Autumn has absolutely taken over my heart. I love when the season turns cooler, crisp, and calmer. Newly chilly fall mornings are my favorite. I love how the sun seems to wait just a little longer to begin the day. The still and quite of the early morning hangs in the balance just a little longer. In the evening, sleepy heads turn in a little earlier, seeking the warm glow of those that we love.
As we all try to get cozy, I’m reminded that spiced apple cider is one of my favorite fall recipes. I love to share it with my loved ones when the days grow shorter and the air gets cooler. What I love most about making homemade apple cider is that it is surprisingly easy. Especially this recipe since it is made in a slow cooker.
You will need:
- 10 apples- I like to use a verity like Macintosh, Honey crisp, Gala, and Granny Smith for a complex flavor.
- 1 orange (optional but adds great flavor)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 cinnamon sticks or 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons ground cardamom or 4 table spoons hand cracked pods
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 5 whole allspice
- 1 cup of honey- you can also use 1 cup of sugar.
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- A mesh strainer or nut milk bag
First, you will want to gather your spices in a cheese cloth and tie the bundle up nice and tight. You can leave the cinnamon sticks out if you like, but making a bundle will save you lot of time in the end.
Next, quarter the apples; no need to peel them. Then, zest the orange and cut in half. Add the apples, orange halves and zest, honey or sugar, and vanilla extract into the slow cooker. Then, fill with enough water to cover everything. Toss in your spices. Set on high.
After about two hours, remove the spices and discard the orange. Use a large spoon or potato masher and mash the apples up, just enough to make them easier to blend. Add spices back, and allow the mash to simmer for another hour or so.
Let the mixture cool slightly and remove the spice bundle. If you used whole cracked cardamom pods, then squeeze any of the little seeds into the apple mash.
Add in the fresh basil. I like to add this a little at a time and taste it, keeping in mind that the flavor will intensify the longer it sits.
Blend everything together: Apple mash, basil and any cardamom seeds if you have them, with an immersion blender. Or, ladle the mixture into a blender.
Strain the juice from the pulp. You can do this a few times depending on how much pulp you want in your drink.
The cider can be added back into the slow cooker to keep and serve warm. Or, you can chill and serve it cold.
I like to save the pulp to make Apple Cardamom Cookies. I haven’t written out that recipe yet, but It’s easy to substitute the apple pulp for peanut butter in any peanutbutter cookie recipe.
Alternatively, you can buy apple juice or cider in a glass jug or bottle (but please reuse the glass), add it to a crockpot with the spices. This is great time saver, and you end up with one amazing jug for your bulk castile soap.
If you’re feeling a little frisky…. Try mixing champagne with the chilled apple cider for an apple cider mimosa. I love to serve this on Holiday mornings.
Cheater Spiced Apple Cider
Maybe you find Autumn tugging at your heart strings but you don’t have the time to make homemade apple cider. Here is a fast and easy cheater recipe for you.
You will need:
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup Brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- Apple juice
Start making a simple syrup by combining the sugar, water, and cinnamon. Bring to a very slight boil and reduce heat. Let simmer until it has reduced by about half. Allow to cool and pour into an air tight container like a glass jar.
Mix 8-10 ounces of apple juice with 1 tablespoon of the spiced simple syrup. Again you can drink this warmed or chilled.