If there is a silver lining to working and studying all the time, it’s that the breaks I take in between study periods feel exceptionally awesome. Suddenly 15 minutes of “free” time is like an amazing gift to be enjoyed to the fullest. This is spent in a variety of ways…finding after-the-exam projects on Ravelry (…seriously, I’m going to knit all the things), surfing around Goodreads finding fun books to read, and of course, planning all sorts of future vacations. And because it’s fall, my mind also keeps returning to the wonderful trip we took to Vermont a couple of years ago around this time. We had a lot of fabulous meals during that trip, but one that always stands out was lunch on our first full day there. It was memorable mostly because that was the first time I met my dear friend Tara in person, but the awesome lunch we had also stands out in my mind.

For months after the trip, I wished I could have another panini like I did that day. So finally, I made it a happen. The combination may sound a bit odd but I promise, it’s all good.  It just works.  The sweet apple butter, the salty ham, crisp apple slices and gooey cheese?  Irresistible. If you come away from a visit to the apple orchard looking for ideas to use up your goodies, this sandwich is a great place to start.

  • Yield 4 sandwiches


8 slices sturdy bread, such as sourdough
3-4 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
Sliced white cheddar cheese, about 4 oz.
2-3 thinly sliced apples, such as honey crisp or gala
Thinly sliced deli ham, about 6-8 oz.
½ cup apple butter


  • 01

    To assemble the sandwiches, separate the slices of bread into 4 pairs.  Generously butter one side of each slice of bread, and then place them butter side down on a work surface.  (This will be the outside of the sandwich.)  On one slice of each pair, layer white cheddar, apple slices, and ham.  On the remaining slice of bread of each pair, spread a generous layer of apple butter.  Sandwich the pairs together so that the buttered sides of the bread are facing outward.

  • 02

    Warm a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat.  Cook the sandwiches, turning once, until both sides are golden and the cheese is melted.  Slice in half and serve immediately.