Sunday, November 7, 2010

Spiced Applesauce

I love apples in the Fall. The crisp, sweetness and crunchiness of an apple makes for a perfect snack. I especially love apple slices with a smear of peanut butter- delicious! In the grocery store you will find me feeling all of the types of apples looking for the hardest ones I can find because a mushy apple is not acceptable!
This year, I was given three types of apples from friends and neighbors. It is great to have a supply whenever I need a fresh apple! With so many apples though I was concerned about them turning mushy, so what better way to put some to use than applesauce?

I enjoyed cinnamon applesauce in my lunch box as a child. What I particularly remember about applesauce though, was my mom making cookies with applesauce. This was during the low-fat craze and she would replace the butter in cookie dough with applesauce. This made a super moist and chewy cookie. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with my applesauce, but I decided to give it a try and then go from there.
It was actually easy to make applesauce, so easy in fact that I have made two batches so far! It really is much better making it fresh than buying it canned. The flavor is brighter and you can flavor it however you desire. I used apple cider spices and the end product has just the perfect hint of these spices that makes you think of Thanksgiving and is perfect for the fall season.
Some ways that I have used my applesauce that I think you will enjoy too:
Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from David Lebovitz (I used chocolate chips instead of raisins)
Spiced Applesauce Cake from Smitten Kitchen (so yummy!)
Honey Pumpkin Bread from me! (I used 1/2 cup applesauce and only 1/4 cup of the oil)

Spiced Applesauce
~2-4 pounds apples (or however many it takes to fill your pot), a variety of apples with make the flavor of  the applesauce more complex and add sweetness
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
2-4 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
1 star anise
1 nutmeg, cut into pieces
1 cup water

1. Peel, core and cut apples into slices. Place in large pot and add spices, lemon juice, and water.

2. Bring mixture to a boil, lower heat and allow to simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until apples are soft*.

3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for several minutes. Remove spice pieces.

4. Puree apple mixture in food processor until smooth. Refrigerate and enjoy!

*If your apples are particularly tart, add 1 tbsp sugar to apples while cooking or omit lemon juice

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