This time of year I cringe when I walk through the grocery store and see the seasonal displays with spiced apple cider. It’s not that I don’t dig apple cider, but most brands are more sugar than fresh apple and spices. So here’s my answer to this autumn time dilemma: Easy homemade apple cider where you control the sugar and spice and everything nice. And one that doesn’t involve pressing your own apple juice (unless of course you want to)…
Simply buy unpasteurized, cold-pressed apple juice. The Evolution brand is carried by many of the chain grocery stores, and is just juice, so you’re starting with your own blank canvas.
Then add any array of seasonings you enjoy, bring to a boil, simmer an hour, and sip. Cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, allspice berries, orange peel and cloves will get you a classic cider. Adding a whole star anise or two will lend a little exotic flavor.
For a special treat, whip up some fresh heavy cream and add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice. You won’t miss the prepackaged, sugar-laden apple cider, and will definitely enjoy the season with a little less guilt!
If you do want to brew up your own apple cider from scratch, this recipe from Chaos In The Kitchen takes several hours, but looks delightful!
- Spiced Apple Cider
- 32 fl oz fresh-squeezed apple juice
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 tsp allspice berries
- 1 whole nutmeg
- Peel of one orange
- Spiced Whipped Cream
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Combine all ingredients for cider in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, then cover and turn heat to low.
- Simmer cider over low heat for one to two hours. Strain, and serve warm or store chilled.
- Whip heavy cream and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Add vanilla extract and spices and serve immediately.