In a small mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, mustard, maple syrup, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
In a large bowl, add the chicken, apple, pecans, celery, and cranberries. Add the dressing and gently fold until the dressing evenly coats all of the ingredients.
To serve in a bread bowl: scoop out the center of a large roll. Fill with chicken salad and serve. Alternatively, serve in sandwich form on bread, croissants, or rolls.
To toast the nuts: add the pecans to a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until the nuts are fragrant.
Dice the ingredients into smaller pieces, about ¼ - ½-inch. The salad will hold together better, especially on smaller sandwiches. It's also easier to eat.
For larger batches, you can roast 1-2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a 425-degree oven for 20-25 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. Before roasting, season the chicken and drizzle with oil. Use a simple blend of salt and pepper or add other spices such as onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, dried thyme, or parsley. Chill the chicken before chopping it into bite-sized pieces.
Refer to the post above for many wonderful serving ideas.
Avoid freezing chicken salad containing ingredients such as celery, apples, or grapes. These items are high in water content and freezing and thawing will compromise the texture and consistency.