Hot Caramel Apple Cider Recipe
So our adventures in beautiful Arizona finally came to an end and it was time for a change. We have been looking at moving to Colorado for a while to be closer to family and at long last, we did it! And let me tell you, it's much different than Arizona. From the culture and climate of the state, to the food and customer service, and the mountains!!... let's just say we are in love.
Everything is different out here, and I have to say, some of the best parts about moving here have to be loving family that is ready at any moment to come and take the kids, make dinner or go to the zoo with you....and the SNOW! It has snowed just about everyday that we have been here so far and it's incredible. The dogs love it, the kids love it and I love it. White, fluffy and sparkling in the sunshine, the snow is wonderful, but boy is it cold.
What better weather for hot chocolate, hot tea and hot apple cider. This is my favorite part about the wintertime, other than the snow. I really enjoy how creative you can get with your hot drinks as well. You can have cherry or mint hot chocolate, hot teas with cinnamon, honey, nutmeg or any other variety of spices, and you can have hot apple cider with homemade caramel sauce.
Believe me, I've also busted out all of my jars of pie fillings for some decadent hot desserts right before bed, but that's another article for another time.
Over the last few years, we've really changed our diet around here. We've cut out refined sugars and flours, table salt and all processed foods. We've even switched to all organic items in our grocery basket whenever possible. So although the recipe calls for using pre-prepared apple cider and caramel flavored syrup, and would likely be the easiest for most households, I like to make all of our items homemade using healthy ingredients. Hot drinks are a very easy place to do just that, so I'll make sure to include those options later on in the recipe just in case you are interested.
- 1 (64oz) container apple cider, not apple juice
- 1 (20oz) bottle caramel flavored syrup
- 1 (12oz) tub whipped cream
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- Prepare at least a 2-quart crock pot for this recipe, if not bigger.
- Combine entire bottle of apple cider, 1/2 cup of caramel syrup, 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, and 1 cup of whipped cream in a large bowl and mix well.
- Pour entire contents of bowl into your crock pot, set on LOW and leave cooking for about 4 hours.
- This is great to get started while you're out of the house, before dinner so its ready for dessert, or even when you get up in the morning to spread smells of warmth throughout your home all day.
- When it's ready, ladle your cider into individual mugs, top with additional whipped cream and extra caramel sauce. Enjoy!
|Serving size: 1 cup|
|Calories from Fat||9|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 1 g||2%|
|Carbohydrates 10 g||3%|
|Sugar 7 g|
|Fiber 2 g||8%|
|Protein 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 44 mg||2%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
I sure love crockpot recipes. There's nothing better in our house than walking in, or walking downstairs, to warm smells wafting around the house, and apples and cinnamon make some of the best smells. You should check out my recipe for Harvest Apple Jam containing cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom with my apples int he crockpot. Divine!
As amazing as this recipe smells and tastes though, as promised, I offer you some healthier alternatives if you're interested. Surprisingly, both apple cider and caramel can be made easily from home,even by those not familiar with making their own ingredients.
For homemade apple cider, all you need is fresh apples and water. For the purpose of our recipe, we are also going to toss in some cinnamon and cloves (or allspice, whichever you have on hand). If you have a juicer, then this process will be even easier. It takes anywhere between 3-6 apples to get a single cup of apple juice (Oster.com), and we need two cups for this recipe. Pour your two cups of fresh apple juice, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of allspice (or 1/4 tsp of cloves) into a pot and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 5-20 minutes, depending on how strong you like your apple cider, and then strain into your favorite mug to enjoy.
If you have no juicer, then you will want to boil 2-3 apples chopped into quarters in enough water to cover them by an inch or two in a large pot with your spices. Boil uncovered for an hour and then turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Strain the mixture into your favorite mug and enjoy. You can also do this version in the crockpot on the low setting for easier cooking.
For homemade caramel, my favorite recipe comes from Feel Great in 8 and uses coconut milk, honey, pink Himalayan salt, coconut oil and vanilla. There are tons of great recipes out there using whole, healthy ingredients, but I like this one. Basically, you combine 1 (13.5 oz) can of coconut milk, 1/2 cup of honey and a pinch of salt in a pot of the stove and bring it to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer, stirring frequently for 40 minutes. When the cook time is over, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and stir constantly for about 5 minutes to keep the bottom from burning until it reaches a deep caramel color, and then remove it from the heat to cool. Once it has cooled slightly, stir vigorously until it is smooth and shiny.
While it is warm, you can stir as much or as little as you'd like (I recommend about a tablespoon for each cup of hot apple cider) into your cup of hot apple cider until it melts into the hot liquid. Yum!
What is the Difference Between Apple Juice and Apple Cider?
This is an excellent question, and it is just as easily answered. "Apple juice" is a commercial creation. If you were to put fresh apples into a juicer, the liquid that comes out on the other side is called apple cider. Apple cider has simply been referred to as apple juice for so long that people now know apple cider to be the spiced hot drink.
Fresh apple cider, however, will only last a couple of days in the refrigerator before it will begin to ferment, much like a fresh cut apple. Therefore juice companies are not allowed to sell their juices without first pasteurizing them to make them shelf stable, or capable of sitting on the grocery store shelf for long periods of time without going bad.
What you may not know though, is that the pasteurizing process involves heating up whatever food is being pasteurized until any harmful bacteria is killed, thought to make it safer for the general public. Although, this process also kills all good, healthy bacteria and nutrients in the product. (AltHealthWorks)They can't send it out to the stores that way, so they add in tons of refined sugar (that has also been through this process) and artificial nutrients that your body cannot digest. Yummy right?
This is what is referred to as apple juice. It's so easy, and healthy to make make your own apple "juice" at home, and you can make exactly what you need in the moment. There's really no need to buy it from the store.
What do you think of this recipe?
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© 2013 Victoria Van Ness