Heat a small saucepan over low heat. Add the red pepper flakes and dry toast for 2-3 minutes. Add the maple syrup and bring to a gentle simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, mix together the pork sausage, grated apple, shredded cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, maple syrup, sage, and salt and pepper. Use your hands to roll small balls of the pork mixture, then place the balls on the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pork mixture.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the meatballs are completely cooked through and slightly crisp.
Serve the meatballs warm with hot maple drizzled over meatballs or served as a dipping sauce on the side.
If desired, serve on skewers with a fresh apple slice on top.
Make these gluten-free by substituting gluten-free breadcrumbs instead of using regular breadcrumbs.
Omit the cheese for a delicious dairy-free version.