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.

Thankful Thursday : Turn That Frown Upside-Down (and cake!)

I’ve haven’t done Thankful Thursday in practically forever. I can’t believe I let it fall by the wayside for so long. It is long past time for it to be reinstituted. Only this week’s addition is a tad different. I like to call it Turn that Frown Upside-down.

All you have to do is take something negative and turn it into a positive. Take a complaint and turn it into an appreciation.

:( These Strawberry cherries don’t taste much like strawberries.

:) These strawberries cherries are delicious.

Source

:( I can’t believe summer ends in a month.

:) Senior year officially begins in a month!

:( I am so sore I can hardly move.

:) That was a great workout: I’m so glad I worked hard.

:( It’s so hot outside.

:) The Sun is shining; it’s a beautiful day!

:( This cake has so much butter and sugar.

:) This cake is soooo delicious and besides, Michael Polan says to eat as much junk food as you want….as  long as you make it yourself. (The logic is that you won’t take the time to make stuff  yourself very often; clearly he doesn’t know me.)

:( My sister made it.

:) We are of the same flesh and blood….did I mention the cake is delicious?

 

Mimi’s Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This decadent cake which has been in my family for years will be the star of an meal you serve it with. A small piece on ocassion can certainly be part of a nutritious and balanced lifestyle.

Ingredients:

3 sticks of butter

8oz cream cheese

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 cups flour

1 Tablespoon vanilla

Instructions:

Cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Add eggs and flour alternately. Mix in vanilla. Pour into a greased angel food(tube) pan*. Bake at 325 degrees for 90-120 minutes or until wooden stick interested comes out clean. Let cool and serve with homemade whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

*2 loaf pans may be used  in place of 1 angel food (tube) pan. If so, check cakes after one hour.

What is a frown in your life that you can turn upside down?

                                                                                                                                                              

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