Homemade Apple Cider

Apple cider warms the soul on a crisp fall morning.  Aromas in my kitchen are an elegant dance of fresh apple and cinnamon spice.  The rust colored skyline meets with the golden harvest of the season as fall appears.

With a bushel of Jonathan apples, from our oldest fruit tree on the farm, I wanted to make a batch of cider to preserve their flavor and welcome autumn.  They are my husband’s favorite.  This apple is a classic American Heirloom variety that has sweetness with a touch of tart.  It balances the flavor and makes them a perfectly delicious apple.

I made two batches, with different ingredients, to see which recipe we liked best.  What I came up with were equally amazing.  The one batch resembles a wassail and the other leans towards a more traditional cider.  You can make both recipes and decide for yourself!  Enjoy!

apple-cider-wassail

Jonathan Apple Wassail

  • 10-12 apples, quartered
  • ½ an orange, quartered
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ Cup brown sugar
  • 1 T ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 8-10 Cups of water

apple-cider

Jonathan Apple Cider

  • 10-12 apples, quartered
  • ¾ Cup sugar
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 T ground allspice
  • 8 Cups water

Cut your choice of apples into quarters.  Don’t worry about peeling or seeding at this point. Everything will cook down and you will remove when you strain them.  Place apples, sugar, spices, and water into a slow cooker.  The aroma throughout the day is amazing, but you can also cook either recipe over the stove for a quicker batch.

Cook on medium to high for 4 hours.  At this time remove the apples and mash.  You can use a potato masher or immersion blender; either will do the trick.  Don’t worry about straining just yet.  Put your apple mash back into the crock pot and cook down for 2-4 more hours.  The longer you wait, the more intense the apple flavor, and delicious in my opinion.

After cooking, strain the liquid and remove all stems, seeds, and debris.  You can enjoy either recipe hot or chill in the refrigerator.

finished-cider

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Baked Pumpkin French Toast

pumpkin french toast bake 01An easy overnight French toast bake with the seasonal flavor of pumpkin.  Oh so easy, and oh so Dee-lish!

Ingredients
1 large loaf French Bread (about 16 slices) or two mini loaves

CREAM CHEESE FILLING

  • 1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash salt

PUMPKIN MIXTURE

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Cup half and half
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 Cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 T butter
  1. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Slice bread into ½ inch slices stacking two pieces on top of each other and place in dish.
  2. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add ½ Cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and salt.  Optional – add 1/2 Cup of pumpkin puree, beat to combine.
  3. Lay out 8 pieces of bread. Divide cream cheese mixture over bread. Spread on slice of bread and top with another slice of bread to create cream cheese stuffed French toast.
  4. Make the pumpkin mixture by beating the eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together. Pour over stuffed French toast.
  5. Top each piece of French toast with half a slice of butter.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night, or for several hours.
  7. In the morning bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Serve with warm maple syrup and a dollop of whipped cream!  I also add pecans fresh from our farm!