of onionsgarlic, and carrots.

Today, we’re going behind the scenes with Chef Matthew Wadiak to share how we get inspired to create incredible original meals every week. For Chef Wadiak, the process often starts at the farmers’ market, where he notices some heirloom tomatoes right at their prime and bunches of basil perfuming the air with their fragrance.

What’ll happen to the tomatoes and herbs once he gets back to the kitchen? Watch to find out.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more cooking inspiration.