Applesauce and latkes are a Hanukkah classic. Some like to serve their potato pancakes with sour cream—which is also great—but if you ask us, nothing beats the sweet-savory contrast of golden-brown and crisped latkes with the velvety-smooth, honey-like texture of good applesauce.
We also don’t let the deliciousness stop there. You can also add on extras that will amp up the sweetness, create incredible richness, and even give things a spicy kick.
Whether you’re putting your applesauce on latkes or just enjoying it as its own treat, these four simple upgrades will take it to the next level. And this is just the tip of the iceberg: look in your pantry and you might just be inspired to create your own twist.
4 Ways to Upgrade Your Applesauce
1. Add maple syrup
A generous drizzle of maple syrup will bring rich, amber undertones and boost your applesauce’s sweetness. Add a dash of cinnamon and you’ve got something so luxuriant, you could call it dessert. Maple sauce is also a great way to sweeten applesauce if you’re making it from scratch.
2. Add browned butter
Browned butter has a nutty, rich aroma created by toasting its milk solids. And although it only requires heating some butter in a pan until it goes slightly beyond its melting point, this one-ingredient sauce has superpowers that its regular counterpart simply doesn’t have. You can add browned butter almost anywhere you’d use normal butter—baked goods, sautéed veggies, sauces, and so on—but it works especially well in applesauce because it creates a new, deeply rich dimension that it otherwise wouldn’t have. To make browned butter, melt a tablespoon or two of butter in a small pan over medium-low heat and stir until it turns a golden brown (this can take a few minutes, but it’s better to go slowly to prevent burning). For your applesauce, add a dash of salt and whisk the browned butter into it for a salty-sweet treat.
3. Add cayenne pepper
You’ve tried hot honey, now you’ve gotta try hot applesauce. Depending on your preferences, anywhere from a small dash to a full teaspoon or two of cayenne pepper will bring the heat to the sweet. Start with just a little, taste, and add more until you’ve got it how you like. Chili flakes will also do in a pinch for your spicy applesauce.
4. Add dried fruit
If applesauce’s puréed texture is a turn off, that can easily be fixed with pieces of dried fruit. Cranberries, dried cherries, and golden raisins are all great options. You could also throw in some chopped nuts to up the crunch factor even more.