In a medium sauce pan, add the peeled and diced apples, lemon juice, 1/3 C (80g) apple cider or apple juice, vanilla extract, maple syrup, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir.
Bring the ingredients to a simmer, stir, lid and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 3-5 minutes, checking at three minutes for texture. They should be fork tender, and soft but not mushy (although if they get mushy, they're still delicious! - this is the versatility of this recipe - cook em' how you like em'!) Cook for a few more minutes, lid on, if needed.
Meanwhile, while the apples are cooking, whisk the remaining 2 Tbs apple cider or juice and cornstarch in a small bowl. Once the apples are done, remove the lid and pour in the slurry. Stir. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, stirring a few times. The apples will thicken further as they cool. If you prefer a little looser set, add a splash or two of apple cider, juice or water and stir. Now is a good time to taste for sweetness and cinnamon adjustment. If the apples are too tart, add a tablespoon or two of maple. If more cinnamon is preferred, sprinkle in another 1/4 tsp.
Stir in additions, if using, and/or share the apples warm on waffles, pancakes, in oatmeal or spooned over ice cream. They're delicious too topped on baked brie.
To Store: Store the apples in a lidded container in the fridge for up to three days. Freeze for longer storage. Thaw in the fridge and gently rewarm on stove top adding a splash of water, apple cider or apple juice to thin as needed.