November has passed in a flash and here we are, it’s almost Thanksgiving! I’m freaking out about this because I just got back from vacation and I’m having a hard time adjusting to normal life again. We spent half the week in a secluded cabin in the Smokey mountains and the other half in Asheville, NC, which is a pretty little town with lots of wonderful restaurants. I had such a good time that I’m already mentally planning a trip back to the same area next year!
I didn’t mean to take such a long break from posting but between work deadlines and vacation it didn’t leave much time for cooking this month. But thanks to how easy this recipe is, I did have a chance to whip up this delicious apple cider in my spare time. I wanted to post it before Thanksgiving because it’s easy to make ahead of time and would be an excellent addition to any holiday get-together, particularly if you serve a nice piece of pie along with it.
It couldn’t be simpler: take apple cider, add a bit of orange juice, stir in caramel sauce and cook with some aromatic spices until your kitchen smells amazing. Drink!
You can make this in a slow cooker or oven. I even tried making it on my stove top to save some time. It worked fine but just make sure it doesn’t come to a boil or the cream from the caramel will separate. (I learned this the hard way!) Other than the 10 minutes it takes to make the caramel this is about as hands-off as a recipe can get. The end result is a sweet and pleasantly spiced apple cider. The caramel is the star of this recipe, so if you love the taste of caramel you will want to make this drink soon!
Spiced Caramel Apple Cider
adapted from Cooking Light Slow-Cooker Tonight
Drink | Servings: 12
Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 3 hours | Total time: 3 hour 20 min
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp. water
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- 5 whole allspice
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
- 10 cups apple cider
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Add the sugar and water to a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring gently, 3 to 5 minutes or until the sugar melts. Stop stirring and continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat and let stand for a minute. Stir in the butter until melted. Gradually add whipping cream, stirring constantly. Move pan back to stove and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Place allspice, cloves and cinnamon sticks on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather the edges and tie securely.
Slow cooker method: Place spice bag into a slow cooker. Pour in cider and orange juice. Stir in the caramel sauce until dissolved. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. Remove and discard spice bag. Stir in lemon juice.
Oven method: Preheat the oven to 225 degrees (F). Place spice bag into a dutch oven or large oven-safe pot. Pour in cider and orange juice. Stir in the caramel sauce until dissolved. Cover and cook for 3 hours. Remove and discard spice bag. Stir in lemon juice.
Stove top method: Place spice bag into a dutch oven or large pot. Pour in cider and orange juice. Stir in the caramel sauce until dissolved. Cover and cook on low (the lowest setting your stove goes to) for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove and discard spice bag. Stir in lemon juice.
Serve in mugs along with additional cinnamon sticks if desired.