They might look kind of funny at first glance, but now we’re laughing all the way to the kitchen.

Though the idea can sound pretty weird to the uninitiated, fruit sandwiches have become a big hit in Japan. Several members of the SoraNews24 team are happy converts to the concept, and we’ve spent the past few months tracking down some of the tastiest examples in and around Tokyo.

▼ Japanese fruit sandwiches are generally crustless bread with a filling of sweet whipped cream and pieces of fruit.

But even we were surprised by a recent idea that turns the idea of fruit sandwiches inside-out. Japan’s northern prefecture of Aomori has a reputation as the country’s best region for growing apples, and a recently released video from the Aomori Apple Council highlights all sorts of ways to eat the fruit.

The video starts off with apple pies and gets a little more unexpected with a salad with apple chunks, but then it shows this unusual-looking sight.

Yep, those are fruit sandwiches, but with the fruit on the outside. We never would have thought of the idea on our own, but now that we knew about it, we had to try it for ourselves. Thankfully, the Aomori Apple Council provides a recipe for these Star-cut Sandwich Muffins on its website, so let’s get started!

English muffin (1 half)
Honey (2 teaspoons)
Cream cheese (20 grams [0.7 ounces])

Step 1: Cut the apple into thick slices. You’ll only need two slices to make one sandwich, but you may as well go ahead and cut the whole apple.

Step 2: Using a cookie cutter, remove the apple’s core from the slices.

The Aomori Apple Council recommends using a stylish star-shaped cutter, which is why they call this the Star-cut Sandwich Muffin, but really any shape will do, so feel free to make a Heart-cut Sandwich Muffin, Cherry blossom-cut Sandwich Muffin, or whatever else strikes your mood/matches the kitchen supplies you have on hand.

Step 3: Slice the English muffin in half and spread the cream cheese on top.

Step 4: Spread the honey on top of one of the apple slices.

Step 5: Place the English muffin on top of the apple slice with the honey on it, stack the other apple slice on the muffin, and you’re done!

Holding the completed Star-cut Sandwich Muffin in our hands was doubly unfamiliar. Not only did we have apples where we’d usually have bread, we had bread on the inside of our sandwich.

But while the construction might be counterintuitive, the flavor makes perfect sense: it’s delicious! The apples themselves have a mix of sweet and tart notes, letting them harmonize effortlessly with both the honey and cream cheese. It tastes like a full-on dessert, despite all the ingredients being pretty healthy things.

And yet, we immediately had an idea about how we might be able to make it better.

While there’s nothing wrong with a room-temperature English muffin, we think we can all agree that they taste best right out of the toaster, when they’re warm and have just a little bit of crunch. So we started making ourselves a second Star-cut Sandwich Muffin, but this time, after we spread the cream cheese on the English muffin, we popped it in the toaster oven.

▼ Alternatively, if you’ve got a non-oven slot-type toaster you can toast the muffin first and add the cream cheese after.

After we retrieved our toasted English muffin, we assembled the rest of the sandwich…

…and yep, the Star-cut Sandwich Muffin Version 2 was even better than the original recipe, with the melty cheese tying everything together and the warm, inviting aroma of the freshly toasted muffin compelling us to eat it as quickly as humanly possible.

But you know what’s crazy? There was still room for improvement.

▼ “Hah! This isn’t even my final form!”

We still had a few apple slices left, and at this point you can probably guess where this project is going, right? If toasting the English muffin made the sandwich twice as nice, shouldn’t toasting the apple slices make it thrice as nice? Or is that four-ice as nice, since we have two apple slices?

We’re unsure of the precise math/linguistics, but we were certain that we had to take the Star-cut Sandwich Muffin to its maximum evolved form, so this time everything got heated up in the toaster oven.

Look, we’ll be honest here. We realize that some of our ideas here at SoraNews24 are…questionable, like our choice of attire on our recent Starbucks run, or the time we tried to become rich though the power of pigeon droppings. But this time? We felt like genuine geniuses, because toasting all the ingredients for the Star-cut Sandwich Muffin basically turns it into a mouthwatering apple pie that you can eat guilt-free.

At least there’s no guilt in a nutritional sense. You might feel a little guilty not sharing, especially since the aroma of toasted bread and apples will bring everyone else in your home/office into the kitchen wanting one too…which is one more reason we recommend slicing the entire apple in Step 1 of the recipe.

Related: Aomori Apple Council
Top image: SoraNews24
Insert images: SoraNews24, YouTube/健康果実 青森りんご
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