Sparkling Cider Mocktails

 Apples are our ingredient of the season. Check out our complete archive of apple drinks, recipes, and crafts.

If your holiday dinners are anything like ours, there will be at least one bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider or grape juice on the buffet. We may have outgrown the kids’ table, but we haven’t outgrown the kids’ bubbly. This year we suggest adding a bit of grown-up flavor to your juice in the form of cranberry and ginger-rosemary simple syrups, creating mocktails worthy of the adult table… of course, we won’t bat an eyelash if you add a touch of your favorite vodka or gin too!

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Each of these drinks gets their flavor from Martinelli’s Organic Sparkling Cider and an infused simple syrup. We’re sure your holiday menu is already full, so we purposefully kept these mocktails simple to make using ingredients that we always have on hand for Thanksgiving. As such, there’s no need to add an extra item to the mile-long grocery list, and if you’re short on time, you can assign the syrup-making to the first guest to walk through the door.

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 Rosemary-Ginger Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 4-5 1/4 inch slices fresh ginger
  • Place all ingredients in a sauce pot, bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 1-2 minutes until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Strain the rosemary and ginger from the syrup once it cools.

Cranberry Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • Place all ingredients in a sauce pot, bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 1-2 minutes until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Strain the rosemary and ginger from the syrup once it cools.
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Time to Mix!

The Martinelli’s on its own is too sweet for my taste and adding these simple syrups would create a drink that would make my teeth hurt, so I always start by cutting the cider 50-50 with seltzer water. I would suggest you do that, or, if you’re the drinking type, take our suggestion and add vodka.

  • 1 part sparkling cider
  • 1 part seltzer water
  • 1 Tbsp simple syrup
  • rosemary, fresh cranberries, and crystallized ginger for garnish

Place all ingredients except the garnish in your glass and  give it a gentle stir.

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I think my favorite part is coming up with the garnishes! Is professional garnish-er a job? If so, I’m available for your next party. A note about buying the ginger: I never keep crystallized ginger on hand, because it always seems to dry out and get hard before I have a chance to use it. Instead, I buy only what I need for any recipe from the bulk foods section of the grocery store. On this particular day I only bought 8 or 9 pieces; considering my love for buying in bulk, this seems silly, but it’s always so nice having fresh and soft crystallized ginger for a recipe.

In the ginger-rosemary drink I used a sprig of rosemary. It matched the flavor of the drink, and the green and gold combination looked beautiful. My rosemary stems were a bit flimsy, but if your rosemary stems are firm, use them to skewer some of the cranberries and ginger.

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For the cranberry drink I put a couple of cranberries and a piece of crystallized ginger on a toothpick. Even though there’s no ginger in the drink, the sparkling gold candy looked so pretty on top of the red berries. Don’t you think?

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Of course, even if you don’t have time to mix up these syrups, just adding a bit of garnish to your sparkling cider will make every feel special! Especially if you add something like the sprig of rosemary ~ each time your guests take a sip of cider they’ll get an added bonus with the rosemary aroma.

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Apple Cranberry Crisp

Apples are our ingredient of the season. We love to eat them, but we also love to preserve them, drink them, and craft with them!

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It’s about time we shared the staple of all apple desserts ~ a crisp! What’s not to love? They are packed with fruit, covered in a hearty and nutty oat crumb. With the right combination of sugar and salt you can get that irresistible sweet yet salty flavor. Still warm, they make vanilla ice cream melt to produce a delicious sweet cream running through every bite. You can totally eat them for breakfast with plain yogurt and know you’re getting your day off to a great start. Or is that just me?

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I made this crisp yesterday. It was our first unbelievably cold day of the season that also blanketed us with snow. A perfect day for finding any reason to stick close to the stove. So I did a whole bunch of cooking and baking. One of the recipes I cooked earlier in the day resulted in boiled cranberries that were then filtered out of that recipe (that’s vague, but you’ll get the full details next week!). The berries looked so perfect that I thought it wouldn’t hurt to experiment and see if I could re-use them in a crisp. I used my standard crisp recipe, it’s a simplified version of something I found in the King Arthur Baker’s Companion (my go-to for all sorts of standard baked goods).  While I don’t do it every time, I’ll often add fresh cranberries to the crisp, luckily, yesterday’s “used” cranberries still had a lot of flavor and worked just as well as fresh ones. 
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Filling Ingredients

  • 5-6 apples, or enough to fill a pie dish, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (I even leave some whole)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, separated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, separated
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Crumble Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (or 1/2 cup not packed down)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 8 Tbsp butter

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How-To

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and heavily butter your pie dish (I will use about 2 Tbsp of butter and leave any excess within the pan).
  • Place all filling ingredients in a bowl and mix vigorously then transfer to the buttered pie dish.
  • Place all topping ingredients in a food processor and mix until crumbly. If you don’t have a processor, you can mix everything except the butter and walnuts, then cut in the butter and once crumbly lightly mix in the walnut pieces.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the apple mixture. Bake for about 1.5 hours, or until it’s bubbly and a nice golden brown color.

As you can see, the juices from this crisp ran over the side of my dish (producing those beautiful yellow and pink streaks on the outside of the dish – isn’t it cool that the apple and cranberry juices didn’t completely blend?). Depending upon how much I’ve over-stuffed my dish, I will often use a cookie sheet to catch the droppings – it’s much better than have the sugary syrup burn on the bottom of your oven!

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This recipe is easily customizable. You can begin by keeping or skipping the cranberries and/or walnuts. You can replace the water in the filling with apple cider or orange juice. You can play with the spice combinations and amounts. But whatever you do, don’t forget the vanilla ice cream (and yogurt for breakfast!).

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Dried Fruit Garland

Apples are our ingredient of the seasons. So far we’ve gone crazy with them in the kitchen, but today we’re filing getting crafty!

This year, after taking down our Halloween decorations and while waiting to up a Christmas tree, I was really feeling the urge to decorate. So I put together this simple garland that’s a snap to make, celebrates the bounty of the season, and is perfectly suited for my need to add a little touch of something to our November walls.

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Supplies:

This project requires relatively few supplies, but as with everything we do around here, the garland is easily customizable, so look around your craft room and get creative!

  • twine
  • dried fruit (more on this below)
  • wooden beads
  • simple yarn flowers (how-to below)
  • hot glue gun
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Drying the Fruit

I began the project by slicing and drying three pieces of fruit: red and gold delicious apples and a seedless navel orange. The fruit were sliced into quarter inch discs. Sharpening your knife will go a long way towards helping you make even slices with nice smooth surfaces. You’ll find it difficult to cut through the seeded area of the apples, but my advice is to keep your knife horizontal (rather than pushing the point or handle ends up and down) and to saw back and forth with even pressure.

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Once sliced, I removed all seeds and placed the pieces on cooling racks over cookie sheets for drying.  I then dried the fruit in a 200F oven for about 5-6 hours, flipping the slices twice to help minimize curling of the fruit.

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The Beads

In addition to the fruit, I wanted to add a few other textures and colors to the garland. First up, some natural wooden beads. I bought a 20-pack of these beads at Joann’s. Once home I thought about painting these, but didn’t have any craft paint, so decided to keep them natural and add color with a bit of yarn (something I have plenty of!).

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The Flowers

Using some rusty-red yarn, I made a few very simple flowers. I originally saw these flowers on Pinterest and made from twine. The link to that Pin was bad, but a quick Google search led me to this really helpful how-to video.

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The only supplies you’ll need to make these are a piece of cardboard, yarn or twine, scissors, a yarn needle, and 8-12 toothpicks. If you assemble that, you’ll be able to make a flower right along with the video because she explains everything at a nice slow speed.

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In the video, 12 toothpicks are used, but as I mention, you may need as few as 8, depending upon how large and full you make your flower. I made my flowers with cardboard discs that were 1.5 and 2 inches in diameter. As you can see in these photos, the diameter of your disc determines the final diameter of your flower.  I wouldn’t go any smaller than 1.5 inches, and if I were to do it again, would probably uses discs that were 2 and 2.5 inches. As you can see, my flowers are quite full with only 8 petals, and I think 12 would have been too much, but may be just right for a 2.5 inch flower.

*Don’t cut off the extra yarn ends when you’re done making your flower – these come in handy for tying the flowers to the twine.

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Assemble the Garland

With your garland swag in order, it’s time to assemble! I attached the fruit with hot glue. In order to get the fruit to hang nicely, you should glue the twine on no more than 1/3 of the way down the slice (rather than along the widest part, if that makes sense?). If you glue the twine too far down, the weight of the fruit will cause them to face downwards rather than out. The flowers were tied on by the extra yarn ends. If you cut off the yarn ends, you could easily hot glue these too. Once tied, I then cut any excess yarn off. And to make bead placement easier, I strung a whole bunch at once (as you saw in the photo above), then just knotted the twine on either side of the bead.

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With those instructions, just go for a random placement of your items, but still keeping in mind that odd-numbered groupings are more appealing. The beads sort of act as breakpoints in your garland, so I thought it was useful to place 3 or 5 of the fruit and flower items between any two beads.

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 Hang it up!

And now comes the hardest part, figuring out where to hang your garland. I started by stringing mine along one of our ceiling beams and thought that it looked OK, but maybe a little bit too puny for that space? What do you think?

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From there I took the garland over to our fireplace. First, I tried stringing it along the mantel and letting the excess hang down on either side. I loved the look of the garland along the skinny front of the mantel, but knew that if we were to keep it here, I’d have to shorten the ends to keep Little A from pulling on or trying to eat it.

So I moved the garland with the same hanging profile to above the mantel. I’m not completely in love with how it looks here, I feel like there’s nothing specific that’s anchoring the garland to that spot (am I wrong?). I do love being able to see it as we sit on the couch, especially when I catch a look at the fruit in the glow of the candle light. But, now what’s this renter to do with those ugly brown vents? Any tips?

So, that’s our simple bit of decoration for November. Just enough to tide me over until I go evergreen and light crazy!

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Fall Cheese Trifecta

While apples may be our ingredient of the season, cheese is definitely our snack of the season. So far we’ve spent more time exploring condiments to pair with our favorite cheese rather than the vast world of cheese varieties, but we’re ok with that, because these combinations are top notch!

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With today’s combination, I’m not sure who’s the star. Our delicious homemade apple butter? Carr’s hearty whole wheat crackers biscuits? Or the ever reliable bite of Cabot’s Extra Sharp cheddar? I do know that when you put the combination together you create a hearty snack that evokes the flavors of season and will satisfy the hunger you build up while outside on these crisp fall days.

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If you haven’t had a Carr’s whole wheat cracker yet, add them to your next grocery list. You’ll find them to be much more substantial than a typical cracker. The whole wheat really fills you up, but they also have a touch of sweetness that makes it seem like you’re eating more of a cookie than a cracker. It’s hard to explain, but I know that I can eat two or three with a cup of tea and consider it the perfect mid-morning snack. 

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We’ve already raved about our love of apple butter in this post, so there’s not much more to say there. Other than to remind you to pick up a sack of apples and get yourself a jar.

Then there’s the cheese. Do you have a favorite cheddar? Whenever I want a basic, not too expensive cheddar that has that perfectly sharp bite, I look for Cabot’s Extra Sharp. The description on their site says it best, the cheese is “creamy white in color with an almost crumbly texture and has a sophisticated, citrusy tang”.

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Cheddar gets its name from an extra step in the cheese-making process called cheddaring where loaves of curds are allowed to set until they reach a certain acidity, they are then cut into loaves, stacked, and turned every 10 minutes until further acidity points are reached. While changing the acidity, this process adds flavor and creates the crumbly texture that cheddars are known for. After the batch has been cheddared and salted, the curds are placed into cheese molds and aged for anywhere from 1 month to over 10 years, depending upon the type of cheddar being made. The Cabot Extra Sharp is aged for anywhere from 9 to 14 months (whereas their mild cheddar is aged for just 2 to 3 months).

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Want a few more fun cheddar facts?

  • It’s the second most popular cheese in the US behind mozzarella
  • Our average annual consumption is 10 lbs per person!… my personal consumption is more like 20 lbs (minimum)
  • The cheese originated in the English village of Cheddar in the 12th century
  • Easy Cheese is not cheddar
  • A single 1 oz serving gives you 20% of your daily calcium requirements
  • And what do you call the hunk of cheddar sitting in my fridge? Nacho cheese! ha!
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Easiest Caramel Dip

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As you know, apples are our ingredient of the season and with that in mind, I decided to make a childhood favorite of mine, caramel dip.  Over the years, my tastes for sweets has drastically decreased.  I’m now a dark chocolate lover and I tend to gravitate towards salty snacks, but when October rolls around I always think of my mom’s caramel dip.  She used to whip up a batch for friendly gatherings, holiday dessert tables and if my memory serves me correctly, the soccer concession stand.

This recipe is dubbed ‘the easiest caramel dip’ because you’re not actually making the caramels, you’re simply melting them and adding a couple other ingredients to achieve the right taste and consistency.  Its simple preparation (no knives involved!) makes it a great recipe for the kiddos to help with.  It can also be made a day or two ahead if you have a big party approaching and in my opinion, those are the best types of party foods.

The original recipe, which was dictated to me by my mom earlier this afternoon calls for Cool Whip.  My mom mentioned that she didn’t really know why the Cool Whip was added (since it’s mainly just oil) and that I could probably find a substitution for it, but that she never bothered.  Raising four kids, working full time, and constantly cooking for us, I can understand why she didn’t want to mess with a hit like her simple caramel dip.  Can you imagine the moans and groans we would have attacked her with if the dip didn’t taste right?  Anyway, after I went grocery shopping and snapped the first shot of the ingredients I realized I don’t have four kids and thus I could manage to experiment without any repercussions and such, this recipe contains Cool Whip no more! I opted to use a couple spoonfuls of coconut oil instead and to my delight, it turned out perfectly and you can’t taste the coconut one single bit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Kraft caramel
  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil (or more to achieve desired consistency)

Easiest Instructions:

  • Unwrap all the caramels and put them in a small sauce pot along with the cream cheese.
  • Stir continuously on medium low heat until the caramels and cream cheese are completely melted and combined.
  • Stir in two tablespoons of coconut oil.  If you like a thinner dip, add a bit more coconut oil until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Remove from heat. Transfer to a small bowl and serve with sliced apples.

Along with sliced apples, I also dripped some of the caramel dip onto plain, unsalted popcorn and roasted, unsalted peanuts. It made for a sweet and crunchy treat.

Just so you know…

  • I’m moving in a few days and I had already packed up my kitchen so finding utensils, bowls and serving pieces for this post was the most challenging part!
  • The handle of my pot broke off (the screw came loose and slipped out) when I picked up the pot to transfer the caramel to a bowl. It slammed down on the stove and hot caramel splattered everywhere..
  • I almost spelled caramel, carmel for the entire post because I grew up next to Mount Carmel so naturally that’s how I’ve been spelling the sweet treat my entire life.  I never understood why some people pronounced caramel with three syllables, but now I get it.
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Crockpot Apple Butter

Apples are our ingredient of the season, so far we’ve covered a variety of baking and drinking recipes. Today it’s all about the condiment!

Have you tried apple butter yet? Apple butter is a more concentrated form of apple sauce, taking all of fall’s best flavors and turning them into the perfect little condiment. It was originally developed as a form of preserved apples that would last longer than apple sauce because of its higher sugar content. If you’ve never had it, it may be because it’s more of a regional food. Apple butter was developed in Germany and the Netherlands, making it a more popular condiment in regions of the US that were settled by people from those countries, particularly the Amish. If you haven’t had it, I encourage you to seek out a jar (or jump in with both feet and make our version below) ~ it’s soooooo good! Stumped on how to eat it? The spread is often eaten with bread, but I’ll share a few more fun ideas below.

I have to admit, two weeks ago when I was making this batch of apple butter, I was exhausted and little A was squawking because he wanted to go outside, making me question why I wasn’t just running to the store to pick up a commercial jar. But I quickly had a change of heart. Other than the hour of peeling and chopping, this butter required so little work, that I’m solidly convinced it’s worth the effort, especially since I can tailor the recipe to my wants, being sure to buy organic apples, lowering the sugar, and upping the spices. Plus, the concentrated apple and spice flavor is such a perfect condiment for the season, and that’s what we’re all about!

I have made apple butter many times, and never the exact same way, but every time it turns out delicious. I’ve made batches that started with 40 lbs of apples all the way down to this measly batch that started with 4.5 lbs. I’ve also made it in an electric roaster, an electric frying pan, and a crockpot. I’ve found the crockpot to be the easiest, but use what you have! That’s all to say – this particular condiment is so forgiving. As long as you start with a big pile of apples and allow them to cook down slowly with a touch of spices, liquid, and sugar, you’ll end up with something delicious. I promise.

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 Ingredients

Recipe makes approximately 5 cups of apple butter.
  • 4.5 pounds of McIntosh Apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups water (or you could substitute apple cider for half or all of the water)
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How-to

  • Mix all ingredients together in your slow cooker and put the lid on, but leave it slightly ajar to allow steam to escape.
  • Turn it on high for 3 hours, at the end of three hours give it a good stir and assess the pot. If there’s a lot of liquid, you could keep it on high for another couple of hours before turning it to low. If the apple butter is more concentrated, you can turn it to low immediately and let it cook for an additional 4-5 hours (or longer) until you reach your desired apple butter consistency. You can even remove the lid in the last few hours of cooking if you want to let more steam out, but as your butter nears the end, be careful to stir it and watch for any signs of burning (this is less of an issue if the lid is partially on, slowing the evaporation).
  • When your butter is done cooking, let it cool. I do this with the lid off to allow for that final dose of evaporation and concentration. Transfer it to a container and refrigerate.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a wire whisk for all of your stirring. It’s a great way to break up the apples and get a smoother consistency than if you use a spoon.
  • If you have to leave the pot for while at work, just start with the crockpot on low for that time. Similarly, some people will start their butter at night and let it cook on low while they sleep. After 8 or so hours, give it a good stir and then you can always turn it up to high for a few hours if there’s still a bit of liquid in the pot (I’ve made apple butter while at work and it’s always turned out fine).
  • If you’re unsure about when it’s finished, you can scoop out a bit on a spoon and pour it onto a plate – if it holds its shape and doesn’t become a pool of liquid, then it may be done.
  • If you feel like the liquid is evaporating too fast and your apples aren’t cooking down and creating that caramelized brown color, then you can always add more liquid! This was the case for me when I was making big batches in the electric roaster, with such a large opening, it would let out a lot of steam (unless I had the lid positioned just right). Just add a cup at a time, stir it in well, and let the mixture continue to cook.
  • As I said, I’m prone to using less sugar and more spices than other recipes may call for. Feel free to adjust those levels as you see fit. There really is so much wiggle room ~ I’ve really never had a bad batch!
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Serving Suggestions

This batch made 5 cups of apple butter. We’re currently down to about 2.5 cups, so yes, we have plenty of serving suggestions!

  • As I mentioned, it’s common to spread apple butter on bread. As with my jam, I like to spread on a layer of butter first and then the apple butter. It’s particularly good on bagels.
  • A very common way to serve apple butter in Amish communities is with cottage cheese. This is one of my favorite ways to eat it (and Alex’s too!). If you’ve ever eaten at a salad bar in the area around Lancaster, PA, it’s very common to see cottage cheese and apple butter next to each other in the salad bar (and now you know why!).
  • Similar to cottage cheese, I like to stir some into plain yogurt.
  • Last weekend we added a spread of apple butter to our Saturday morning crepes with ham and cheddar cheese (Calder’s figured out a super easy way to use Bisquick for crepe-making, we’ll have to share the recipe soon!).
  • When we had some dinner guests last week, I added a ramekin of apple butter to the cheese plate. It was delicious spread on baguette with either brie or cheddar!
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Apple Sidecar

Apples are our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve done some baking and some drinking.

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Boulder we’ve had a string of chilly fall-like days with views of fresh snow on the mountains. What’s better on a chilly Thursday than a cocktail that warms you up from the inside out?! If you haven’t had a sidecar yet, get ready to sit back, enjoy it in front of the fire, and plan on doing nothing for the rest of the night.

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Sidecars are traditionally made with cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice. Today we’re substituting an apple-infused brandy for the cognac. Funny thing  – cognac and brandy are the same thing, but to be called a Cognac it must come from a specific region in France. In the past I’ve used Jacques Cardin’s Apple Flavored Cognac. Today we’re making it with Santa Fe Spirits Apple Brandy because we wanted to try something new, and it’s produced closer to home with apples grown in New Mexico!
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Ingredients

  • 2 parts cognac or brandy
  • 1 part triple sec
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • ice
  • optional – simple syrup

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The How-to

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  • Add all of the ingredients and shake
  • Pour into the glass of your choosing, traditionally a cocktail glass would be used. I prefer a rocks glass… but then I thought that this would be perfect for drinking around a campfire, so why not use an enamel camping mug?!
  • Garnish with a bit of apple & enjoy!

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Extra Tips

  • As I mentioned, this can be a strong drink. You can do a number of things to weaken the drink. Start by using some simple syrup – either adding 1 part to the mix above, substituting it for the triple sec, or using equal parts of your choosing. You can also serve the drink over ice to add even more water as you drink.
  • I enjoyed sampling the sidecar with the Santa Fe brandy, but remember the Jacques Cardin cognac to be slightly smoother (although it’ll still knock your socks off).

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Apple Cream Cheese Quick Bread

Apple is our ingredient of the season. Expect quite a bit of baking, a sampling of hard cider, and a house full of aroma (if you’re lucky!) from this series.

The same mystery apple tree that provided the inspiration for our German Apple Cake keeps on giving, so we keep on taking! Alex makes it a daily stop, and I’ve run over a few times when we needed an apple for this or that; today’s bread being the perfect example. We went on a one-night camping trip last weekend, and whenever we’re camping and I know there’s going to be a chill in the air I like to pack along a baked good – just something to snack on when we need an energy boost or want a little treat with our camp breakfast. Since this recipe comes together relatively quickly, it’s an easy last minute treat whether you’re staying home or packing the car (and forgetting the hotdogs!) as you head out for the weekend.

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In addition to the apple, this bread gets its flavor from a touch of cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, and vanilla. And I loved the hearty addition of cream cheese, reminding me of another fall favorite ~ the pumpkin roll!

Ingredients

  • 2 apples, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar, separated
  • 3 eggs (2 for the bread, 1 for the cream cheese filling)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 6 oz. cream cheese
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The How-to

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly oil a loaf pan.
  • Place the apples, oil, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix well. Gently fold in the flour, baking soda, salt, spices, and walnuts until wet. Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
  • With an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg. Pour over the top of the bread batter and swirl with a fork or knife.
  • Bake for 30 minutes with a loosely covered foil tent. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an addition 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.
  • Allow the bread to cool before slicing.
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As I mentioned, this is a nice hearty bread. It was the perfect treat on our camping trip, especially with a cup of hot tea at the breakfast table. My cream cheese didn’t marble into the bread so much as it sunk into the middle and the bread seemed to bake up around it, but we didn’t mind – it made it more like a filling.

I adapted today’s recipe from Today’s Creative Blog, adding the walnuts, reducing the sugar, and taking her suggestion for a combination of whole wheat and white flour. I found the core recipe to be easily adaptable, so feel free to experiment and make it your own!

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Sarah’s Appletini

Apples are our ingredient of the season. Check out Kate’s german apple cake right here.

I’m a fairly new martini drinker, but I can see these appletinis showing up on a regular basis around here.  They are full of fresh juice (& alcohol!) and they taste like Autumn!! Really, these apple martinis are fall flavored.  This recipe makes enough for two martinis so grab a pal or drink both. If your plan is the latter then have a great afternoon at home 😉

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German Apple Cake

Apples are our ingredient of the season. We started with a healthy juice, and today we’re indulging in a simple and delicious cake that comes together in minutes – perfect for a dose of mid-week baking!

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Nothing makes my day more than a request for a baked good from Calder and A.Max. This weekend they discovered the big apple tree that’s a few doors down from our house and heavy with ripe apples. The request: turn these apples into something, anything… Calder and I got to picking while Alex sampled.

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