Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cindy's Hot Apple Cider

Cindy is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, and she would make this cider for us at school. She would make some for school potlucks and would often keep a pot brewing in the teacher's lounge for all of us to sip away our stress.  Several years ago, she graciously shared her "secret" recipe. We have enjoyed it at Christmas and holiday parties ever since.  We have it every Christmas morning.

Cindy's Cider
2 quarts apple cider (sometimes I cheat and use juice)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash ground nutmeg
3" stick cinnamon (or two)

I use my mom's old percolator to make the cider.  I put the spices and sugar in the basket part and then let the juice percolate.  I have also use one of the large coffee urns, again putting the spices in the basket, and letting it do it's magic.  If you don't have any of those fancy gadgets, you could simply simmer everything in a sauce pot, then strain before serving.  If I am making it for a party, or making it at school, I measure everything and just keep it in a baggie the night before.  The sugar gets infused with the spices, and is just as delicious.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Candied Nuts

This one falls in the "clips" category, so I am not sure where mom got this one.  My Dad loves nuts, so I am sure she clipped this to make it for him.  They are pretty easy to make if you have a stand mixer, since you coat the nuts in a meringue type mixture before baking. They smell great cooking, too!  I just made some for my Dad for his birthday...shhhh  don't tell!!

Candied Nuts
1/3 cup butter
2 egg whites
dash of salt
1 cup of sugar
3 cups of nuts (use raw almonds, cashews, or pecans... or a combo)
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place butter in a cookie sheet and melt while you are whipping the egg whites.

Using a mixer, beat the egg whites with the dash of salt until frothy.  Add the cup of sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form, like a meringue.

Gently add cinnamon and fold in the nuts.  It looks weird, and white... but don't fret.

Spread in the pan and coat with the butter.  You will bake it for a total of 35-40 minutes, but you'll want to stir it every 8-10 minutes and watch it turn into golden nuggets of deliciousness.

I turned mine out on a sheet of parchment to cool.