Homemade Caramel Apple Spice Cider

I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker. On rare occasions when I am feeling in need of the caffeine boost, I’ll drink a cup of coffee, but I make myself consume it black so I don’t actually like the way it tastes and that way I won’t get addicted to it. That sort of makes a little bit of sense, right?

While I definitely enjoy hot tea often, apple cider is my winter beverage of choice. Say what you want about hot chocolate or eggnog, but in my mind apple cider is the perfect beverage on a cold winter’s day. Recently, I’ve become a bit obsessed with Starbuck’s caramel apple spice. But, with my gift card supply dwindling and not wanting to shell out $3+ of my own money, I decided to make my own.

Turns out, their “apple spice” is simply a mixture of steamed apple juice and cinnamon dolce syrup that is topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce. I can do that. And so can you.

The front one is topped with whipped coconut milk. Great if your vegan or dairy-free!

Cinnamon Dolce Syrup

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp  ground cinnamon

1-2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 tsp whole cloves

1/2 tsp whole allspice

Peel of one small orange (a clementine cutie works well)

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 40 minutes. Mixture should be very fragrant. Remove cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice and orange peel from the syrup. Syrup may be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

For Apple Cider:  

Place 2 tablespoons (more or less depending on how sweet you like your cider) cinnamon dolce syrup in the bottom of a mug. You can add a little caramel sauce in the bottom of the mug at this point also. Fill mug with apple juice. Microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes until throughly heated. Topped with whipped cream and caramel, if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Beverage is best enjoyed by a fire.

I’d certainly argue that this is way better than Apple Spice at Starbucks. It has more flavor for which I give much of the credit to the orange peel. I also love that you can easily control the level of sweetness.

Then again, I’m not exactly unbiased.

What is your winter drink of choice? Anyone like eggnog?

I haven’t actually tried it since I was 10 or so, but I remember thinking it was the nastiest thing ever. I’m afraid to try it again!

I hope everyone is enjoying getting ready for Christmas! I can’t believe it is so soon.

Grilled Avocado and Apple Waffle Sammie

I wanted something yummy for dinner

as opposed to the evenings when I want something gross

Oh wait, I always something delicious.

But, I don’t always get it

Actually often I do

Enough rambling,

It’s amazing how complicated I can say “Tonight’s  dinner was tasty”

You what was even more remarkable?

This tasty dish I’m talking about  was a sandwich.

I generally don’t like sandwiches.

But, this was a waffle sandwich.

Spraying the pan wasn't enough....butter to the rescue!

The interior is smooth and creamy, yet crisp and crunchy; Sweet yet savory. The exterior resembles a waffle. I’ve never met anything remotely waffle-ish that I don’t love.

Grilled Avocado and Apple Waffle Sammie

2 slices bread (I used seeded Ezekiel)

1/2 a small avocado mashed

1/4 of an apple sliced thinly (eat the remaining 3/4 alongside the sandwich)

Turkey (omit if you’re not of the meat eating variety)

A slice of cheese (optional, I didn’t use)

Butter/oil

Spread the avocado mixture on both slices of bread and top one slice with apples, turkey and cheese (if using) and remaining piece of bread. Butter the bread and put the sandwich into a waffle iron (or panini press or just a pan on the stove). If using a waffle iron, you may want to but something heavy on top of it. Cook until lightly browned. Enjoy!

I may have shed a few tears when I realized it was almost gone.

Moral of the story: You should make this sandwich.

At least then I’ll have someone to cry with.

Or we can just make each other more sandwiches.

That would probably be better.