Fall is like one big sensory orgasm.
Vibrant red, green, and orange slowly encapsulating summer’s green leaves.
The roar of enthusiastic fans at the Friday night football game.
The crisp air that sends you running for you snuggie.
The pile of crunchy leaves that is so big that you send out an APB for your first-born that jumped in 2 hours ago.
The fragrant blend of scented candles, simmering chili’s, and baked fruits permeating every crevice of the house.
I love spending cool, cloudy days inside in front of the stove honing the art of comfort food.
I would consider myself the next Martha Friggin’ Stewart but I don’t have her creative ability to make pies from scratch, compose elegant flower arrangements using foliage from the backyard, and get convicted of insider trading.
I can, however, spend all of my disposable income on fall produce.
When you eat as many apples as I do, it can get a bit pricey.
Unless you’re a cheap skate like I am and hoard the less the stellar selection.
When the apples are so big that one apple yields three cups of fruit, I consider my money well spent.
Caramel apples seem like the ultimate fall indulgence, but why spend all that time picking sticky caramel out of your teeth when you can drink a hot mug of caramel apple cider using locally pressed fruit?
Homemade caramel sauce is easy to make using this recipe, inspired from Eating Well. Swapping evaporated milk for full fat cream and adding only a touch of butter means this silky sauce is lower in fat and calories than traditional caramel but tastes every bit as decadent.
Combine sugar and cider in a small saucepan.
Bring to boil, stirring occasionally.
Continue a low boil for about 15 minutes without stirring.
Remove from heat and add butter and evaporated milk, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Add molasses, and return to heat, cooking on low for another 5-10 minutes to let color develop.
Remove from heat and cool.
Caramel Cider Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1 tablespoon butter (I used real, whipped butter)
2 teaspoons of molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
Combine sugar and cider in small sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Continue a low boil for about 15 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Stir in butter and evaporated milk, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Add molasses and return to low heat for 5-10 minutes until sauce darkens slightly in color.
Add vanilla and remove from heat.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Caramel Apple Cider
1 medium, round apple
wedge of lemon or lemon juice
caramel cider sauce
Trim top of apple and scoop out inner flesh to make a “mug.” Rub edges with lemon juice and fill mug with warm apple cider. Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel cider sauce. Garnish with cinnamon stick.